Risk & Reward

By Stephen Catlin and James Burcke


Risk & Reward, co-authored by Insurance Hall of Fame laureate Stephen Catlin, provides an inside view of the commercial property/casualty insurance business from the perspective of a long-time insurance company CEO.

Written in plain language, Risk & Reward explains how insurers and brokers operate, the true value of insurance, and where insurance products and services could be improved.   In writing the book, Stephen draws on his nearly 45 years of experience in the insurance industry, first as an underwriter at Lloyd’s of London and subsequently as CEO of Catlin Group Limited, a company that grew from a two-person operation to an international insurer with 2,500 employees, offices in 25 countries and $6 billion in annual premium volume. Stephen was elected to the Insurance Hall of Fame in 2015.

Risk & Reward comprises four sections, each of which is filled with real-life examples and anecdotes from Stephen career:

  •  A brief and comprehensive overview of the fundamentals of property/casualty insurance, including risk, underwriting, claims, reinsurance, reserving, and the relationship between insurers and brokers;
  • The story behind the Catlin Group, including the management strategies adopted by Stephen and his management team to nurture the growth of the company from a tiny Lloyd’s of London underwriting agency to one of the world’s major commercial insurers/reinsurers. Among the topics discussed are capital management, underwriting strategy, international expansion, and mergers and acquisitions;
  • An analysis of the threats to Lloyd’s over the past five decades, including now-banned market practices during the 1970s and ’80s, the massive losses that led to the Reconstruction and Renewal program, including the formation of Equitas, and the fears regarding Lloyd’s solvency following the 9/11 tragedy; and
  • Lessons and opinions regarding good management practices that are necessary for an insurance company – or any other company – to succeed. These include the value of strong leadership, entrepreneurism, corporate culture, talent management, branding and regulation.

Individuals who work in the insurance industry – and even those who know little about insurance – will benefit from Stephen Catlin’s wisdom and insights.

Risk & Reward  was co-written by James Burcke, former head of corporate affairs for Catlin Group Limited, who has 35 years of experience in insurance communications.

From the foreword by Nikolaus von Bomhard, former chairman of Munich Re’s board of management:

 “I cannot resist disagreeing with one of Stephen’s theses. He writes that the insurance industry is doing a poor job explaining what it does and why. This is not true. You would like proof? Then turn the page and start reading!”

From the afterword by Mike McGavick, chief executive officer of XL Group Ltd:

“In Risk & Reward, Stephen Catlin has given us the gift of his insights into the insurance and reinsurance marketplaces, his key ideas about leading complex businesses, and has even peered into the future of the sector and shared what he has foreseen. That substance alone is a full reward for the reader’s risk of purchase and time spent.”