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Ahlmann to Help E.W. Blanch With Global Expansion Efforts.

Kaj Ahlmann, who recently joined E. W. Blanch Holdings Inc. after leaving Employers Re, said he has a goal of accelerating the insurance broker's already expanding global business.

Ahlmann, 49, was chairman, president and chief executive officer of Employers Reinsurance Corp., a unit of GE Capital Corp. before joining Blanch in September. He now serves as vice chairman, an executive officer and a member of the board.

"We want to make Blanch a truly global company," he said. "That has already started, but more has to be done."

In November, Blanch announced it would purchase the Crawley Warren Group, a London-based broker and special risk management provider, for $40 million. Crawley Warren has operations in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Cyprus, France and Singapore. It specializes in the life, accident and health areas.

In October, the company acquired the remaining 30% of its international joint venture Swire Blanch Insurance Holdings Ltd. from Hong Kong-based Swire Pacific Ltd. Previously, Blanch had acquired a 70% interest in Swire Blanch, a Hong Kong-based international conglomerate with interests in aviation, property development, consumer goods and marine services, in February 1997.

The company said it made the acquisition to further expand its global network, including the Asia-Pacific region.

Ahlmann brings to Blanch 25 years of experience in the reinsurance business, as well as global experience that he acquired during his career at Employers Re.

"We really made [Employers Re] a global player with offices throughout the world," he said. "We made it a company that is at the forefront of the industry."

Ahlmann said he learned about the importance of intellectual capital while at GE. He explained that, unlike reinsurance companies that are rated based on financial-based standards of security, brokers like Blanch are rated on the integrity of their personnel.

"We can't apply the same financial ratings to brokers," he said. "The broker business is not as capital intense; it's more intellectual capital. We want to recruit the best talent."

Ahlmann left Employers Re at the end of its third quarter after assisting with the transition of David Calhoun, the head of GE's lighting business, into his former position. He added that the shuffle was a routine occurrence for the company, where "the top people moved around on a fairly regular basis."

He also said he had been given the opportunity to move up to GE's corporate offices in Connecticut, to take on "more of staff kind of role" under Dennis Dammerman, vice chairman of the board for GE. There, he said, his role would have been to oversee all of the company's insurance businesses, including the life companies.

Instead, he chose to decline the offer because family reasons kept him from moving from Kansas City, Mo. He looked at other opportunities and found Blanch offers to be "very attractive," especially the company's use of technology solutions in their business strategies.

Ahlmann said he knows Blanch's CEO, president and chairman Edgar W Blanch well and had worked with people at the company for years.
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Title Annotation:Kaj Ahlmann
Comment:Ahlmann to Help E.W. Blanch With Global Expansion Efforts.(Kaj Ahlmann)
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:501
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