Ness, Philip W.

December 28, 2003

MASHPEE, MA (Dec. 24): PHILIPWAHMANN NESS, 97, former Chairman of the Board of Alexander & Alexander, a major international insurance broker, died Wednesday in a nursing home in Mashpee of pneumonia. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Anne Semple Ness, 96. After their marriage in 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Ness lived in Baltimore and Ruxton, Maryland until 1947. Mr. and Mrs. Ness have been permanent residents of Sarasota, FL since 1972. He was born on December 18, 1906 in Baltimore, MD, to Charles Morgan Ness, the owner of a significant leather-goods business, and Francis Wahmann Ness, an artist known for her still-life paintings. He had two brothers, Harold Ness and Rowland Ness, who predeceased him. He graduated from the Friends School in Baltimore and John Hopkins University, Class of 1929, with a degree in Political Economics. Mr. Ness first showed his sales development skills while an undergraduate by creating a regional network selling real silk hosiery to male and female students at many colleges. He began his insurance career at the height of the Great Depression and was a pioneer in establishing insurance-based private pension plans. He joined Alexander and Alexander in Baltimore 1934 after working as an agent for Sun Life Insurance Company of Canada. After building Alexander and Alexander's pension business, he went on to develop large commercial accounts in marine, aviation, transportation and energy businesses and became head of business development in 1947 when he moved to the New York office. He became Chairman of the Board in 1961. During this period, some private insurance brokers had become public companies in order to provide currency for acquisitions. Following this trend, he brought Alexander and Alexander public in 1969 and expanded its business base by acquisition and development of major brokerage ventures in Europe and elsewhere. After retiring, Mr. Ness served as non-executive Chairman of the U.S. affiliate of Robert Fleming, a global investment management firm based in the United Kingdom and Asia. He served on the Boards of the General Signal Corp. and the Western Maryland Railway. Over his lifetime he was active in many civic and non-profit organizations, including serving on the Boards of the Family and Children's Society and The Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins in 1999. He is survived by two sons, Philip Wahmann Ness Jr. and Peter Semple Ness, both of Greenwich, CT, numerous grandchildren and three great grandchildren who continue to be inspired by his life. A memorial service is planned in Osterville, MA in early summer 2004.

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