Joint Venture Reuiniting Greenberg, Ex-AIG Execs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s C.V. Starr said on Monday it had formed a joint venture with a Bermuda insurer that is ramping up its business after recruiting some of AIG’s top talent.

The venture will reunite Greenberg, who ran American International Group Inc (AIG.N) for 38 years, with executives who once worked under him.

C.V. Starr, an investment and insurance company run by Greenberg, and Ironshore Inc formed Iron-Starr Excess Agency Limited, according to a statement.

The venture will be based in Bermuda, an offshore insurance market, and offer excess financial and commercial lines insurance and reinsurance products through insurers based in the United States, Bermuda and elsewhere.

Ironshore, a privately-held insurer founded in 2006 by industry veteran Bob Clements, has been ramping up its business since hiring Kevin Kelley last month to be its chief executive.

Kelley built Lexington Insurance, a unit of AIG’s commercial insurance division, into the largest global excess and surplus lines insurer.

High-profile defections such as Kelley’s have been a sore point for AIG, which has been grappling with large mortgage losses that left it on the verge of collapse and in need of a $150 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

AIG has agreed to pay in excess of $500 million in retention bonuses to employees to limit departures.

Shaun Kelly, who has been named chief executive of Ironshore’s U.S. operations, Joseph Boren, John O’Brien, Steve England, Jordan Gantz, and Jim Dowdy also left AIG to join Ironshore.

Ironshore is not the only insurer picking off AIG talent. Others include Ace Limited (ACE.N) and Zurich Financial Services (ZURN.VX), which has hired more than 100 employees from AIG.

Greenberg left AIG in 2005 after then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed a lawsuit against him and the company, alleging manipulation of financial results.

AIG paid $1.6 billion in 2006 to settle the charges, while Greenberg denied any wrongdoing and is still fighting civil charges. (Reporting by Lilla Zuill)