CHARLESTON – Charleston-based insurance executive W. Marston Becker has been named by the West Virginia Bar Foundation to its list of 2017 Fellows.
Unlike many of the other honorees, Becker has a law degree but is not a practicing lawyer or judge. He currently holds two executive positions: one as the chairman of the board for QBE Insurance Group and the other as co-founder and chairman of West Virginia Media Holdings.
While Becker has a law degree from West Virginia University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting from WVU. It was during his time at WVU that Becker developed his interest in business.
"I worked in the business office while I was at school and while there I met a lot of leading business people," Becker told The West Virginia Record. "That experience really cultivated my interest in business rather than a practicing law career."
In his role with QBE he serves as a member of the Audit, Investment, Remuneration, Risk and Capital, and Operations and Technology Committees. QBE Insurance Group is one of the world's top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies; it employs more than 14,500 people in 37 countries.
"I ended up working in insurance because it turned out to be a way to combine my love of business with my undergraduate background in accounting," he said.
He went on to say that despite choosing business over practicing law, he has benefited greatly from his law degree.
"Insurance is a world of contracts. I am constantly involved with negotiations and having a legal background takes some of the mystery out of that," Becker said. "And there is a natural credentialing that comes with having a law degree."
In his other role his serves on the board for West Virginia Media Holdings, an organization that owns eight television stations and a weekly business newspaper and serves more than 80 percent of West Virginians with its news-gathering and entertainment capabilities.
Over the last 30 years of his career, Becker has also served as president and CEO of Alterra Holdings, Max Capital Group, the Trenwick Group, Orion Capital Corp., chairman of Hales and Co., and president and CEO of McDonough Caperton Insurance Group.
"The great thing about a law degree is it provides me with a lot of versatility in terms of what skills I have," he said. "But my interest was always in business rather than practicing law."
The West Virginia Bar Association is a philanthropic organization for the legal profession. For 19 years it has selected legal professionals whose careers have demonstrated dedication to the welfare of their communities and honorable service to the legal profession with the individuals selected reflecting the diverse nature of the legal profession in West Virginia. Becker was named along with 15 other lawyers and judges including Robby J. Aliff, Rebecca Tinder, Charles O. Lorensen, Dale W. Steager and Tomas R Vernon at the Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner.
"Now, that I am a member, I am looking forward to learning more about the West Virginia Bar Foundation and finding ways to be involved," Becker said.