Brian Hall (1942-2021): pioneer of captive insurance dies
A “visionary” figure in the international business world was also a major promoter of talent in the island’s pioneering captive insurance sector.
Brian Hall, who died last week, outlined Bermuda’s success in the sector in the foreword to 2004’s Held Captive: A History of International Insurance in Bermuda, by friend and insurance expert Cathy Duffy.
Mr Hall traced Bermuda’s insurance industry back to the 18th century and said a key event was the arrival of American International in the 1940s.
That set the stage for a surge in “captives” – a strategy where companies insure their own risks and which grew into a major Bermudian industry.
Mr Hall wrote: “We had our setbacks, but we learnt from them.
“We had our detractors and we paid attention to them.
“We demonstrated our integrity and our professional competence.”
Mr Hall was a major supporter of education and created the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies in 1996 with the help of other industry leaders.
He later became its chairman emeritus.
BFIS started with the provision of grants for college and university education, but expanded to include career guidance in high schools, mentoring and internships.
Stephen Jones, the chairman of BFIS, said Mr Hall would be remembered for “his courage in pursuing his vision for Bermuda’s young people’s inclusion in the industry”.
“All former and current scholars are beneficiaries of Brian’s vision and tenacity.
“He was committed to equipping Bermuda’s young people with the skills and education necessary to enter and succeed in the industry.”
Gino Smith, a 1998 BFIS alumni, added: “Brian was a giant amongst men, as a person and as a professional. He changed my life in ways that are immeasurable. Words cannot fully express what he meant to me.”
BFIS will honour Mr Hall’s memory with the addition of the Brian R. Hall Memorial Scholarship beginning with the 2022 awards season.
BFIS said: “We are committed to continuing Brian’s vision of working with Bermuda’s young people, thereby ensuring a pipeline of talent for the industry for years to come.”
Mr Hall, who was born in Denton, near Manchester in the UK, moved to the island in the early 1950s.
He embarked on a career in the insurance industry with American International after he left Saltus Grammar School.
Mr Hall married Frankie June Hall, from Lynchburg, Virginia in 1963 and couple had four children, Peter, Michael, Robert and Susan.
He was hired by Fred Reiss, the insurance executive who coined the term “captive”, in 1964 as a captive account manager for International Risk Management.
Mr Hall launched Inter-Ocean Management in 1969, the firm that picked up captive operations for global insurance brokerage Johnson & Higgins.
He was appointed chief executive and president of J&H in 1979, and later became the chairman.
The firm grew to prominence under Mr Hall’s leadership.
Roger Gillett, a friend and colleague, spent 20 years working with Mr Hall at J&H.
Mr Gillett said Mr Hall was a “visionary” who divided his time between “what he wanted for the company, and what he wanted for Bermuda”.
He added Mr Hall understood how to go beyond the satisfaction of clients, shareholders and staff, to bring fulfilment.
Mr Gillett said: “He was a true role model for us. While he demanded high standards, he was also very humane, kind and generous.
“He was adept at wearing many hats. You were left in no doubt that whichever hat he was wearing and he would do so with 100 per cent commitment.”
Mr Gillett said he was “a man with a good heart who believed in Bermuda and Bermudians”.
He added: “He created opportunity and an environment that always invited us to succeed.”
Mr Gillett said Mr Hall fostered idea-sharing and solicited views from staff at all levels of the company.
He added: “So many people have happy memories of working at J&H, for which I must give credit to Brian, his style of leadership and the person he was.”
Cathy Lord, who was a J&H Intermediaries vice-president, said Mr Hall was an approachable man, ahead of his times, who “thought outside the box”.
She added: “He was very progressive in his thinking and the way he treated staff.”
Ms Lord said Mr Hall, who went into the industry without formal training, worked hard to “surround himself with very good people – we worked as a really good team”.
She added: “It really was a team effort by everyone. Everyone was on first names, which made people feel comfortable.
“You could walk into his office and have a conversation.”
Ms Lord said the company’s success stemmed from an culture where “everybody was valued”.
She added: “In many ways from a corporate point of view, Bermuda has not progressed in terms of the way people are treated now.”
Mr Hall told The Royal Gazette in 2001: “I've always been very much a team builder. One cannot be a leader if one is unwilling to be led.
“Leaders are only as good as the team around them.”
Mr Hall was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1998 for his services to Bermuda.
The Bermuda Insurance Institute gave him a lifetime achievement award in 2001 and he was given the Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bermuda Captive Conference in 2018.
Mr Hall was also a chairman of the Insurance Advisory Committee and a founding president of the Bermuda Insurance Management Association.
He became chairman of Bermuda College after he retired from J&H in 1998.
Mr Hall moved with his wife in 2000 to Orange, Virginia, where his funeral will be held on Saturday.
· Brian Ralph Hall, a business leader who foresaw and assisted the rise of the captive insurance industry, was born on April 28, 1941. He died on November 22, aged 80.