Blaser and Kelley to leave Liberty

  • Mitch Blaser: leaving Liberty Mutual at the end of this year (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Kevin Kelley: led Ironshore’s global expansion

Two former leading executives of Bermudian insurer Ironshore are to leave Liberty Mutual’s Global Risk Solutions division at the end of the year.

The departures of Mitch Blaser and Kevin Kelley come about 2½ years after Ironshore was bought by Liberty in a deal worth $3 billion.

Mr Blaser, chief transformation officer at Liberty GRS, is particularly well known in Bermuda, since he arrived as the founding chief financial officer of Ironshore when it opened its doors on the island as a $1 billion start-up in January 2007. It is understood he will leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

Mr Kelley, who served as CEO of Ironshore from 2008 to 2018, is set to retire from his role as Liberty GRS’s vice-chairman at the end of the year, industry publication The Insurance Insider reported.

A message announcing Mr Blaser’s departure and sent to Liberty Mutual GRS staff from Dennis Langwell, the division’s president, reads: “While Mitch has expressed his desire to pursue other interests, he will maintain an active role through his transition after which the Transformation team will report to chief financial officer Frank Robinson.”

Mr Blaser has decades of experience in the insurance industry which included a spell as CFO of global broker and risk adviser Marsh & McLellan in the 1990s and he also served as CFO of Swiss Re’s American division in the 2000s.

In Bermuda, his other notable roles included a spell as Ironshore’s chief operating officer, the CEO of Ironshore Bermuda and CEO of the joint venture with CV Starr & Co, Iron-Starr Excess Agency Ltd.

Mr Blaser also led the way in his company’s community efforts, helping causes including the Western Counties Cricket Association, the Railway Trial rehabilitation efforts and Scars. Perhaps best known was the company’s support the Relay for Life, the event that annually raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Bermuda Cancer and Health. Ironshore was the lead sponsor from the first Relay for Life in 2014 and Liberty Mutual has continued that tradition.

Mr Blaser has also earned a reputation for supporting the career development of Bermudians up through the ranks. In April this year, Liberty Mutual was one of two insurers — the other being Sompo International — to be invited by the Bermuda Government to take part in a fast-track work permit pilot programme designed to tackle delays in application turnaround times.

Wayne Caines, the immigration minister, told the House of Assembly that Liberty Mutual was selected because it has a “firm and deep commitment to Bermuda” with a track record of progressing Bermudians through the company and a leadership team that understood the “tapestry” of the island.

Mr Kelley took the helm of Ironshore in December 2008, when he was one of the highest profile executives to leave American International Group, following the company’s near collapse in during the global financial crisis.

After he left his role leading AIG’s Lexington Insurance Company from 1987 to 2008, he was able to attract a string of former AIG executives to Ironshore to help lead the company’s global expansion.

He oversaw the sale of Ironshore to Chinese investment company Fosun in 2015 and remained in a senior role after the Liberty Mutual buyout.

Before his work at Lexington, Mr Kelley was executive vice-president of AIG’s property and casualty group and president of AIG’s domestic personal lines operation.