Behind the Aspen Name

by Paul Harrison, CPCU

When I started forming the new company I wanted to find a name that represented my values and made a statement. I believe everyone has a place they love to go and think. For me, that is the mountains in Colorado. In the summer of 2015 while forming Aspen (yet named), I spent numerous hours hiking and soaking in the majestic scenery thinking of a name that would represent what I wanted the company to be built on. After several days of hiking, prayer, and contemplation it came to me. Let me explain….

In 2013 a significant series of wildfires, known as the West Fork Fire Complex, destroyed over 100,000 acres in the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests in southwest Colorado. This is an area that I hike and spend time in on a regular basis. I was quite devastated over the loss of wilderness that had been there for hundreds of years. I returned to the burned forest in August of 2015 to see the devastation. What I experienced was not at all what I expected. I expected to find just scorched earth with little life. I was wrong. Nature has done amazing things in that area since the West Fork Fire. The most impressive recovery was that of the Aspen trees. There were thousands of young Aspen trees everywhere you looked. I had to research and find out why. What I learned was that an individual Aspen tree can live for 40-150 years above ground, but the root system can live for thousands of years standing the test of time. The root system of the Aspen tree is built to survive wildfires and other disasters. The success of the Aspen tree is in its roots! I had my answer!

For me, this resilience illustrates the essence of Aspen Insurance and what the company is all about. Core values make up the root system that defines our resilience as a company and as a person. Honesty, Integrity, and doing things right are part of our foundation, or root system. These core values exist to provide a solid foundation of who we strive to be.


August 2016 Update

I was fortunate to be able to return to the same burn area in August of 2016. This picture reflects the resiliency of the Aspen trees just three years after the devastating fire. Simply Amazing!