Greenlight Capital Re chief executive to step down

Cayman reinsurer Greenlight Capital Re, Ltd. has announced that Barton Hedges will step down as chief executive officer on March 31, 2017.

The company’s former CEO, Leonard Goldberg, will become interim chief executive until a new CEO has been retained.

Greenlight Re intends “to undertake a fulsome succession process, including conducting a search process of internal and external candidates, to find a permanent successor to Mr. Hedges,” the company said in a press release.

The specialist property and casualty reinsurance company added that it is “not aware of any circumstance or event that will have a material adverse impact on the company’s operations or financial position.”

Mr. Goldberg said, “We are confident that we have a strong platform to continue building upon. As we actively conduct the search for a new CEO, the team and I will continue our pursuit of a differentiated insurance and investment strategy designed to maximize returns over the long term.”

Rating agency A.M. Best commented that the reinsurer’s Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” are unaffected by the changes. The Long-Term ICR of “bbb-” of Greenlight Capital Re, Ltd. (Cayman Islands) also remains unchanged and the outlook for the ratings is stable.

Earlier this year, the reinsurer exited construction-defect coverage and commercial vehicle policies and announced a push into the mortgage-guaranty market.

“At the current rating level, A.M. Best is comfortable with regard to the transitional CEO and management’s continued view that the recent novation of construction defect contracts addresses earnings volatility associated with the underwriting portion of the business,” the rating agency said.

After a difficult period for the company and a dearth of profitable insurance underwriting opportunities, Greenlight Re reported net income of $30 million for the third quarter of 2016, compared to a net loss of $219.7 million for the same period in 2015.

Gross written premiums of $128.2 million were down from $134.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, but net earned premiums increased from $102.0 million to $112.8 million year on year.

The reinsurer reported underwriting income of $0.6 million in the third quarter, compared to an underwriting loss of $31.7 million in the same period in 2015.

During the period, the company gained 3.1 percent on its investment portfolio after a net investment loss of 14.2 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

“I am proud of our accomplishments during my tenure with GLRE’s management team and as a member of the board,” Mr. Hedges said.

David Einhorn, chairman of the board, thanked Mr. Hedges “for his efforts in implementing GLRE’s strategy and developing a talented, experienced team.”

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