Aspen names Issavi to lead reinsurance, as Lillelund set to depart


Bermudian specialty insurance and reinsurance firm Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited is promoting Emil Issavi, currently President and Chief Underwriting Officer of Aspen Re, to become the leader for its global reinsurance business, as the previous CEO of Aspen Re is set to depart the firm.

Issavi has held the role of Chief Underwriting Officer of Aspen Re, Aspen’s reinsurance business, since August 2012 and became President of the unit in September 2014.

He first joined Aspen in 2006 to lead the casualty treaty department at Aspen Re America, before becoming the head of casualty reinsurance in 2008.

Before his time at Aspen, Issavi worked at Swiss Re America as the senior treaty account executive responsible for certain global and national property casualty clients. His career began at Gen Re as a casualty facultative underwriter.

Issavi is stepping up as the current CEO of Aspen Re Thomas Lillelund is set to depart the firm. The company said this was “to take a senior leadership position with a global P&C insurance company” and the market cites rumours of an impending move to AIG.

Lillelund will not be moving on immediately though and a period of transition is expected. Lillelund had been with Aspen since 2008, having worked as managing director for Asia Pacific since 2012 and becoming CEO of Aspen Re in 2016. Before Aspen he had already worked at AIG, as well as Swiss Re and General Re.

Chris O’Kane, Aspen’s Group Chief Executive Officer, commented on the news, “We are delighted to name Emil as our new leader for Aspen Re. His appointment recognizes the deep knowledge and insights that he brings to the role with over 20 years in the reinsurance business, including 12 years at Aspen. As a highly-respected leader, Emil’s appointment will provide continuity and is testament to the significant strength-in-depth that we have across our leadership team at Aspen.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Thomas Lillelund for his significant contribution to Aspen Re over the last 10 years, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Re and before that as Managing Director of our Asia Pacific business. We wish him every success in the future.”

Emil Issavi also said, “I am honored to have been appointed to lead Aspen Re. The business is a highly respected player in our chosen markets, we have an outstanding team of people and we are well positioned to sustain the long-standing success of the business moving forward.”

Given the reliance that firms like Aspen now places on its relationships with capital market investors and ILS funds, especially in terms of private quota share business which is significant in size, the leadership of the reinsurance team there is of great interest to the backers of these deals.

The continuity afforded by having an executive suitable for promotion will be welcomed by those with interests in Aspen, at a time when the firm continues to pursue an ongoing sale process.

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