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A Love Letter to the Ones Who Built the Professional Lines Insurance Sector

Larry Goanos provides an insider’s look into the people and companies that have made the business successful.
  • Meg Green
  • July 2021
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Larry Goanos

Larry Goanos tells a good insurance story. Whether it's the one about an AIG manager who pretended to fix his socks for 15 minutes rather than face his boss, Hank Greenberg, who was chewing him out in front of colleagues, or the woman who thought she was applying to General Electric but wound up accepting a gig at General Re, where she remains 17 years later, Goanos pays tribute in his new book to the regular folks and companies of insurance, particularly professional lines. It's a veritable who's who, complete with an introduction by Greenberg, now CEO and chairman of C.V. Starr, and back-cover praise from Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Goanos, the founder of Andros Risk Services, said he wanted to “get down on paper some of these great stories that otherwise would have vanished into the ether.”

Following is an edited transcript of a recent conversation with AM Best TV.

What inspired you to write the book?

On Friday, Jan. 20, 2000, a friend and colleague at AIG—his name's Joe Fine—had just been promoted to M&A group president at age 34, quite an accomplishment. The very day he got his promotion, reached one of his goals, he got into a fatal car accident. … Over the years, more people started passing away and retiring. I said to myself, “Somebody should write a book and memorialize these people who helped get us where we are.”

You're donating profits to charity. Can you tell us about that?

Half of the profits are being split among four great charities with an insurance connection. Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation; Caroline Sullivan Memorial Foundation, [named for] a broker's 9-year-old girl who passed away from a brain tumor; Toby Merrill Scholarship Foundation [named for and established by] a cyber leader who passed away from cancer; and Pura Maria Foundation, [co-founded by] a leading EPL lawyer whose sister died from domestic violence.

What do you hope people take away from the book?

If you're in our industry less than 10 years, you might be in a meeting and someone mentions J&H or Frank B. Hall or Reliant and [think] “Who's that? I have no idea.” This book is a catch-up for newcomers … and a tribute to the people who helped build our industry. Anybody who has an interest in the insurance world, I think, could find things in the book that are going to be appealing to them.

AM Best Trilogy

AM Best details the history of AM Best, credit rating agencies and the life of Alfred M. Best.

The Company—A History of AM Best

The Industry—A History of Credit Rating Agencies

The Man—A Biography of Alfred M. Best

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Meg Green is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at

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