Top 250: Zephyr Insurance Company, Inc.
Its name, meaning a gentle, refreshing breeze, has special meaning for Zephyr Insurance Company, Inc., Hawaii’s leading provider of residential hurricane insurance coverage. Like the spring and summer zephyrs that bring new growth and renewal, the State’s pioneer in hurricane insurance specialty aims to bring assurance and peace of mind to Hawaii residents impacted by the devastation of a hurricane.
“We were established at a critical time for the State, as the first residential property insurance company specializing in hurricane insurance coverage after Hurricane Iniki,” says President and CEO Richard Toyama of the company’s formation in 2000. “The mortgage banking and real estate industries relied heavily on required hurricane insurance coverage that Zephyr was able to provide shortly after the State discontinued coverage written through the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund (HHRF) and with many homeowner’s insurance companies still opting not to provide this important catastrophe coverage.”
Zephyr has roots and expertise that go back to the State’s HHRF, which was formed in 1993. Responding to the strong demand for residential hurricane coverage and lack of private providers in 2000, Zephyr stepped in to fill the void, providing the necessary coverage and services managed by an experienced and seasoned senior management team, with combined industry experience of over 90 years.
Richard Toyama, President and CEO; Amori Ogata, EVP and COO.
Amori Ogata, former HHRF Executive Director, currently serves as Zephyr’s Executive Vice President and COO and exemplifies the depth of local expertise and credibility that Zephyr’s talented staff offers to island residents, says Toyama. “We only do business here in Hawaii and in an exclusive specialty. That means our policyholders can reach out and talk to a local staff person who understands their needs and concerns,” says Ogata.
Financial stability and soundness have been key hallmarks in the Company’s long term growth and success. Strategic partnerships early on with major underwriters of personal lines property insurance provided Zephyr with financial diversification and the necessary business base.
A financially secure and robust reinsurance program with some of the world’s largest property catastrophe reinsurers has allowed Zephyr to reduce its risk – a big benefit to the residential hurricane market it currently represents, says Toyama.
Zephyr expects to sustain its managed growth and continuous improvement for the next decade and beyond. “We are committed to providing the best long-term hurricane insurance availability, stability and customer service when the unexpected happens to our neighbors and communities,” Toyama says.
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2750
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