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Original Risk: A Society for Change Agents

State National CEO Ledbetter retiring, Freeman to succeed


Terry Ledbetter, a founder and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Markel’s program services and fronting specialist State National, is stepping down to retire.

state-national-logoState National carved itself a relatively unique position in the U.S. insurance and reinsurance market, by acting as fronting provider to insurance-linked securities (ILS) fund management giant Nephila Capital for a number of years.

The company also helped other capacity providers to access primary programs of insurance risk, with a strategy that saw State National itself take little of the risk, with the majority ceded to reinsurance capacity.

Ledbetter founded State National along with his brothers Lonnie and Garry in 1973.

The company developed a specialism of working as a fronting service provider for alternative capital, thanks to its relationship with Nephila.

In 2017, State National was acquired by Markel Corporation for $919 million, providing an exit for its founders investment in the firm and a chance to become part of a much larger platform. In 2018 Markel also acquired Nephila Capital, bringing the two companies onto the same larger platform.

Ledbetter will step down and retire at the end of 2019 and his role is set to be filled by State National President Matthew Freeman, who joined the company in 2016.

“We thank Terry for everything he has done for State National and Markel,” Richard R. Whitt, Co-CEO of Markel commented. “The vision he and his brothers had for taking a small Texas mutual insurance company and building it into the leading fronting business in the industry was simply amazing. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

“Under Terry’s leadership, State National established a strong industry reputation built around long-term client relationships, and we’re confident Matt will do a great job building on his track record of sustainable growth and success,” Whitt added.

In his time running the fronting specialist, Ledbetter turned State National into one of the key conduits between risk and capital that helped to facilitate the growth of ILS specialist Nephila and so assisted the ILS specialist in developing a new business strategy where primary risk was ceded more directly to its capital market investors.

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