She has always been a maverick. One of the most well known women in the insurance business, Fiona Luck is internationally admired across Bermuda, London and the USA. Achievement is in her blood. So is the sea. For more than 2 decades now Luck has lived surrounded by water on the island of Bermuda. Her affinity to the ocean certainly comes from her dad . “My father comes from a long line of sea captain(s) dating back to the 1500’s,” says Luck. And as a new look at her family’s history now reveals, Luck’s sea worthy heritage is quite a famous one according to her Dad and one which she will document in a new book.
“He was aware from an early age that a member of the family, Henry Roberts, had sailed on the second and third voyage with Captain Cook and was an eyewitness to his murder,” says Luck. “ Henry was also responsible for preparing the official maps for the Admiralty for the last two voyages.” As a Captain in the British Royal Navy, Roberts must have been thrilled to sail with the famous Captain Cook, who, through his epic voyages not only discovered the Hawaiian islands but changed the way the world saw the entire Pacific region. In addition to his navigation skills, Roberts was a talented painter who was once the subject of a portrait by the renowned artist Thomas Gainsborough. But it seems his ties to Captain Cook surpassed the sea. “ It is believed the painting ended up in an auction in New York where the purchaser thought it was a portrait of Captain Cook,” says Luck. “(Now) It hangs in Floors Castle in Scotland and in a recent TV program the curator says it’s her favourite picture in the whole collection. There is no doubt he is a very handsome fellow,” says Luck. Roberts had a son, Daniel, who proudly followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming an officer in the British Navy as well. But it was his personal life that shone as brightly if not more than his military one as he mingled with the famous literary lions of his day. “Henry’s youngest son Daniel Roberts ended up being part of the (Percy) Shelley/(Lord) Byron group in Italy,”says Luck. “Daniel built the yacht The Ariel that Shelly died on and Daniel was also eyewitness to his death. It seems quite extraordinary that father and son were at the deaths of two very famous but very different men. Daniel retired to La Maddelena off the Sardinia coast – and became close friends with (the famous general) Garibaldi who was in exile from Italy at the time,” says Luck. Luck is writing her book as a birthday present for her two sons. She hopes they and other readers will learn valuable lessons from the characters of these two naval men. “A sense of adventure and treating other men as equals,” is how Luck describes the essence of her famous relatives. ” There is a lovely moment in one of Daniels letters where he clearly is not happy with how Lord Byron has treated the crew of his yacht (another built by Daniel) and he doesn’t mince his words in condemning Byron’s actions,” adds Luck.
Luck has served as an executive at a number of high profile insurance concerns, including Marsh, ACE, XL, and is currently a non executive director of the Catlin Group. Having been such an achiever herself in a field which was primarily male dominated when she arrived, Luck credits some of her career success to her ancestors. “I wish I were as fearless as they were obviously, but I probably have some of that,” she says. “My overwhelming sense is one of sheer admiration – they left for years at a time ‘to go where no man had gone before’” just like Captain Kirk. They were skilled men who had a marvelous sense of adventure. They both turned out to be amazing artists as well,” says Luck. Luck says its important to know our history, where we came from. “What I have enjoyed,” says Luck, “ is finding out that both these men had strong values which dictated how they lived their lives and which I believe they passed down to future generations.” Like her forefathers, Luck loves the sea but does not share their talent for art. That said, she is delighted that while the ancestral artistic trait skipped one generation, it did not completely bypass the Luck clan. “Both my sons are very artistic,” says Luck. “One is at University studying Architecture and the other, Product Design- so it probably has passed down through the generations!”