Jeremy Cooke To Join Marsh As New Head Of Wholesale Group International Editor


Jeremy Cooke, president of Markel International, the international arm of Markel Corporation, will soon be joining Marsh Inc. to take up the newly formed post of president and chief executive officer of the companys wholesale broking and underwriting management group.

Marshs wholesale units consist of Crump Insurance Services in Dallas; Victor O. Schinnerer & Company in Chevy Chase, Md.; Encon, based in Canada; and Price Forbes, the London-based Lloyds broker.

Mr. Cooke is due to take over the new job in June. He will be relocating from London to Marshs corporate headquarters in New York, where he will report to Roger Egan, vice chairman of Marsh Inc.

“Its really an exciting opportunity because it demonstrates that Marsh is making a commitment to their wholesale operations with a view to building them up and refocusing them,” Mr. Cooke told National Underwriter.

Markel Corp. announced on April 17 that Mr. Cooke was leaving the company to accept the position at Marsh. Marsh officials had no comment on the appointment.

“I think Marsh has recognized that there is no reason why you cant be the number one wholesale broker as well as the number one retail broker,” Mr. Cooke said.

After looking at all of their operations, Marsh has recognized that these are “fundamentally good, profitable businesses that need to stand up for themselves and have someone championing their cause and building them,” Mr. Cooke said.

“Theyve also recognized they need to go outside of Marsh to find someone with the credibility and experience in that marketplace to build those businesses up. So this is quite a significant event.”

“Its not just business as usual,” he said.

Mr. Cooke said there has been a consolidation in the wholesale business, especially in the United States. “There have been any number of independent businesses bought up over the last five to 10 years, so you really do need to have an important profile with the markets. Size is important.”

He acknowledged that there can be a perceived conflict for retail brokers that own wholesale subsidiaries (because business is fed to wholesalers from retail agents and brokers).

“Provided that there are Chinese walls, its all about talent, leverage and people,” he said. (See related story, page 30.)

Mr. Cooke has been with Markel since it acquired the Investors Insurance Group in 1996. In a note to employees, Anthony F. Markel, president and chief operating officer of Markel Corp. in Richmond, Va., said Mr. Cooke has been instrumental in the companys growth and success. “His most noteworthy contribution has been the temporary assignment he accepted to move to London to help us reposition the Terra Nova companies following their acquisition three years ago.”

That job was accomplished, Mr. Markel said, “and we are extremely pleased with our revamped international operations and the outstanding platform we have for the future.”

Prior to joining Investors Insurance Group, Mr. Cooke was founder and chairman of Oxbridge Insurance Associates between 1990 and 1994, and he was president and CEO of Stewart Smith East between 1986 and 1990.

A replacement for Mr. Cooke at Markel International is currently being sought.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 28, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.