Career changes lead to a shakeup in the D&O Rankings

The 2019 edition of the Directors’ and Officers’ (D&O) Rankings has resulted in a joint win on the underwriting side as Emma Pearce of Liberty Specialty Markets and Gary Lill of Hiscox share top position.

Lill took the title of D&O underwriter of the year for the second consecutive year alongside first-time winner Pearce.

Both finished with 22 points but Pearce was a clear favourite among London market brokers as she clinched first with just eight votes. Lill garnered 11 nominations to make up the same overall score.

Pearce managed this by getting more nominations from brokers naming her as their first-choice underwriter than Lill, hence taking the same overall score with a slightly lower vote count. This is possible as the Rankings applies a Borda count methodology to survey responses, where a nominee receives three points for being named a respondent’s top choice, two for second place and one for third.

Indeed, all but one of Pearce’s nominations were provided by brokers who named her as their first-choice underwriter.

This year, the top-three podium was made up of long-standing market underwriters. Pearce, who is Liberty Specialty Markets’ UK D&O underwriting manager, has been at the company for almost 18 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. The market veteran rose to first in this year’s Rankings after landing fourth in 2018.

Furthermore, second-time winner Lill has been working in the London market since 1992 while third-placed Jeremy Isaacs of Sompo International has been underwriting for around 15 years.

Narrowly missing out on third place by just two points overall was Axa XL’s Ta-sian Litchfield, who came fourth.

Contrary to the podium leaders, Litchfield cut his teeth relatively recently, starting his career at Catlin as a graduate trainee and working in the London market for just over five years. He received 10 nominations in this year’s rankings after not featuring in the 2018 edition of the survey.

As for the fallers, last year’s runner up Stephanie Pestorich Manson – formerly of AIG – did not feature on the underwriting league table this year. In September, it was announced that Marsh JLT Specialty had made her chief client officer for management liability and head of D&O.

She previously led AIG’s management liability team for around four years.

Brokers

While the underwriting podium was fairly stable year on year – apart from the departure of Pestorich Manson and the rise of Pearce – results on the broking side reflected a shift in top-ranked talent.

Indeed, 2018 winner Mike Parry – counted as part of Marsh JLT Specialty in this report – fell to 17th this year, with Jason Rose of RKH Specialty leading the broker rankings.

The Insurance Insider reported in October that Parry had resigned from Marsh JLT to take up an underwriting role at Beazley. He started his insurance career in 2005 as a broker at Aon before moving to Marsh as a vice-president, according to LinkedIn.

Marsh’s Shaunna Batabyal has been appointed as Parry’s successor. Batabyal was ranked in both editions of the D&O Rankings survey, most recently 13th.

Another prominent faller in this year’s rankings is Lockton’s Ian Nichol, who shared second place with Rose in 2018. Year on year, his nominations almost halved but he still managed to come 10th in 2019.

This year’s winner – Rose – moved up the league table from second in 2018, garnering support from 11 underwriters working at 10 different companies, showing how diversified his voter base was.

However, as 55 percent of his votes came from underwriters with over 20 years in the sector, it is clear that Rose is favoured by more experienced individuals. This is unsurprising given that he has over 25 years’ experience himself and has been at his current firm, RKH Specialty, for almost a decade.

The remainder of this year’s broker podium consisted of individuals who have not previously featured in the top three, including runner-up Winsee Cheung of Marsh JLT Specialty, who came fourth in 2018.

Meanwhile, third place was shared this year between Peter Bannister of Paragon International and Robert Barnes of Marsh JLT Specialty. They came sixth and ninth in 2018 respectively.

There was just a two-point difference between Cheung and the two brokers sharing third place.

To access the full results of the survey,  please click here to download the 2019 D&O Rankings report.