Insurance Business America issue 5.08

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IBAMAG.COM ISSUE 5.08 | $12.95


Are your clients among the 6.9 million at risk from storm surge flooding?

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Remember their names – these 55 young professionals are the industry’s rising stars WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO FIX FLOOD

Brokers sound off on the NFIP’s shortcomings and how to solve them


How any broker can tap into the special events sector

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ISSUE 5.08

CONNECT WITH US Got a story or suggestion, or just want to find out some more information?


UPFRONT 04 Editorial

How to win over millennials





How to expand your book of business by insuring special events



Security concerns are driving more companies to buy cyber insurance

08 News analysis

Protecting the Internet of Things from cyberattacks

14 Technology update

The industry segment that’s most ripe for insurtech disruption




Hurricane storm surge is a major threat to homes on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Here’s what brokers should know about it

Todd Bixler shares how K&K Insurance transformed from insuring race-car drivers into a powerhouse in the sports, leisure and entertainment sector


06 Statistics

Wearable tech is helping construction firms manage workers’ comp costs



Should brokers fear the rise of artificial intelligence?

12 Workers’ comp update


Watch out, old guard: These 55 rising stars are changing the way things are done in the insurance industry


05 Head to head

19 Opinion

Why the NFIP should be an insurer of last resort only

FEATURES 42 Agency insight

How New Orleans-based Eagan Insurance Agency managed to thrive in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

52 Excelling as a woman in business

Fifteen strategies to deal with common leadership challenges

PEOPLE 55 Career path




A guide to navigating the increasingly complicated flood insurance market

Dustin Boss found a way to merge his love of technology and the law with insurance

56 Other life

Rocking out with the members of industry band JoKeR


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COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE IS OUR MIDDLE NAME. Only Burns & Wilcox has the depth and breadth of experience to deliver the right solutions right away.

Commercial | Professional | Personal | Brokerage | Binding | Risk Management Services

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Getting millennials on board


hat young professionals want today is to make an impact, to know their work is worthy.” Those were the words of Elizabeth Walsh, vice president of professional development organization The Institutes, in an interview with Insurance Business America during Insurance Careers Month back in February. For those already in the world of insurance, there are few more worthwhile careers. Not only can the profession be highly rewarding financially, but it also offers real variety, a chance to constantly meet new people and, above all, the opportunity to make a real difference to society. On paper at least, insurance would appear to tick all the boxes for millennials – and yet we are constantly bombarded with the message that the industry has a problem attracting new talent.

The realities of insurance as a career – the successes and the stories that could garner the interest of young people – are barely heard beyond the industry’s self-imposed walls So what is the root of that issue? In short, insurance has an image problem. Say the word ‘insurance’ to most people, and they think of filling out long-winded forms, reading policies with perplexing wording and handing over money for something that many assume they’ll never really need. The realities of insurance as a career – the successes and the stories that could garner the interest of young people – are barely heard beyond the industry’s self-imposed walls. However, those stories do exist, and they should be shared. Take this month’s Young Guns feature. Every year, IBA shines the spotlight on up-and-coming talent in the industry, not only to give them the platform they deserve, but also to emphasize just how appealing this career can be to young professionals – if only they knew about it. Ron Davis, executive vice president and global head of customer management at Zurich, recently told our online publication that insurance needs “young people talking to each other – [to] say, ‘Hey, you should think about this; this is a great thing.’” The challenge, then, is to put insurance within the scope of young people – to go into schools and universities, to share the stories, to promote the career path – because, as our Young Guns prove, once these up-and-comers know what an insurance career can offer, they rarely look back. The team at Insurance Business America MAY 2017 EDITORIAL Managing Editor Paul Lucas Journalists Sam Boyer, Jordan Lynn, Lucy Hook, Bethan Moorcraft, Ryan Smith, Nerine Zoio News Writers Lyle Adriano, Louie Bacani, Krizzel Canlas, Terry Gangcuangco, Mina Martin, Gabriel Olano Staff Writers Tim Garratt, Hannah Go, Libby McDonald, Joe Rosengarten, Heather Turner Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Craig Poulton, Amantha Imber, Karen Gately

ART & PRODUCTION Design Manager Daniel Williams Designer Joenel Salvador Production Manager Alicia Chin Traffic Manager Ella Dayandante

SALES & MARKETING Vice President Cathy Masek Media Sales Managers Chris Wills, Chris Anderson, Desiree McCue, Megan Roth Mktg & Comms Manager Lisa Narroway

CORPORATE Chief Executive Officer Mike Shipley Chief Operating Officer George Walmsley Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil

Editorial Inquiries Subscription Inquiries Advertising Inquiries,,

Key Media 78O7 E. Peakview Ave., Suite 115 Centennial, CO 80111, USA tel: +1 720 316 0151 Offices in Denver, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland, Manila, Singapore, Bengaluru

Insurance Business America is part of an international family of B2B publications and websites for the insurance industry Insurance Business Canada T +1 416 644 874O Insurance Business UK T +44 20 7193 0935 Insurance Business Australia T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business NZ T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business Asia T +61 2 8437 47OO Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.


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Can robots really replace insurance brokers? More than half of all consumers are open to the use of roboadvisors – so is this the end for the flesh-and-blood broker?

Michael Gottlieb

Lambros Lambrou

Andrew Barile

Founder and CEO BizCover

CEO Aon Risk Solutions Australia

President and CEO Andrew Barile Consulting Corporation

“Yes … and no. Yes, because part of the market is interested in self-education and self-service and is comfortable doing this on their own. As technology improves and people gain more confidence in the technology, more and more people will shift to self-service. However, if a better outcome is achieved by using a broker, people will stick with a broker; specifically, this includes those whose insurance needs are more complex and require the assistance of an expert. Brokers who are able to demonstrate knowledge in their area and add value to the process will be the ones sought after.”

“Technological advances will not be able to completely replace brokers. Insurance has always been a ‘people’ business; the inability of robots to replicate human interaction is key for brokers’ sustainability. Robots and AI will certainly be able to bring efficiencies and drive a new level of analytical insight. However, it will be the ability of brokers and advisors to create trust, responsibility and accountability in the client relationship that robots and AI will struggle to compete with. In the future, our industry will invest in both talent and robotics, each achieving what they are ideally suited for today and tomorrow.”

“The robot will not be able to completely replace the personal service provided by insurance brokers for years. Many insurance products, such alternative risk insurance products, require a good deal of creativity and negotiation. Agency captives, deductible buy-back policies and fronting insurance products are beyond the scope of robots. Brokers who are flexible enough to embrace those insurance products that are simplistic in nature, like a renter’s policy, will be serviced by robots. Technology will make the broker more efficient and help drive prices down.”

CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE (HU)MAN According to a report from consulting firm Accenture, almost three-quarters of consumers worldwide would be amenable to basing their insurance purchases solely on the opinion of a robo-advice platform, which they deemed to be faster, less expensive and more impartial than a human. What’s more, a recent study from Oxford University put insurance underwriting in the top five jobs most vulnerable to automation out of the 702 professions surveyed. However, brokers shouldn’t panic just yet. Trevor Maynard, head of innovation at Lloyd’s, recently told the Financial Times, “The bespoke risks in society will never go away, as there is always innovation in the economy. Providing underwriters embrace the new technology, they have a very strong future.”

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Ready or not

THE CYBER RISK LANDSCAPE A full 57% of the firms Hiscox surveyed have experienced at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months. In the US, external attacks remain the chief concern, but internal risks are rising in importance. And while the dollar figure associated with a cybersecurity incident is highest by far for larger companies, it’s the smaller companies – which are less likely to have cybersecurity measures and insurance in place – that feel the most impact.

Cyber insurance uptake gathers momentum as companies plot readiness strategies HIGH-PROFILE CYBERATTACKS are merely the tip of the iceberg: According to Hiscox, more than half of firms worldwide have experienced an attack at some point in the last 12 months, while two in five had to deal with multiple attacks in that same timeframe. Stateside, larger companies are more likely to be the target of such an attack, and almost half of businesses attacked took two or more days to return to normal.

Little wonder, then, that spending on cybersecurity is on the rise – 59% of cybersecurity budgets are forecast to increase in the year ahead by at least 5%, while 21% of firms plan to up spending by 10% or more. The cyber insurance market appears poised to profit from this newfound awareness – 25% of the US firms Hiscox surveyed said they plan to purchase cyber cover in the coming year, augmenting the 55% that already do.

Costs of a cybersecurity incident


99 or fewer employees


250 or fewer employees


Large companies worldwide that reported at least one attack in the last 12 months


Small companies worldwide that reported at least one attack in the same period


US firms that were able to resume normal operations within a day of an attack



More than 250 employees

US firms that were still engaged in recovery work four or more days later


1,000 or more employees

Source: Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017



More than half of US companies reported having cyber insurance, and another quarter said they plan to purchase it within the next year.

New data regulations and contractual requirements are a significant driver of cyber insurance take-up, but concerns about data security and the threat of a breach are still the top reasons why businesses purchase cyber policies. I am concerned about the security of my data

60% The cost of a potential breach is high, and I would like peace of mind


I am concerned that customers could make a claim against me


New data regulations require that I have protection



Cyber policies offer additional expertise that I do not have

15% 0


Plan to adopt in next 12 months

No plans to do so

Source: Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017


Cyber insurance is a legal requirement Previous experience of a breach










45% 50%

Source: The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017

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Frequency of cyberattacks in the past 12 months

Outage from thirdparty cloud provider 9%



External attack on business partner or third-party supplier 13%




Internal incident with business partner or thirdparty supplier 14%


External attack 25%

Biggest impact on business performance Internal incident 22%


Lost or stolen asset (e.g. smartphone or tablet) 17%








Five to 10 10 to 20


Unaware Source: Global Risk Management Survey, Aon, 2017



American companies had a high level of concern about a number of cybersecurity issues, chief among them the changing nature of threats. On the whole, larger companies – which were concerned about cybersecurity’s lack of visibility at the top levels of their organization – expressed more concern than smaller firms did.

Nearly half of the US companies surveyed said they plan to use one or more of the additional services bundled into their cyber policy by insurers.

80% 70%


Employee training







Risk assessments


Preventative hardware/software


40% 20% 0

Changing nature of threats (internal and external)

Other priorities taking precedence over security

Day-to-day tactical activities taking up too much time

Complexity of technology environment

Lack of security employees with the right skills Source: Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017







Source: Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017

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Hacking the Internet of Things Recent global cyberattacks have underlined the capabilities of hackers – but what happens when the criminals start targeting internet-connected devices like modern cars and home thermostats?

GLOBALLY, WE’RE becoming increasingly connected to the internet – in our homes, in our vehicles, in our pockets and purses, and in factories, hospitals, and construction sites. Internet-connect devices – or, collectively, the Internet of Things [IoT] – can make life more convenient and efficient. But the technology comes with risks. As the recent WannaCry and Petya global cyberattacks on corporate computer systems demonstrated, anything connected to the web poses a potential risk. And the Internet of Things could become the next hacker threat, says

a vehicle … in medical devices, in wearable devices and in critical infrastructure.” Nowhere is categorically safe from hackers, including those things you take for granted on a day-to-day basis. “When you look at the home,” Cottini says, “some items that are important to focus on – some of the most common [potential threats] – are thermostats, so your heating and air-conditioning.” Imagine being held ransom in your home, in either boiling hot or freezing cold temperatures, having to pay a criminal to

“We’ve seen invasion-of-privacy events even with some of the toymakers. People have taken over the cameras in a toy” Adam Cottini, Arthur J. Gallagher Adam Cottini, managing director of Arthur J. Gallagher’s US cyber liability practice. “The rise in connected technology has led to a growing cyber threat relating to the Internet of Things,” Cottini says. “This includes [cyber threats to] internetconnected devices in the home, potentially in


release the controls back to you. Or, Cottini says, a homeowner away for an extended period who loses control of their home thermostat in humid conditions could return to a mold-infested house. Crooks taking over commercial refrigeration could also cause major harm, he says.

And then there’s the possibility – which has already been witnessed – that home security systems, cameras and microphones can be used to surveil and extort high-networth individuals, who often have highly connected homes. “We’ve seen invasion-of-privacy events even with some of the toymakers,” Cottini says. “People have taken over the cameras in a toy, and you can listen and eavesdrop into a conversation. And can you get a ransom out of that? That’s a possibility. That actually takes the conversation way further than just a shutdown of a system in the way of the WannaCry or Petya viruses. This can go much further.” According to Nick Graf, consulting director of information security for CNA’s risk control unit, modern internet-connected

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Average number of IoT-connected devices owned by today’s consumers


Estimated number of new devices that connect to the internet globally every second of the day

$3.9 trillion to $11 trillion

Projected economic value of the Internet of Things by 2025


Proportion of vehicles that could be fully autonomous by 2035 Source: McKinsey & Co.

cars are also a dangling, shiny bauble for hackers to try to grab. “Where do we see these types of [ransom-

you get automated cars, software always has vulnerabilities. I can totally imagine bad guys putting ransomware in your car, and now

“We see that, if you make the payments, they will decrypt your data, for the most part. They just want your money” Nick Graf, CNA ware] attacks going next?” Graf says. “Where we see the big area [of concern] is in the Internet of Things. In a few short years, you’re going to see thing like your Nest home thermostat gets hacked. “There have already been examples of car hacking that’s gone on,” he adds. “As

you’ve got to pay me $200 or your car is not going to start up. We think those things are likely to happen.” Ransomware, which was used in the recent WannaCry and Petya attacks, is likely to be an easy tactic used by hackers in the near future. Locking a person’s access to their

thermostat or car could easily entice them to pay up to regain control. Though the best defense is cybersecurity, many people do actually pay. A small fee like $300 may seem cheap to get your belongings back, but that’s what keeps the criminals in business. “We see that, if you make the payments, they will decrypt your data, for the most part,” Graff says. “They just want your money. They are making millions of dollars off these schemes every year. If word got out that they weren’t unlocking the data, then no one would pay them after a while. Again, they want your money. They don’t care about your data.” In some cases, the crooks will even go to the trouble of setting a type of help desk to walk people through how to set up a bitcoin account to transfer the money, Graf adds. “There’s a theory of honor among thieves,” Cottini says. “Recently there was an example where one of the hackers had taken the bitcoin and didn’t actually give the encryption key to the victim. Then [other hackers] went after them, because the people who are involved in this expect a certain level of behavior.”

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BUPA Thailand

The health insurance giant looks to expand its Asian presence with this deal for a competitor’s business

HUB International

Unilite Insurance Agency

Once the agreement is finalized, Unilite’s co-owners will join HUB’s Northeast operations

Hudson United

Rockland Insurance Agency

Rockland, which specializes in coverage for contractors, business and auto, will retain its name

JenCap Holdings

Special Risks Facilities

Special Risks Facilities is a Michigan-based MGA/contract binding authority and wholesale brokerage

Markel Corporation

State National Companies

Markel has agreed to purchase the Texas-based firm at $21 per share, or around $919 million

McGowan Companies

North American Professional Liability Insurance Agency

As part of the move, NAPLIA will be rebranded under the McGowan Program Administrators brand

Nexus Group


The acquisition of ZON Re's treaty reinsurance MGA is the first US purchase for Nexus Group; the new firm will be known as Nexus Re


Associated Insurance Centers

Associated Insurance Centers is a full-service property & casualty agency offering coverage throughout the MidAtlantic region

OneDigital Health & Benefits

The Benefits Agency at JJ Wade & Associates

The North Carolina agency will join the country’s largest employee-benefits-only company

Markel scoops up Texas-based insurance company Markel Corporation has announced that it will acquire all the outstanding shares of Texas-based State National Companies. Markel has agreed to purchase the organization for $21 per share in cash, which it says works out to about $919 million. The agreement was unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors. State National is the largest pure-play insurance fronting business in the country. The company racked up about $1.3 billion in gross written premium last year and offers more than 60 programs. It’s also the nation’s leading collateral protection insurance provider.


Everguard adds bar and restaurant program

Everguard Insurance Services has acquired the Anchor Bay Insurance Managers Restaurant, Bar and Tavern [RBT] program. Anchor Bay is a provider of insurance for RBT industries in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. Existing Anchor Bay policyholders will continue to be serviced by Anchor Bay as the program transitions to Everguard. As of August 1, Anchor Bay customers have been provided with quotes for the Everguard RBT program. Anchor Bay and its founder, Bill Tanner, will remain actively involved with the transition of the program.

The Hartford expands offering for nonprofits

The Hartford has expanded its flagship Private Choice Premier management liability coverage to include management liability and risk management services specifically for nonprofits. The coverage includes D&O and entity liability, employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, fidelity/ crime, and kidnap and ransom extortion in the US and abroad. “With Private Choice Premier, The Hartford is able to help nonprofits navigate potential risks and protect their organization’s interests and stakeholders,” said The Hartford’s Michael Kosednar.

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PEOPLE Hagerty launches product for Dodge Demon owners

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is set to be the most powerful, street-legal production car ever; in response, Hagerty is releasing insurance products specifically tailored for Demon owners. “We are living in the golden age of automotive performance, and the Demon is the latest example that speaks directly to the hearts of enthusiasts,” said CEO McKeel Hagerty. “The insurance industry had a hand in ending the first great muscle car era, and we’re here to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.”

Starr Companies expands D&O policy

Starr Companies has announced plans to offer an enhanced directors & officers policy designed to bring additional protection for directors, officers, trustees, governors, management committee members or board of managers members for decisions made within the scope of their designated roles. The policy, often referred to as Side A Difference in Conditions [DIC] can provide coverage for a DIC event and for instances in which an underlying insured fails or refuses to indemnify a covered person. It also includes coverage for certain pre-claim investigations.

XL Catlin enhances cyber offering

XL Catlin has bolstered its cyber and technology insurance with a new policy form, CyberRiskConnect, which “addresses the rapidly expanding and ever-evolving exposures of cyber and technology risk,” the company said in a release. New features include expanded coverage for wrongful acts committed by rogue employees, outsourced providers and third parties; an 18-month reimbursement period for losses arising from a breach; and an unlimited reimbursement period for loss of business income.





Steven Benson

USI Insurance Services

Iron Ridge Insurance Services

Client advisor

Fred Browning


Meadowbrook Insurance Group

Chief underwriting officer

Leslie Chacko

Oliver Wyman

Marsh & McLennan

Emerging technologies program director

Yosha DeLong

Ironshore Europe

Zurich North America

Vice president of cyber underwriting

Fred DeMinico

John Hancock


Head of independent distribution

Lee Farrow



Executive vice president and life sciences industry practice leader

Sharon Fernandez

Bristol West Insurance

Farmers Insurance

President of business insurance

Eric Kappler


Bristol West Insurance


Michelle McLaughlin



Executive vice president and property manager

Sonja Ochsenkuehn


XL Catlin

Head of global programs

Thomas Rea



Vice president, professional liability product head

Joseph Reynolds

XL Group


Vice president, architects and engineers product head

Iron Ridge adds new client advisor

Iron Ridge Insurance Services, an independent agency that provides consultative personal and commercial insurance programs, has named Steven Benson as its new client advisor. Benson has close to two decades of sales and entrepreneurial experience and nearly 10 years in the insurance industry under his belt, most recently at USI Insurance Services and Focus Merchant Services. There, Benson was responsible for obtaining large accounts, as well as managing relationships with brokers, real estate agents and financial institutions.

Farmers shakes up president roles

Farmers Insurance has announced the appointment of two presidents for key business units. Sharon Fernandez (left), a 27-year industry veteran who was previously the president of Bristol West Insurance, will become president of business insurance at Farmers. Meanwhile, Eric Kappler, who has headed up product management at Bristol West since 2012, will step into Fernandez’s shoes as president of Bristol West. “I am confident Sharon and Eric will continue to advance our customer-centered, agent-powered strategy in their new roles,” said Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Group.

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Wearable tech cuts costs in construction Many in the construction industry are turning to wearable technology to manage risks

someone has hit the ground. The system logs how [far] they fell, where they fell on site and who else was in the geographic area – that’s important information, obviously, from a claims perspective.” According to a recent McKinsey & Co. report, construction is the second least digitized industry in the United States, which is why companies like Triax are jumping in. “You’ve got an incredibly important part of the US and global economy … without the same

“If you can mitigate … or prevent incidents, then you’re going to see claims go down”

Occupational injuries and illnesses are estimated to cost the United States as much as $250 billion a year. So cutting down on insurance costs in this area makes huge financial sense. In the construction industry, many companies are turning to wearable technology to better manage risks and incidents – and there are insurance benefits to be leveraged from doing so. Connecticut-based Triax Technologies launched its sensor technology earlier this


year. Designed to be worn on a tool belt, the sensors track workers’ whereabouts and have an emergency locator button for accidents and injuries. Triax’s technology is set up on a site using a mesh internet system to connect all areas online, where it can be viewed by a site’s safety personnel. “It’s a safety system for construction,” says Triax COO Pete Schermerhorn. “If someone slips, trips or falls on site, this sends an automatic notification [to a site supervisor] that

Hawaii WC insurer drops cannabis dispensaries

The largest workers’ compen­ sation insurer in Hawaii is dropping seven medical marijuana dispensaries over concerns about criminal liability. Hawaii Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. [HEMIC] is canceling policies for the dispensaries, all of which were set to open this summer, because marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government. HEMIC notified the businesses that their policies would be cancelled after two independent legal opinions found that the insurer could have “potential exposure to criminal liability.”


tech resources that are available in something like manufacturing,” Schermerhorn says. “Unfortunately, incidents happen on construction sites. But if you can mitigate the incidents that have already happened or prevent incidents that have not happened, then you’re going to see claims go down.” Elsewhere in the industry, insurers have endorsed and financially backed similar products. Last year, AIG announced an investment in wearables manufacturer Human Condition Safety. Its trackable device, which is embedded in construction workers’ vests, is designed to monitor the movements of employees in factories, on construction sites and in other high-risk workplaces to help managers keep track of their workers’ whereabouts and also help to decrease fraud.

Agent charged for workers’ comp fraud

A Washington state insurance agent has been charged with felony theft for a workers’ comp scam. James C. Kooy has been accused of claiming he was too disabled to work and receiving more than $233,000 in benefits while running his own insurance agency. According to, Kooy started getting benefits in 2008 for a knee injury he sustained while working as a heavyequipment operator. He also allegedly filed a 2010 claim for repetitive-motion injuries for the same job.

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Mark Wilhelm CEO

Brokers must advocate for change


How did Safety National get started?

Years in the industry 40+ Fast fact Wilhelm became CEO of Safety National in 2009 after serving as president and chief underwriting officer

As the Third Reich marched across Europe, Insurers Service Corporation [ISC], a small St. Louis brokerage and third-party administrator, began to worry about its insurance coverage placed through Lloyd’s of London. In response, ISC’s owner, Elmer Werner, created an insurer called Safety Mutual Casualty Corporation. In 1991, after much growth, Safety Mutual demutualized to become Safety National Casualty Corporation, and in 2012, Safety National became a member of the Tokio Marine Group.

What is involved in your Safety First Grant Program? In 2014, Safety National developed the Safety First Grant Program exclusively for our policyholders. Each year, three policyholders are granted up to $10,000 for a creative solution on how to reduce the risk of employee injury and illness. The grant can be a great way for our policyholders to supplement the expense of a creative solution that will help create a safer, more productive work environment for their employees.

Safety National describes itself as a provider of alternative risk funding products such as excess workers’ compensation and deductible casualty. Are these areas typically overlooked? There was a time when self-insurance and large deductibles were considered heresy in the insurance industry. Early in my career, I was working for the largest P&C company when I was being recruited by tiny Safety

Former commissioner makes switch

A former workers’ compensation commissioner has started a new chapter in his career. Rod Bordelon, who previously served as the workers’ compensation commissioner for Texas, has moved to Austin-based Granite Public Affairs, where he will lead the company’s insurance and regulatory affairs practice. During Bordelon’s tenure as commissioner, his achievements included a host of reforms that helped secure a 50% drop in insurance premiums, as well as a number of cost savings and increased performance.

Mutual. After interviewing with Safety National, my eyes were opened to something I did not know existed, and I decided to ask the national accounts manager if he knew anything about self-insurance. If he could have, I think he would have washed my mouth out with soap. While these alternatives are much more prevalent with today’s sophisticated buyers, they are still complicated coverage structures.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the workers’ compensation sector right now? Ever-present challenges are fraud, over-utilization of medical procedures, lawyers attempting to circumvent exclusive remedy, treatment of independent contractors, fair compensation for disability, and efficient and economical administration of all aspects of workers’ compensation. The newer challenges include subsets of the constant challenges – specifically, attorney challenges to the exclusive remedy doctrine based on constitutionality, the use of medical marijuana as a cause of injury or a treatment for injury, the opioid epidemic created by over-prescription, and the gig economy’s impact on the definition of employee.

How can brokers address these challenges? As representatives of the employers that must buy workers’ compensation, brokers have an obligation to not only inform and educate employers about these challenges, but also to help them to advocate for change and improvement.

Legacy Capital Group purchased by OneDigital

OneDigital Health and Benefits has moved to acquire the employee benefits arm of Legacy Capital Group, which has three locations in Arkansas. According to OneDigital, Legacy principal Raymond Raphael and his team will continue serving the firm’s clients while expanding their capabilities, expertise and benefits solutions. “Raymond has built an impressive operation within the Arkansas market, and we look forward to continuing that growth,” said Wally Dawson, regional managing principal of OneDigital Southeast.

California woman pleads guilty to WC fraud

A woman from Redondo Beach, California, has pleaded guilty to participating in a $150 million workers’ compensation fraud scam. According to a Daily Breeze report, Marissa Nelson was among 12 people accused of fraudulently billing insurance companies for the likes of prescription medication, fake MRIs and fraudulent surgeries. Nelson, who worked as a personal assistant for an orthopedic surgeon, admitted guilt to one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

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TECHNOLOGY UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Insurtech threatens an estimated 20% of insurers’ turnover

A majority of global insurers estimate that around 20% of their turnover is threatened by insurtech, according to a new study by PwC. However, insurers are getting better about being proactive in the face of the threat – 45% say they have formed a partnership with an insurtech company. “If insurers can use artificial intelligence and data analytics to help their customers avoid disasters while offering the reactive services they expect from other sectors, they will be able to transform the image of insurance with customers,” said PwC’s Pauline Adam-Kaflon.

NAIC launches usage-based insurance assessment

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] has introduced a new assessment tool to help consumers determine whether they should consider usage-based insurance. The tool, called DriveCheck, asks consumers questions about their driving habits while explaining how UBI works. Consumers then receive an assessment on whether UBI would be a good option for them. “New insurance products may be an option for some drivers whose habits have shifted,” said Ted Nickel, NAIC president and insurance commissioner of Wisconsin. “That’s why the NAIC created DriveCheck.”

Nationwide announces partnership with Amazon’s Alexa

Insurers have widely feared the entrance of big tech players like Amazon into the market, but now one major insurer has secured a partnership with the online retail giant. Nationwide has teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa as part of


its SmartRide safe-driving program. SmartRide participants will be able to use special plug-in devices to access personalized driving information that might help to bring their insurance premiums down. According to a report by the Columbus Dispatch, members can gain telematic information through Alexa via devices like Amazon Echo.

Tech startup purchases Californiabased MGA

New Jersey-based tech startup Bridger has purchased a managing general agency in California. SCJ Insurance Services, a Pleasanton-based MGA, provides non-standard auto insurance through more than 2,000 agent locations across California. Bridger said it was in search of an MGA with a successful agent network to begin development and launch of technologybased insurance products. “Bridger will deliver technology-driven personal insurance products to our independent agent partners that will enable them to offer a more efficient quote, bind and claims experience,” said Bridger CEO Kimo Winterbottom.

Starr Companies teams up with insurtech firm CoverWallet

Starr Companies has announced a partnership with insurtech company CoverWallet to create new insurance products optimized for the online channel. The partnership will allow Starr to leverage CoverWallet’s technology to improve its operations and reach a broader market. The companies will “jointly develop new insurance products, simplifying the click-to-bind process and reinventing the insurance life cycle,” they said in a release. Starr hopes the technology developed will lower operational costs, resulting in savings for its customers.

The next wave of disruption Will claims management be the next sector targeted by insurtech?

According to a recent report from Willis Towers Watson, insurtech funding skyrocketed during the second quarter of 2017, and claims management appears to be the next battleground for startups. In its latest quarterly insurtech briefing, the brokerage giant found that global insurtech funding volume has actually increased 248%, to $985 million, with a record 64 transactions over the quarter. In addition, the quarter saw $289 million of early-stage funding volume and 27 technology investments by insurers, which also represents a quarterly record. The report noted the importance of claims and claims management. Rafal Walkiewicz, CEO of Willis Towers Watson Securities, said claims managers have the potential to be the insurer of the future, noting that “it is a $170 billion global industry currently controlled approximately 90% by incumbents. And it is booming with innovation.” Walkiewicz added that claims management can be the “most powerful driver of customer satisfaction and retention. Industry executives estimate that clients who go through a personal auto claim could be up to 40% less likely to renew their policy, regardless of outcome. “The claims management conversation with a client provides the greatest insight and opportunity to improve risk mitigation, making it increasingly core to the evolving, consumer-focused insurance value chain,” Walkiewicz said. “We believe claims manage-

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ment could assume additional prominence at the expense of other functions, including distribution, underwriting and capital management. Effectively harnessing this conversation through technology, whether developed internally or through partnerships or acquisition, will be a key source of differentiation for incumbents going forward. “Dedication to risk mitigation means

“The claims experience represents a customer’s most meaningful interaction with their insurer” proactively managing premium volume down,” Walkiewicz added. “It can be difficult for some incumbents. Claims managers do not have that problem. They are built as a money-for-service model.” The report noted that due to the cost of claims adjudication, the area could be a target for both incumbents and outsiders alike as disruptors aim to eliminate or reduce friction costs and inefficiencies in the insurance value chain. “The claims experience represents a customer’s most meaningful interaction with their insurer and demonstrates the true value of the underlying insurance product,” the report said. Distribution is also still attracting plenty of investment attention – the report noted that 64% of P&C transactions and 42% of life and health transactions over the second quarter of 2017 involved companies with a focus on distribution.


Riley Simmons Product manager

Technology and productivity


Years in the industry 7 Fast fact Simmons graduated from Baylor University with a degree in professional writing

EZLynx started in 2003. How have you seen attitudes toward tech change in the insurance sector over that time? EZLynx really pushed the boundaries of web-based technology in 2003, so it has been exciting to see the industry embrace our vision over the years. Consumers, on the other hand, are much quicker to adopt new technology, so the insurance industry is often in a constant state of playing catch-up. This is changing as the industry has started to more readily adapt to new technology trends, but it’s still not happening fast enough.

For brokers and agents who aren’t in the know, what is real-time rating? It’s all about productivity. Input the consumer risk information in EZLynx, and then let our system submit that data to all of your carriers simultaneously. You receive rates in EZLynx from all of your carriers in real time. Likewise, we’ve opened up the same technology to the consumer, allowing you to embed our Consumer Quoting Portal on your agency website so the consumer can get quotes from your agency on their own.

What makes your platform different than others? EZLynx is truly a complete customer life cycle suite. Our underlying vision has been to provide a single solution that encompasses everything you need to manage your agency, and we believe this is what sets us apart. Lead generation, sales pipeline management, marketing, rating, policy management, servicing, retention and accounting – it’s all there on one platform.

Do you think brokers are starting to get the message about the importance of embracing technology, or is there still a lot of work to be done? It’s not so much a resistance to technology as it is a resistance to change. It’s hard to convince an agent that there is a better way to do something if they have already had great success doing things on their own. However, I think as more agents hear success stories from their colleagues, they become more receptive to new ways of doing things. More importantly, they start to realize that we’re actually in their corner – we’re not just here to sell them something, but to actually help them become more profitable businesses.

What do you see as the key challenges facing the industry in terms of technology over the next 12 months? The underlying challenge for the independent agent is the same – how to stay competitive. Our solution to that challenge has always been to provide tools that help an agency be more productive, to close two deals in the time it used to take to close one. Even with all the productivity gains our technology has given agents, it is still very much a manual process in many cases – needlessly so.

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2/08/2017 3:27:46 AM



MAKING INSURANCE MORE FUN K&K Insurance’s Todd Bixler talks about the joy of leading a business that offers insurance solutions to some of the world’s most exciting industries

IN FORT WAYNE, Indiana, in 1952, two ardent motorsports fans – a roofing contractor named Nord Krauskopf and his wife, Theodora (better known as Teddi) – began a benevolent fund to provide accident medical benefits to injured race car drivers. At that time, racing participants were uninsured, as insurance carriers didn’t offer coverage for the pastime. That fund marked the beginning of K&K Insurance. Today, 65 years down the track, K&K is a leading provider of insurance products for the sports, leisure and entertainment industries and one of the largest managing general underwriters in the US. The organization was recently recognized by the Indiana Racing Memorial Association with a state historical marker, and the Indiana General Assembly proclaimed May 10 as K&K Insurance Day in the state. Since September 2010, Todd Bixler has been K&K’s president and CEO. Like many of his industry colleagues, his pursuit of a career in insurance was unplanned. Bixler, a CPA, joined the company in 1986 as controller, heading up its financial reporting and accounting operations. Under his leadership over the past seven years, K&K has experienced impressive growth and has more than doubled its revenue. Discussing the coverage in which K&K specializes, Bixler describes the company’s


focus as the “fun side of insurance.” K&K services a wide range of businesses within the sports and leisure arena, from small mom-and-pop shops to major-league sports and national sanctioning bodies. “We’re not selling just general commercial; we’re not selling homeowner’s and auto,” Bixler says. “This is about events happening

In terms of what sets K&K apart from the pack, Bixler points to the company’s flexibility. “Insurance carriers are known to be very conservative, structured, not willing to change at times,” he says. “K&K’s ability to move quicker, faster in the marketplace, to [be] willing to look at different opportunities, different avenues … that’s really what our

“We’re not selling just general commercial; we’re not selling homeowner’s and auto. This is about events happening all over the country. Our insureds are in the news – good and bad. This is an exciting area within the insurance environment” all over the country. Our insureds are in the news – good and bad. This is an exciting area within the insurance environment.”

Surging ahead Over the course of his extended tenure with K&K, Bixler says it’s been exciting to witness the expansion of the sports, leisure and entertainment insurance solutions the company provides. “When I got here, we [had] 15 to 20 programs of insurance, and today, we [have] over 70 different programs,” he says.

strength is and what’s made us different.” Bixler also emphasizes the capability of the people who drive the business – employees who have developed their expertise in sports, leisure and entertainment niches over an extended period. When it comes to how K&K has innovated over the years, Bixler mentions the company’s website expansion project and how it has facilitated greater efficiency for a significant number of its insurance transactions. “[Previously], you sent in an application, and we would underwrite the risk and then try

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PROFILE Name: Todd Bixler Company: K&K Insurance Title: President and CEO Based in: Fort Wayne, Indiana Years in insurance: 31

Photo by Barbie Schwartz

Fast fact: Before taking on his current role, Bixler held the positions of controller, CFO, chief administrative officer, executive vice president and COO at K&K Insurance

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to issue a quote or bind the risk,” he explains. “In 2008, we started building websites that would handle that application process and actually allow the insured to bind online at 11:00 at night, pay with their credit card [and] get their coverage documents. While that was more common in some personal lines areas, K&K really pushed that out into the sports and leisure commercial segment. We certainly have large blocks of business that we still underwrite individually, but we’ve also created blocks of business that we can underwrite with websites. That’s probably the biggest innovation we’ve gone through over the years that has changed the model of the business we do.”

One of the most recent insurance programs K&K has introduced was created specifically for destination and vacation resorts, including guest ranches. “K&K took a number of our camps and campground risks … and we developed that into a resort program to compete within that segment,” Bixler explains. “That’s one of our newer programs – it’s growing right now.”

Maintaining pole position Looking ahead, Bixler says K&K will remain focused on being a one-stop shop for its sports, leisure and entertainment clients. “We will keep expanding out different programs we write unique insurance for,”

“Insurance carriers are known to be very conservative, structured, not willing to change at times. K&K’s ability to move quicker, faster in the marketplace, to be willing to look at different opportunities, different avenues … that’s really what our strength is” As for the new and emerging risk landscape, Bixler mentions cyber, which remains one of the industry’s hottest topics of conversation. Cyber is a key risk K&K is currently focusing on, ascertaining precisely how it can address its insureds’ unique cyber exposures. Concussions – a subject of heated debate in the sports world – are another major area of focus for K&K. “We need to provide concussion coverage for our clients, and so we have a positive grant of coverage for concussions,” he says. “Many of our competitors exclude it entirely, and excluding it entirely is not what our insureds need. They need the coverage. We just have to categorize it in a manner that is acceptable to the insurance company but still provides our customers the coverage.”


he says, “and we will try to make those programs on a basis where the insured can have a competitive product and a product that makes sense for what they need for their marketplace, and that they can purchase it to keep them in business long-term.” It’s now been almost seven decades since the Krauskopfs brought K&K Insurance onto the scene, all signs suggest that the pace Bixler and his team have maintained won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “When we provide insurance to a client, we don’t get out of programs,” Bixler says. “We start programs, we stay in programs, we continue to provide our insureds the coverage they need, and then we try to keep growing that to the next class of business or the next insured.”


FOUNDATION K&K Insurance was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1952 by Nord and Theodora Krauskopf

SPECIALIZATION K&K is a leading provider of specialty insurance programs for the sports, leisure and entertainment industries

EXPERTISE The team at K&K’s Fort Wayne headquarters includes more than 200 specialty insurance professionals and support staff

OWNERSHIP K&K Insurance Group is owned by the global Aon Corporation

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION May 10 was recently declared K&K Insurance Day in the state of Indiana to recognize the business’s sustained efforts to support the growth of motorsports by providing protection to participants and those involved in ancillary activities

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The way forward on flood Congress’ original intent for a residual flood insurance market has been quashed, writes Craig Poulton, leaving taxpayers to carry billions of dollars of losses CONTRARY TO popular belief, the private flood insurance market has never stopped seeking the opportunity to write flood insurance. In the 1970s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development acted to unilaterally keep private insurers out of the unified flood insurance model created by Congress. The National Association of Flood Insurers actually sued to continue assuming flood risk, but during a Congressional recess in January 1978, they were shut out of America’s flood insurance arrangement by HUD, where the NFIP was then housed. No matter how well intentioned, there is no denying that this bureaucratic blunder has had massive unintended consequences, which continue to play out to this day. This action effectively nationalized America’s flood insurance industry and made American taxpayers the involuntary reinsurers of 100% of America’s flood insurance policies. Since that time, taxpayers have carried billions of dollars of flood losses, and Congress’ original intent to allow the private market to assume most, if not all, US flood risk from the NFIP over time has been quashed. It is long past time for Congress to reorient the National Flood Insurance Program and correct the structural flaws created by these ill-fated decisions made decades ago. Congress should pass legislation that designates the NFIP as an insurer of last resort and removes barriers to unencumbered operation

of the private primary flood insurance market. By doing nothing more than giving buyers the choices inherent in an unimpeded private flood insurance market, Congress can correct the mistakes of the past, reshaping the NFIP monopoly into the residual flood insurance market it was originally intended it to be. Some have asserted that broad participa-

those with lower risks should pay lower rates. Risk stratification is ultimately the only way forward, but it will take time. The slow pace of change will allow the NFIP to adapt over time to the role of insurer of last resort. The transition will be slowed down in part by the fact that only the NFIP possesses historical loss data on each structure and does not share that loss data with the private sector. This is a major impediment to rapid risk adoption by private insurers. Another reason uptake of private flood risk will be gradual is that the NFIP overprices about 50% of its policies and underprices about 50%, regardless of whether the structure is lower or higher in risk. Under this state of affairs, the private market can only effectively compete on the 50% that is overpriced. As the NFIP appropriately prices the underpriced portion of its policy base, it will take many years for the private market to win that portion. Plainly, the NFIP is not threatened in any immediate way by risk stratification; indeed, it can only benefit from it. Action from Congress that allows private insurers unrestrained access to the US flood insurance market will help the NFIP reduce its risk, shrink its losses and operate as it was orig-

“By doing nothing more than giving buyers the choices inherent in an unimpeded private flood insurance market, Congress can correct the mistakes of the past” tion by private flood insurers will result in ‘cherry-picking,’ a course of action that will leave the NFIP drowning under the weight of all the ‘bad’ flood risks. But consider this: Cherry-picking an insurer of last resort has been the mechanism that has been used to solve every similar insurance crisis for the last 100 years. Cherry-picking is the single most effective way to cure the NFIP’s structural flaws. A more formal term for cherry-picking is risk stratification. It is the backbone of the global insurance industry and the principle that makes the insurance business viable. Risk stratification is simply the concept that those with higher risks should pay higher rates, and

inally intended – as an insurer of last resort, not a nationalized industry segment. Perhaps most importantly, taxpayers will then be free from an unnecessarily heavy financial burden. With its current concentration of risk, the NFIP is not a viable solution to America’s flood insurance needs. We must break free from the old misconceptions that have brought us to this sad state of affairs and let the free market operate to the ultimate benefit of all.

Craig Poulton is CEO of Poulton Associates, which administers the country’s largest private flood insurance program, the Natural Catastrophe Insurance Program.

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These 55 rising stars represent the fresh new face of America’s insurance industry IN TODAY’S competitive insurance market, standing out amidst a pool of immense talent can be a challenge. Yet these 55 young professionals have risen above the pack by blending 21st-century moxie with old-school work ethic. Following an overwhelming response from agencies and insurance companies from coast to coast, IBA narrowed down the nominations to this list of young men and women who have already made their mark in the business. On the following pages, you will meet industry innovators creating the next great insurance products, entrepreneurs who branched out to start businesses of their own and producers whose books of business rival those of top industry veterans. Collectively, these individuals – all age 35 and younger – are inspiring their peers with their expertise and passion for the industry.




Aleckson Insurance Agency


Eric Swanson

American Risk Management Resources Network LLC


Harrison Scheider

American Risk Management Resources Network LLC


Kari Dybdahl

Aon Risk Solutions


Ryan Gonzalez



Jennie Carr



Terri John

Armed Forces Insurance


Aaron Wright

Atlas General Insurance Services


Joe Zuk



Christopher J. Holland

Burns & Wilcox


Derek Crumpler

Burns & Wilcox Brokerage


Erica Dickerson

Chris-Leef General Agency Inc.


Casey Bello

Chris-Leef General Agency Inc.


Amy Adams

ECI Insurance Agency Inc.


Avery Moore

Evins Insurance Agency


Chris Evins

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.


Mary Kate Burkett

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.


Parker Rains

Genesee General


Chris Raburn

Genesee General of Colorado


Lucas Jackson

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Executive vice president and director of operations


In 2013, Adam Connor returned to Risk Placement Services after spending three years on Aon’s financial services team, focusing on executive liability for large, complex private and financial institutions. Connor originally joined RPS’ executive liability team in 2007, where he focused on D&O, employment practices, fiduciary, crime and professional liability. Today, he is the executive lines’ cyber practice lead, and he launched RPS’ leading cyber liability product, helping grow the firm’s national presence in the cyber liability field. Throughout his career, Connor has helped numerous organizations and associations create unique offerings for their members by working with domestic and inter­ national insurance carriers, brokers and reinsurers. He has also worked closely with large private organizations to help create cyber programs and best practices to improve security.




Kari Dybdahl has grown up in the insurance industry, starting by helping her parents on weekends and officially launching her insurance career at American Risk Management Resources Network [ARMR] at age 18. In the decade since she joined the industry, Dybdahl has grown her client base consecutively by more than 200%. Over the years, she has continued to advance and challenge herself while focusing on her true passion: designing comprehensive insurance programs for clients ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to superfund site redevelopment projects. At age 27, Dybdahl was promoted to EVP and director of operations. To help other young producers achieve similar levels of success, she recently started a career advancement blog, DybintoSuccess, to guide fellow millennials in their careers.



Great American Insurance Group


Kyle Enderle

Risk Placement Services Inc.


James McNitt

H.W. Kaufman Financial Group


Taylor Smith

Risk Placement Services Inc.


Mike Mitchell

Heller Kowitz Insurance Advisors


Brendan Sikora

Rogers & Gray Insurance Agency


Greg Deems



Ryan P. Edgmon

RT Specialty


Keith Shearer



Brian Schneider

Russo Insurance Agency


Christina Keele

InsCipher LLC


Daniel Steadman

Insurance Store – Broadus Insurance


Jade Boggs

Safety National


Ryan Buttrey

J. Goodman Insurance Agency


Joshua Goodman

Saunders Insurance Agency LLC


Scott Saunders

Kato Insurance Agency Inc.


Matthew Michaletz

S.L. Nusbaum Insurance Agency Inc.


Jennifer Amick

Markel Corporation


Nicole Ricigliano

SLB Insurance Group


Madeline Schrull

Marsh USA Inc.


Sean Letz

Socius Insurance Services Inc.


Ian Bell

South Shore Insurance Agency/South Shore Insurance Underwriters


Taylor Norton

Special Markets Insurance Consultants Inc.


Aryn Higgins

TCOR Management


Robert Rochelle


Klayton Caldiero



Tommy McDonald

Midlands Management Corporation


Morgin Freeman



Brian Wilkins



Sara Von Tersch

NIF Group


Michael Roppelt

tKg Wholesale Brokerage

Norman-Spencer Agency Inc.


Reyanna Sheets

Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc.


Bo Birtwell

Powers Insurance & Risk Management


JD Powers

Wortham Insurance & Risk Management


John L. Hohlt

Risk Placement Services Inc.


Adam Connor

Wortham Insurance & Risk Management


Richard W. Bryan Jr.

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President, commercial division, and executive vice president, corporate development

Personal lines and commercial transportation manager CHRIS-LEEF GENERAL AGENCY Age: 33

Part of Chris-Leef General Agency for seven years, Amy Adams started as a personal lines underwriter, then became manager of personal lines and has now taken on management responsibilities for commercial transportation. As both an underwriter and manager, Adams grew her department by more than 300% while maintaining an extremely profitable loss ratio for the agency and its carrier partners.


As the construction team leader at Massachusetts-based Rogers & Gray Insurance Agency, Greg Deems has dedicated himself to mentoring new producers who have an interest in construction insurance. He also has developed a new builders’ risk program with a carrier partner. Over the past few years, Deems has been recognized with a range of awards – he was named a Rogers & Gray Top Producer in 2015 and was a member of the Cape & Plymouth Business 40 Under 40 list. Currently, he is chairman of the board for the Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless, former chairman of the board for South Shore Young Professionals, and a member of Mass Building Congress, Associated Builders & Contractors of Massachusetts, CFMA and the UCANE Membership Committee.

At Atlas General Insurance Services, Joe Zuk is responsible for strategic development of new products, acquisitions, carrier relationships, new programs and geographic expansion. As the leader of the company’s commercial division, Zuk focuses on maintaining carrier relationships, developing new admitted and E&S carriers, and managing the acquisition of underwriting personnel for the division. With a focus on result-driven underwriting, Zuk provides commercial, property and specialty insurance products and services to small businesses through national retail and wholesale distribution channels. Zuk has 11 years of experience in the reinsurance space, including roles in underwriting and brokering, in domestic and international markets. He previously served as SVP at BMS Intermediaries, responsible for the development and strategy of BMS’ nationwide initiatives.




Commercial insurance advisor



After graduating from the University of Iowa, James McNitt started his insurance career at Allstate. He began in the company’s internal brokerage division, which included personal responsibility for more than $70 million in premium. He also piloted a program within Allstate’s independent agency brand, Encompass, where he implemented a dynamic sales strategy countrywide. McNitt eventually took on a management role with Allstate’s business insurance department, where he oversaw P&L for nine states. Today, McNitt is a healthcare specialist broker at Risk Placement Services [RPS]. Since he joined RPS just over three years ago, he has found success concentrating on the medical professional liability needs of hospitals, nursing homes, physician groups, health advocates and surgery centers. McNitt has been a part of the Program Committee at the Chicagoland Healthcare Risk Management Society for two years. In his first year of service, he was honored with the organization’s Rookie of the Year Award.



In 2014, Robert Rochelle joined TCOR Management, where his professional focus lies with oil & gas clients, as well as commercial contractors, developers and manufacturers. Rochelle has nearly a decade of experience under his belt, previously serving as an underwriter, broker and analyst for both insurance brokerages and carriers. In 2016, Rochelle was recognized on the San Antonio Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy list, and in 2017, he was named to the publication’s annual 40 Under 40 list. A CRIS and ERIS designation holder, Rochelle is currently working on obtaining his CPCU and CIC designations. Outside of insurance, Rochelle serves as a community program mentor and member of the board of directors at Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. In addition, he is the president of the San Antonio chapters of Young Professionals in Energy and Young Texans Against Cancer.

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MORGIN FREEMAN Commercial underwriter and team lead MIDLANDS MANAGEMENT CORPORATION Age: 34

Following in the footsteps of her mother, a 30-plus-year veteran of the industry, Morgin Freeman began her own insurance career in 2006 with Gainsco. Seven years later, Freeman was hired at Midlands Management Corporation as an associate underwriter, and in the years since, she has quickly climbed the ranks to her current role as leader of Midlands’ P&C Binding team. From 2015 to 2016, Freeman’s team increased production by more than 135% as a result of her leadership and her ability to develop a culture of excellence within the team. Freeman has established an efficient method of operations that ensures the consistent and accurate execution and delivery of Midlands’ products and customer support. By leading her team in customer-focused operations, she has effectively differentiated Midlands in an over-crowded marketplace, creating client loyalty and thereby ensuring long-term success. “Morgin consistently goes the extra mile,” says Colin Caldwell, EVP at Midlands. “Her commitment, loyalty and integrity are obvious and have directly contributed to this company’s success.” When Freeman isn’t helping agents and brokers find the right coverage, she is an avid boater and enjoys spending her free time on Lake Texoma with friends and family.

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BO BIRTWELL Sales executive, insurance brokerage and consulting WELLS FARGO INSURANCE SERVICES Age: 31

Throughout his career, Bo Birtwell has won numerous awards, mentored young insurance professionals and been a growth catalyst. At Wells Fargo Insurance, he has grown a significant book of clients over the last five years, qualifying for the Wells Fargo Business Banking Circle of Excellence in 2014 and the Wells Fargo Insurance Winners Circle in 2016. Birtwell works with many multigenerational, family-owned businesses and/or privateequity-backed firms with complex risk profiles and financial needs. Earlier this year, Birtwell was elected to the North Region Sales Executive Advisory Council. He is also active with many organizations in his region, including the Association for Corporate Growth and the Union League of Philadelphia, where he was awarded the RJ Caciutti Memorial Junior of the Year Award in 2014.




Area president

Vice president



Since starting as a summer intern at Risk Placement Services [RPS] in 2006, Mike Mitchell has worked his way up the ladder, serving in a variety of roles, including account executive, underwriter, senior underwriter, underwriter manager and his current position as area president of RPS’ Charlotte branch. Mitchell is consistently a leading producer; last year, he won an Underwriter Excellence Award at the 2016 RPS Top Performers Meeting in Charleston. The former captain of his track and cross country teams in college, Mitchell continues to run competitively and has completed a number of marathons. This year, he finished third in the Charlotte Marathon.

In his five years with Saunders Insurance Agency, Scott Saunders has facilitated a 22% increase in direct written P&C premium and contributed to the agency’s 45% increase in gross profit over a 10-year period. So far this year, Saunders has written $145,000 in new business premium. He will speak at the annual Mountain State Agency Alliance/Strategic Insurance Agents Association Conference later this year on the use of Facebook and digital media in marketing – an area he is quite familiar with, having spearheaded the rebranding of Saunders Insurance Agency’s marketing campaign. Last year, Saunders was elected secretary of the Downtown Revitalization Project, a nonprofit that incentivizes growth in downtown Gallipolis, Ohio. Saunders also has served on the Business Advisory Council for the University of Rio Grande Evans School of Business.


An insurance professional for the past six years, Madeline Schrull serves as a broker and underwriter at Florida-based wholesaler SLB Insurance Group. There, she has helped to build a strong team of underwriters-in-training with the goal of boosting the company’s book of business by an additional $1 million over the next year. As one retail client says, “[Madeline] is the perfect person to have on your side. She makes my job easier to do, she doesn’t waste my time or her own time with vague responses, and she earns respect and trust from me and my colleagues for being such a strong and efficient partner.” Outside of SLB, Schrull teaches classes at a local yoga studio.

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RYAN BUTTREY Senior writer, excess SAFETY NATIONAL Age: 28

As a senior underwriter in the excess workers’ compensation department at Safety National, Ryan Buttrey underwrites a variety of products, including excess workers’ compensation, guaranteed-cost and large-deductible auto programs, general liability, auto liability, public officials’ liability, educators’ legal liability, and law enforcement liability for self-insured public entities. Previously, Buttrey worked as a commercial underwriter for Auto-Owners Insurance in Columbia, Missouri. After joining Safety National, Buttrey earned his CPCU, ARM and ARM-P designations over the course of two and a half years. He is a member of the National CPCU Society and the St. Louis Area CPCU Society.


After serving in the US Coast Guard, Ryan Gonzalez sought other ways to save lives and signed up for paramedic school, working at fire stations throughout Miami and in the ERs of many South Florida hospitals. During that time, he developed a new admiration for hospital facilities. In 2012, Gonzalez joined the insurance industry, and today he serves as an associate broker in Aon’s national healthcare practice, responsible for day-to-day account management and working with senior brokers to negotiate primary, excess and reinsurance PL placements for healthcare clients in the Southeastern US.


MICHAEL ROPPELT Assistant vice president NIF GROUP Age: 30

After graduating from college, Michael Roppelt started his career with a retail broker in downtown Manhattan, where he worked on the national accounts property & casualty team. Since 2011, Roppelt has moved from underwriter to assistant vice president at NIF Group. His ability to write hard-to-place business, including New York construction, habitational and coastal property, has allowed his book of business to grow significantly over the years. Roppelt’s focus on building relationships with his clients and carrier partners has been an integral part to his success. Today, he manages and continues to grow a book of business worth $7 million. Outside of his daily responsibilities, Roppelt is a member of Professional Insurance Wholesalers of NY and New York Young Insurance Professionals.

Insurance is in Nicole Ricigliano’s blood – nearly every person in her immediate family works in the industry. Ricigliano has spent her career in the excess & surplus sector, and she currently serves as a senior underwriter in Markel’s Excess & Umbrella department, where she handles complex and unique risks. In 2015, Ricigliano was the recipient of the Wholesale President’s Award for most new business written in her region; she placed second in 2016. In addition to her underwriting duties, Ricigliano has an active role on Markel’s Spirit of Style Committee, which involves planning fundraisers for charity, employee appreciation events and other office activities. She also currently serves on the NAPSLO Career Development & Next Generation Committee and is completing a term as associate chair for the AAMGA Under Forty Organization. Ricigliano understands the importance of continued education in this industry: She was a recipient of the American Institute Charter Property Casualty Underwriter Presidential Scholarship and completed her CPCU designation in 2012. She is currently working toward her ASLI and ARe designations.

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Vice president, FINPRO



At the age of 30, JD Powers was promoted to president of St. Louis-based Powers Insurance & Risk Management. In his short tenure since, Powers has mentored five producers, grown his personal book of business by more than $162,000, initiated a variety of benefits to retain and attract the best talent, and led the company to the largest revenue volume in its history. Powers has also been recognized for outstanding achievement in the PaceSetter Sales Program, achieved his PWCA and CRM designations, and was awarded Broker of the Year by a major client in 2012. In addition to his duties at Powers Insurance, Powers serves on the board of Churchill Center and School for Learning Disabilities, and is active in the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Restaurant Association and EnjoyALocal, which supports local restaurants.

A former commercial litigation attorney in New York and New Jersey, Sean Letz has been in the insurance industry for more than six years, and today serves as vice president with the FINPRO practice in Marsh’s New York office. There, his responsibilities include assisting clients with cyber, technology E&O, miscellaneous professional liability and media coverage. In addition, he works on the development of new offerings and products within Marsh, including managing the development of the new Marsh Cyber Self-Assessment and collaborating on the drafting of the Marsh Cyber CAT form. Prior to joining Marsh, Letz worked at ACE Insurance, where he handled a variety of E&O and cyber claims. He was a finalist for the 2017 Advisen Cyber Risk Industry Person of the Year for the US. A frequent speaker at conferences and events, Letz has also served as a guest lecturer on cyber law at the Rutgers School of Law.


Klayton Caldiero started in the insurance industry by accident in 2001. His first job was as a file clerk at a local agency, which progressed into cold-calling prospects from the phone book. His desire to know more about the insurance products he was touting quickly moved him into an account manager position, which translated into a production role working exclusively with homebuilders. From there, Caldiero decided to become a wholesale broker, using his retail experience to assist his agents with both construction and non-construction casualty risks. Today, Caldiero‘s breadth of expertise spans a diverse portfolio of clients, including manufacturing, environmental, hospitality and real estate. He remains committed to assisting independent agents with specialized solutions for hard-to-place risks. This approach has helped him maintain double-digit growth annually since 2009, including 37% growth from 2015 to 2016.



After spending six years in retail insurance sales and underwriting, Taylor Norton founded South Shore Insurance Agency [SSIA] in 2012. In less than four years, his agency has grown to three locations and 18 full-time team members. At age 29, Norton formed an in-house underwriting department to complement the retail division, quickly achieving coverholder status with Lloyd’s of London. Today, both SSIA and South Shore Insurance Underwriters specialize in providing coverage for coastal communities in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, with the underwriting division managing 1.5 billion in-force coastal CAT capacity. Norton holds a CIC designation, is past-president of his local AIIA chapter, serves on the boards of CCA Lower Alabama and Ducks Unlimited Lower Alabama, is vice-chair of the Natural Resources and Environmental Board, and is a member of Kiwanis International and My Team Triumph. Each November, his team organizes the Great Turkey Drive, which raises funds to provide holiday meals for more than 350 families.

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JENNIE CARR Senior commercial broker ARLINGTON/ROE Age: 35

Jennie Carr joined Arlington/Roe in 2004 after graduating from Indiana University. She started in the IT and marketing departments; today, she serves as a senior commercial broker, managing and growing a large book with a focus on E&S business. The key to Carr’s success in the industry has been her lasting relationships with retail agents, carriers and colleagues. Her desire to serve, her ability to improve process, and her knowledge and market awareness have made her a role model for both new and seasoned insurance professionals. Highly involved with her community and industry, Carr is a member of Indiana’s Young Agents Committee and the Nautilus Insurance Company NexGEN Committee. She is also board member on the Early Childhood Education Board for the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. The mother of two young children with hearing loss, Carr also volunteers and advocates for kids with hearing loss through the Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing and HEAR Indiana. She also recently assisted in the extension of the Hearing Aid Assistance Program of Indiana.

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SVP of business development, property & casualty and corporate services


Vice president

NFP Age: 34

While acquiring his law degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Brian Wilkins joined NFP as a part-time employee in the firm’s technical services department. He then moved into the commercial lines marketing and management liability department to learn the breadth of property & casualty coverage available. There, he was tasked with organizing the sales and business development division to help streamline growth and efficiencies. Today, Wilkins is SVP of business development for corporate services, responsible for new and existing client development, as well as assisting in corporate operations and carrier relationships.




Vice president and environmental broker

Associate director and commercial property placement specialist



Harrison Scheider started with ARMR in September 2012 and currently serves as vice president and lead environmental broker for the company’s Western division. Scheider has successfully produced a top 10 book of environmental insurance business, which he has grown by an average of 39% each year over the past five years. With a diverse background in environmental insurance coverage and policy forms, Scheider was instrumental in developing one of the first-ever farm environmental impairment liability insurance programs in 2014. He provides an understanding of environmental risks by explaining environmental exposures and offering environmental insurance solutions for his clients. Scheider is a previous IBA Young Gun and has also been featured on IBA’s Top Producer and Hot 100 lists.


In January 2016, Daniel Steadman helped launch InsCipher, a surplus line and compliance SaaS company that helps agents, carriers and states manage all aspects of surplus line transactions. Dedicated to creating technology solutions that make compliance more efficient and cost-effective, Steadman has worked with and consulted for some of the largest carriers and agencies, helping them with their program and surplus lines challenges. Steadman started his career as an underwriter for a Fortune 500 national carrier, where he underwrote personal lines and small business risks. In 2012, he joined Veracity Insurance Solutions as vice president of underwriting, helping to develop its in-house underwriting division. During his time there, Veracity expanded its in-house programs and underwriting authority to include 16 proprietary insurance programs and written premiums of nearly $50 million.


As Wortham Insurance’s associate director, Richard Bryan Jr. specializes in commercial property placement with emphasis on large midstream and downstream energy clients and those in the chemical and petrochemical, mining, technology, and food distribution services industries. Currently, Bryan’s key responsibilities include designing and negotiating large quota share and layered programs. Bryan has become the largest contributor to independent midstream energy facility in Lloyd’s of London. Other notable accomplishments include having negotiated the settlement of contingent business interruption claims in a continuing soft market, which contributed to a client retention rate of more than 95%. He also has helped clients save as much as 35% in total insurance costs on a year-over-year basis.


Lucas Jackson learned the value of great customer service while he was still a student at the University of Colorado. During that time, he worked with the Veterans Administration to help vets navigate their way through the university work study program, tuition accounting system and class scheduling. In July 2014, Jackson joined Genesee General of Colorado as a trainee and was quickly promoted to the position of underwriter and underwriting services supervisor. In the three years Jackson has been in the industry, he has come to adeptly manage a book of business through his mastery of underwriting expertise and has quickly built a reputation as a customer service standout. His dedication to service standards has resulted in a regular stream of positive feedback from customers.

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Vice president of commercial operations



This has been a very productive year for Matthew Michaletz. He became a partner at Kato Insurance Agency, where he was responsible for overseeing the data and personnel integration following a new agency purchase. He has also managed to maintain double-digit growth of his customer base every year while overseeing commercial lines. In addition, he was responsible for agency rebranding across digital and print sources, which included producing copy for the new website. Michaletz’s advice for new producers entering the industry is to “gain extensive technical knowledge early” to be able to firmly plant a foot in this business. “Relationships are tough to break, especially when you are a 20-something competing against an agent who has been in the business for 20 years,” he says. “So don’t ‘quote’ new business – earn it.”

Shortly after Chris Evins started in the industry in 2008, he became a State Auto PaceSetter graduate and was number one in his class for total premium written. In 2012, he was recognized as a rising star producer at Union Standard Insurance and was part of its Heavy Hitter program. Evins decided to branch out and set up his own agency in 2015, and in less than three years, Evins Insurance Agency more than doubled its total revenue. Despite his fast track to success, Evins warns other young entrepreneurs that this business is not for the faint of heart. “When you first get started in the business, it is a daily grind, and you will hear a lot of no’s from potential clients,” he says. “You have to fight past any negative vibes and have the same positive energy flowing through you on call number 100 as you did on call number one.”




Managing director, business insurance



Avery Moore started her insurance career at a young age by doing odd jobs at her family’s agency, where she learned the value of hard work and saw the opportunity to make a difference in a big way. Fast forward to 2017: She is the third generation to take over the family business. Moore took on the role of vice president of sales development for ECI Insurance with a goal to expand the business exponentially. She has helped develop an online marketing program that led to ECI receiving recognition as the number-one insurance website in the nation, increased her profitability margin in 2016 by 25%, and frequently extols the benefits of insurance careers to her fellow millennials. Outside of ECI, Moore is active in her community – she sits on numerous boards of directors, is involved with Oklahoma Young Agents and volunteers to speak to high schools and colleges across the state about the industry and the amazing opportunities available within it.

Since joining Higginbotham’s team seven years ago, Brian Schneider has been recognized numerous times for his strong performance and achievements, but he says his biggest accomplishment is the satisfaction he receives from helping his clients manage their risks. “I credit my success to the mentors and the team I am surrounded by that tirelessly work to exceed our clients’ needs,” he says. At Higginbotham, Schneider focuses on a variety of sectors with varying complexity, both nationally and abroad. Schneider also dedicates his time to participate in the company’s mentor program, helping guide new producers to launch their insurance careers.

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COVER STORY: YOUNG GUNS 2017 RYAN P. EDGMON Managing director, energy division HIGGINBOTHAM Age: 29

Along with maintaining his own book of commercial property & casualty business, Ryan Edgmon is the manager of Higginbotham’s Fort Worth, Texas-based energy division, which offers specialty coverage and services to businesses across the state. In 2010, Edgmon started his career in Odessa, Texas, following in his grandmother’s and father’s footsteps in the family insurance business. In 2014, Edgmon Insurance was acquired by Higginbotham. The following year, at the age of 27, Edgmon became the youngest managing director in the history of Higginbotham. He was part of the inaugural Top 20 in Their 20s list in Fort Worth Business Press and was named to IBA’s Hot 100 list last year.



From the time Aaron Wright entered the insurance industry nearly 10 years ago, he has had the opportunity to gain significant expertise by taking on various roles with multiple companies. For the past four years, Wright has served as the underwriting manager at Armed Forces Insurance [AFI], where he has developed and led dozens of projects, resulting in a double-digit increase in premium to the overall company book of business. During his tenure in this position, the surplus for AFI has also increased by nearly 45%. Wright has focused on expanding his insurance expertise by completing his CPCU, along with eight other insurance designations. He is also an active member of the Kansas City chapter of the CPCU Society. When he’s not focused on his family or career, Wright volunteers his time with Harvesters Community Food Network.


KEITH J. SHEARER Executive vice president RT SPECIALTY Age: 35

Like many in the industry, Keith Shearer fell into insurance at an early age, seizing an opportunity with a national insurance carrier and quickly discovering the boundless world of wholesale brokerage. Since 2003, he has been focused on E&S property-driven accounts with a strong emphasis on named windstorm and flood exposed risks for large commercial properties. In addition to focusing his talents on Fortune 1000 accounts, Shearer and his team have nurtured key insurance carrier relationships that have facilitated several innovative market changes in high-hazard flood-prone coastal areas. Now in his seventh year at RT Specialty, Shearer is in the top 4% of all RT producers and leads a $50 million-plus placement team that he has built from the ground up.

In 2013, Aryn Higgins joined the underwriting team at Special Markets Insurance Consultants [SMIC], an AmWINS company, leveraging her previous experience to add value to the underwriting department. At SMIC, Higgins has created several new opportunities with carriers and retail agents. In 2014, she was named AmWINS MVP of the Month. Higgins was also selected for the most recent class of the AmWINS Sales and Leadership Academy, which is designed for high-performing individuals who exhibit the desire and aptitude to grow into a leadership role within the company. The program further developed her professional capabilities and enabled her to extend her network of contacts within the AmWINS group. During her time in the Sales and Leadership Academy, Higgins worked with a small team of peers and divisional experts to build an educational program and create an Educational Council for the AmWINS group benefit division. As part of this council, Higgins helps develop, mentor and advocate for the next generation of leaders.

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DEREK CRUMPLER Managing director, Denver BURNS & WILCOX Age: 32

One of the youngest managing directors in Burns & Wilcox history, Derek Crumpler has worked his way up the ranks, serving in various capacities within the company’s North Carolina, New Orleans and Denver offices. Crumpler is a graduate of the Kaufman Emerging Leaders Program and the Kaufman Advanced Management Program, and now serves as a mentor and coach for both programs. In addition to his work within Burns & Wilcox, Crumpler is involved in many insurance organizations in the greater Denver area. He serves on the board of the Surplus Lines Association of Colorado, is actively involved in recruiting and assisting with the Risk Management and Insurance Program at the University of Colorado at Denver, and is a part of the Emerging Leaders Committee for the Trusted Choice Insurance Agents of Colorado.

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Transportation underwriter

Senior production underwriter, product recall



After spending three years working in sales and marketing for the NCAA, Chris Raburn wanted to pursue a career in a changing industry where he could build relationships all over the world. Raburn was recruited by Genesee General, where he started as an assistant underwriter in the transportation department. His enthusiasm and self-motivation quickly moved him to a role as an underwriter. Today, Raburn is one of the leading producers in the transportation department and has been named Young Gun of the Year two years in a row. He is also a member of the AAMGA’s Under Forty Organization.


“A keen eye for detail, an unwavering thirst for knowledge and a profound passion for helping others” ultimately led Mary Kate Burkett from the television business into the insurance industry. After a chance meeting with a local insurance agent at the gym, Burkett accepted her first industry position in 2013. “Like most newcomers to the insurance field,” she says, “I began my career in personal lines as an account manager for a small, privately owned agency, and it was during my time there that I developed the fundamental skills that would allow me to flourish both personally and professionally.” Burkett then moved to the personal lines department of Fisher Brown Bottrell before being promoted to the firm’s construction commercial unit. She obtained her CISR designation, and shortly thereafter, she was given the opportunity to chair the agency’s Community Volunteer Committee and organize local philanthropy events with Bottrell’s corporate owner, Trustmark National Bank. In 2015, Burkett joined the Jackson chapter of the International Association of Insurance Professionals, where she currently sits on the board of directors and serves as committee chair for Young Professionals. Most recently, the management team at Bottrell invited Burkett to serve on a team to help create an agency-wide production bonus incentive program.


Drawn to the challenges of the surplus lines market, Kyle Enderle began his insurance career at Great American Insurance Group after graduating from college. In 2016, Enderle helped build the division’s new product recall line of business, and he is now responsible for coverage development, underwriting and new business generation for the product recall department. Spreading his passion and knowledge of the industry across the globe, Enderle spent two weeks teaching classes on insurance issues in China as part of a Visiting Expert Partnership Program in 2014 and 2015.

TAYLOR SMITH Director of corporate development H.W. KAUFMAN FINANCIAL GROUP Age: 32

As the director of corporate development at H.W. Kaufman Financial Group, Taylor Smith works across the entire life cycle of mergers and acquisitions, from sourcing to post-merger integration, conducting financial, commercial and operational due diligence. In 2017, Smith’s efforts supported the closing of three acquisitions that expanded Kaufman’s portfolio and capabilities. A former Fulbright Fellow, Smith’s corporate development skill set and entrepreneurial mindset earned him a place in the Kaufman Advanced Management Program, a prestigious 18-month program designed to allow distinguished leaders to grow their managerial skills. He has also earned a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute.

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Christina Keele first joined Russo Insurance Agency more than a decade ago, and she has since gained experience in all major areas of the insurance industry. Today, Keele serves her clients by aiding in loss response and risk management, as well as coverage reviews and premium assessments. Simultaneously, she facilitates board training, board meetings and lunch & learn seminars. She has a property & casualty brokers license and a Community Insurance Risk Management Specialist designation, and she hopes to obtain an Associate in Risk Management designation shortly. Outside of her work at Russo Insurance Agency, Keele sits on the board for the Community Association Institute’s California North chapter, where she’s also a member of the CLAC Committee, is the Directory Committee chair and is the liaison for the Communications Committee.


Joshua Goodman joined the industry in 2006, and after weathering the 2008 economic crisis, he decided to launch his own business in 2010, banking on the continuing strength of the industry amidst the downturn. Today, he leads a team of five in catering to more than 700 clients. Thanks to his experience and determined attitude, Goodman has been able to encourage other young professionals to enter the industry. “[In the] long term, this industry provides the opportunity to help people and to build a career to be proud of,” he says. “While you are a young professional, it is the ideal time to take risks and work hard.” From his start as a licensed Property Casualty Adjuster, Goodman has continued to work on achieving other designations, receiving his CPCU and AIC designations in 2016. The same year, he was named the Kansas Association of Insurance Agents Young Agent of the Year. Goodman is a board member of the Professional Insurance Agents of Kansas and has served on the board of the Shadow Buddies Foundation in Lenexa for five years, including a two-year term as president.

TERRI JOHN Commercial lines underwriter, team leader ARLINGTON/ROE Age: 28

As a producer and team leader at Arlington/ Roe, Terri John works to root her team’s growth in skills that result in strong underwriting knowledge and an inquisitive nature that seeks the best solutions, and to teach the importance of empathy in nurturing business relationships. John is regularly called upon to train new hires and contribute to corporate initiatives, and she was instrumental in the development of Arlington/Roe’s internship program. “All through college, I was offered opportunities and supported by companies and individuals,” John says. “Because of that, I take seriously the obligation of giving back and paying it forward.”


In 2016, Reyanna Sheets managed to achieve net revenue of $490,000 and was recently recognized as one of the leading new business producers at NormanSpencer Agency. But it’s not just business for Sheets – she is also involved with the agency’s nonprofit division and has received an award for being part of most philanthropic efforts. Currently working on her Construction Risk Insurance Specialist designation, Sheets recognizes the need to keep expanding her knowledge within the industry. “With this industry, you see the direct results reflected upon the amount of work you put forth,” she says, “and you will only get the results you want if you put in the work required to get there.”

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Brendan Sikora started his career in insurance with a large regional insurance house and eventually decided to join a local boutique brokerage. At Heller Kowitz, Sikora is responsible for vetting and quoting new business for three full-time producers and a number of part-time ones. He has also instituted a system for queueing cases to be marketed. Through his efforts, the company’s book of business has grown and client satisfaction has improved, leading Heller Kowitz to win a SAFECO Heavy Hitter Award.


Before he reached the age of 30, Jade Boggs was the owner of four independent agencies. “He is the perfect example of a young agent excelling in the insurance industry,” says an industry peer. Primarily, Boggs serves as president of Insurance Store, a member of Montana Insurance Managers that helps connect smaller communities to big companies. The agency extends various lines, including oil & gas, crop, farm and ranch, and workers’ comp.



Surety bond producer

Vice president



Since joining Wortham Insurance in the fall of 2015, John Hohlt has helped secure more than $1 billion in unsecured surety credit for the firm’s clients, even as a few clients entered into and emerged from bankruptcy. Hohlt has a strong knowledge of both contract and commercial surety underwriting obligations. His extensive research and knowledge of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management regulations enabled Wortham to specifically target clients with offshore surety bond needs, limiting risk and countless hours of guesswork. Prior to his insurance career, Hohlt played football for Fordham University and remains actively involved with the team. After his graduation, he led the charge for the restoration of Fordham’s 1942 Sugar Bowl trophy. Since returning to his hometown of Houston, Hohlt has become involved with Peace Gospel International and coaches little league baseball.


With more than 13 years of experience in the industry, Jennifer Amick has consistently been one of the top sales producers at S.L. Nusbaum and was promoted to vice president after 10 years of excellent work. Apart from helping her clients, Amick is dedicated to serving in the community and has worked with a number of local boards and nonprofit organizations. When she first started out in insurance, Amick immediately joined the Young Agents of Virginia and took every opportunity to get to know other professionals in the field, which resulted in many good long-term relationships. Amick eventually became the president of the Young Agents Committee for the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, a role she happily held for four years.


Tommy McDonald joined MarshBerry in 2008 as a financial analyst, primarily responsible for the statistical compilation and interpretation of financial information for clients, while also playing a major role in sales management engagements and strategic planning. His leadership skills landed McDonald a promotion to vice president in 2012; he assumed leadership responsibility for the company’s executive peer exchange networks, overseeing the delivery of partner benefits and providing direction to help clients reach their goals. Under his leadership, MarshBerry’s network partners saw 7.6% average annual organic growth in their agencies, compared to the national average of 3.7%. On top of this role, McDonald was named MarshBerry’s employee benefits practice lead in 2016. In addition to his professional accomplishments, McDonald was instrumental in launching the Ohio chapter of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation in 2014, which brings together leaders from the insurance industry in Northeast Ohio, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Since 2014, the chapter has awarded more than $200,000 in grant funding to nonprofits in Ohio. McDonald is a frequent keynote speaker at national conferences, agent association meetings, insurance carrier elite meetings and executive leadership forums. He has written articles for several leading insurance publications and is a frequent contributor to MarshBerry’s proprietary publication, CounterPoint. He has been a thought leader and innovator throughout his nine-year career at MarshBerry, and his passion to help clients stay independent and drive value in their businesses is evident in everything he does.

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CHRISTOPHER J. HOLLAND Assistant vice president AXIS RE US Age: 34

A reinsurance executive with more than 10 years of experience, Christopher Holland has chiefly served in relationship management, underwriting/analytics and client management roles. As assistant vice president at AXIS Re, Holland focuses on underwriting, client management and production for the workers’ compensation and alternative risk platforms. Prior to joining AXIS Re, Holland held positions at Platinum RE, Zurich and AID. Outside of his insurance role, Holland serves as a board member for the Celiac Disease Foundation, in addition to serving on the board of the Intermediaries and Reinsurance Underwriters Association and the associate board for the IICF.

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Property broker, St. Louis



Erica Dickerson is a property broker at Burns & Wilcox Brokerage in St. Louis, Missouri. With a primary focus on building, growing and retaining a strategic book of business, Dickerson specializes in highrisk property insurance for hotels, habitational schedules, restaurants, manufacturing, construction and catastrophic exposures, including coastal wind, earthquake and flood. Dickerson’s dedication to revenue growth has consistently landed her among the firm’s top producers, and so far in 2017, she is fast approaching her internal sales goals and closing in on a spot in the esteemed Burns & Wilcox Million Dollar Revenue Club.

Vice president

Eric Swanson is changing the producer role and the concept of risk transfer by combining his expertise in insurance with legal knowledge. While working as a producer, he attended evening classes at Chicago-Kent College of Law and passed the bar exam two years ago, receiving the California Achievement Award for the highest score in mediation. Now, Swanson is able to provide contractual review alongside the insurance policies he places at Aleckson Insurance, which allows more thorough coverage for clients and enables the agency to market the ‘Business Backstop Approach’ he created. Swanson sits on the agency advisory council of several carriers and is a member of the Education Committee of the Association of Subcontractors and Affiliates of Chicago.

CASEY BELLO Chris-Leef General Agency


Parker Rains started as a producer at Fisher Brown Bottrell in 2010, and since then, he has maintained one of the largest book growths within the agency. He was also responsible for setting up two successful offices from scratch to reach new markets and for creating a sales process that the entire agency adopted formally in 2017. Rains heads the company’s Nashville office, which works primarily with middle-market companies looking for access to big markets and value-added services. Rains credits his business savvy to the exposure and training he received from team sports. “When you’re involved in that team atmosphere, you affect the overall performance of the team,” he said in an interview with Crain’s. “If you strike out or don’t get the account, it hurts the team. The competitiveness I had in sports also shows up in business. My position is 100% commission – as most insurance jobs are – and I like the competitiveness of that.”



Eight years ago, Casey Bello joined Chris-Leef General Agency as a receptionist. Since then, she has been promoted four times and now manages a staff of 10 people across various functions, including administrative, marketing and policy technicians. As a vital member of the management team, Bello has worked hard to enhance the level of professionalism, efficiency, morale and overall customer service of the agency. In her time as operations manager, the company has doubled in size, and Bello has been instrumental to that growth through her work in streamlining processes, including the onboarding and training of new staff. In addition, she also ensures the company remains connected to the community by spearheading outreach efforts.

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SARA VON TERSCH Senior vice president, commercial insurance NFP Age: 33

NFP’s top producer for two years in a row and the company’s top producer in the Southwest region for the past six years, Sara Von Tersch earned a spot on IBA’s Top Producers list earlier this year. As senior vice president of NFP’s property & casualty division, Von Tersch provides risk management solutions for commercial clients, with a particular focus on franchises. She is responsible for the growth and enhancement of several proprietary insurance programs at NFP, including national franchise programs, programs for hard-to-place risks and expanding services into different countries.

IAN BELL Senior vice president SOCIUS INSURANCE SERVICES Age: 29

Recently named the youngest senior vice president in Socius Insurance Services history, Ian Bell also serves as co-chair of the professional liability practice for the organization. Bell has retained a strong focus in management, cyber and professional liability, developed through his dedication to product knowledge. One of his most notable achievements has been creating an exclusive program through Lloyd’s of London, which provided management liability coverage for a hard-to-place niche profession. Bell is also part of the Socius Innovation Committee, which searches for ways the company can work more efficiently. In 2014, Bell received Socius Insurance’s Outstanding Salesperson of the Year Award, and he also holds ARM, RPLU and CPCU designations. “Ian is a remarkable young insurance professional who has achieved levels of success faster than any producer I have worked with in my 30-year career,” says Patrick E. Hanley Sr., president of Socius Insurance Services. “The combination of his extraordinary work ethic, responsiveness, product knowledge and social skills point toward a very successful career in the wholesale brokerage space.”

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2/08/2017 11:21:11 PM



The main event Various types of special events happen daily in every town across the country, and insuring them represents an attractive opportunity for brokers

WHETHER IT’S a small wedding, a nonprofit gala or a sporting event at a 30,000seat stadium, special events are ingrained into American culture. Coming together to celebrate landmarks, recognize successes and watch our idols do their thing is fundamental to how we socialize. Regardless of size and reach, all of these one-off events have a key similarity – they all require robust insurance coverage. Many special events encompass food, music, art and healthy living, and have attained ‘bucket list’ status. Some entrepreneurial organizers have been able to turn the seeds of an event idea into a big business that attracts huge corporate sponsorships and requires broad insurance coverages. One of the country’s most popular events – the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California – is estimated to generate

$704 million in overall economic activity. It’s not just large festivals that require special events coverage, though. In many cases, when a corporation or employer hosts a special event or picnic for staff and their families, a corporate liability policy doesn’t provide adequate coverage for the amusements and activities provided, so the company needs to make a separate purchase for that single event. For insurance agents in this rapidly growing space, the opportunities are plentiful.

When the fun ends The most cost common claim related to a special event is a standard slip-and-fall; claims related to the damage of a rented facility or audio and visual equipment are also not uncommon. Whenever an event has volunteers and serves alcohol and food, the risks begin to multiply. The special events umbrella is very



The average cost to defend a liquor liability claim


Typical settlement in a liquor liability case



Cost of a claim against a bride and groom for property damage caused at wedding


Average cost to defend a sexual abuse claim

broad, and insurers and brokers who operate in the space have to be flexible and adaptable, as every event is a one-off. “In the old days, the event’s promoter may have covered everyone else under his or her individual policy, but since the Indiana State Fair disaster a few years ago, everyone involved is required to have coverage,” says Marcus Paxton, a broker in the entertainment division of Take1 Insurance, referring to the stage collapse in 2011 that killed seven people and injured 58 more. “The promoter will require that the vendors, the staging crew and the lighting teams all bring their own insurance coverage.” General liability is the main type of coverage required for special events promoters and vendors. Some of the program highlights offered for complete coverage generally include broadened coverage forms, increased general aggregate, no bodily injury deductible, accident medical coverage for volunteers/ participants, fireworks liability, weather or event cancellation, vendor/exhibitor coverage, employee benefits liability, and active assailant or terrorism coverage. In addition, most major special events will also be required to hold property, inland marine, commercial auto, excess liability and workers’ comp coverage. Coverage can be provided for events that range from a small corporate gathering to a large, complex music festival that will require specialized underwriting and products specifically designed to meet exposure. “The bigger the event, the more complicated the coverage required,” Paxton says. “Not only are you faced with covering the large liability exposure, but you also have to think about the equipment, the building and consider cancellation insurance and weather coverage. Insuring a larger event requires a change in approach because the experience of the person putting on the event becomes more important. There are more moving parts that require in-depth organization and experience.” In addition to the more standard coverages, many special events policies are required

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to protect against some less common risks. Sexual abuse/molestation coverage, which is often excluded by general liability policies, pays out for legal defense costs incurred in the event that a complaint is made against a staff member or volunteer. Given that alcohol often flows freely at special events, liquor liability also plays an important role in these policies. Although not always available through a general liability policy, the coverage covers liability for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the serving and distribution of alcoholic beverages. “Terrorism also continues to be an issue, and in certain cities, some competitors are

“Insuring a larger event requires a change in approach ... There are more moving parts that require in-depth organization and experience” Marcus Paxton, Take1 Insurance not willing to write a special event policy – places like Washington, DC, or New York City, for example,” says Stephanie Waldron, senior vice president at K&K Insurance Group. “We made the decision to offer terrorism coverage on everything we quote, including anything located in a major metropolitan area.”

Paxton has seen a steady increase in demand for special events coverage in recent years, yet only a limited number of insurance carriers are willing to cover large, complex and potentially costly events. “A lot of the time these insurance requests come up at the last minute, even though

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EVENTS AND THEIR EXPOSURES Events at risk Concerts and Weddings Parades Graduations Charity events Social gatherings Exposures that need to be considered Volunteers Number of guests/attendees High-value equipment/items Use of fireworks Use of motor vehicles Food and liquor safety

promoter has had six months to plan and prepare,” Paxton says. “That makes it difficult for underwriters to gather enough information to come up with an adequate rate and provide the right coverage.” On the other hand, the adoption of online platforms that allow individuals to purchase special events coverage is growing rapidly. These policies allow individuals to ‘self-cover’ for small events with limited exposures, such as a family reunion, a meeting or an art display.

Join the party Various types of special events are held yearround in every city, county and town in the country, which means most brokers have the ability or connections to write this type of business. As well as the bigger, high-profile events, gatherings like seminars, auctions, pageants, religious assemblies and banquets should all hold a special events policy.


“Anytime, anywhere there is a special event, a broker could be profiting” Stephanie Waldron, K&K Insurance Group “Anytime, anywhere there is a special event, a broker could be profiting,” Waldron says. “Our special events program covers all sorts of meetings and gatherings and includes a whole subset for political events and political campaigns. Coverage can be provided to a presidential candidate as they go from city to city campaigning, but that policy can also be tailored to a local mayoral or governor race.” Waldron urges brokers who have overlooked the special events space to reconsider their approach. The sheer number of events that take place every day makes the sector a sustainable option for brokers looking to expand their current book of business or for beginners attempting to grow a completely new one. “There are events everywhere, and the commission levels are very competitive for brokers,” she says.

Proactive brokers can start by educating their current client base about their special events requirements. Many business-owning clients are unaware that, when they put on events off-site and employ special staff to do so, they may be required to buy a special events policy. Taking the time to research the different carriers who operate in the space – and the products they offer – is another sensible move. “When you work with an insurer who’s been writing in the space for a long time, they understand the risk and can give brokers the tools that will help them sell the business,” Waldron says. “Partnering with a claims department with experience providing loss-control services and coverage related to special events both big and small is very important.”

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Eagan Insurance Agency Brothers Marcus and Andrew Eagan share how their family-owned agency has maintained 60 years of success, even through one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit their home base of New Orleans

IBA: How did Eagan Insurance Agency get its start? Marcus Eagan: My grandfather started Eagan Insurance Agency in 1954, and my father, Marc, is now the president and runs the operation. We have roughly 100 employees across three locations, and the bulk of our staff is actually family members. Myself, my brothers Andrew and Jordan, our sister Mallory, an aunt, an uncle, and a few cousins all call Eagan Insurance Agency home.

IBA: Being a Louisiana-based agency, how did Hurricane Katrina impact the business? ME: I think Hurricane Katrina opened everyone’s eyes more in terms of technology usage in the industry. We realized that we needed the resources to always be in touch with clients and information. We learned the importance of being able to remotely file a claim and get in touch with our clients, and for them to have the ability to get in touch with us too. As a result of Hurricane Katrina, our relationships with carrier partners have grown. We truly rely on them and they rely on us, so that catastrophic event has really helped our relationships blossom and strengthen.

IBA: Were there any opportunities following Hurricane Katrina?


ME: After the hurricane, we recognized the demand for all types of commercial and personal lines insurance. We quickly noticed the need for condo insurance specialists during the rebuilding phase of our city. Many older homes in New Orleans were being converted to condos, so we jumped on the condo conversion bandwagon. Andrew Eagan: During the rebuilding phase, there was a large boom in construction and reconstruction business – especially in the Uptown area – and our producers really dived into that market. However, a few years ago the market faced a softening, posing a challenge for our producers as the market became more competitive. So to remain ahead of the competition, we established a risk management division with an individual who is trained and accredited in home inspection and wind mitigation, a service that we offer to our clients.

ME: We also took advantage of the bio-medical corridor developing in our area. After the hurricane, a section of our city was reborn as a medical complex with modern, high-tech facilities. At the time, we recognized the demand for commercial insurance for the thousands of new builds popping up around the city, as well as personal insurance for the thousands of individuals who were a part of that growth.

IBA: What lessons did you learn after the hurricane? AE: It became apparent that insurance coverage and limits should be reviewed annually – particularly when it comes to personal lines and flood coverage. Brokers took the brunt of frustration during rebuilding when many insured realized that their claims check did not fully cover the cost of rebuilding

EAGAN’S COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY Through the years, Eagan Insurance Agency has sponsored and supported a number of organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America and the Junior League of New Orleans. The agency actively encourages staff to participate in various events, such as Eagan’s Denim Days, where employees can wear jeans for a small contribution to a worthy cause, or No-Shave November, when male employees forgo shaving to raise funds for the National Prostate Awareness Foundation. In addition, President Marc Eagan is chairman of the board of the East Jefferson Hospital Foundation, where he initiated the annual golf tournament that brings in more than $100,000 annually.

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“As a result of Hurricane Katrina, our relationships with carrier partners have grown ... That catastrophic event has really helped our relationships blossom and strengthen” because their limits were not updated. Since the storm, we have developed new methods to remind our insureds to review their coverage limits regularly, especially in cases when home renovations, additions or new systems have been added to the home.

IBA: How has Eagan remained visible in the market over the past 60 years? AE: Our in-house marketing department really keeps their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the industry, while also coming up with creative ideas on how to place business and other unique ideas on how to place specialized coverage and remain competitive. Because insurance is not considered exciting to most of the public, we really try to advertise extensively in the time between Mardi Gras and Labor Day. With hurricane season falling in this time, people in the Gulf South are much more insurance-conscious during these months.

ME: To capitalize on that awareness, we sponsor everything from hurricane preparedness specials to severe weather break-ins. By maintaining a public presence through advertising, social media and community work, we have brought in many new customers through that heightened brand awareness and word-of-mouth.

IBA: What has been a key strategy for Eagan’s growth? ME: One piece of our success is that in the past five years, we have focused on hiring the younger generation. Our Young Producer Membership Program offers college students and graduates with a sincere interest in insurance the opportunity to explore a career in this industry. They are given the opportunity to work closely with seasoned producers and account executives to learn the ins and outs of the business and how to build a profitable book of business.


Business breakdown 30%

60% Commercial property & casualty

Personal property & casualty


Life, health and benefits

Year founded: 1954 Headquarters: Metairie, LA Leadership: Marc F. Eagan, president Awards and recognition: IBA Elite Agency, 2016; named one of the Top 40 Workplaces by the Times-Picayune/, 2016; named one of New Orleans’ Best Places to Work by New Orleans CityBusiness, 2016

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A $1.5 trillion problem Nearly 6.9 million homes in the US are at risk from hurricane storm surge damage – a total reconstruction cost value in excess of $1.5 trillion. How can brokers best protect these clients?

ALTHOUGH FLOODING can have a devastating impact on any home or business, parts of the country susceptible to storm surge flooding face an increased risk of suffering catastrophic losses. Along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines, extending from Maine to Texas, storm surge flooding is one of the primary causes of hurricane-related property damage. A recent research report conducted by CoreLogic found that nearly 6.9 million homes along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, which have a combined coastline of 3,700 miles, are at risk from storm surge damage. The report discovered that the total esti-

mated reconstruction cost value [RCV] of those homes is in excess of $1.5 trillion. Both large urban areas and small, remote communities are at risk, and for the insurance industry, even a moderate storm surge in an isolated area has the potential to create a large, difficult-to-manage number of claims. Even after high-profile catastrophic weather events of recent years, areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts remain attractive places to live and work, which puts plenty of pressure on insurance companies. “Legally, people are allowed to build in those places, but mitigating the effects of storm surge flooding is a tough pros-

HOMES AT RISK NATIONALLY Homes at risk 7,000,000

Total homes potentially affected

Total estimated reconstruction cost value RCV


$1.5 trillion

5,000,000 4,000,000

$1 trillion

3,000,000 $500 billion

2,000,000 1,000,000 EXTREME (Affected by a Category 1-5 storm)


VERY HIGH (Category 2-5 storm)

HIGH (Category 3-5 storm)

MODERATE (Category 4-5 storm)

LOW (Category 5 storm)

pect,” says Thomas C. Jeffery, Ph.D., senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic and an author of the recent report. “The construction and maintenance of levee systems and pumping stations, like those that exist in New Orleans, costs millions, and it is not feasible to have those systems in place for much of the coast.” CoreLogic’s research delved deeply into the areas and states most at risk of a storm surge. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency attempts to identify at-risk regions, the CoreLogic analysis discovered that thousands of businesses and homes outside of designated FEMA flood zones are also at risk. Factors such as the length of a state’s coastline, coastal elevation and the density of

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oneself with the most up-to-date, granular information and data impacting the insurance industry is an important first step. Fortunately for brokers, the information now available is richer and more valuable than ever before. “Twenty years ago, it was almost impossible to create this type of report due to the technology that was available,” Jeffery says. “Back then, we could look at data based on a generalized ZIP code level. Now, the insurance industry can access elevation data and storm surge models that enable them to evaluate each individual property and develop really precise flooding estimates. The insurance industry can definitely benefit from the level and accuracy of this type of information.”

The national picture The 2017 storm surge analysis conducted by CoreLogic shows that nearly 6.9 million homes along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have the potential for storm surge damage with a total estimated reconstruction cost value of more than $1.5 trillion. The RCV is calculated based on total – 100% – destruction of the residential structure using the combined cost of construction materials, as well as equipment and labor costs, but does not include the value of the land on which the property is located. It is entirely probable that some homes residential development should all be taken into consideration by an insurance company before writing a policy. These factors create significant variations in loss potential, and as catastrophic weather events increase in frequency, all insurance professionals should make an effort to get informed. “This type of report – and its analysis – helps insurance professionals grow their base of knowledge and make sound decisions,” Jeffery says. “This information provides another piece of data to evaluate when determining flood risk and writing and selling policies.” In what is an increasingly complex and competitive industry, brokers and carriers need to do everything in their power to increase their value proposition. Equipping


Atlantic Coast homes

Atlantic Coast RCV

Gulf coast homes

Gulf Coast RCV

RCV $1 trillion

4,000,000 $500 billion 3,000,000 $1 billion 2,000,000 $500 million 1,000,000 EXTREME (Affected by a Category 1-5 storm)

VERY HIGH (Category 2-5 storm)

HIGH (Category 3-5 storm)

MODERATE (Category 4-5 storm)

LOW (Category 5 storm)

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Very high


























New Jersey







New York














South Carolina







North Carolina































































Rhode Island














New Hampshire






*The low risk category refers to Category 5 hurricanes, which are not common along the northeastern Atlantic Coast. States in that region are designated as N/A for this category due to the extremely low probability of a Category 5 storm affecting that area. affected by storm surge during a single event will have less than 100% property loss, and as a result, would have lower realized rebuilding costs and a lower overall RCV.

Atlantic and Gulf Coast risks The Gulf and Atlantic states combine for a total of approximately 3,700 miles of coastline, extending from Maine to Texas. While there are areas along the coast that have had more frequent historic hurricane activity, there are no coastal areas that are completely free from the associated risk of storm surge flooding. The depth of the water offshore (bathymetry) and the height of the land surface (elevation) cause the risk to vary, but every state along the coast has some degree of storm surge susceptibility.


Comparing residential exposure by coastal region shows that a total of almost 3 million homes are at risk along the Gulf Coast from Texas through the tip of south Florida. An additional 3.9 million homes are at risk on the Atlantic Coast, from south Florida up to the northernmost tip of Maine. The RCV of just over $970 billion for the Atlantic Coast reflects the greater number of homes there, compared to the $593 billion RCV for the Gulf Coast.

Storm surge risk by state There is substantial variation in storm surge risk by state. Factors such as the length of a state’s coastline, coastal elevation and the density of residential development all combine to determine the susceptibility of

an area to flooding from storm surge. As previous analysis has shown, Texas and Florida consistently have a greater number of homes at risk than other states, primarily due to the length of their respective coastlines. Again this year, as in previous years, Florida has the most homes exposed to storm surge flooding at more than 2.7 million. Texas ranks third with more than 500,000 homes at risk. RCV is highly correlated with the number of homes at risk, and as a result, Florida has the highest total at $536 billion, while Texas comes in fifth with $94 billion. Length of coastline is one reason a state might have a high number of homes at risk of storm surge, but it is not the only reason. States like Louisiana, which is ranked second with 800,000 homes at risk, and New Jersey, which is ranked fourth with almost 470,000 homes at risk, both have geographic characteristics that make them susceptible to storm surge. In both states, the near-shore elevations tend to be much lower, affording the storm surge easier inland access and enabling the floodwater to carry farther from the coast. Based on the potential for flooding farther inland, Louisiana ranks second with an RCV of almost $181 billion, and New Jersey ranks fourth at $140 billion. The only other state that ranks in the top five for both number of homes at risk and RCV is New York. While New York is not as frequently affected by hurricanes and storm surge, it has one characteristic that makes it extremely vulnerable: the density of the residential population near the coast. Due to the concentration of its residences, New York ranks fifth for the number of homes at risk (460,000) and third for RCV ($180 billion). In reviewing hurricanes that have affected these states, one only needs to look back 10 to 12 years to see that these states are very vulnerable. In 2005, it was Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Hurricane Wilma in Florida. This was followed by Hurricane Ike in Texas in 2008 and Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these storms top the list as the four costliest in US history with recorded losses in the tens of billions of dollars.

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A deluge of complexity The flood insurance market is in a state of flux, but brokers who ride the wave could turn on the taps of success FLOOD COVERAGE isn’t a typical type of insurance. Although many regions across the country are at risk of flooding, coverage is only a federal requirement for homeowners in zones specifically designated by FEMA. As a result, millions of Americans are not protected from any type of flooding incident. The common misconception that a homeowner doesn’t need flood insurance if they aren’t federally required to hold it is a damaging mindset that is creating a concerning protection gap. The vast majority of flood insurance policies are written through a federal initiative called the National Flood Insurance Program. Commonly provided by insurance companies who participate in the Write Your Own program – in which insurers are allowed to issue policies and adjust flood claims under their own names on behalf of the government – most flood policies are written using specific guidelines defined by FEMA’s flood elevation data and flood maps. “NFIP flood policies are limited in the dollar amount they can cover and don’t really resemble the standard insurance policy coverage that you’d see for a hurricane or earthquake,” says Jackie Noto, US flood model product manager for RMS. “Coverage adequacy is not really occurring right now with flood. Homeowners are typically only pursuing a flood policy if and when they have a mandatory purchase requirement.”


A changing market There are between 4.2 and 4.5 million NFIP policies in place, but the private flood insurance market, which currently accounts for around 200,000 policies, is experiencing rapid growth. In 2016, there were only a handful of private flood insurance providers in the country, but that number has risen to between 10 and 20 this year as more players enter the space and try to take advantage of the NFIP’s lack of flexibility. Currently, the terms of a private policy are similar to the NFIP, but Noto believes that

could begin to change as private insurers use more advanced technology – including sophisticated flood hazard maps and catastrophe modeling programs – than the federal government, which could help the private flood space to align more closely with standard insurance. Right now, very few companies are adding flood as an endorsement to their homeowner’s policies and are instead maintaining a separate flood product. The same is true for the commercial flood market, too. “Realtor associations are teaming up with insurers in the private flood market to advocate for there to be

TOP 10 BIGGEST FLOOD EVENTS Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Hurricane Irene, 2011 $16.3 billion

Superstorm Sandy, 2012 $8.4 billion Hurricane Ike, 2008 $2.7 billion Louisiana storms and flooding, 2016 $1.7 billion Hurricane Ivan, 2004 $1.6 billion

$1.3 billion Tropical Storm Allison, 2001 $1.1 billion Louisiana flooding, 1995 $585 million Tropical Storm Isaac, 2012 $556 million Hurricane Isabel, 2003 $500 million

Sources: US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center

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“ more insurance products because the current system creates many obstacles for homeowners,” Noto says. “The complexities of the program, and the issues that can arise when trying to secure an NFIP policy, make the whole process difficult.” Unlike most areas of insurance, analyzing trends in claims is rather difficult in flood. There is a distinct shortage of claims data, mainly because there is limited penetration of flood coverage and the vast majority of flood payouts are from FEMA and the NFIP. Under current regulations, the details of any policy or policyholder connected with the NFIP must be kept anonymous. However, just before the NFIP banned all availability and access to its data, RMS placed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain 25 years’ worth of historical NFIP data. Although the company

Insurance distribution is going through significant consolidation.

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“The complexity of the program, and the issues that can arise when trying to secure an NFIP policy, make the whole process difficult” Jackie Noto, RMS wasn’t able to get exact coordinates, the information RMS received has played an important role in its attempts to push the flood space forward. “It’s one of the tools we use when developing our products, and our clients benefit greatly from us having that historical information,” Noto says. “FEMA is no longer able to satisfy requests for this detailed data due to restrictions that have arisen since an issue with a security breach.” While the NFIP has a 50-year history, many Americans are unhappy with the availability and cost of flood insurance. Some policyholders believe they are subsidizing the cost of insurance for other states. “Fortunately, FEMA is working closely with the insurance industry, including companies like RMS, to leverage the latest technology that could improve the program and make progress to reduce the protection gap,” Noto says.

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The growth of private flood insurance The NFIP’s troubles don’t end with client dissatisfaction. The program is nearly $25 billion in the red, and now that its reauthorization is on the table this year, private flood insurers see ample opportunity to swoop in and poach some of the market. Approximately 98% of all flood policies are insured through the NFIP, and for the handful of small players operating in the private flood insurance sector, there is a huge slice of pie to chase. “Clients get better value and a broader policy in the private space

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versus the emergency, watered-down policy that the NFIP offers,” says Matt Herr, president and lead underwriter at Superior Flood. “The House and the Senate have promoted the private flood space, and in some cases, the NFIP rates can be inaccurate in many areas. Private insurers can offer a price that is as much as 50% less in many cases.” Superior Flood has been trying to end what Herr describes as “a market monopoly” by working alongside other Lloyd’s lobbyists to create a private flood bill to put before Congress. Under the current model, clients are not allowed to shop for a better price mid-term if they have purchased a policy through the NFIP, which many in the flood space feel is unfair. Herr believes the new bill could restore consumer choice in the flood marketplace and make consumers more aware of their options. Although the upcoming NFIP reauthorization is raising awareness of the inequalities in flood insurance, significant barriers remain in place for private insurers looking to expand their business. The language in an NFIP policy can be difficult to interpret, and as a result, many lenders are unsure if they can accept private flood policies. Most of the big banks do accept private policies without a problem, but farther down the chain, banks tend to get concerned, which Herr attributes to a distinct lack of awareness where it matters most. “Private flood policies issued through

Lloyd’s have to comply with NFIP guidelines and be either equal to or greater than what the NFIP offers,” he says. “Many private policies offer double the coverage that the NFIP offers.” Herr says he would happily write 90% of the policies the NFIP currently writes but would have to turn away properties considered to be uninsurable from a flood perspective, like a house on the beach in Miami or a property in Louisiana that is six feet below elevation. In those scenarios, Herr believes the NFIP should either buy the house outright or ask the client to raise their home. “It’s not fair for taxpayers to pay into the federal fund just to let those types of properties kill the market,” Herr says. “The NFIP is so far in debt because it is not run like an insurance company should be.” Although they might be caught in the middle of the public-private debate, brokers should maintain a singular focus on securing better policies for their clients. Brokers are becoming more aware of private flood insurance because they are aware that, from a liability perspective, they need to protect themselves. Entering the private space could also prove to be lucrative. “The private space pays competitive commissions that are up there with the NFIP, which is currently talking about reducing commissions,” Herr says. “Private flood insurance is a very competitive program from a financial point of view.”

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Excelling as a woman in business Being a woman in business still brings with it a particular set of challenges, but there are easily implemented, practical solutions, writes management specialist Karen Gately

FOR ANYONE, growing and leading a small business can be tough. Maintaining focus on working in the business as well as on it is a challenge faced by most business leaders. In a services industry, it can be especially difficult to maintain a high standard of service delivery while also investing the time and energy needed to successfully manage financial, operational and people performance. For many women, the journey of business ownership can be especially difficult to navigate. When working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the path to success can be even more challenging. Juggling the demands of family and work, overcoming prejudice, and having the self-belief needed to succeed are among the common challenges female leaders in small business face. The challenge: work-life balance The demands of any small business can be unpredictable and at times intense. Being available to meet these demands can be difficult with children to raise and care for.


A growing concern for many women in the later stages of their careers is the need to care for aging parents while at the same time maintaining the focus required to effectively lead their businesses. Managing time in and out of the business is another common challenge women face. For those who choose to have children,

your team needs to feel responsible for the success of not only their job, but also your business. Allow people to play the role they are capable of. Reflect carefully on what you can and should be delegating. Encourage people to use their best judgment and make decisions in your absence. While of course there will always be things that need to be escalated to you, reflect on the decisions you make each day and look for opportunities to empower others to take ownership of them. The more your team is empowered to do while you are in the office, the more they will feel confident to do when you are not. Hire well. Employ people who want to make a positive difference and behave with integrity. Look for those who want to invest their full potential in supporting you to deliver to a high standard, regardless of whether you are at work or not. Finding the right people is key! Reflect on how much time and energy is wasted when we get hiring decisions wrong. Choose to share the load. Carrying a larger burden of family responsibilities will inevitably undermine your ability to succeed in

Reflect on the decisions you make each day and look for opportunities to empower others to take ownership of them taking maternity leave and then returning to work can create additional complexities. When you consider that for some women this means leaving and re-entering their business on numerous occasions, the potential impacts on their ability to succeed become evident.

Strategies Empower the people on your team to assume leadership roles irrespective of the positions they hold. Every member of

all areas of your life. Changing this reality begins by first understanding the role you are choosing to play and how your own behaviors influence the extent to which you have the support you need. Ask for support. Expect other members of your family or household to step up and do their part. Don’t hesitate to put your hand up when the load of responsibility gets to be too much to carry. While it might take time and persistence to shift the motivation and

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The challenge: self-belief and sacrifice Low self-confidence and a tendency toward self-sacrificing behavior are common traits that hold many women back from pursuing – let alone achieving – their professional aspirations. All too often, women choose to forgo opportunities because they feel obligated to put the needs of other people ahead of their own. Women are less likely to ask their family to make sacrifices so that they can achieve their career goals. Women often believe they need to be more qualified or experienced than they in fact do to embark on a business venture. Compared to many of their male counterparts, women are more likely to be hesitant to step forward to seize opportunities. Some women even have a fear of being seen as asking for something they haven’t yet earned. Many women enter the world of business ownership believing they need to act in a certain way to get ahead and survive in a man’s world. Some feel they need to adopt a stereotypical male attitude toward doing business. It’s common to hear people complain about female leaders who are unnecessarily forceful and demanding in their approach to exerting influence.


behaviors of some, setting new expectations and enforcing them is essential. Allow people to help you. It’s common to hear women say they would rather do things themselves because that way they will get them done properly. How often have you

heard men complain that they can never seem to meet their partners’ expectations when it comes to loading the dishwasher, organizing the kids or doing the laundry? Reflect carefully on the expectations you hold and whether you are allowing people to do more.

Understand you. We all have the power to choose our thoughts, to choose the emotions we invest in and ultimately to choose the ways in which we behave. With greater awareness, we are able to make more deliberate choices that allow us to achieve the outcomes we want. Reflect for a moment on the thoughts, emotions and behaviors that enable not only your own success, but also that of your team and business. Reflect on those that undermine success. What impact do you have, and what do you need to change? Value you. Understand the qualities and talents you bring. Have self-respect and give yourself fair credit for the things

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you achieve and the impact you have. Recognize the ways in which you are able to support your clients to achieve their objectives and the value you bring to your team. Appreciate your own strengths and how these can be leveraged to drive the performance of your organization. Never be afraid to stand in your spotlight and showcase the talents that will build confidence in your brand and team.

opportunity. Find strength in your experience; understand all of the qualities that have allowed you to achieve everything you have already. Never allow limiting beliefs to hold you back from choosing to give things a go. As Nelson Mandela famously put it, courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

Prioritize you. There is a reason airlines tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others in case of an emergency. While as a parent, you may want to first ensure your child’s safety, the reality is that if you are unconscious, that’s difficult to

Generating leads and finding new customers are challenges that many women in business find difficult – the reasons for which are reflected in everything we have explored thus far. A lack of time, energy and confidence stand in the way of many women

The challenge: networking

Having a clear view of how and why you have been successful in the past will help you to challenge any thoughts you are entertaining about likely failure achieve. Putting ourselves first is not about being selfish – it’s about ensuring we have the health, vitality and resources needed to succeed. Having strength – whether that be financial security, family support or emotional resilience – positions us to help other people. Be you. Choose to be who you truly are. Strive to be the best possible version of yourself, not an imitation of someone else. While we can always learn from how other leaders approach their roles, have confidence in your own character and capabilities. Understand that it isn’t necessary for women to act like men. What really matters is your ability to be assertive, to act with courage and behave with conviction. Step forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunities you want. Have confidence in your readiness to take on a challenge, and find the courage to ask for the


building and leveraging their professional networks to win new business. It’s not difficult to appreciate how challenging it can be to weave time spent networking into a hectic business and personal schedule. Networking events typically convene outside business hours, so it can at times be impractical to attend. Many women opt out of events they would benefit from participating in because it’s simply too complex and draining to do otherwise.

Strategies Be targeted. Choose to spend your time at events or in meetings from which you believe you can extract real value. Know who it is you want to meet, what impact you want to have, the messages you want to convey and ultimately the actions you want them to take. While you may not have a certain person or even organization in mind when attending a function, understand the profile of your ideal client or prospect and

how to identify them. Extract value. Follow-up is key to realizing the value of your time and energy spent networking. There is little point in having someone’s business card if you don’t reconnect. It’s naive to think people will remember you months or years down the line when they suddenly have a need for what you do. If you believe someone is a good prospect for a particular reason, validate that fact by taking the time to talk to him or her further. Recognize your fears. If meeting new people and engaging in meaningful conversations at networking events seems uncomfortable, understand the fears standing in your way. Do you fear not being good enough or taken seriously, or not being able to respond to questions intelligently? Do you worry that you will struggle to connect with people and inspire them to listen to what you have to say? Understanding what you are fearful of is an essential first step to moving forward with confidence. Recognize what you offer. Overcoming fear requires that you recognize contrary evidence. For example, having a clear view of how and why you have been successful in the past will help you to challenge any thoughts you are entertaining about likely failure. Knowing you are capable and able to find solutions to challenges that arise, and remembering when you have been able to come back from setbacks and hardship, will allow you to step forward with confidence.

Karen Gately is a leadership and peoplemanagement specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Gately works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Getting the Best from People and The Corporate Dojo: Driving Extraordinary Results Through Spirited People.

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He’s long had a passion for law and technology – now Dustin Boss wants to share it with the insurance industry Boss was raised in an insurance household – his father founded what is now a 40-year-old business. Despite growing up in such close proximity to the industry, Boss wasn’t hankering to join “I knew my father was respected and helped his clients – he enjoyed what he did and would come home with a smile on his face, but I had no desire to get into insurance”




JOINS THE FAMILY BUSINESS Legal aspirations led to business school and pre-law, but when his brother was involved in a serious car accident, Boss was forced to re-examine his priorities “I’ll give [the school] credit; they teach the legal lifestyle – the long hours and never seeing your family. My brother’s car accident made me consider what was important to me and where was my best opportunity – and it was to go work for the family agency”

BECOMES A TECH ENTREPRENEUR Injured playing football during his freshman year in high school, Boss begged his parents for a computer. They relented, and he used his recovery time learning programming and building rudimentary websites “I would go into business chat rooms and tell people I could build them a website; I made quite a bit of summer cash. I was quite proud of it. I got a check for $300 from a guy in New York and thought I was rich”

2007 FINDS HIS PASSION An initiative still in its infancy gave Boss a new passion for the insurance business “Our agency started to change the how we were working with clients – we were acting more like a risk manager, and I started to get more into the kind of things an attorney would. For the first time, I realized I could apply my passion for the law to this industry”

2009 REBRANDS HIS IMAGE Boss spearheaded a total rebrand that moved the agency in a new direction “It became a more consultative organization. I would work with clients on HR compliance, on all sorts of risk issues that an insurance policy wouldn’t cover but a company would have exposure to”

2010 2015 MERGES TECH AND INSURANCE In a move that combined his love of law, learning, computing and insurance, Boss launched tech company Emerge Apps and its flagship app, OSHAlogs, which allows employers and agents to track workplace injury metrics in real time “It was built from scratch in late-night sessions. Within 18 months of launch, we had 90 agencies on the system. There was rapid adoption”

CRACKS THE BOOKS In what could be seen as a return to his teenage days spent learning programming, Boss undertook several years of sustained, self-directed study of his chosen industry

“I learned everything I could about insurance; at the same time, I was leading the charge on the rebrand. We started training other agencies how to implement our strategy– we’ve trained hundreds of agents now”

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Ron 1

Times the band members rehearse together before each performance

WITH THE BAND By day they toil in insurance, but every now and then, Jerry Fox, Kitty Ambers and Ron Berg spend a night living the rock ‘n’ roll life


THEY COULD have called the band Two Insurance Guys and a Technology User Group Executive. Instead, they chose JoKeR – short, sweet and in keeping with the insurance industry custom to honor the acronym. This one represents the first names of band founders and insurance veterans Jerry Fox, Kitty Ambers and Ron Berg. The band started in 2013 with a “we can do that” conversation at a piano bar. “Our friends in the industry convinced us of the fun factor, and JoKeR was born,” Ambers recalls. The band members are self-taught. Fox – the director of market strategy at CoreLogic, who contributes vocals and rhythm guitar – credits his good ear and a love for singing; he can’t read music. Neither can Berg, the lead guitar and


Countries where Berg has played in a band


Number of tambourines, accordions and kazoos allowed in the band

vocalist and executive director of the Agents Council for Technology, who took up guitar as a lonely teen living in a new town. Ambers, the lead vocalist and CEO of NetVU, learned how to sing in school and church choirs. Their road schedule is forgiving: They get the band back together once or twice a year, delighting peers at industry conferences with covers of country and rock songs. Although they’re tech-savvy insurance pros, these musicians opt for a decidedly low-tech production. “Our first show was Jerry and me on acoustic guitars with Kitty on vocals,” Berg says. “Since then, we’ve expanded to electric guitars and a full band when we can persuade friends to join us on bass, drums and keyboard.”

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Your client planned for sunny skies and a smooth-flowing event. Event planning is all about conceiving the ideal and making it happen. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world and what actually happens can threaten the success of your client’s event — and their enterprise. That’s why event planning should start with Take 1 Insurance. We’ve thought about events beyond your client’s control: violent weather and floods, transportation delays of critical equipment, faulty equipment, fire ravaging the event site and event participants causing their own kind of damage. We’ve thought about their concessionaires, their talent, and everyone’s safety and security, and we can offer solutions for all of it. Before planning for everything to go right, talk to Take 1 about covering your clients against things that can go wrong. To get a quote, visit us at or call 800.856.7035. © 2017 Take1 Insurance Take1 is a division of U.S. Risk, LLC., a specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Operating 12 domestic and international branches, it offers a broad range of products and services through its affiliate companies.

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Expect big things in workers’ compensation. Expect to save a third of your clients 30% or more. Most classes approved, nationwide. For information call (877) 234-4450 or visit Follow us at Š2017 Applied Underwriters, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best. Insurance plans protected U.S. Patent No. 7,908,157.

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