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Insurance CEO Who Lost Home in Hugo Retires

Dec. 29, 2008 — Sometimes insurance-company executives are criticized for thinking of hurricane damage as an unfortunate payout instead of a life-altering event. Not David Ridgway, the president and CEO of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, who announced his retirement Monday.
Ridgway, who lived on St. Croix from 1979 until just recently, had his home flattened with the rest of the island when Hurricane Hugo bore down in 1989, said Detrick Rothacker, a spokesman for the Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based insurer.
"His home was completely destroyed," Rothacker said of Ridgway, who worked with Young-Clark Insurance agency on St. Croix when it merged with Marshall & Sterling. "It was a very difficult time for Marshall and all the residents and businesses of the Virgin Islands."
Ridgway had to rebuild the home he shared with his wife and two children on the island, just like the other residents.
Ridgway "worked his way up through the ranks," Rothacker told the Source, becoming branch manager in 1990, vice president in 1992, and then president of Marshall & Sterling St. Croix. He joined Marshall & Sterling's board of directors in 1998 and took over as president and CEO in 2005 — relocating to Poughkeepsie for the job.
Marshall & Sterling has had a presence on St. Croix since 1967, when then-company President Charles Smith led an effort to purchase the Caribbean International Corporation. Marshall & Sterling acquired Young-Clark Insurance on St. Croix in 1984, Theodore Tunick on St. Thomas and St. John in 1986, Insurance Unlimited on St. Croix in 1997, and C.E. Braithwaite Agency on St. Thomas in 1998, Rothacker said.
Timothy Dean, a resident of East Fishkill, N.Y., replaces Ridgway as head of the company.
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