‘Babe Ruth of Insurance’ Jack Byrne dies

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Jack Byrne, an insurance titan who had roots in Wildwood, died Thursday, March 7. He was 80.

In Wildwood, Byrne’s fund donated $1 million toward building the “Byrne Community Center” on West Youngs Avenue, according to the center’s website.

According to the International Insurance Society, Byrne started his 50-year career in insurance at his father’s agency in Wildwood. In 1976, he brought Geico back from the brink of bankruptcy, and turned the company around in two years.

In 1985, he partnered with Warren Buffet, an American businessman who is considered one the most powerful investors of the 20th century. According to the society, Buffet and Byrne were able to re-establish Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and present a public stock offering of the company, which was the largest U.S. IPO in history at that time.

“Called 'the Babe Ruth of insurance' by Warren Buffett, Jack Byrne's contributions to the insurance industry are truly unparalleled,” the society wrote in a profile of Byrne.

On Monday, he was profiled in The Wall Street Journal as “The man who saved floundering Geico.”

Look for a profile of Byrne and his contributions to the community in a future edition of the Leader. 

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