2019 Spirit of Life® Honoree -
Alan Jay Kaufman


Alan Jay Kaufman is Chairman, President and CEO of H.W. Kaufman Group, a diversified financial, insurance and real estate company. The company’s principal subsidiary, Burns & Wilcox, was founded half a century ago in Detroit by his late father, Herbert W. Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman is also the founding senior partner of the Detroit law firm Kaufman, Payton & Chapa.

Today, Kaufman and Burns & Wilcox are recognized as a leading privately-owned specialty insurance enterprise, handling difficult to place, complex and unusual risks. Under his leadership, Kaufman and the companies in its global portfolio continue to deliver solid growth—reaching more than $2.2 billion in 2018 revenue.

His awards include: the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young in 2011; Top 25 Living Legends of Insurance from American Agent & Broker in 2012; Distinguished Alumni award from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2013; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Insurance Business in 2017.

Among his philanthropic endeavors, he and his wife Sue endowed a professorship in insurance and risk management at the College of Business at MSU. He founded Kaufman Institute, an educational and professional development-learning hub designed for the insurance industry. Most recently, the National Eagle Scout Association presented him with the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. Mr. Kaufman serves on the St. John’s University School of Insurance Board in New York City, among others, and is President of the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Mr. Kaufman holds a B.A. from MSU in finance and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He studied international law at the London School of Economics.

To register for the 2019 Spirit of Life Gala, Honoring Alan Jay Kaufman, click here.