In his most recent roles in the insurance industry, Nicholas Scott has made a name for himself by helping start-ups get off the ground. Back when he first entered the space, however, he was doing quite the opposite.
“Perhaps counterintuitively, I started my career in what’s called the run-off sector, which is when insurance companies are in their final stages of life,” Scott explains. “It was a very interesting orientation to the industry. I like to tell people that I learned everything not to do when trying to build a carrier.”
Scott has carried those early lessons all the way to Everspan Group, an innovative specialty program insurance platform launched as a subsidiary of Ambac Financial Group in 2020. After serving for the past few years as Everspan’s managing director, chief compliance officer, and general counsel, he is now set to take on even greater responsibility as he steps into a new and expanded role at the Ambac level. At this latest juncture, he pauses to reflect on his career journey as well as the industry evolution he has witnessed during his time in the insurance business.
Scott spent several years in the run-off sector before shifting over to the live market side of the industry, with a hybrid legal-business role at London-based insurer Beazley. He later left Beazley for the legal department of QBE North America—an Australian insurance company with a significant US presence—and might have followed a traditional general counsel track if an exciting alternative hadn’t presented itself.
“During my time at QBE, I got linked up with a group of entrepreneurs who were starting a new type of insurance company,” Scott elaborates. “Even though I very much enjoyed what I was doing at QBE, I jumped at the opportunity to be employee number six at what ended up being called Spinnaker Insurance Company.”
The risk of joining a start-up turned out to be well worth it, the challenges of building a company from scratch notwithstanding. In fact, Spinnaker became successful enough that one of its business partners opted to acquire it. But it was a business relationship established while at Spinnaker with Ambac that left a lasting impression on Scott. “I got to know their leadership pretty well during my time at Spinnaker, and after we closed the sale of Spinnaker, their executive team came knocking,” he says.
Ambac offered Scott a leadership role—which he accepted—at the company that has become Everspan. “When you start a new company, there’s a lot of legal, regulatory, and compliance work that has to get done,” he says. “Now that we’ve established the Everspan platform, entered the marketplace, and begun to thrive, I’m in the process of taking on a much broader role within the Ambac family that will give me accountability and oversight over things well beyond Everspan.”
In particular, Scott will grow his involvement in Ambac’s business ventures. “I’ll also be overseeing legal and regulatory matters across the group’s burgeoning presence in the property and casualty sector,” he says, referring to the company’s foray into the distribution side of the business.
As he will maintain support of Everspan, to maintain its competitive position moving forward, Scott will continue to apply his vast knowledge of the insurance landscape, which has changed considerably since his days in the run-off sector. “There’s a long list of new areas of risk out there, from the cannabis industry to the cybersecurity space,” he says. “Insurance companies need to assess whether to provide coverage and protect those risks and then how much to charge for that coverage.”
Scott cites heightened interest and investment in insurance companies as another key development in the industry over the past ten to fifteen years. Along with a rush of newcomers into the space, he has witnessed widespread adoption of emerging technologies by insurers. “Technology has pervaded our business at every step of the value chain,” he says. “It’s become an area of increasing regulatory scrutiny, but if you can find a way to thread the needle and implement cutting-edge technologies while maintaining compliance, there’s a real opportunity to add value.”
For Scott, threading the needle also includes remaining authentic, whether in his own leadership or in Everspan’s relationship with its clients. “It’s critically important that we deliver on the promise of insurance to our clients. That starts with making sure we’re charging the right rates for our products and managing our capital in a very responsible way,” Scott emphasizes. “It’s top of mind for Everspan, and for me personally, to pay attention to and leverage all of the trends, but always come back and stay true to our core values.”
With his keen understanding of the insurance industry, from start-up to run-off, Scott is just the person to help Everspan strike that all-important balance.
Nicholas Scott and his compliance group are an extremely high-performing team with deep legal, regulatory, compliance, enterprise risk management, corporate governance, and claims management experience. Locke Lord LLP is proud to work with Nick and his group at Everspan, advising on mergers and acquisitions, regulatory, and general matters.