Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

Brown & Brown chairman awarded Freedom of the City of London

Reprints

The life of J. Hyatt Brown — chairman of Daytona Beach, Florida-based Brown & Brown Inc. and a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives — has been marked by accomplishment, and now he has received a rare recognition, particularly for an American: the Freedom of the City of London.

The Freedom dates back to the 13th century. A freeman was someone who was not the property of a feudal master but who had the right to own land and earn money. For centuries, the Freedom represented the right to trade in the square mile that is the City of London, which allowed members of a guild or livery to carry out their trade or craft there.

Times have of course changed. The Freedom was once restricted to British citizens and citizens of British Commonwealth countries, but was extended globally in 1996.

The Worshipful Company of Insurers, the City of London’s livery company for the U.K. insurance industry, invited Mr. Brown to become an honorary freeman of the City of London in recognition of his work in the worldwide insurance industry as well for his relationship with the United Kingdom and London market.

“Insurance is a global business, and what better way to celebrate the City of London’s central role in this industry than to invite our international partners to share in what is a unique institution,” said Graham Dickinson, master of the Worshipful Company of Insurers, in a statement. “We decided last year to create a new category of membership for International Freemen, and it is a huge pleasure to welcome Hyatt Brown as the second person to join that elite group.”

The first International Freeman was Shuzo Sumi, chairman of Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd.

Of course, rank has its privileges. One of the early privileges was being able to take sheep over the London Bridge as a freeman and not having to pay the toll. But don’t expect Mr. Brown to don shepherd’s garb anytime soon — now, freemen can take sheep over the bridge during designated charitable events rather than as part of their livelihood.