Log In

Reset Password

Family firm marks two centuries in business

Family affair: The small team at CNA Butterfield & Son Insurance, which has notched up an incredible 200 years in business. Pictured are (from left) Kay White Todd, Nathaniel Butterfield, Than Butterfield and Sara Corday

A family-owned Bermuda insurance firm has notched up an incredible 200 years in business.

CNA Butterfield was founded in 1815 — the year the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo — and is still going strong.

Nathaniel Butterfield, a direct descendant and namesake of the founder, who also started the Bank of Butterfield, said: “The main ingredient is luck.

“That and treating our clients well and having a vested interest then. It’s luck and doing a good job.”

The firm, based at White Hall on Hamilton’s Park Street, started after merchant Nathaniel T Butterfield became an agent for the Phoenix Assurance Company of London — which was absorbed by insurance giants RSA more than 30 years ago.

Nathaniel T Butterfield went on to establish himself as a banker and later founded the Bank of NT Butterfield.

The two companies split in the 1920s, when the bank went public and the insurance arm stayed in family hands.

Newest staff member Sara Corday, who joined just under a year ago as a trainee underwriter, said: “It’s a small company and mainly property insurance. We know our clients and they know us. It’s passed down through generations and by word of mouth.

“It’s a very personal touch — about knowing our clients and keeping them happy.”

And she added: “We’re looking forward to another 200 years.”

And the firm’s approach seems to work — generations of the same family have insured their possessions since the original Nathaniel opened for business in 1815.

Mr Butterfield, who followed his father into the firm in 1992, said: “It’s definitely true, but we can’t say who it is.”

The company’s staff now consists of Than Butterfield, his son Nathaniel Butterfield, Kaye White Todd, who has been with the company for nearly 30 years, and Ms Corday.

The company, through a link-up with Lloyd’s of London, specialises in property insurance, including buildings, contents, personal possessions, domestic and dock liability as well as freezer food.

It also provided commercial insurance cover for businesses, personal travel insurance and marine cargo insurance.

Ms White Todd said: “I truly believe that since we are a smaller company it lends itself to us being able to provide insurance with a personal touch.

“Our clients know if they call to speak to us, we’re available. If they have a question, we’re available.

“They know that the person they spoke to during the policy’s inception will be the same person they speak to at renewal and during a claim.

“I think the clients like this. We know our clients and they know us.”