Meet Ray Ash, Senior Vice President – Commercial Management Liability
Tell us about you and your history! How did you get into Insurance and what led you to Sompo International?
I found an internship with Chubb’s D&O team during the dot-com implosion of 2001 and received an early lesson on the insurance industry’s recession resilience. I really enjoyed learning about the product and how it supported companies’ ability to take risks to facilitate growth. After graduating, I knew insurance was the industry for me, and my path over the next eight years led to me joining the legacy Endurance business in 2009. Upon joining the organization, my focus was on starting up the US-based Commercial Management Liability team, which had historically been focused through our Bermuda headquarters. I am incredibly proud to have been witness to such immense growth and work with such a talented team in this competitive industry. When I joined, we were we were a small, Bermudian-focused $2B market cap company. We have grown significantly since then, and have established a healthy US book of business and are on the precipice of breaking into the rankings as a top five US D&O carrier. Since our acquisition by Sompo Holdings, we have not looked back and are pushing towards our goal of becoming a top ten global (re)insurer.
What do you think makes Sompo International unique?
We have an incredible culture built on hard work, collaboration and trust in each other. In my time here, due to the company’s size and cultural commitment to its employees, I’ve had tremendous opportunities to interact with executive management, help set strategies and contribute in unexpected ways. The fact that we have maintained those standards as we have grown is a testament to the quality of our staff – we would not be where we are today without the long hours together as a team, and I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else by my side.
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry at the moment?
In both the D&O space and the larger insurance industry, Covid-19 is undoubtedly making an impact. We are seeing a number of companies struggle financially, sometimes forcing them into bankruptcy and creating litigation. The frequency of Securities Class Actions has not slowed, and the impact of social inflation has exacerbated the severity of those suits. All of those factors have required the D&O industry to push rate in an effort to maintain profitability.
What do you do when you are not working?
When I’m not focused on management liability, I enjoy coaching my sons’ sports teams and Cub Scout dens. During the pandemic, I started mountain biking and found it to be one of the most challenging, strenuous and exciting things I have ever done. It’s an especially good day when I don’t go over my handlebars.
Any advice to your younger self?
While I certainly haven’t done everything right, I can’t say I have any regrets either. Every failure however big or small, was an opportunity to learn and I appreciate my managers’ and colleagues’ patience as I continue to learn.