Spring 2002

Tal P. Piccione, '74
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
U.S. RE Companies, Inc.

Tal Piccione    

Tal P. Piccione is chairman, president and chief executive officer of U.S. RE Companies, Inc. He formed U.S. RE in 1988 and since then the firm has expanded from a traditional reinsurance intermediary to a financial services company with a core reinsurance brokerage and consulting business.

Today, U.S. RE is one of the largest domestic reinsurance brokerage and consulting firms and the company has international operations in Europe, Asia and the United Kingdom. U.S. RE also provides captive insurance facilitation, capital market mechanisms, merchant banking and wholesaling. Subsidiaries are engaged in managing general agency and underwriting operations.

Prior to forming U.S. RE Companies, Mr. Piccione held an array of positions within the financial services and reinsurance industries. His first job was as an international correspondent at Chase Manhattan Bank. He then joined Guy Carpenter, the world's largest reinsurance brokerage firm, in 1972. Over the next 16 years he advanced from assistant secretary to assistant vice president to vice president. While at Guy Carpenter, he was involved in all aspects of international and domestic treaty brokerage.

Mr. Piccione earned his BBA in marketing and management from Pace University. He is active in the International Insurance Council, the Reinsurance Association of America, the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, and Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders. He is chairman of the CNSR Foundation and is a spokesman on industry issues. He recently served as a member of the Panel on Multinational Regulation of Reinsurance at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors meeting in Capetown, South Africa. He also addressed the International Insurance Council on insurance developments in Asia and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators on the Catastrophe Exposure of the U.S. Insurance Industry.

Tal P. Piccione, '74: Dispelling Insurance Industry Myths & Coping with 9/11

"It gives me a great deal of pleasure to see the high quality of students preparing for business careers and the excellence of programs offered by the University," said Tal P. Piccione, '74, chairman, president, and CEO of U.S. RE Companies, Inc. Piccione visited Pace's downtown New York City campus on Thursday, March 7, 2002, as Lubin Executive in Residence. He spoke to both faculty and students on "The Re-Insurance Business Post 9/11 – Impact on Global Markets."

Piccione offered insights into how the insurance business functions and dispelled some myths "of insurance people making cold calls, knocking on doors to peddle life policies, or of insurance companies as being monolithic bureaucracies that stifle individual initiative…. Our business offers entrepreneurship opportunities, especially in brokerage, plus creative challenges on the corporate side," he said by way of explanation. He spoke at length to both graduate and undergraduate students about the industry that he has known for over 30 years.

Gravest Challenges Ever
"Probably the gravest challenge yet to face our business was the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center," he said grimly of the devastation and losses that took place. He said the impact of September 11 on the insurance industry was so great that many of the claims outstripped the amount that was taken in and created a payout ratio of about 136 percent. "All claims, amounting to at least $40 billion, are being paid despite the fact that the premiums charged did not cover this kind of event, because there was no experience with terrorism of this magnitude," Piccione said.

  [Tal P. Piccione]
MAt a reception in his honor, Tal P. Piccione, chairman, president, and CEO of U.S. RE Companies, Inc., talks with students in the Lubin conference room.

Although things looked bleak for many participants in the insurance and re-insurance industry following September 11, Piccione pointed out that prices in the market were already pushing up and the industry was taking steps to restore costbased pricing after years of cutthroat competition. He also indicated that another sign of a firm rebound for the industry was the positive flow of capital. "The prospect of higher prices has caused some $9 billion of new capital to flow into the insurance market, somewhat easing the pressure on pricing for broader coverages not subject to the terrorism risk," he said of new entrants into the industry who will not have to deal with the liability of payouts from the devastation of September 11, 2001.

Bright Employment Prospects
"Reinsurance is perhaps the most global of businesses, enabling the widest spread of risk and providing secure protection for insurance buyers," remarked Piccione of the value reinsurance provides in securing and mitigating risks to an individual firm. "Without reinsurance, many companies would be unable to insure certain kinds of risks, such as major catastrophes, and others would be restricted in the their ability to grow due to a limited capital base," he said reassuringly.

"Creative approaches that incorporate sophisticated computer modeling and dynamic financial analysis are being applied increasingly to complex issues in our business. This is attracting a new breed of candidate to careers in insurance and reinsurance as compared to other financial institutions," he said of the changing needs of the industry in terms of human capital.

Piccione spoke of reinsurance as an industry with good employment prospects for both undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines. "It's a great business, with an abundance of opportunities for people with a wide variety of professional backgrounds from economics, mathematics, and statistics to marketing," he said, in pointing to his own background at the Lubin School where he received a BBA in 1974 with a dual major in marketing and management. "Reinsurance provides exciting challenges and opportunities for careers that require creative thinking and people skills.... The reinsurance industry is financially strong, well capitalized, and thoroughly accountable," he concluded.

Executive's Perspective
Piccione's day at Lubin started with a formal luncheon in the Robert Pace Study at 41 Park Row, where he addressed faculty and a group of students. Later, he lectured to various law, and management and met with student leaders in an effort to give them an executive's perspective on the reinsurance industry. He concluded his day by giving a video-taped interview, attended by Lubin graduate students, which was conducted by Professor Warren Keegan, director of the Center for Global Business Strategy, (se GBS) as part of their new Executive Studio series.

Piccione formed U.S. RE in 1988 and has since expanded from the traditional reinsurance intermediary to a financial services company with a core reinsurance and brokerage consulting business. It is one of the largest domestic reinsurance brokerage and consulting firms with global operations that include Europe, Asia, and the United Kingdom.