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2012 Insurance Hall of Fame Candidates Announced

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The International Insurance Society has announced the candidates for the prestigious 2012 Insurance Hall of Fame Awards. IIS members serve as electors of the Insurance Hall of Fame and the 2012 Laureates will be elected from among these candidates:

  • J. Barry Griswell, USA
  • C. Robert Henrikson, USA
  • Donald Kramer, USA
  • Tsan-Ming Shih, Taiwan
  • Ikuo Uno, Japan

The winner will be announced in January and the award will be presented at the June 18th gala dinner during the IIS 48th Annual Seminar, which takes place at the Sofitel Rio Copacabana Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 17 – 20, 2012. 

“Induction into the Insurance Hall of Fame is considered the highest honor in the industry, and we are pleased to have such a diverse and illustrious group of insurance leaders on the 2012 ballot,” says Bernhard Fink, the Chairman of the IIS Honors Committee which selects the candidates for the Insurance Hall of Fame.

“Whether operating in a global or local arena, these candidates have made a truly significant contribution to the insurance industry as a whole.” ”All nominees are richly deserving of this award,” adds Michael Morrissey, IIS President, “and I congratulate them on their extra-ordinary achievements.” 

Barry Griswell has more than 36 years of experience in the financial services industry, including more than 20 years in executive management at the Principal Financial Group where he retired as Chairman, President and CEO. The Principal Financial Group today has $320.8 billion in assets under management and serves some 17.8 million customers worldwide.

While at Principal, Griswell helped craft the company’s global strategy and actively promoted the global adoption of defined contribution retirement systems. Griswell and his colleagues started operations in Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, India and China, actively promoting mandatory retirement systems, and Principal now also has strong relationships with partners and government officials in Brazil, Japan, and Australia. 

Griswell’s most notable contributions were in his remarkable participation in improvements to the U.S. retirement system and 401(k) programs over the past 20 years. 

Culminating his career, as Chairman of Principal he was responsible and instrumental for working actively with key members of the U.S. Congress, the Department of Labor and other members of the Administration, to encourage and advocate the enactment of the 2008 Pension Protection Act, which put in place a comprehensive set of improvements, checks and balances, and protections in the system, which have benefited millions of Americans since the law passed.

Prior to joining Principal, Griswell had a distinguished career at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, most notably as president and CEO of MetLife Marketing Corporation, where he  played a pivotal role in helping the company expand its distribution reach. He and his colleagues were pioneers in the field extending the strength and brand of a large insurer well beyond its traditional limits. During this period the industry changed significantly and MetLife Marketing was a key catalyst for that change. 

Griswell has served the insurance industry in major leadership roles including as Chairman of LIMRA International, the Life Underwriter Council and the American Council of Life Insurers.

C. Robert (Rob) Henrikson is Chairman and former president and CEO of MetLife. Over the course of his more than 37-year career at MetLife, Henrikson served in a multitude of leadership roles. 

He worked with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the United States, regulators and government agencies to create innovative pension and insurance solutions that have not only been the source of financial growth for MetLife, but have served as foundational solutions across the industry. 

Henrikson is the first MetLife agent in the company’s 142-year history to be named CEO in 2006. During his tenure as CEO, Henrikson has led MetLife to achieve record financial results, driven operational improvements and strategically positioned the company to capitalize on emerging trends in key markets around the globe.   

Beyond Henrikson’s pioneering efforts in insurance and retirement income solutions, he has frequently served as a voice of the industry, advocating standards and policies to benefit the customers it serves. 

Regardless of the role he has held, he has been driven by a passion for the business of insurance and all that it can do to make people’s lives safer and better, buttressed by the one thing that distinguishes insurance companies from other financial services firms – the ability to provide guarantees. 

Donald Kramer’s career in the financial industry spans almost 55 years, of which more than 44 years were dedicated to the insurance industry. He has been a leading innovator in investment banking, rehabilitating and/or liquidating troubled insurance companies, and establishing and leading several successful insurance companies. 

In 1975 Kramer set up Kramer Capital Consultants, a management consulting practice which specialized in dealing with troubled insurance companies, and where he dealt with nearly all of the high profile receiverships in the United States.

The first in a series of insurance company start-ups began in 1984 when Kramer acquired North American Company for Property and Casualty Insurance. The company was initially purchased for $ 26 million and following several years of growth and financial development it was sold for over $ 1.2 billion dollars.  

In 1993 he formed Tempest Reinsurance Company in Bermuda, which was merged into ACE. Today ACE Tempest Re is a major reinsurer and ACE itself is a leading global multi-line insurance group with an annual net income of $ 2.5 billion.

Mr. Kramer also served ACE internationally through its two Lloyd’s syndicate acquisitions, its China acquisition, the Huatai Insurance Company, and the opening of offices in Russia and Vietnam. 

Following his retirement from ACE in 2005, Mr. Kramer started Ariel Holdings (Ariel Re) with a total of $1 billion in funds raised privately. The company has grown by more than 60percent and recently returned forty percent of investors’ original investment through a yearend dividend.  Recently Mr. Kramer stepped down as CEO but remains Chairman of the Board.

Tsan-Ming Shih is a key figure in the Taiwanese insurance industry who has had a successful career spanning more than 40 years, culminating with his election to the Chairmanship of Fubon Insurance Co.  Concurrently, he serves as Honorary Chairman of the Non-Life Insurance Association of the R.O.C., the Chairman of Taiwan Residential Earthquake Insurance Fund, and the Senior consultant of the Non-Life Underwriters Society of R.O.C.

 Shih’s dedication to fosterage is widely recognized by the general public and the industry peers in Taiwan. In 2004, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Non-Life Insurance Stabilization Fund and was also named “Insurance Leader of the Year” by the RMI Magazine.

Under his remarkable leadership, Fubon Insurance won “The General Insurance Company of The Year Award” in 1999 and 2004, making it the only insurance company in Asia ever to win this award twice in 5 years.

Shih pledged to upgrade standards in the industry and also contributed to introducing better regulations and insurance governing rules. Shih has also contributed enormous efforts to the creation of business opportunities in the industry; he brought about the commencement of Health Insurance, the final stage of tariff rate deregulations and the application of IFRS4 Insurance Contracts for non-life insurance. 

Shih devoted himself to the development of insurance not only in the Taiwan market, but has also recently set foot in the Mainland China. In 2010, Mr. Shih’s Fubon Insurance successfully established the first branch office in Xiamen, Mainland China, which further endorsed a stronger business tie across the strait. 

Since being elected as Chairman of the Non-Life Insurance Association in August 2004, Shih has been increasingly devoting his time to the Association. As he once stated, “I have to give something back to the industry. I have been in this industry for 36 years and it is my social responsibility to do my part for the industry that nurtured me.”  

Ikuo Uno, who joined Nippon Life Insurance Company in 1959, has more than 50 years’ experience in the insurance industry. He is a A business manager who is committed to long-term, stable business management with the conviction and determination to fulfill responsibilities to provide security for policyholders.

Career highlights include being appointed President of the company in 1997 and serving as Chairman of the Life Insurance Association of Japan in 2000 and 2004, thereby leading not only Nippon Life Insurance, the biggest company in the industry but also the Japanese insurance industry, which ranks second in the world in terms of market size.

He also played an important role, as an expert member of the Financial System Council Finance Subcommittee for 2001 through 2002, on the government’s Financial System Council, which is a forum for discussions on the ideal state of the financial system and development of institutions. 

Uno’s philosophy on life insurance business management is to fulfill responsibilities to provide security for customers over the long term. Throughout the tumultuous 13-year period in which he served as President and Chairman of Nippon Life Insurance Company, and Chairman of the Life Insurance Association of Japan, Uno consistently pursued and implemented relevant policies, from a long-term perspective, in the course of his efforts on behalf of both an individual company and the industry in general. 

When he assumed the office of President, Uno expressed his goals as follows: “While the 20th century was an era characterized by a focus on social security, in the 21st century, society needs to change its principles on self-responsibility and self-reliant efforts. This augurs a bright outlook for the life insurance industry. However, competition is likely to become fiercer. Under those circumstances, we should first forge a solid footing in primary insurance business and then expand our activities into peripheral fields, including the areas of annuities and nursing care.”  

The Insurance Hall of Fame, administered by the IIS, was created in 1957 and today boasts well over 100 Laureates from around the globe.