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Reinsurance broking talent war intensifies

Peter Stubbings and Jon Wood have become the latest in a slew of Guy Carpenter staff to leave the reinsurance broker for Aon Benfield.

The departures continue a stream of defections that began when former Guy Carpenter Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO Nick Frankland announced his resignation in October 2016.

Since Frankland joined Aon Benfield in April 2017 as UK CEO, five other senior Guy Carpenter figures have also jumped ship to the broker’s key rival.

Stubbings’ and Wood’s resignations emerged last week. Stubbings, Guy Carpenter’s Bermuda CEO, will become deputy CEO of Aon Benfield’s Global ReSpecialty division.

Wood, who as a managing director at Guy Carpenter was part of the team that established UK flood insurance scheme Flood Re, will establish an entity for specialty public-private partnerships in his new role.

In March, Guy Carpenter executive Matthias Meyenhofer announced he would join Aon Benfield in September as Bermuda CEO.

In the same month, Guy Carpenter also confirmed the departures of head of strategic advisory Eric Paire and managing director Emma Karhan, as first revealed by this publication in September 2017.

Paire will be head of Aon Benfield’s capital advisory unit, while Karhan will head terrorism specialty and London reinsurer relationships in her new role.

Guy Carpenter, however, has in the past had hiring spates of its own.

In 2015, Guy Carpenter initiated an aggressive expansion of its facultative reinsurance team, hiring a number of senior executives from Aon Benfield. These included Aon Benfield Fac CEO Paul Summers, UK head Neil Mayes and global head of strategy Paul Cousins.

Later the same year, Guy Carpenter hired a further five fac brokers from Aon Benfield, three of whom were producing brokers.

Between 2015 and 2017, the Marsh & McLennan Companies subsidiary also plucked a number of high-profile staff from rival Willis Re, starting with CEO Peter Hearn, and three months later his brother David Hearn, a senior Willis employee. Two senior brokers in Philadelphia, James Overend and Bob Trucksess, followed that same year.

In 2017 the raid continued when Guy Carpenter hired four senior Texan and Floridian brokers from Willis Re, and later that year, lured its chief risk officer Pete Thomas.

The merry-go-round of broker hires reflects the difficulty brokerages have with retaining talent in an era when squeezed margins are the norm. Among major brokers, 2017 organic growth figures barely ventured into the high single digits.

Guy Carpenter posted organic growth of 4 percent for 2017, the same as Willis Towers Watson’s risk and reinsurance business. Aon’s reinsurance solutions arm posted 6 percent organic revenue growth for the year.

JLT Group, which includes its reinsurance and specialty broking operations, posted 5 percent growth for last year.

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