Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
AmWINS Group, Inc.
The excess and surplus lines (E&S) segment of the insurance business is the home of exotic insurance coverages — the policies that retail insurance brokers have difficulty finding for clients. Difficulty, that is, until Steve DeCarlo comes to the rescue.
DeCarlo heads AmWINS, the second-largest wholesale insurance company in the US. When he was named CEO of the New York insurer, then known as Americana Financial, in 2000, it was in shambles. DeCarlo changed its name to American Wholesale Insurance Group (AmWINS), moved headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., and began the process of transforming the company by applying the experience he had gained as part of a group that had started RSUI Group, an E&S carrier.
AmWINS differentiates itself from other insurance wholesalers through the proprietary technology built by DeCarlo. When retail brokers come to him with a complex problem, such as insuring a saw mill, DeCarlo is able to use the system to find the best available coverage at the best price, whether through Lloyd’s of London, Chubb or some other carrier.
The company, which has grown rapidly through the acquisition of specialty wholesalers, now has 1,000 employees and 35 offices nationwide, with combined premiums exceeding $3 billion. DeCarlo has also extended beyond traditional E&S property and casualty lines to include a broad array of health and specialty products.