Tree planted in honour of insurance industry champion Michael Butt
A champion of Bermuda’s re/insurance industry has been honoured at a ceremonial tree planting next to the Hamilton Ferry Terminal.
Michael Butt is a past chairman of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, and a former longtime chairman of Axis Capital. He announced his retirement in September.
He has given five decades of service to Bermuda and the international re/insurance sector.
Abir member company executives and public officials joined for a Covid-19 compliant, ceremonial tree planting to honour Mr Butt, who attended the event.
Marc Grandisson, chief executive officer of Arch Capital Group and current Abir chairman, said: ”This planting, at the busy Hamilton Ferry Terminal, recognises Michael’s commitment and service to Abir, Bermuda, the environment, and the global re/insurance industry. Generations of Bermuda residents and guests will be forever reminded of Michael Butt’s role in the development of the island’s leading industry.”
Abir said that Mr Butt had been a builder of business, a builder of markets, and a passionate voice on issues such as climate risk. He was chairman of the Axis Capital board of directors for nearly 20 years, and played a role in guiding Axis from a start-up into an established player in the global re/insurance industry.
Mr Butt was chairman of Sedgwick Limited; CEO of Eagle Star Holdings plc and Eagle Star Insurance Company; CEO of MidOcean Limited; and director, XL Capital Limited and Farmers Insurance Group.
He was chairman of Abir from 2008-2009. He serves on the Bermuda Financial Policy Council, which was created to advise on the development of Bermuda’s financial stability framework. In 2011, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire to commemorate his contributions towards the building of the Bermuda reinsurance industry, and was named by the International Insurance Society as its 2019 Insurance Hall of Fame Laureate.
Albert Benchimol, immediate-past chairman of Abir and CEO of Axis Capital, said: “Michael’s impact on our industry and our company has been immense. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve with Michael and call him my mentor, colleague and friend.”
The tree that was planted is an albizia lebbeck, commonly known in Bermuda as the black ebony, and is classified as a large tree in Bermuda. The species originates in Indomalaya, New Guinea and Northern Australia, and is widely cultivated and naturalised in other tropical and subtropical regions. It has a dense canopy that will provide shade at the height of summer.
Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with Abir on this initiative which will usher in the 2021 planting season for the city. We have upward of 25 locations around Hamilton where we intend to plant new trees this year; species include mahogany, black ebony, jacaranda, allspice, pink shower, pride of India, southern hackberry and others.
“We are very interested in having the public share with us in the stewardship of our city spaces and play an active role, so we keenly encourage partnerships such as this one with Abir. Not only do trees add to the beautification of a city, but they also serve the practical function of providing shade during the long, hot summer months.
John Huff, president and CEO of Abir, said: “Abir, Bermuda and consumers around the world continue to benefit from the leadership of global leaders like Michael Butt. Michael’s longstanding support of the environment, the changing climate and corporate responsibility are all symbolised in the planting of this tree, as a daily reminder of his commitment and service to Bermuda.”