The head of Aspen Insurance has departed the company, a day after an announcement of disappointing preliminary Q4 financial results.
CEO Stephen Postlewhite is departing immediately, Aspen said on Jan. 26, without further explanation.
Group Chief Executive Officer Chris O’Kane thanked Postlewhite in prepared remarks for “a significant contribution” to Aspen over the last 15 years and wished him well on future endeavors.
David Cohen, president and chief underwriting officer of Aspen Insurance, was named to replace Postlewhite. O’Kane issued a much longer statement regarding Cohen, crediting him since joining Aspen in 2015 with boosting the level of underwriting talent in Aspen’s Insurance segment, refocusing its underwriting and revving up the division for successful growth.
Cohen, O’Kane added, “is a strong and well-respected leader and I am confident that as we move forward, he will drive improvements across our Insurance business.”
On Jan. 25, Aspen disclosed it expects an underwriting loss of approximately $245 million for the 2017 fourth quarter, due to California wildfires, plus “an increased frequency of mid-sized and attritional losses primarily in Aspen’s Insurance segment.” This includes property and fire-related U.K. and U.S. losses, a bump in surety loss and cyber losses.
Aspen reported a preliminary estimate of about $135 million in pre-tax losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, relating to the California wildfires in Q4. Aspen blamed these mostly on its Reinsurance segment.
Aspen also said that its reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses are still strong, noting that its expected Q4 2017 underwriting loss includes a release of prior year reserves.
O’Kane, in a statement, noted that Aspen was “deeply disappointed” with its 2017 performance.
He pointed out, however, that Aspen took “a number of actions” to boost its underwriting performance and expects to see the fruits of those efforts reflected in its 2018 underwriting year results and beyond.
“We believe our capital position is appropriate to support our ongoing business and underpins our financial strength ratings,” O’Kane added.
In October, Aspen Insurance Holdings said it would launch a $160 million cost-saving program after a money-losing Q3, with job cuts a likely part of the process.