U.S. RE People - Joe Fedor, Executive Vice President
From seminarian to infantry sergeant in Viet Nam, to auto insurance sales at GEICO, to achieving the CPCU designation, to finding a place in the dynamic world of reinsurance - that's the career path Joe Fedor followed in his early years.
Today, he's Executive Vice President of U.S. RE, having joined with Tal Piccione to found the Company almost 15 years ago. Hanging out a shingle as a broker in the clubby world of reinsurance was a venturesome move when Tal, Joe, and Brian McGuire left Guy Carpenter. The industry was and is known for long standing relationships between insurers and reinsurers that sometimes go back for generations. The newly formed U.S. RE Corporation needed to offer something special in order to compete with the "old boys' network."
"That something special was a combination of offering new products, listening carefully to clients, anticipating changes in the marketplace, and not just following the same old worn-out track," says Joe. As U.S. RE grew from a conventional reinsurance intermediary into a group of companies with diverse interests in wholesaling, alternative risk transfer, insurance underwriting, and capital investments - all with a link to the core business of reinsurance broking - the U.S. RE team remained fiercely committed to customer service and innovation.
After Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida in 1992 to the tune of $17 billion of insured losses, insurance companies backed out of the State and conventional catastrophe reinsurance skyrocketed in price or became practically unavailable. U.S. RE was one of the first to come up with new ways to provide the protection clients needed in what was an unprecedented reinsurance market. Joe and his associates created a finite reinsurance product that met the risk transfer standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and found immediate acceptance in the market. This product and its successors continue to provide catastrophe protection to many U.S. RE clients.
What prompted U.S. RE's move into wholesaling, program business, and venture capital investments? Joe's answer: "A number of years ago, we determined that the insurance marketplace was not only contracting through mergers and acquisitions but also shifting its emphasis from being a provider of all types of cover for a client to one that is more focused on certain lines of business. That, coupled with our own focus on protecting assets and providing a market has led us into creating programs and investing in carriers who will write them - all protected by reinsurance - our core business." Acquisition of AMG/Quadrant Insurance Managers, Inc. and Uni-Ter Underwriting Management Corporation opened the door to program business and health care facilities coverage tied to reinsurance. Substantial investments in two Florida-based property/casualty insurers provide independent income streams along with reinsurance brokerage.
Today's successful reinsurance broker is a far cry from the reinsurance intermediary of yesteryear. Joe explains that, "U.S. RE has evolved into a financial services firm that is in the business of facilitating the protection of assets." Reinsurance arrangements in the current market "entail the use of not only the more conventional reinsurance mechanisms but also alternative choices such as finite reinsurance, SPRVs (Special Purpose Reinsurance Vehicles), cell-rent-a-captives, and capital market mechanisms - all of which U.S. RE offers," according to Joe.
"I'm proud of what we've accomplished as a team at U.S. RE over the years, but I'm even more excited about the Company's future as we continue to grow" says Joe. After deciding that he did not have a vocation for the priesthood, Joe did a stint at GEICO. Then he joined the Army and served in Viet Nam as an Infantry Staff Sergeant. Returning home, he rejoined GEICO, having been attracted to the insurance business by "the challenge of working in a field where the dynamics of the market place are in a constant state of change and where the need to provide solutions is endless." After a few years in personal lines, he became intrigued by the creative challenges of reinsurance and joined Guy Carpenter & Co.
In 1987, he and fellow Carpenter exec Tal Piccione decided to strike out on their own. They formed U.S. RE with a bold vision of becoming a significant player in global reinsurance. The Company has developed into one of the largest, domestic reinsurance brokers with an international presence and continues to grow and diversify.
Joe is known as the Company's "knowledge officer." Possessing a remarkable memory for facts and details, along with a keen analytical mind, he is a human encyclopedia of reinsurance information and a great resource for young brokers in the office. What qualifications does Joe look for in young men and women who aspire to become reinsurance brokers? His answer: "A literate person willing to work hard, with knowledge of finance, economics, business, and insurance - one who is able to think outside the box when examining problems and looking for solutions."
When he's not mulling over insurance/reinsurance issues, Joe relishes time with his family. He and Luz have been married for 31 years. Their three daughters inherited a keen interest in the arts from their mother. Susie paints. Lori is a sculptor. Chrissy is a graphic artist.
Joe drives more than two hours to work each day from his home in New Jersey. "It's worth the commute. The job is never boring. I look forward to each day's challenges and continue to be dedicated to helping build U.S. RE into one of the preeminent providers of asset protection solutions in the world."