Gryphon and Portfolio Company News

Orchid Underwriters Appoints Brad Emmons as Chief Executive Officer and Steven Carlsen as Chairman

Vero Beach, FL -

Orchid Underwriters Insurance Agency, LLC (“Orchid”), a leading specialty underwriter of property insurance on coastal properties, announced today that it has promoted Brad Emmons to Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. Emmons, who joined Orchid in 1998, previously served as President of Orchid.

Under Emmons’ leadership and since Gryphon Investors (“Gryphon”) became majority owners of the company in November 2014, Orchid has more than doubled in size while significantly expanding its geographic presence and product offerings. Emmons was instrumental in the recent launch of Orchid’s Commercial Lines and Admitted Homeowners product offerings which significantly expand the company’s product capabilities, while also overseeing strong organic growth of Orchid’s legacy business. In addition, Emmons oversaw the acquisitions of Coastal Agents Alliance, a Northeast-based underwriter of homeowners insurance on coastal properties, and Platinum Partners, a New England-based wholesale brokerage firm focused exclusively on the high net worth personal lines marketplace.

Philip Petrocelli, an Operating Partner at Gryphon and an Orchid Director, said, “The Board is very pleased to announce Brad’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer. Under his skilled leadership and oversight, Orchid has achieved strong growth and financial performance and significantly enhanced its strategic market position.”

The company also announced that Kenneth LeStrange has retired as Chairman of the Orchid Board of Directors.  “On behalf of the Orchid Board of Directors and Gryphon Investors, I would like to thank Ken for his exceptional leadership and the many contributions he has made to Orchid’s strong performance,” said Alex Earls, a Partner at Gryphon and an Orchid Director. “Ken’s achievements in the industry are well known and his achievements at Orchid further enhance his stellar track record.”

Ken LeStrange said, “I have enjoyed working with the management team at Orchid and with my partners Gryphon Investors. We have accomplished a great deal in just two and a half years, and I want to thank everyone at Orchid for their hard work, support, and best wishes.”

Steven Carlsen, PhD, will succeed Ken LeStrange as Chairman of the Board of Orchid. Mr. Carlsen was co-founder of Endurance Specialty Holdings, along with Mr. LeStrange, and also served as its Chief Operating Officer and Chief Underwriting Officer. He has served as an active Director of Orchid since Gryphon’s investment in 2014 and supported Gryphon’s due diligence of Orchid prior to that. Mr. Earls added, “We are extremely fortunate to have Steve in place on the Orchid Board and appreciate his willingness to assume the responsibilities of Chairman. He brings a 38-year career in the insurance industry, much of it focused on underwriting and managing catastrophe exposures, and this deep expertise will be a great asset to Orchid.”

Steven Carlsen said, “I have spent half of my career working with Ken LeStrange, and was pleased to be asked to join him and Gryphon in their work on Orchid. Ken did a wonderful job advancing Orchid to where it is today, and I look forward to working with Brad and the rest of our Orchid colleagues to continue that progress. We appreciate everything that Ken has done and wish him the very best.”

About Orchid

Founded in 1998 and based in Vero Beach, FL, Orchid ( specializes in providing specialty insurance products for homeowners and small businesses throughout the United States and the Caribbean. The Company’s comprehensive product offering provides customers with a single, comprehensive solution for homeowners and condominium property insurance, including wind and wind only, general and excess flood, earthquake, builder’s risk and others.  Orchid aims to be agents’ first choice by offering superior process, policy and pricing options, high quality system technologies, expertise in the E&S market with coastally-exposed risks, and extensive knowledge of coastal CAT-exposed market areas in the East and Gulf Coast states.  Orchid only represents well-known A.M. Best A-rated insurance carriers.  In November 2014, private equity firm Gryphon Investors made a majority investment in Orchid.    

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors ( is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. With over $2.5 billion of cumulative equity commitments, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of approximately $50 million to $150 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $50 million to over $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.


For Gryphon Investors:

Lisa Baker

Owen Blicksilver Public Relations

For Orchid Underwriters:

Junie Lopez

Orchid Underwriters