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Martin Eveleigh—Captive Insurance Person of Interest

Martin Eveleigh-Person of Interest
September 18, 2017

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide thoughtful commentary concerning issues impacting captives and the broader insurance markets, we sat down for a conversation with Martin Eveleigh, chairman of Atlas Insurance Management, which he formed in 2002. As the firm's chief executive officer, he charts the direction of the firm and provides guidance in all phases of the company's operations. 

You've had a very interesting career. Walk us through your professional life.

I was called to the bar but chose not to practice and joined what was then Willis, Faber & Dumas, later Willis, and now Willis Towers Watson, where I worked as a marine reinsurance broker for Far East business. I traveled quite frequently to all the countries in the Indian subcontinent as well as to Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. For the last 4 years that I was there, I ran the Japanese account visiting Tokyo 3 times a year and dealing with very large reinsurance programs and high-value facultative risks.

What first attracted you to alternative markets and captives?

When I started working with captives, almost all were formed offshore in island domiciles. I was attracted to island life!

Why did you decide to form Atlas Insurance Management?

I had had 4 good years with KPMG in the British Virgin Islands, but I wanted a change of location and the opportunity to take charge of my own destiny. I suppose, really, I had had enough of working for someone else.

How did the idea for Atlas Community Foundation evolve, and what are some of the things the foundation has been involved with?

I have wanted to do this for a few years now and wish I had moved ahead more quickly. I have come to realize that companies should give back to their communities, and having our own foundation gives our staff the opportunity to influence how we give and how we participate. It is in its very early days, and so far we have volunteered at the Manna Food Bank in Asheville, North Carolina; will be volunteering at Beds for Kids here in Charlotte in late September; and our Cayman team is discussing its next project. As we get into the swing of things, I hope we'll take on a larger project.

Where do you see captive growth coming from in the future, both from a geographic standpoint and a product standpoint?

There is tremendous potential for growth outside the United States, particularly perhaps in Asia and Latin America. However, I think US companies will continue to lead in the use of captives and in new formation numbers. I expect to see greater competition in the property-casualty group captive market as insurance agents come to see a group captive as something that they need to review as a potential solution for more of their clients. The use of captives in the provision of employee benefits will also continue to grow, and captives will have an important role to play in covering whatever is the next emerging risk.

What do you consider to be the most important challenge facing the captive industry, and what should the industry do to meet that challenge?

I think one of our biggest challenges is attracting well-qualified people to work in the captive industry. I think we need to do more to raise awareness of the captive industry amongst those considering a career in risk or accounting. We are going to have to offer entry-level positions and train people rather than expecting experienced people to switch from other areas of the insurance world. The captive industry is a challenging environment and can be a very stimulating place to work.

Within the captive management arena, there has been a lot of discussion about the proliferation of captive domiciles. Do you view this trend as advantageous or detrimental to the industry as a whole, and why?

Overall, I think the growth in the number of domiciles is a good thing. It helps drive creativity and competition and is a helpful response to an increase in demand.

What advice would you offer to someone new to risk management or insurance on how to have a successful career?

I think the keys to success are to enjoy finding solutions and working with people and to be absolutely committed to acting in a client's or prospective client's best interests.

How do you stay up to date with ongoing developments in your field?

I read, attend conferences, and talk to others.

Given that many captive specialists are nearing retirement age or have retired, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the near future and why?

There are also many captive specialists in their 30s and 40s who will relish the opportunity to step into the shoes of the retirees. While I do think that recruitment into the industry is a challenge, that shouldn't be taken to mean that the future isn't in good hands. The next generation will find new and better ways to do things. That is simply the way of the world.

Mr. Eveleigh is the chairman of Atlas Insurance Management, which he formed in 2002. He began his career as a broker in the Lloyd's of London market in 1983. As executive director of the International Reinsurance Division of Willis, he negotiated and placed the largest marine excess of loss programs in the world. While with KPMG in the British Virgin Islands, he became a founding member of the British Virgin Islands Insurance Association.

Mr. Eveleigh specializes in designing alternative risk transfer programs—particularly risk pools—and captive structures. He has chaired the legislative committee of the Bahamas International Insurance Association and has drafted legislation and regulatory guidance for Anguilla and Nevis. He currently serves as a director of the North Carolina Captive Insurance Association and sits on the Alternative Risk Transfer Committee of the Self-Insurance Institute of America.

Mr. Eveleigh has an MA from Oxford, where he read jurisprudence and is a barrister-at-law. He is also a Chartered Insurance Practitioner and Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute. He is based in the firm's Charlotte, North Carolina, office.

Photo of Martin Eveleigh, above, is courtesy of Atlas Insurance Management. View Mr. Eveleigh's Captive Thought Leader videos.

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