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Honoree Headshot

Christopher Payne

President & CEO
Alternative Risk Underwriting, LLC

Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 2008
Industry Group Specific: Commercial Insurance, Captive Insurance

Presented by:

After college, Christopher Payne started in the insurance business, ultimately working for a division called AIG Risk Management, one of the first underwriters in the industry that worked on captive insurance in the very early days of the industry.

“I was a front row participant to the birth of the Group Captive industry and participated in the management, formation, consulting and underwriting while working for several blue-chip companies in the industry,” said Payne. “I closely followed all the various group captive models and designs from 1983 to 2002 and in talking with brokers, consultants, underwriters and reinsurers, I felt that all the models in place had some significant flaws.”

This led Payne to form his own company. Alternative Risk Underwriting, LLC, consists of industry experts that help mid-sized companies finance their business insurance risk through uniquely structured member-owned group captive reinsurance companies. As a result, clients have greater control, stability and lower cost than what is available under traditional business insurance solutions.

Under Payne’s leadership, the firm has grown from $1.5 million in revenue to approximately $25 million in revenue with more than $250,000,000 in premiums written. In addition, the company has launched seven group captives, serving industries such as construction, retail, health insurance, manufacturing, distribution and the service industries.

“We have a one-of-a-kind proprietary structure, underwrite in-house, have an excellent service platform and deal through carefully selected retail insurance brokers nationwide,” said Payne. “Our company has doubled over the past three years and we expect to double again within the next five years.”

According to Payne, the old-fashioned values he was raised on have helped him find business success. “I was raised by my grandparents who fought in World War II and lived through the Great Depression,” he said. “I think that this gave me a lot in common with people significantly older than me – which helped me bond with senior executives at all the companies I worked for at a young age.”

Combined with hard work, integrity, curiosity and a can-do attitude, Payne said he learned from others at a rapid pace as a young person in the industry. “I feel that I have developed many long-term partnerships with senior industry professionals and customers based upon my consistent and respectful approach to those relationships,” he said.

Treating the company as a third child (he has two children), Payne said that finding passion is easy. “My passion every day is to find the best way to provide value – it’s a never-ending mission and never boring,” he said.

For continuing to impact the lives of others within the insurance industry, Payne has been named a titan.

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