Jay Fishman, Who Built Travelers After Citigroup, Dies at 63

Jay Fishman, Who Built Travelers After Citigroup, Dies at 63

Jay Fishman, the chairman and former chief executive officer of Travelers Cos. who steered the insurer through the financial crisis and into the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has died. He was 63.

He died Friday at his home in New Jersey, Patrick Linehan, a spokesman for the company, said by telephone. Fishman had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and was replaced in 2015 as CEO by Alan Schnitzer. Travelers said in a statement that John Dasburg was named chairman of the board.

“Though he would be too humble to admit it, Jay was an icon among corporate leaders,” Schnitzer said in the statement. “I’ll miss my dear and close friend, and on behalf of all of us at Travelers, our hearts go out to his wife of nearly 40 years and childhood sweetheart Randy Fishman, Jay and Randy’s children and their beloved grandchildren.”

For the better part of two decades, Fishman was the steady hand guiding Travelers through natural disasters, market cycles and the Great Recession. But his path to running one of the biggest U.S. insurers was circuitous.

Leaves Citigroup

He first oversaw the business in the late 1990s, when it was part of Sanford “Sandy” Weill’s Citigroup Inc. In 2001, he got the urge to run his own company and left to take the top job at a competitor, St. Paul Cos.

Two years later, he bumped into his former colleague, Robert Lipp, at the New York City Ballet. By that time, Citigroup had spun off Travelers, and Lipp was running it.

“We just started chatting, and we thought it would be useful to get to together and talk about the possibilities of perhaps putting the two companies together,” Fishman recalled at the time.

They dubbed the idea, “Project Charlie,” after Lipp’s daughter’s 70-pound (32-kilogram) English bulldog. It was a fitting name for a blockbuster deal. Their $17.9 billion transaction installed Fishman as CEO of the combined company, which eventually took the Travelers name.

Evaluating Risks

Above all else, Fishman knew he was in the business of risk. He just wasn’t going to be pushed into writing insurance or buying securities that didn’t properly compensate the insurer for the chance of losses.

He used the word “thoughtful” on almost every conference call for years, occasionally several times at an event. He spoke of “underwriting thoughtfulness,” “thoughtful data-driven strategies,” “thoughtful pricing” and “being very thoughtful on the management of capital.”

When central bank stimulus policies drove bond yields to record lows, Fishman wasn’t one to buy riskier securities to pick up extra income. Instead, he focused on making sure Travelers was profitable as an underwriter, and boosted shareholder returns through an aggressive stock buyback program.

“People say, ‘Where are you going for yield?’ And the answer is, ‘Nowhere,’” he said at a conference in September 2012. “We continue to be invested in the same asset classes that we have been before and accept the premise of lower returns.”

Resisted Temptation

That same posture had already served Travelers well. In the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, Fishman resisted the temptation to buy mortgage-linked bonds that would have boosted short-term profit at his company. Several of its competitors didn’t and were hurt in the crash.

“Jay was not fooled by the housing bubble,” Weill said in a 2015 interview. “They sacrificed earnings to protect their capital.”

As a result, Travelers emerged from the crisis as one of the strongest U.S. financial firms. In 2009, it was added to the 30-company Dow Jones Industrial Average along with Cisco Systems Inc., replacing General Motors and Citigroup, both of which required government bailouts.

Just before the crisis, Travelers had bought back its iconic red umbrella logo from Citigroup. To mark the occasion, Weill sent his former deputy a collection of cuff links and ties emblazoned with the image. Some of them were made by Hermes.

Logo Pride

“I was very proud of the logo,” Weill said. “And I had pride that at least somebody who was doing a good job was using that logo again.”

Among the executives Fishman worked with was Jamie Dimon, now the leader of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“From the time I hired Jay into what ultimately became Citi, he was from start to end a great professional and, more importantly, a treasured friend,” Dimon said in an e-mailed statement.

Jay Steven Fishman was born Nov. 4, 1952, in New York to Edward Fishman and the former Shirley Cantor. He grew up in the Bronx, and his father ran a small printing business, scraping together enough money for rent and his kids’ education.

After graduating from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Fishman worked at American Can Co. and Shearson Lehman before joining Weill at the company that would eventually become Citigroup. In 2000, he was also named the bank’s chief operating officer in charge of finance and risk.

Serious Reservations

Even though Weill saw him as a top candidate to take over his job one day, Fishman had his doubts.

“I wouldn’t have been an effective CEO” at Citigroup, he told Forbes for a 2011 article. “I had next to no experience in sales and trading, limited experience in investment banking and no experience in commercial banking.”

What he knew was insurance. With his focus on cutting costs, buying back shares and seeking rate increases from the least profitable customers, he oversaw years of gains for investors. From 2005, Travelers’ stock climbed every year except in 2008.

His standing in the corporate world helped him land positions on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corp., where he was the presiding director, and Carlyle Group LP, a private-equity firm. He also was a supporter of education and the arts, serving as a trustee for the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he was named chairman of the New York City Ballet.

In 2015, Fishman helped raise $20 million for scientists to develop therapies to treat ALS. That year, in an interview with Charlie Rose, he reflected on how fortunate he’d been and how he moved past the emotions of knowing his life would be cut short.

“I quickly said I wasn’t going to let the end of my life change the definition, or change my perspective on how I looked at the rest of it,” he said in the interview. “We’re all going to face this — maybe not this disease — but no one gets out alive.”

Fishman and his wife had two children.

A comeback for mutual insurance? Swiss Re sigma report investigates

A comeback for mutual insurance? Swiss Re sigma report investigates

Press Release:

  • Mutual insurers’ share of global premiums has risen in recent years, reversing the decline of earlier decades
  • New risk-based capital requirements and tighter corporate governance standards pose challenges for some mutual insurers
  • Novel capital-raising instruments, greater access to customised reinsurance and alternative risk transfer solutions will give mutuals increased financial flexibility
  • Mutuals must upgrade their underwriting and distribution practices if they are to thrive in the digital age
  • Digital technology can help mutual insurers better serve their members’ long-term interests, and keep some risks insurable

The mutual insurance sector has undergone a modest recovery in recent years, says Swiss Re’s latestsigma report “Mutual insurance in the 21st century: back to the future?” Mutual insurers’ share of the overall insurance market increased from 24% of direct premiums written in 2007 to just over 26% in 2014, reversing some of the declines of previous decades. However, the segment faces challenges, including adapting to new risk-based capital requirements and more stringent corporate governance arrangements, which could put some mutuals at a competitive disadvantage. Further, mutual insurers must embrace technological disruption. Exploiting digital technology such as smart analytics and social media should allow mutuals to better serve the interests of their member-owners, while their ownership structure should enable mutuals to keep insurance affordable for some individuals and risks.

The primary purpose of mutual insurers is to provide risk protection coverage for its owner-members, rather than to make profits or provide returns to external shareholders as in the case for stock-based insurers. Over the past few years, cumulative premiums written by mutual insurers have outpaced those of the wider insurance market, with much of the outperformance concentrated during the height of the financial crisis in 2008-09.

“That mutuals’ relative premium performance did not reverse once economic growth resumed after the financial crisis, suggests a degree of permanence to the segment’s recovery,” says Kurt Karl, Chief Economist at Swiss Re. “Some mutual groups have expanded internationally in recent years, and new mutuals have been established in a number of markets, another indication of the segment’s renewed popularity.”

However, while mutuals’ share of the global insurance market has increased modestly since 2007, it remains well below previous highs. For example, in the life sector, the share of global premiums of life mutuals was 23% in 2014, well below levels of around 66% in the late 1980s and early 1990s before a wave of demutualisations in a number of countries.

Read More Here: 

David Price Appointed Chief Underwriting Officer For CNA Canada

Press Release:

CNA today announced the appointment of David Price as Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer for CNA Canada, effective August 9, 2016. In this role, David will be responsible for underwriting oversight and governance for all products and lines of business written within CNA Canada’s Commercial and Specialty lines, and will report toJohn Hennessy, President and Chief Operating Officer, CNA Canada. David will be based in Toronto.

“David’s 18 years of proven leadership and underwriting expertise combined with his strong broker relationships in the Canadian marketplace make him well suited for this role,” Hennessy said. “Combining underwriting for both the Specialty and Commercial lines of business will better serve our customers and enable us to grow together.”

David joins CNA from AIG Canada, where he served as Executive for their Property & Specialty Risks and Financial Lines. David was also responsible for providing strategic direction for all first-party and ancillary lines of business, including Commercial Property, Energy, Construction, Programs, Surety, Trade Credit, Political Risk, Marine and Aviation divisions. Prior to his role at AIG, he served in management positions at Chubb and at Arch Insurance.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA.

About CNA
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country’s eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 14th largest property and casualty company.  CNA’s insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration.  For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. “CNA” is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the “CNA” service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

Follow CNA (NYSE: CNA) on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

CONTACT:
Brandon Davis, 312-822-5167 / 312-834-6091
Sarah Pang, 312-822-6394 / 312-607-5544
Tammye Daniels, 416-542-7336 / 416-526-1047

Survey highlights thoughts about cyclist safety on busy Canadian streets

Survey highlights thoughts about cyclist safety on busy Canadian streets

Press Release:

CNW – Aurora, ON (July 27, 2016) With bicycling season now in full effect Canadian cyclists are taking to the roads; but how they can arrive safely at their destination is a constant concern in communities large and small.

Whether it’s encountering distracted drivers and pedestrians, construction, road obstacles, or other cyclists who don’t follow the rules, safely sharing the streets is a daily adventure. So it’s not surprising that one out of four Canadians think that it’s unsafe to ride a bicycle on city streets.

Friction between cyclists and motorists is well-known. According to a recent national survey from State Farm Canada, 55 per cent of Canadian drivers find cyclists to be an annoyance on the road. But it’s a two-way street, almost the same number (54 per cent) of cyclists find motorists to be annoying while they’re biking.

“Motorists and cyclists have had a contentious relationship for years. A lack of cycling infrastructure and confusion about the rules of sharing the road has a lot to do with it,” says John Bordignon, Media Relations, State Farm. “Small things to drivers, like drainage grates and potholes are major dangers to cyclists. Cyclists that disobey traffic laws or take up lane space en masse can have motorists seeing red. Having a better understanding of the laws in your area, staying focused and sober on the road whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike, is essential to ensuring all of us remain safe.”

Cycling on Busy Streets

It’s understandable that the busier the street, the higher the level of danger is for cyclists, but that does not deter everyone. Almost 20 per cent of survey respondents state they bike on busy streets. Of those respondents who do, more than half have either personally been in, or know someone who has been in an accident while cycling on the road.

Impairments and Distractions

Cycling can be dangerous enough, according to Statistics Canada close to 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year, but the danger increases if a cyclist is impaired or distracted. Alarmingly, 36 per cent of cyclists who say that they ride on busy streets and more than half of Canadian teens admit to texting while biking.

When it comes to cycling impaired, more than 72 per cent think cyclists should face the same penalties as drivers.

Increasing Safety

There are small steps cyclists can take to better ensure their safety – eight out of 10 respondents think cyclists should be legally required to wear a helmet. Making sure cars are able to see and hear them by having a bell and lights or reflectors is also important. Unfortunately, almost 40 per cent of Canadians are unaware and don’t know that cyclists are legally required to have a bell and lights or reflectors equipped on their bike.

Giving the appropriate amount of distance when passing those on a bike, especially when there’s no designated bicycle lane, is important. However, almost 45 per cent of Canadians state that drivers should only give cyclists one meter or less when passing them on the street.

Additional Resources

This is the second of three news releases State Farm will distribute in 2016 revealing survey results and the opinions of Canadians about their driving habits and road safety.

To find out more about how State Farm works to improve road safety in Canada, please visit www.statefarm.ca/autosafety

About the Survey

The online survey, conducted in March, 2016, polled 3,000 respondents of driving age across Canada.

About State Farm:

In January 2015, State Farm’s Canadian operations were purchased by Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and among the three largest P&C insurance providers in Canada. With its 500 dedicated agents and 1700 employees, the State Farm division provides insurance and financial services products including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, or follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/statefarmcanada.

®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

©Copyright 2016, Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

-30-

For more information, please contact:
Ginger Shewell
Media Profile
ginger.shewell@mediaprofile.com / 416-342-1802

John Bordignon
State Farm Canada
john.bordignon.pgr8@statefarm.com
905-750-5567/416-801-6078

The Selfie Effect: Are Your Vacation Pictures Putting You at Risk?

The Selfie Effect: Are Your Vacation Pictures Putting You at Risk?

Press Release:

MONTRÉAL, While Quebecers look forward to the summer months and vacations, many are unwittingly putting their homes at risk by posting their absences or whereabouts on the internet. A new Allstate Insurance survey found that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of polled Quebecers have in the past posted on their social media accounts that they were away from home. Poll findings also showed that over half (52 per cent) of the 18 to 24 age group have shared that they were travelling on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and 43 per cent in the 25 to 34 age group have done the same.

“Although it can be so much fun to share our travel experiences with others, oversharing is a trend that can potentially put the safety of your home at risk,” says Patrizia D’Ignazio, Allstate Agency Manager. “Allstate Insurance would like to remind Quebecers to think twice before announcing their travel plans online in advance, or during their trip.”

Travelers may know basic home safety procedures when away, like having the mail and newspaper deliveries temporarily stopped or picked up by someone they trust, or installing an automated lighting system. What they might not take into account is that all these efforts could potentially be wasted if they publish that they are away from their home on vacation on social media sites! This summer, 33 per cent of polled Quebecers said they plan to take at least a couple days’ vacation during the construction holiday period which runs from July 24 to August 6.

“When making travel plans, remembering to lock the front door and turn on the alarm system – if you have one – is one thing, but oversharing on your social media pages without the necessary precautions is to be avoided,” says Francisco Randez, TV and radio host, social media and travel expert.

You don’t have to stop sharing, just be mindful of when and how you share
With the increasing popularity of social networks, today’s cybercriminals are using information easily available to them online to plot break-ins on their potential victims’ homes. In the era of social networking, geolocation – the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object such as a mobile phone or computer terminal – can be blamed for break-ins and Google Street View is fast-becoming a sneaky tool used in planning burglaries. Most people provide a wealth of personal details such as their workplace location, people with whom they have relationships, their vacation timing and their address, and that can be putting them at risk.

According to the survey, sixty per cent of men and just over half of women (51 per cent) do not always deactivate their geolocation on their mobile device (smart phones or tablets) while travelling. ”Travelers may be excited to post a countdown leading up to a trip or getaway or that they are en route or have arrived at their destination, but they need to be mindful of what, when and how they share online,” adds Randez.

Make it a family affair
The younger generation with access to mobile devices should also be kept apprised of potential risks. They may be putting the family home in jeopardy by sharing private information on their whereabouts and travel plans. Almost half the survey respondents (43 per cent) have children with active social media accounts and one third of parents (33 per cent) are not in the habit of monitoring what their children post on their social media accounts. The poll also shows that 11 per cent of parents aged 35 to 44 do not regularly check their children’s social media activity. In teaching children further about the proper use of social channels, parents can help keep their homes safer from thieves who may be monitoring them online.

Top safety tips for homeowners on vacation
To help protect travelers from social media-savvy burglars, Allstate Insurance has partnered with Francisco Randez, TV and radio host, social media and travel expert, to offer some topline safety tips.

On social media

  • Be aware of your use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. Do not publish your vacation departure dates on your social media accounts and remind your children not to do so either. Even if you are careful and only a few friends can see what you post, it is possible that some of your contacts have much less rigid security settings.
  • Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts, and use them to determine who has access to your personal information. You can set the parameters according to the highest possible level of security to protect your personal information and know which “friends” can access detailed personal information rather than “everybody” or “friends of friends.”
  • Before posting pictures, ask yourself if they reveal too much information.
  • Avoid posting photos with geotagging. Most smart phones and many digital cameras automatically record the exact location where a photo was taken. If you view this photo online, geotagging can reveal the street address or that you are far away on vacation, making your home a target. Disable geotagging functions and remove geotags on your older pictures using photo editing software.
  • Set an example and teach your children and other family members to be careful online.
  • Consider saving your photos for posting once you return home instead of throughout the trip, making it clear you are back home.

The full list of Francisco Randez’s safety tips for homeowners on vacation can be viewed here.

About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Léger Marketing between June 13 and 16, 2016 via a provincial omnibus online survey among a representative sample of 1,007 Quebecers. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% or 19 times out of 20.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada:
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, including usage-based insurance, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has been listed as a Best Employer in Canada for four years in a row. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as the Old Brewery Mission, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way, and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For more safety tips and advice, visit goodhandsadvice.ca.

 

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

BCAA urges parents to learn the game and keep their kids safe

Read more

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest