Liberty Mutual CEO Edmund ‘Ted’ Kelly Retires; Long Takes The Reins

Kelly started with Liberty Mutual in 1992 as president and chief operating officer before being named CEO in 1998 and chairman in April 2000. Kelly started with Liberty Mutual in 1992 as president and chief operating officer before being named CEO in 1998 and chairman in April 2000.

NU Online News Service, June 9, 2:09 p.m. EST

Liberty Mutual Lines of Business Breakdown 2009Edmund “Ted” Kelly, chief executive officer of Liberty Mutual Group since 1998, is retiring on June 28.

Kelly will continue to keep his role as chairman.

David H. Long, elected president of Liberty Mutual Group last year, will take over as the new CEO, announces the company.

Kelly started with Liberty Mutual in 1992 as president and chief operating officer before being named CEO in 1998 and chairman in April 2000.

Kelly was born in Ireland and graduated from Queen’s University in Belfast before getting his doctorate in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Known for his accent and blunt comments about the industry, Kelly was sought after to speak at industry events for an honest assessment of a variety of insurance issues and the executive was not shy about speaking his mind during conference calls.

For example, Liberty Mutual announced a plan to enter the equity markets in 2010 but backed off because, “insurance stocks stink,” says Kelly early this year.

At a conference late in 2010 presented by National Underwriter, Kelly calls the way commercial insurance is written "patent nonsense," and that it is "run irrationally." He adds that companies with operations only in North America “will be totally irrelevant" eventually.

In a past interview with NU, Kelly warns the industry is “commoditizing itself."

"If your message is that the only reason to do business with you is the price, it is ultimately self-defeating," he says.

Shortly after the bailout of competitor American International Group Inc. in 2008, Kelly said AIG was doing "some very stupid things" in order to keep market share.  

Kelly is active in the industry. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and a member of the boards of The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., EMC Corp., American Ireland Fund and Insurance Information Institute.

He is also a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Long began his career with Liberty Mutual in 1985 as a financial analyst. He then served as division finance manager in corporate finance with responsibilities in commercial, personal, and life business in the group’s New England division.

Prior to becoming president of Liberty Mutual Group, Long was president of Liberty International and president of Liberty Mutual commercial markets. He is a founding member of Liberty Mutual Agency Corp., a unit created to broaden the insurer’s distribution channels to include independent agents.

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