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IBAMAG.COM ISSUE 7.02 | $12.95

TOP 2019 IBA names 65 of the most successful producers in the industry PROFITING IN THE NONPROFIT SPACE

What agents need to know to find success in a varied and complex sector

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It’s been hyped as a gamechanger for insurance – so why aren’t more companies using it?

WHAT’S DRIVING TRUCKING INSURANCE? A guide to the major headwinds in this demanding, ever-changing specialty

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ISSUE 7.02

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


UPFRONT 04 Editorial

How brokers can help clients deal with the increased risk of natural disasters






Specializing in nonprofit organizations means understanding the myriad exposures they face

24 50



20 2

08 Head to head

The secrets to getting a handle on cannabis insurance

09 Opinion

Climate change is opening up new litigation risks for certain industries

10 News analysis 12 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

14 Workers’ comp update

How technology can help bring stability to the cyclical workers’ comp market


BUILDING BLOCKS OF SUCCESS Trends like modular construction, drones and robotics are changing the landscape in the construction sector, says USI’s Christine Chipurnoi


Allied World chief marketing and distribution officer Bobby Bowden outlines how he’s created a trustworthy brand by building relationships first

Which strategies are most successful in managing workers’ comp claims?

Why hasn’t blockchain taken over the insurance industry yet?


They earned a collective $32.4 million in commission in 2018 – now IBA’s Top Producers are sharing the strategies behind their success

06 Statistics

16 Technology update

Networks are doubling down on data analytics tools for member agencies

PEOPLE 55 Career path

Valerie Butt’s fearless leadership has propelled her through the ranks at Zurich

56 Other life

Going classical with cellist and underwriter Christa Benoit-Fey



Advice for agents and brokers looking to navigate the many challenges in trucking insurance


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2018 IN REVIEW $8.1 billion

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

$ $

total in-force premium

$690 million


total in-force premium growth

growth in total in-force premium


independent strategic members signed


1 983



signed of independent agents in U.S.

national strategic partner companies

2 0 19

new agencies created



strategic master agencies

The Total Solution for the Independent Agent The Proven Distribution System for Strategic Partner Companies

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Putting out fires for your clients


feel like the state of California has pretty much been on fire for the past two years. It’s crazy. We don’t really have a fire season anymore. Whereas it used to be a three- or four-month timeframe, now it seems like the wildfire season is year-round in California.” Those were the words of Brown & Brown executive vice president Allison Magda, speaking to IBA about the harsh and constant reality Californians have to deal with – and they’re certainly not alone. According to CoreLogic, 2018 was an above-average year for wildfires, floods, severe winds and hurricanes across the US. The firm’s 2018 report highlighted between $19 billion and $28.5 billion of estimated damage from Hurricane Florence alone; about 85% of the resulting residential flood losses were uninsured. Several states, including Texas and the Carolinas, also suffered 1,000-year floods. Around 6% of properties in the US are within Special Flood Hazard Areas, but only a third of these properties have flood insurance.

Most brokers thrive on helping clients in their hour of need. As catastrophes become ever more commonplace, this service has never been more crucial “Hazards will always pose a real threat to homes and businesses,” said Howard Botts, chief scientist at CoreLogic, “and knowing exactly what that risk entails is critical to helping ensure sufficient protection from the financial catastrophes that so often follow natural disasters.” For brokers and agents attempting to secure cover for clients in catastropheprone areas, risk mitigation has become crucial. With more and more carriers pulling out of high-risk areas, those that remain are seeking reassurances before they bind policies. Insureds need to be proactive in protecting their homes and businesses, and brokers need to get the message across that clients must clear defensible spaces and take photos and videos of the inside of the property in case they need to make a claim. The onus is on brokers, too, to ensure their clients know exactly what they’re covered for – something that can be difficult to determine in areas of approximate causation. The mudslides that followed the wildfires in some areas of California are one example of a concerning gray area in many policies. Most brokers thrive on helping clients in their hour of need. As catastrophes become ever more commonplace, this service has never been more crucial. Preparation is key – for your clients, for their businesses and for your reputation. The team at Insurance Business America MAY 2017 EDITORIAL

Managing Editor Paul Lucas Journalists Alicja Grzadkowska, Nicola Middlemiss, Bethan Moorcraft, Ksenia Stepanova News Writers Lyle Adriano, Krizzel Canlas, Terry Gangcuangco, Mina Martin, Gabriel Olano Staff Writers Tom Goodwin, Libby MacDonald, Joe Rosengarten, Ryan Smith, Heather Turner Copy Editor Clare Alexander


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

SALES & MARKETING Vice President, US Market Cathy Masek Vice President, Sales John Mackenzie Media Sales Managers Chris Anderson, Desiree McCue Mktg & Comms Manager Lisa Narroway

CORPORATE Chief Executive Officer Mike Shipley Chief Operating Officer George Walmsley President Tim Duce 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, Seoul

Insurance Business America is part of an international family of B2B publications, websites and events 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 Printed in Canada 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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Companies have to

optimize, navigate,


fortify ,

secure and

preserve their


We’ll protect your future.

Innovation never stops. Neither do we. Companies have to constantly innovate to stay ahead in business. So do we. Ironshore has a well-earned reputation for leveraging deep industry expertise to solve complex problems. Access to senior leadership, our in-house claims specialists and a nimble approach has helped us stay as agile and relentless as the companies we protect. For more information go to The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service.

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What have workers’ comp insurers been doing to successfully manage claims? Medical management is key to keeping workers’ compensation claims under control. The latest Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study revealed that medical costs make up an average of 60% of the total claims cost in many jurisdictions. Digging deeper into the specific factors that drive medical management, the study found that nurse care management – i.e., using nurses in the role

of claims representatives – had the greatest impact on claim outcome. In terms of the quality and outcome benchmarks that are most important in workers’ comp, industry executives put the highest priority on return-to-work outcomes. However, only 34% of organizations said they currently have systems in place to gauge medical provider outcomes and performance.

Survey respondents identified nurse case management, which helps to eliminate the shuffling of a patient’s case between a claims representative and a nurse, as having the biggest effect on the severity and duration of workers’ comp claims. Indeed, a study by Liberty Mutual found that when nurses were assigned to claims, injured workers experienced faster claim resolution and a quicker return to work, and the cost of the claim was 26% lower overall.


What’s working



$94 billion 135 million Amount employers spend every year on workers’ compensation coverage

Number of workers in the US who have workers’ compensation benefits



Amount medical lost-time claim costs have risen since 1997

Estimated increase in lost-time claim severity between 2016 and 2017

Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018



More workers’ comp payers are measuring medical provider outcomes and performance now than they were a few years ago, but still only about a third are tracking the data. Does your organization use measures to gauge medical provider outcomes/performance?

When asked which factors were the most important in terms of assessing the success of workers’ comp claim management, the industry executives surveyed put return-to-work outcomes at the top of the list. Close behind were the patient’s health and function, followed by the provider’s willingness to adhere to evidence-based medicine guidelines.

Yes 29% No 62% Unknown 9%


Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018




Yes 34% No 52% Unknown 14%


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0




ReturnPatient to-work functional outcomes outcomes

#3 Clinical quality




Frequency/ Coordination Patient duration of of care satisfaction treatment




Total Administrative Risk of cost of efficiency harm care

#10 Litigation rate

Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018

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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0





Nurse/ claims triage

Pharmacy benefit manager/ network



Utilization review

Physician case management






Nurse case Return-tomanagement work services

Bill review

CompanyPeer developed/ review -owned provider network

Outsourced/ leased provider network

Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018



While there has been recent interest in value-based care models in the workers’ comp industry, 87% of organizations report that they’re still using a fee-for-service payment system. Among the organizations that have made the shift to value-based strategies, the bundled payment model – which involves negotiating a single payment for a specific procedure like a knee replacement – was the most popular.

Another trend that’s gaining momentum in workers’ comp is the advocacy-based claims model, which focuses on engaging the employee in the claims process.

Bundled payment model

Has your organization implemented an advocacy-based claims model?

7% Capitation model

4% Accountable care organization [ACO] model


Patient-centered medical home [PCMH] model

2% Shared savings model

2% Shared risk model

1% Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018

Yes 28% Will likely implement within the next one to three years 9% Considering, but no specific implementation plans 19% No, not considering 24% Unknown 20%

Source: Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study, Rising Medical Solutions, 2018

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What’s the key to success in cannabis insurance? In this constantly changing sector, industry players agree that knowledge and relationships are paramount

Paul Pukis

Daniel Garcia Jr.

Norman Ives

Owner Mosaic Insurance Alliance

Broker/advisor Vantreo Insurance Brokerage

Broker, cannabis specialist Worldwide Facilities

“Like in many industries, creating and nurturing relationships is critical in the cannabis insurance market. One of the key relationships to nurture is the one with the surplus broker. As a retail agent, the surplus broker is the conduit to a limited number of insurance companies willing to play in the cannabis industry.  Understanding the requirements in each state for each type of operation in the CBD, cannabis or hemp industry helps to make the communication between the retail agent and the surplus broker much smoother. This results in a better experience for the client, which makes you look good.”

“We must truly understand our clients’ motivation. The spectrum of insurance acumen in the cannabis space is vast. Some clients come from the black market that existed without insurance. Others come from outside business sectors. Our clients have different motivations, though all relate to the need for a comprehensive insurance and risk management program. It’s incumbent upon us to discover what’s motivating clients to buy insurance, whether it’s new investors, the regulatory process, a landlord or something else. By understanding the motivation, we’ll deliver the comprehensive solution that helps ensure the protection they need.”

“The biggest key to success in the cannabis insurance space is understanding the significant challenges in how these businesses operate from a regulatory and tax standpoint. Cannabis businesses are often taxed and regulated differently state by state and even county by county. Equally as important is being able to depend on the expertise of a broker who has the knowledge of the current E&S market and coverages and can apply that understanding to the complexity of the insurance coverage needed for cannabis operations. To succeed in this market, it’s crucial to understand what you don’t know, as well as what you do.”

BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR Marijuana is already a multibillion-dollar business – a report published by Arcview Market Research last summer projected that the industry would reach $11 billion by the end of 2018 and $23 billion by 2022. But while more than half of US states have made some form of medical or recreational use legal, the persistent gap between state status and federal laws means few carriers are willing to write policies for cannabis-related firms. “The whole conversation of cannabis crosses the desks of the most senior leaders of the insurance community as they determine whether or not they want to play in this game,” Aon’s Tom Fitzgerald told Bloomberg last year. “There’s not every insurance company in the world anxious to write this stuff, at least not yet.”


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The other side of climate change Commercial sectors need to consider their exposure in light of product liability legislation prompted by climate change, writes Neil Beresford AS THE impacts of climate change are increasingly felt in communities around the globe, the impact of climate change litigation will increasingly be felt in the courts. The past several years have seen a surge in climate change litigation, and these lawsuits are providing a wider body of case law and attribution science that will enable courts to draw on decisions from around the world to influence their thinking. All possible contributors to climate change are targeted, but there is an emerging focus on products that are harmful to the environment. Such product liability claims are an increased risk for petrochemical and energy companies, as well as manufacturers of materials such as plastics. With a growing body of impending litigation on the docket, claiming damages for the effects of manufactured products, I anticipate that environmental product liability litigation will increase worldwide in the coming year. Among the recent cases are the lawsuits brought in the US against the manufacturers of the fuel additive MTBE. Those cases have given rise to some interesting problems of causation – the liability of individual manufacturers is being ascertained by reference to the amount of harmful product each has produced. A manufacturer with a 10% market share now faces the prospect of 10% liability for the total harm. A similar approach has been advocated in

numerous lawsuits against the petrochemical and energy industries. In a case in Germany, a Peruvian farmer is seeking to hold a German energy company liable for 0.47% of his losses arising from the melting of a local glacier on the basis of the company’s alleged contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. A number of public bodies have also filed

used a firefighting foam containing the chemicals in military exercises over several decades; PFOA and PFOS chemicals then accumulated in the water table, affecting municipal water supplies. Because the US military enjoys immunity from suit, numerous lawsuits have been filed against the corporations that manufactured the product, using attribution theory as the basis of the claim. Where will the trend of environmental product liability litigation lead? One possibility is toward the manufacturers of plastics. The environmental accumulation of plastics such as microbeads, cups, straws and bags now attracts daily media interest. I believe that plastics manufacturers are at significant risk of future litigation based upon attribution theories developed elsewhere.  As the volume of climate change litigation grows, I expect that it will ultimately affect a wide range of commercial sectors, from energy companies and heavy manufacturers to investment funds and insurers. From a risk management perspective, companies that might be exposed to the risk of climate change litigation should consider their insurance arrangements and work with their insurers to understand

“It is inevitable that climate change will have a profound impact on businesses around the globe. Environmental product liability litigation is a trend that shows no sign of abating” lawsuits in the US, seeking to recover the costs of climate-related damage and future resilience. In November 2018, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the West Coast’s largest commercial fishing association, filed a complaint against fossil fuel companies due to algae blooms, which are caused by warming oceans. Crabbers in California and Oregon allege that they have suffered significant economic losses as a result of the algae blooms and are seeking to hold fossil fuel companies accountable. The litigation in the US centered around PFOA and PFOS contaminants gives rise to a slightly different problem. In that case, the primary polluter was the US military, which

whether they have adequate cover in place. As the largest existential threat faced by the planet, climate change will inevitably have a profound impact on businesses around the globe. Environmental product liability litigation is a trend that shows no sign of abating. I’ll be watching with interest to see how the current legal landscape evolves, and I’d urge all companies with potential exposure to do the same. Neil Beresford, a partner at Clyde & Co. in London, is an expert in complex and cross-border product liability claims. He acts as coverage, defense and monitoring counsel and is a market leader in environmental liability claims.

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What’s next for blockchain? While parts of the insurance industry are experimenting with the technology, the hype around blockchain and the necessity of collaboration has slowed widespread adoption

OF ALL THE technologies that have the potential to transform the insurance industry, blockchain might be one of the most hyped – but that hasn’t necessarily translated into widespread adoption by insurance companies. “The hype around blockchain is that it will solve everything under the sun … and I think that impedes some adoption because people are going into blockchain with high expectations,” says Bijesh Jacob, senior vice president of technology and standards for ACORD Solutions Group. Compared to a technology like artificial intelligence, which has already had a

Part of the problem is the fact that, as a technology that allows data to be stored in a distributed ledger to which several stakeholders have secure access, blockchain is underpinned by a reliance on other organizations. It’s a tool that enables collaboration between parties and will play a crucial part in managing business relationships – but its very nature means a single company can’t be the first and only mover on this technology. Contrast that with AI, where “you don’t really need any other market participants to be part of your investment in that space – you get benefit just by investing yourself and doing things within your four walls,”

“I think people are watching some of the more public [use cases] that are out there … to see how [they] take off ” David Bassi, EY noticeable impact on the insurance industry (Accenture reported in 2018 that 80% of insurance leaders believe they’ll have AI integrated into their operations in the next two years), the implementation of blockchain has not happened as smoothly or swiftly.


says David Bassi, executive director at EY. “Blockchain does require those connection points between multiple players.” He highlights its use in the shipping industry to track the locations and routes of ships for multiple parties, including shippers

and insurers. However, that lengthens the adoption curve because other players have to connect in order to make blockchain valuable. Insurance organizations are making progress in blockchain adoption by exploring use cases for the technology. ACORD, for instance, has been involved in multiple blockchain initiatives over the past few years and recently formed a group to review and propose common standards for the adoption of blockchain capabilities within the insurance industry. EY is also walking the walk, recently announcing that it will be the primary service provider in blockchain-related cyber­security and risk management guidance for The Institutes’ RiskBlock Alliance, the first blockchain consortium for the risk management and insurance industry. This collaboration will help RiskBlock Alliance identify the risks unique to its blockchain and practice controls, as well as provide blockchain-specific cyber­ security assessments and testing.

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Number of patents filed since 2014 that contain either blockchain or distributed ledger technology in their abstracts


Number of blockchain-related applications that contain the word ‘insurance’ in their descriptions


Percentage of insurers that expect to integrate blockchain within the next two years Successful use cases are starting to pile up. In addition to the shipping industry, Bassi has noticed that blockchain is particular useful in the proof-of-insurance concept, such as when a contractor is hired for a project and needs to be able to prove quickly and easily that they have workers’ compensation coverage in place.

information between those parties at the time it’s gathered [and] as settlements are being made takes a lot of the time and effort and paper flow out of the system.” As use cases continue to show off blockchain’s benefits, Bassi predicts that the technology will become much more popular in the insurance industry in the next five years.

“You’ll have lessons learned, which will then help drive a change in direction and an uptick in adoption” Bijesh Jacob, ACORD Solutions Group “The other place we’re seeing a lot of interest is around subrogation – so instances where one insurer is paying and then they have to collect from another insurer who’s ultimately responsible when liability is settled,” Bassi says. “The ability to share

“I think people are watching some of the more public [use cases] that are out there, particularly the Insurwave piece, to see how that takes off,” Bassi says, referring to a blockchain platform that supports marine hull insurance. “As people see that, you end


Proportion of insurers that say blockchain-based ledgers and smart contracts are reinventing how they engage with new partners Sources: Willis Towers Watson, Accenture

up in situations where other big participants in the insurance value chain could push adoption, and I think that’ll happen.” The fact that companies are ramping up their experiments in this space and are learning how to apply the technology is a good sign. Even if some use cases are only internal exercises, they give companies a blockchain foundation to build from in the future. “What’s going to happen is that you’ll have lessons learned,” Jacob says, “which will then help drive a change in direction and an uptick in adoption.”

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Alera Group

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency

Avon-Dixon specializes in yacht and boating insurance, as well as professional trucking coverage

AmWINS Group

The Flood Insurance Agency

The deal will significantly increase AmWINS’ flood insurance capabilities

Brown & Brown

Izzo Insurance Services

Izzo is an Illinois-based wholesale brokerage that specializes in workers’ comp insurance

China Oceanwide

Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York

The multibillion-dollar merger has been approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services


Complete Benefit Alliance

Complete Benefit Alliance is a full-service benefits enrollment and communications firm based in Birmingham, Alabama

The Hilb Group

Aoisio Insurance Associates

AIA is the latest of several New England-based acquisitions for THG

Hub International

Sheridan Road Financial

Sheridan Road is an institutional retirement consulting and private wealth firm

Seeman Holtz Property & Casualty

Dickenshied Cravillion Insurance Services

The acquisition will expand Seeman Holtz’s presence in Wisconsin

CFC Underwriting expands cyber offering

CFC Underwriting has updated its cyber product with improved business interruption cover and additional protection for cybercrime activities. Under the new policy, business interruption cover will be triggered by IT system failure as well as malicious cyber events. Supply-chain business interruption cover is also available to protect insureds if a supplier is impacted by a cyber event. CFC has also added affirmative crime cover for cryptojacking, a growing threat in which a hacker hijacks the processing power of a computer network to mine cryptocurrency.

AXA XL extends lawyers’ E&O program

AmWINS acquires private flood insurer

AmWINS Group has acquired The Flood Insurance Agency [TFIA], a Floridabased MGA that specializes in private flood insurance. According to AmWINS CEO Scott M. Purviance, the deal will significantly increase the global specialty insurer’s capabilities for personal and commercial lines flood products. “We’re incredibly excited to partner with Evan [Hecht] and his team,” Purviance said. “Their reputation in the flood market is unparalleled. Not only will TFIA enhance our personal lines flood product offerings, but it also will provide us with the opportunity to distribute a new and innovative commercial flood product to our retail clients in the very near future.”


AXA XL has expanded its lawyers’ professional liability insurance to law firms of all sizes. The insurer has also bolstered its product offering, making both primary and excess coverage available on either an admitted or surplus lines basis. The professional liability product for lawyers offers comprehensive E&O protection against malpractice claims, as well as protection for licensing and disciplinary proceedings. “Law firms, no matter their size, need to make sure that their professional liability coverage can stand up to today’s trends and expectations,” said AXA XL’s Paul Rowe.

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PEOPLE Berkshire Hathaway travel product sets sail

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection [BHTP] has launched a new product, WaveCare, which is designed to meet the needs of travelers on cruises. Features include up to $750,000 in medical evacuation coverage and up to $75,000 in emergency travel medical insurance. “WaveCare is expressly designed for the fastestgrowing sector of the industry – cruising,” said BHTP president Dean Sivley. “Our comprehensive solution provides cruisers with higher medical and evacuation coverage limits for their trip and introduces BHTP’s innovative fixed benefit in the event the cruise is disabled along the way.”

Heffernan rolls out coverage for pharmacies

Heffernan Insurance Brokers has unveiled a comprehensive new insurance program for retail pharmacies that includes professional liability coverage, saving clients from having to purchase a separate stand-alone policy. “There are now more options for small businesses, which in turn creates more competition and lower prices for our clients,” said Heffernan Insurance Brokers AVP Steve Boone. “This program is perfect for the independent pharmacist looking for an experienced insurance broker who can offer a single-source package.”

Zodiac fills gap with new D&O coverage

Zodiac Insurance Services, a US-based MGA, has launched a new directors & officers capacity for the global small financial institutions market. According to AFL, the small FI market, which includes insurance captives, ‘desk drawer’ insurers and selffunded groups, has traditionally been forced to place D&O policies alongside larger businesses, which has meant minimum premiums and deductibles were keyed to much larger institutions. Zodiac partnered with underwriters at Lloyd’s to underwrite smaller accounts and assign an appropriate cost and deductible structure to its new D&O product.





Norman Allen


Woodruff Sawyer

Chief revenue officer

Souheil Badran

Aliplay Ant Financial

Lockton Cos.

Chief information officer

Govind Balu

Allstate Roadside Services

AXIS Capital

Chief analytics officer

Roman E. Bernal



Client distribution leader, US South Central region

Martine Ferland




Brett Gough


Ames & Gough

Executive vice president

Matt Gough


Ames & Gough

Executive vice president

Sally Lake



Chief financial officer

Zac Overbay


Woodruff Sawyer

Chief operating officer

Keith Schlosser


AXIS Capital

Chief information officer

Nikki Toon


Combined Agents of America

Chief operating officer

Charles Venus

Brown & Brown

Iroquois Group

Vice president of middle market and specialty

CAA taps new chief operating officer

Combined Agents of America [CAA] has promoted former production director Nikki Toon to the position of chief operating officer. Toon first joined the agency network in May 2017. In her new role, she will continue to provide direction on CAA’s structure, both internally and externally. She will also manage CAA member needs and assist in creating strategies for carrier accountability and improved carrier relationships. “We’re excited for Nikki’s new role at CAA,” said CEO A.J. Lovitt. “Nikki’s knowledge and experience are valuable to the continued success of CAA. Her leadership is an asset to our owners and company partners as we work together to grow CAA’s member agencies.”

Iroquois Group hires specialty VP

Iroquois Group has appointed Charles Venus to the newly created position of vice president of middle market and specialty. Prior to joining the Iroquois network, Venus was the commercial lines leader for Brown & Brown of Virginia and also served in a number of leadership roles with Travelers and The Hartford. “Charlie is uniquely qualified to fill this new role for Iroquois, based on his years of working with national carriers and strong regional agencies,” said Iroquois Group executive officer Matt Ward. “His knowledge of our carrier partners’ appetite for middle-market and specialty lines will greatly assist our members in writing more of this business.”

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WORKERS COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Safety National snaps up Midlands Management

Safety National has acquired Midlands Management Corporation, an MGA, wholesale broker, program administrator and insurance provider specializing in excess workers’ compensation. Midlands Management is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Safety National; both firms’ executive teams remained unchanged after the deal. “We are very excited about this opportunity,” said Safety National CEO Mark Wilhelm. “Safety National is gaining a specialty MGA with a successful long-term track record, proven leadership and a talented team of customer-focused employees.”

Nonfatal workplace injury and illness cases decline

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017, a decrease of nearly 45,800 cases compared to the prior year. Of the cases reported, nearly a third resulted in days away from work. The private industry incidence rate for days away from work was 89.4 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers, and the median time away from work in 2017 was eight days, a figure that remains unchanged from 2016.

Normandy Insurance expands into Texas

Normandy Insurance Company, a specialized workers’ compensation carrier, is now offering coverage to businesses in Texas. This is the Floridabased insurer’s fourth major expansion in the past two years, following similar moves into Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. “Normandy’s plan has


always been to grow methodically throughout the United States, with a commitment to our company’s promise that all customers will receive exceptional service,” said Jayson Buechler, the company’s senior vice president and chief underwriting officer. “We anticipate continued expansion into more states.”

Randall & Quilter increases involvement in workers’ comp

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings [R&Q] has assumed the workers’ compensation liabilities of a Vermontbased self-insurer via its wholly owned carrier, Accredited Surety & Casualty, which will allow for the dissolution of the self-insurer’s workers’ compensation trust. R&Q also announced the novation of reinsurance policies issued between 2002 and 2009 by a Cayman-domiciled group captive that provided workers’ compensation coverage to its members. “These two transactions demonstrate our ability to provide exit solutions to the self-insurance space and reinforce our position in providing captive exit solutions,” said R&Q CEO Ken Randall.

Digital workers’ comp insurer moves into five new states

Pie Insurance is now selling workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses in New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Nebraska. The firm offers small businesses easy-to-understand quotes through desktop devices and/or smartphones. Pie Insurance uses predictive analytics and high-quality data sets to digitize the workers’ compensation insurance experience, potentially saving clients up to 30% in costs. “America’s small businesses deserve a better workers’ comp insurance experience, as well as the ability to find savings in the process,” said Pie Insurance co-founder and CEO John Swigart.

Ripe for disruption Workers’ compensation represents a key market where technology can help drive steadier results As the largest commercial lines segment in the US property & casualty insurance business, workers’ compensation is “a prime target” for technology investment, according to global ratings agency Fitch Ratings. “Workers’ compensation is a focal point for insurers’ efforts to leverage new technologies to gain operating efficiency, reduce workplace injuries and improve claims outcomes,” Jim Auden, managing director at Fitch, wrote in a recent report from the ratings agency. “Insurers that lag in innovation face the risk of adverse selection in their underwriting portfolio and expense disadvantages.” Fitch found that most workers’ compensation underwriters are operating from a position of strength after a fourth consecutive year of market underwriting profits in 2018. However, workers’ comp has also experienced historical instances of very large losses fueled by inadequate pricing and claims volatility. Workers’ comp is traditionally a quite cyclical market. At present, it’s in the middle of an extended soft-market phase where rates and loss costs are trending downwards. According to Blake Berman, SVP in the strategic advisory group at Guy Carpenter, persistent market softening might be the real challenge for workers’ comp insurers. “Loss costs have come down,” Berman says, “which has resulted in favorable development on prior accident years, but the depressing effect that’s having on going-forward pricing could be setting the industry up for a potential change in the market cycle.” The challenge with workers’ compensation is the longevity of the business. Health, injury

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and ailment claims tend to have long liability tails, which insurers must price for if they want to stay profitable. “The industry has seen a downtick in loss cost trends over the past 24 months, and carriers are pricing business with that in mind,”

tions we might have seen six or seven years ago. “The challenge in any insurance line with such a long average liability tail,” he adds, “is that any small pricing errors today can really be magnified because of how long those payout streams could potentially last.

“Insurers that lag in innovation face the risk of adverse selection in their underwriting portfolio and expense disadvantages” says Charles Sebaski, North America head of business intelligence at Guy Carpenter. “In doing so, they’re at risk of having some recency bias. The loss cost downtick not only has the potential to reverse, but when you think about how long workers’ compensation liability tails can last, the market could revert back to condi-

Historically, there have been challenges in the workers’ compensation line around finding clarity on how to price loss cost trends for the next decade.” These types of pricing challenges are precisely why Fitch Ratings believes the workers’ comp market is ripe for disruption.


The agency noted that the success of insurers’ tech initiatives is measured in part on their ability to generate steadier results over the long term. By using technology to process, analyze and store large and more diverse volumes of data, workers’ compensation insurers can create greater modeling sophistication in risk segmentation and pricing.

WE LISTEN. Active listening and open discussions are the cornerstones of Safety National’s customized approach.

Let’s start the conversation. | 888.995.5300

Workers’ Compensation | Commercial Liability Public Entity Liability | Commercial Auto | Cyber | LPTs

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Getting hands-on with data Networks are increasingly investing in technology to give smaller agencies access to data

carriers,” Tiene continues, “and can see analytics and metrics that individual carriers cannot because they don’t have access to the [same range of ] data. The carriers can see where they are individually, and they can make some judgment calls based on other very high-level data that’s available to them, but they don’t have the kind of data that the networks have.” In 2019, more and more agency networks and clusters will invest in and deploy data

“The networks are in a position where they can analyze data from a number of carriers”

Data is the fuel that can propel the insurance industry into the future. When armed with more valuable data, agents can direct their marketing efforts and distribute products more efficiently. But what if you’re a smaller independent agency and you can’t get access to analytics technology? That’s where agency networks and clusters can provide a helping hand, according John Tiene, CEO of Agency Network Exchange [ANE], a network of more than 70 independent agencies across the Mid-Atlantic states.


“One of the biggest issues agency networks are talking about right now is data and how to get more control of the data that’s out there,” Tiene says. “We want to collate data, analyze it and drive value back to our agent members by learning from that data. It’s very similar to what some of the carriers are doing, but agency networks are actually in a much stronger position because we have data from lots of different carriers. “The networks are in a position where they can analyze data from a number of

Usage-based insurance set for major surge

The usage-based insurance [UBI] market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 17% between 2018 and 2024, according to a new report by Global Market Insights. One of the major factors driving this growth is the increased production of vehicles embedded with telematics or using external tracking systems to capture data. Other growth drivers include the increasing prevalence of smartphones with the ability to connect to onboard devices, as well as an increase in the number of connected cars.


analytics tools in order to bring new business opportunities to the distribution channel. Tiene points out that ANE’s member agencies write approximately $700 million of P&C premium; ANE is investing in technology in order to “get our arms around what’s within that $700 million data set.” “By investing in data analytics technology, we’ll be able to provide our agents with insights into their books of business that they haven’t seen before,” he adds. “We can identify opportunities for them on a macro level, which would not be available to them as an individual agent. That’s one of the big initiatives for us at ANE through 2019, but I think it’s also one of the big trends we’re going to see come out of agency networks this year.”

Partnership aims to help Aon streamline claims

In partnership with insurtech Claim Central, Aon is streamlining claims management capabilities for its clients by incorporating Claim Central’s technology, including live video streaming, aerial imagery, real-time chat, customer sentiment measures and online payments, into the claims process. “Claim Central is utilizing technology to make a meaningful impact in the area of claims management, and this is increasingly important for our (re)insurer clients,” said Andy Marcell, chief executive of Aon’s reinsurance solutions business.

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Years in the industry 17 Fast fact According to Deloitte, 70% of insurers are using cloud-computing technology today

Why 2019 is the year to ditch paper What’s the first thing agents need to do if they want to transform their business in 2019? Scrap the paper and go digital! I still see a lot of insurance agencies that are reliant upon paper, which is such an inefficient way to run a business. If you’re looking to grow your agency and increase its value, one of the easiest ways to do that is to digitize your environment. You can do that by getting an agency management system with a document imaging system built in. It’s truly back to basics, but the number of agencies that continue to run off of paper is astounding.

Why is it important for insurance agencies to automate touchpoints? Insurance is a social business. In order to maintain, operate at and exceed the service levels of your competitors, you need to have technology that will automate your marketing process. Insurance marketing isn’t just sending out emails to say: ‘Thank you for filling in this form. Here’s your quote.’ It’s part of a wider process of building and maintaining relationships. As you grow your agency, you need to find ways to supplement what you’re already doing to engage with clients by using technology to make those touchpoints easier, quicker and more efficient.

Why should agencies look into comparative rating systems? Insurance markets are constantly changing. Players

Zurich selects startups for global competition

Zurich North America has selected insurtechs Chisel and to represent North America in the first-ever Zurich Innovation World Championship, in which eight startups will compete for the opportunity to pilot their product with Zurich. Toronto-based Chisel provides AI solutions for the global insurance industry, while California-based offers AI-powered property analytics. “These two companies represent the spirit of innovation that Zurich continues to foster,” said Zurich North America’s Anurag Batta.


enter and exit markets all the time, and rates can fluctuate drastically as carriers look to maintain their profitability as well as their competitiveness in any given market. Because of that market dynamic, agents tend to see a lot of flux in terms of what rates they can offer to consumers. The only way you can truly stay on top of that – and this applies to all insurance lines – is by using a comparative rating system and having a consolidated, normalized workflow for quoting new business, which compares all carriers together and finds the best valuedriven policy you can provide for your customers.

If an agency is new to technology, where should they start? It really depends on what the goal of your agency is. If your goal is to build long-term relationships with clients and to understand clients better, then you should look at investing in an agency management system that fits your needs, as well as an automated marketing system. But if your goal is to really boost sales and to make sure your agency is operating at its highest possible efficiency, then you might want to invest in a comparative rater first. At ITC, we’re a huge proponent of finding the technology and the systems that best meet your needs. It’s really important to do your research into every piece of technology you buy so that you fully understand what benefits it will bring to your agency when it comes to features, functionality and, most importantly, cost.

Erie Insurance invests in two accelerator grads

Erie Insurance has invested in two startups, SimpleSense and CityGrows, from the Erie Innovation District’s startup accelerator. SimpleSense aims to speed up emergency response with sensors and apps that share information between building owners and first responders, while CityGrows is creating cloud-based workflow management for local governments. “Our primary objective is to help drive economic growth in Erie, Pennsylvania, and to help the Erie Innovation District succeed,” said Erie Insurance president and CEO Tim NeCastro.

Insurtech investment spikes in the third quarter

According to a recent report from Willis Towers Watson, the insurtech space saw more than $1.3 billion in funding during the third quarter of 2018 – more than double the amount from the previous quarter. In addition, there were eight transactions worth more than $40 million, compared to six the previous quarter. Willis Towers Watson noted that insurers continue to actively participate in insurtech funding, although the pace has slowed – the third quarter saw a 20% drop in the number of transactions.

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BRAND BUILDER Standing out in a competitive market means having a strong brand, which Bobby Bowden has helped establish at Allied World through a laser focus on creating long-lasting partnerships

IN 1991, after spending a year selling advertising and deciding that it wasn’t the job for him, Bobby Bowden found himself working as a D&O underwriter at AIG. He was surrounded by some of the insurance industry’s future bigwigs, including those who now lead Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, CNA, Sompo International, Starr Insurance Companies and, in Bowden’s case, Allied World. The team reported to John Doyle, the current president and CEO at Marsh. It was an auspicious start to Bowden’s insurance career, which has now spanned decades. “It’s funny that a lot of the group that I was paired with for my first two years as an underwriter have all turned out to do big jobs in the industry,” Bowden says, adding that the former team still keeps in touch to this day. From this jumping-off point, Bowden tried out life as a broker at Marsh & McLennan for four years before returning to AIG to help out on a team that was launching a mergers and acquisitions underwriting group. From there, he became a regional president at AIG, which in 2001 became one of the founders of Allied World, a global provider of insurance and reinsurance solutions. Because Bowden was familiar with the company’s management team, when an opportunity arose to help build out Allied World’s North American offices, he was the right person for the job. Today, Bowden is responsible for global marketing and distri-


bution at Allied World, as well as the company’s North American regional office network. “Every step along the way had common themes, from the standpoint of working with brokers, working with clients and working with underwriters,” he says. While all these experiences provided crucial lessons, Bowden says the key factors that have kept him interested in insurance throughout the years are the camaraderie and the rapid pace of change

so it’s not an industry that’s stale,” he says. “There is a clear interconnectivity between events and insurance.”

What’s in a name? Bowden is in charge of the Allied World brand, which means he has to consider what the company’s name stands for from the perspective of all stakeholders in the insurance process. “It’s just as important for your employees

“Whether it’s the economic slowdown, interest rates or tariff wars that are going on today … everything that you read about in the paper really comes back to insurance at the end of the day, so it’s not an industry that’s stale. There is a clear interconnectivity between events and insurance” that makes the industry so dynamic. “Whether it’s the economic slowdown, interest rates or tariff wars that are going on today – you look at Brexit; you could look at global warming and some of the extreme weather we’re having and its impact – everything that you read about in the paper really comes back to insurance at the end of the day,

to be a part of your brand, to try to make the company a preferred place to work, and [for employees] to serve as brand ambassadors externally,” he says. “You want to have a brand with brokers, as they are very important intermediaries and trading partners to us. If you are going to deliver the brand for the brokers, what does that mean to us? We have

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PROFILE Name: Bobby Bowden Title: Global chief marketing and distribution officer Company: Allied World Based in: Los Angeles Years in the industry: 27 Career highlight: Building out the Allied World offices in North America

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committed to always showing well in front of clients, always being prepared, being engaged with our customers and showing them that we are truly underwriting their risks.” To stand out in a competitive insurance landscape, Allied World works on fostering meaningful relationships with all of its partners. When it comes to the end customer, that means putting a priority on paying out claims. “We try and make contracts black and white as best we can,” Bowden says, “but there are always gray areas that come up in these contracts, which comes back to the intent of

history and its ability to withstand the fallout from Brexit. (It holds licenses in Switzerland and Ireland.) “You now have potential free trade issues and other uncertainties surrounding how this is going to work out,” Bowden says of Britain’s pending split with the EU, “but it’s business as usual for us.” Meanwhile, in North America, he says Allied World is “just scratching the surface” of its business potential, even after being up and running for close to 20 years. “We have 12 regions, all with plans to achieve a goal of over

“If you know the client and if you’ve met with them over a multi-year period, it’s much easier to work through the issues and get rid of the gray area to get claims paid” the policy. If you know the client and if you’ve met with them over a multi-year period, it’s much easier to work through the issues and get rid of that gray area to get claims paid. “What stands out for us,” he continues, “is that we’ve paid, since we started the company, over $10 billion in claim payments – that represents around 450,000 different claims. The greatest part of it for us is that when we’ve done evaluations of our own book, 99.9% of all of our claims have been settled without dispute against an insured. That comes back to the whole idea that it’s a philosophy more than just an interesting stat. It says that we’re really working with the insured to get the right result at the end of the day.”

Worldwide presence Looking at the global insurance landscape, Allied World has a wide range of products and a presence in all regions, from Asia-Pacific to Europe and the UK, where the company is well-positioned for growth because of its long


$200 million,” Bowden says. To handle the many emerging risks today – from cyber incidents and changing employment practices to business interruption issues and natural catastrophes – Allied World is determined to find the best partners across the industry, whether brokers, MGAs or wholesalers, to bring value to its insureds. “There’s a lot of trepidation with regard to choosing the right partners with the right integrity, with the right technology, with the right mousetrap [to] drive growth, and we’ve focused different strategies on each one of those trading partners,” Bowden says. “At the same time, there’s a continued effort that started from day one, [which] is the client engagement component. That’s where we’re spending more time with the clients, getting to know them better and building personal relationships. By taking this approach, we understand their business better, and they understand us so that, in the event of a claim, they know us on a first-name basis.”


2001 Year Allied World was established

21 Number of Allied World offices around the globe

1,400+ Number of Allied World employees worldwide

$3.3 billion Gross written premium generated by Allied World in 2018

37,000+ Number of large account, middle-market SME policyholders and cedents with Allied World globally

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MAGAZINE The country’s leading business magazine for today’s sophisticated commercial insurance broker/agent.

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15/02/2019 10:49:19 5:45:42 AM 14/03/2018 PM



TOP 2019 IBA celebrates 65 standout producers who represent the top tier of America’s insurance industry TOP PRODUCERS INDEX NAME


Babij, Carrie

Desert Insurance Solutions Inc.

Bajza, Jeff




Knight, Tamara

Esser Hayes Insurance Group


LaMantia, Tyler



Lee, Mark



Loar, Kevin

Woodruff Sawyer


Lugering, Scott

Insurance Solutions of America Inc.



Maconaghy, Jeff







Denbo, Will

Commercial Insurance Associates LLC




Eagan, Marcus

Eagan Insurance Agency Inc.


Becerra, Jerry

Barbary Insurance Brokerage


Fanberg, Zachary

Eagan Insurance Agency Inc.


Beck, Dan

Snapp & Associates Insurance Services Inc.


Fenzl, Brian

M&T Insurance Agency Inc.


Fishel, David



Fisk, Steve

Marsh & McLennan Agency


Bridges, D. Jarrett

Turner & Associates Insurance Inc.


Brooke, Jonathan

Acentria Insurance


Foote, Rob

Frank H. Furman Inc.


Manaktala, Alka

Insurance Office of America


Budney, Shawn

Acentria Insurance


Fox, Kevin

Capstone Group


Masi, Phillip



Chapman, Allen

Hub International Gulf South Limited


Glover, Dustin

Threlkeld & Company Insurance


Mason, Kevin

Acentria Insurance


Christiansen, Leroy

Gulfshore Insurance


Gresser, Mark



McIntosh, Jeff

Energy Insurance Agency Inc.


Clausen, David

Coastal Insurance Solutions


Hendren, Bob



McKinnon, David

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.


Coyle, Hugh

Integro Insurance Brokers


Jabour, Joshua

AirSure Limited, an AssuredPartners company


Meyer, Scott

Willis Towers Watson


Owen-Dunn Insurance Services

Middleton, Bob

Arts Insurance Program


Curiel, Thea


Johnson, Brian

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.


Miller, David

Bolton & Company



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FOR THE fifth year in a row, Insurance Business America is singling out the best-performing insurance professionals from around the country. The 65 producers featured here collectively earned $32.4 million in commission revenue in 2018. Six producers crossed the $3 million mark on their own, earning a spot in IBA’s Platinum Producers Club, which gives special recognition to the individuals who are within the top percentile of all producers. While the majority of this year’s Top Producers are veterans with more than 10 years of experience, the 2019 group also contains several rookies who have proved that impressive results can be achieved within just a few short years. On the following pages, the 2019 Top Producers share the keys to their success and the strategies they employed to generate such impressive numbers over the past year.




Moss, Ryan



Noah, Randy



Payne, Brian

Field Insurance Agency of Surfside Inc.


Pilgrim, Dwight

Rich & Cartmill Inc.


Powers, Timothy

Missouri General Insurance Agency Inc.


Powers, JD

Powers Insurance & Risk Management


Russell, James

Texas Associates Insurors


Sackler, Sam

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.

Schawe, David

To qualify as a Top Producer, applicants must have achieved at least $750,000 in commission revenue in 2018, with at least 50% commercial P&C business and demonstrated year-over-year growth. Each nominated producer was required to provide specific details about his or her business to be eligible. Producers whose 2018 commission revenue exceeded the $3 million mark were named to the Platinum Producers Club in recognition of their impressive achievement.




Average number of clients

Fewer than 5 years 5% Six to 10 years 16% 11 to 20 years 39% 21 to 30 years 24% 30+ years 16%


Average number of policies written

$1.7 million

Average commission revenue




Sharifi, Negar



Stanton, Brian

Gateway-Acentria Insurance


Suatoni, Ray

M&T Insurance Agency Inc.


Sunderman, Coy

Texas Associates Insurors


Terlecki, Richard



Tucker, Ken



Vaughan, Trae

Brock Insurance Agency



Von Haden, Ryan

TRICOR Insurance




Weber, Kevin

M&T Insurance Agency Inc.


Schielack, Kyle



Weber, Robert

Rainprotection Insurance


Schneider, Brian



Weiser, Eric

Weiser Insurance Group


Schreter, Jonathan

Bolton & Company


Young, Jason

Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Inc.


Shaffer, John

M&T Insurance Agency Inc.


Zisook, Steve

Rosenthal Brothers Insurance



Regional 68% National 25% Multinational 7%





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Throughout his career, Will Denbo’s key to success has been twofold: relying on his team to support both him and his clients, and growing through referrals. “Relying on my team of great client



Steve Zisook is a producer at Illinois-


managers, client service representatives, account executives and producers that I have brought into my inner circle allows me to add bench strength and support to claims, loss control and client services so that I can focus my attention on face time with current clients and customers, as well as soliciting new customers,” Denbo says. “I lean on my customers for referrals and introductions to new opportunities. The network within the niche that I focus on is very tight. I ask my clients who value my service and expertise to make personal introductions to their peers and friends in the industry who might be looking for the same type of partnership with their own insurance agent.” In addition, Denbo lives by the motto “if you’re not growing you’re dying,” which propels him to keep his pipeline filled with new business opportunities.

As vice president at Acentria Insurance, Shawn Budney brings almost two decades of industry experience to the organization. Specializing in national multifamily, commercial real estate and high-hazard risk management, Budney believes his key to success lies in building relationships with clients and prospects. He puts a high priority on conducting carrier negotiations on thresholds and attachment points to layered programs, evaluation of proper insurable valuations, and final pricing to ensure his clients obtain the proper coverage at the best possible premium. A team player, Budney often works with other producers across the organization to round out accounts. His hard work has earned him several awards, including the Top Gun Award with his previous employer and Acentria’s Top Producer recognition for two consecutive years.

based Rosenthal Brothers Insurance, where he specializes in real estate insurance for condo associations, apartment buildings, commercial buildings, developers, general contractors and property managers.


With more than 20 years of experience consulting with companies in the construction, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate development and hospitality industries, Sam Sackler has served as a commercial insurance consultant for Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance since 2004. Believing that the industry is best served by those who acquire and maintain a high standard of professionalism, he has earned his CIC and CRM designations. Outside of insurance, Sackler has served on the boards and committees for a number of community and professional organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America’s sporting clay committee, the Hattiesburg Historic Downtown Association, the USM Symphony Gala and the Area Development Partnership. He is also an alumnus of the 2012 Leadership Mississippi class and has been asked to teach emerging contractors about bonds and insurance through the Mississippi Development Authority’s annual model contractor development program.

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TOP 2019

HUGH F. COYLE Managing principal and West Coast real estate development and construction practice leader INTEGRO INSURANCE BROKERS

Hugh Coyle has 27 years of experience as a P&C insurance broker, including experience in the London and Bermuda marketplaces. During his career, Coyle has primarily served clients in the real estate, construction, technology and healthcare industries. He has placed insurance programs for close to $10 billion worth of construction projects, including hotels, bridges, tunnels and several prestigious museums in San Francisco, as well as


Specializing in construction risk management services, Randy Noah supports AssuredPartners’ goal of designing and implementing industry-leading programs by focusing on the total cost of risk and facilitating surety solutions to solve his clients’ business challenges. Additionally, Noah provides advocacy, contract review,

JAMES S. RUSSELL Partner, insurance and risk advisor TEXAS ASSOCIATES INSURORS

The driving factors behind James Russell’s success have been his firm work ethic, along with his desire to form genuine relationships with carriers, coworkers and clients. “I was fortunate enough to have a background that prepared me to have

5,200 multifamily units in the Bay Area. Coyle credits his success to “specific expertise in addressing the risks of real estate development and construction; understanding of clients’ needs, timelines and expectations at each stage of the development process; professionalism and market relationships to provide best-inclass insurance program solutions; and becoming a highly responsive and engaged member of clients’ project teams.” In 2018, Coyle and his team excelled by executing more transactions for more clients while continuing to offer an “ultraboutique” approach. “High growth always requires greater communication and strong teamwork, in addition to support from key underwriters,” he says.

proactive management services, financial analysis and strategic positioning to enhance his clients’ balance sheets and help them win more jobs. “The key strategy in growing my book of business has been understanding a client’s needs/business plan and then matching them up to the right market/ underwriter,” Noah says. “This requires a thorough knowledge and understanding of the marketplace and connecting the dots. My clients compete every day for work, and I take that personally, as I view each renewal or new business opportunity as a competition. As a former college athlete, I like to win, and so do my clients.”

a goal-oriented, disciplined approach in a job that can sometimes offer significant distraction,” says Russell, who previously was a high-school football coach. “Having now been in the business long enough to truly have a feel for what works for me and what doesn’t, 2018’s success was built on the preceding years’ relationships. My approach has generally been very simple, and I plan to continue on that course. I would like to continue to build meaningful, impactful relationships, which should take care of the goals I have for my book of business.”


Tamara Knight’s approach to growing her book of business has been to focus on being a relationship manager rather than a salesperson. “I get great satisfaction from being able to help protect what matters to my clients,” she says. “My success equates to the success of implementing my clients’ goals and sharing in the responsibility.” Knight is constantly on the lookout for classes and materials to further her knowledge in order to be a better partner for her clients. In 2018, she became involved in peer groups, which boosted her business contacts, and she also focused on pinpointing where her best clients come from to further grow her business. This year, her goal is to become more effective with processes and implementation. “When I meet with potential clients and present ideas, it can be overwhelming and challenging for them to imagine squeezing in one more thing to do differently,” she says. “Execution and ease of doing business will be an important focus going forward.”

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Mark Lee lives by the mantra “do the right thing” when looking after his clients. “To grow your book, you have to take care of your customer by always


Under Kevin Mason’s guidance, Acentria Insurance has become recognized as a leader within the industry. As president, Mason focuses on developing insurance solutions that strengthen Acentria’s presence in the market, as well as its commitment to client relationships and exceptional service. With almost 30 years of industry experience, he specializes in multifamily protection, focusing on national condominium associations. Before co-founding Acentria Insurance, Mason served as branch manager for Insurance Office of America [IOA], where he was recognized as Rookie of the Year. During his tenure with IOA, he was named Agent of the Year and became managing partner of North Florida operations, while also serving on the IOA advisory council. Making his fourth appearance in a row on IBA’s Top Producers list, Mason also led Acentria Insurance to be recognized as an IBA Top Insurance Workplace in 2018. Active in his community, Mason spent more than a decade on the board of directors of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, which funds children’s charities along the Florida Panhandle. He is also a member of the Destin Chamber of Commerce, Community Association Institute and Florida Association of Insurance Agents.



Jonathan Schreter enjoys managing risk for all kinds of businesses, but his career really took off after he identified


Over the course of his career, Bob Middleton has focused on using marketing to provide specialized coverage, services and support to niche markets. For the past 15 years, he has served as owner and director of the Arts Insurance Program, a program of Maury, Donnelly & Parr. The program’s focus on the arts community allows him to “work with incredibly talented and dedicated

having their best interest at heart and doing what is necessary to make sure they have the best-value solution available and the tools necessary to be successful,” he says. “You have to be the valued tool they can’t do without.” Lee’s insurance career began in 2005; today, he is a managing director at Higginbotham, where he focuses on clients in the oil & gas, construction and manufacturing industries. Lee has been recognized multiple times for his success in the industry, including being named an IBA Top Producer in 2016 and 2017.

specific industries where he could deeply examine the key challenges. “For example, charter schools have seen tremendous growth, especially in California,” he says. “I’ve leveraged Bolton & Company’s 35-year history of serving private and independent schools and repurposed our intellectual capital to address the specific needs of these public institutions with great success.” In 2018, Schreter’s number-one priority was ensuring that he used his available time in productive ways that demonstrated a return on ROI, especially when it comes to business development activities like conferences, lunches and other networking opportunities. Currently, he is working on authoring a book to share the insurance intelligence and risk management practices he’s collected over the years.

employees who want to bring their art to their audience,” he says. “It’s incredibly satisfying to help them achieve their goals.” Through the years, the program has developed relationships with numerous associations, including Dance USA, Opera America and the Shakespeare Theatre Association, which has led to tremendous success.

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POWER through Partnership TOP 2019



through Partnership


At AssuredPartners, we’re not just in the insurance business. We’re in the business of developing strong, lasting relationships. Relationships built on trustAssuredPartners, that we earn daywe’re in andnotday as At justout in by theworking insurance business. We’re in the business of developing partners – to achieve common goals. Thatbuilt is what strong, lasting relationships. Relationships on trust that we earn day inPartnership. and day out by working as we call Power through partners – to achieve common goals. That is what


we call Power through Partnership.

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During his 14 years in the industry, Phillip Masi has been the insurance agent for approximately $7 billion in total property values throughout the state of Florida. Since moving to AssuredPartners two years ago, Masi has built a support team that has allowed him to focus more

on new business production, resulting in impressive growth. “[That’s] what allowed me to more than double my historical new business average in 2018,” he says. “Everything we have done to build and design our team has had this goal in mind.” Currently, Masi serves on the board of directors for four large condo associations in Central Florida, is board member for the Central Florida Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and is one of seven licensed Community Insurance Risk Management Specialists in Florida. Masi is also a GKC member and shareholder of the University of Central Florida’s Football Excellence Fund.



Senior vice president



Jason Young began his insurance career at Dan Bottrell Agency in 1992 and was a stakeholder in the business when Trustmark purchased it in 1999. Today, Young and his team manage one of the largest books of business at Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, focusing primarily on contractors’ bonding and insurance, as well as professional liability. In 1992, Young led a team at Bottrell to begin a program for accountants’ and lawyers’ professional liability, including visits to New York and Boston to establish underwriting ties that previously didn’t exist at Bottrell. More than 26 years later, these relationships have grown and expanded.


Immediately after college, Ryan Moss hit the ground running and opened an independent agency in the Houston area, which he managed and grew for over a decade. Nine years ago, he identified an opportunity to better serve his clients



In addition to professional liability, Young continues to be a trusted bonding and insurance advisor to contractor clients. He is a member of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers’ Tiger Trust, has served on various bonding leadership councils, and attends countless construction and professional liability conferences on the East and West Coast.

by merging with Higginbotham, where he now serves as the managing partner for the South Texas region. Moss and his team have comprehensive knowledge in helping middle-market and large commercial clients navigate insurance, specifically in the energy and marine sectors. Outside of Higginbotham, Moss is a founding member of the Golf Reach Scholarship Foundation, a Christian organization that provides financial support for college-bound freshman.

Jerry Becerra has been a licensed P&C insurance agent since 1983, starting his career in personal lines before moving into commercial lines. In 2006, he formed Barbary Insurance Brokerage with the goal of creating an agency that was engaged in the local community and could serve as a reliable resource for advice and insurance products. “There are a lot of things that work for generating business, but the real secret is hard work and consistency,” Becerra says. “However, if I had to give one piece of advice, it is to be an active member in your community. We sell a promise to help in tough times, and the best way to prove you will be there then is to be there now.” In 2018, Becerra revamped his brokerage’s website and added Facebook marketing. He also became more active in a nonprofit organization and joined an accountability group where he reports his results to peers once a week to keep himself on track. For 2019, “I plan to be more visible at public events,” Becerra says. “I may expand my social media marketing to other platforms in addition to Facebook. As always, I will be looking for new opportunities and ways to be innovative.”

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TOP 2019



Executive vice president

Vice president



With extensive experience in creating insurance solutions for a range of industry segments, including aviation, public entities, manufacturing, large regional retail, marine, nonprofits and technology, Allen Chapman strives to maintain strong working relationships with all of his clients. To build his book, Chapman has developed a strategy that starts with his first meeting with a client. “[I] took a hard look at what I was taking to first meetings,” he explains. “My deliverables [were] all over the place, so I focused on putting something together that would get me to a credible place with the prospect.” His current presentation to prospective clients includes trade publication articles, a logo sheet that gives a snapshot of his client base and a claims scenario. “[I take] a picture of a claim scenario [where a claim was denied thrice by the carrier, and we got it paid in full] and the copy of the claim check to illustrate standing behind our customers in the event of a loss,” Chapman says. Outside of the insurance world, Chapman has been actively involved in his local community in Mobile, Alabama, including serving on the board of an independent school, as chairman of the local sports stadium board, as a member of the local Rotary Club and a member of his church’s board of trustees.

Making his third consecutive appearance as an IBA Top Producer, Marcus Eagan is part of the fourth generation of the

JEFF BAJZA Vice president, sales producer AMERIFLOOD

With almost three decades of experience in the insurance industry, Jeff Bajza boasts unparalleled knowledge and outstanding customer service that sets him apart in a competitive marketplace.

TYLER LAMANTIA Area president, San Diego and aviation GALLAGHER

Eagan family to become a vital part of Eagan Insurance Agency. After earning a degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in 2002, Eagan joined the family business. A CIC and CRM designation holder, he specializes in risk management and insurance placements with an emphasis on large property risks, marine and construction clients. Outside of Eagan Insurance Agency, Eagan is president of the board of the Insurance Agents of Greater New Orleans, has been tapped by local media to speak about his business success and has been named to New Orleans CityBusiness’ Ones to Watch column. An avid sailor, Eagan is a three-time collegiate All-American who has won numerous sailing awards on both a national and international level. He’s also a member of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club and Southern Yacht Club.

He founded AmeriFlood in 2005 and has become a subject-matter expert on flood insurance in the multifamily condo association sector. Bajza has also been integral in leading AmeriFlood, a subsidiary of Acentria Insurance, to be voted one of the top insurance agencies in Fort Lauderdale for the past three years.

If Tyler LaMantia had to pick one strategy that has been key to growing his book of business, it would be specializing in a particular class of business and fully immersing himself in that world. “Earning the reputation of a trusted advisor, as opposed to just another vendor, is the key to achieving long-term sustainable success,” he says. As his book has grown, LaMantia has had to focus more on time management and improving his decisions on where to spend his time. Recently, LaMantia moved into a new role as area president, in which he’s responsible for growing Gallagher’s San Diego and aviation operations, which will be his primary focus for 2019.

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Jonathan Brooke brings more than 28 years of experience to Acentria Insurance, where he specializes in the construction

and hospitality industries. Believing in forming strong and meaningful client relationships, Brooke excels at analyzing coverage to reduce potential risk and exposure for his clients and prospects. Prior to joining Acentria Insurance, Brooke was part of a local agency in Fort Myers, Florida, where he was named managing partner in just three years. With a passion for giving back, Brooke has been either a volunteer or board member with several community organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA, the Heights Foundation, the United Way, the Lee County Association of Independent Insurance Agents, Fort Myers High School and the Fort Myers American Little League Association.

Commercial vice president ASSUREDPARTNERS

After graduating from college, Negar Sharifi landed her first job in the audit department at a Big Four accounting firm, where she worked in the timeshare/hotel/ property sector. In 2008, she decided to shift gears and leave accounting behind to learn more about the insurance side of real estate. Since then, Sharifi has built a book of business consisting of more than 250 clients, primarily in the construction and real estate industries. “My strategy over the past 10 and a half years has simply been to work harder than my competition,” she says. “Even after being in the business for 10 and a half years, I still, to this day, cold-call accounts. Last year, cold calls alone accounted for over $100,000 in new business revenue.” In 2018, Sharifi and her partner hired support staff to alleviate administrative responsibilities, which allowed Sharifi to grow her business even further. “Those responsibilities were getting in the way of our ability to sell,” she says. “It got to the point where administrative tasks became so cumbersome that we were turning away incoming leads. Instead, we hired smart teammates and trained them up so that they can run with the assignments we give to them.”


DAVID MILLER Senior vice president BOLTON & COMPANY

Over the course of his career, David Miller has remained committed to building relationships and focusing his energy on particular niches. Last year, he took those efforts a step further by expanding the geographical reach


At M&T Insurance Agency, John Shaffer specializes in providing enterprise risk management solutions for businesses in heavy casualty industries such as waste management, construction and property management. He also provides both contract and commercial surety solutions to a wide array of

of his network, which resulted to more opportunities within his niche segments. “Continuing to advocate for and educate my clients and prospects has led to more word-of-mouth exposure as well,” he says. Prior to joining Bolton & Company in 2014, Miller worked for several years at Merrill Lynch, where he served as operations controller and then operations supervisor, responsible for the growth and development of the department, which resulted in him being promoted to director of internal audit preparations.

businesses. A Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist and Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist, Shaffer also holds several accreditations from the National Association of Surety Bond Producers. Shaffer identifies honest and frequent communication, responsiveness, and a caring nature as the pillars of his success. “I care as much about the people that work for the companies I represent as the companies themselves,” he says. “I have an unbridled willingness to do not just what is required, but to do everything I possibly can for the client’s benefit. I’m driven by a desire for my clients to know that no other broker will care as much as I do.”

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TOP 2019

COY SUNDERMAN Partner, insurance and risk advisor TEXAS ASSOCIATES INSURORS

Coy Sunderman and the team at Texas Associates Insurors have developed a proactive approach to help clients understand that there’s more to their role than simply issuing insurance policies. “With a majority of my accounts in the energy sector, my team and I always have to be on our A game,” Sunderman says. “These are large and complex accounts – they are easily affected by market conditions, equipment prices, regulations and political unrest. Our clients are depending on our expertise and understanding of how these factors positively or negatively affect their business. I spend a lot of time

understanding how these items affect their business by attending association meetings, reading industry journals and dedicating my time to understanding my clients’ business. This ultimately puts us as a trusted advisor when we are having conversations with clients and prospects who need an agency that understands their business versus one that ‘dabbles’ in energy.” Sunderman also understands that standing out in a competitive market means offering clients more value. “We work hard to develop other services for our clients,” he says. “The capabilities include fee-based consulting for HR, safety and compliance, as well as options for captives and self-funded programs. This allow us to meet our clients’ growing needs and continue to prospect for larger clients.”

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David Clausen founded Coastal Insurance Solutions in 2001 to meet the insurance needs of Long Islanders, specializing in home and flood insurance. Strong carrier relationships and an aggressive sales

strategy have allowed Coastal Insurance Solutions to triple in size over the past five years. “A niche-based insurance branding approach, combined with a relentless refinement of various marketing mediums, has produced the largest growth over the years,” Clausen says. Last year, he focused on improving the insurance-buying experience by implementing new technology; this year, he’s looking to expand his agency’s geographic reach by testing different locations throughout the US.

JOSH JABOUR Sales executive

KEVIN R. WEBER Vice president and senior property & casualty insurance sales representative M&T INSURANCE AGENCY

A former collegiate hockey player named to the Oswego State Hockey Hall of Fame, Kevin Weber got his start in the insurance business in the mid-1980s as an underwriter with Cigna Property & Casualty Insurance Company. In 1987, he joined Matthews, Bartlett & Dedecker (now M&T Insurance Agency) as an account executive, growing his expertise


As a senior vice president at Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance, Brian Johnson is responsible for providing solutions that include risk analysis, claims mitigation, claims management and value-added risk management services. He was able to exceed the million-dollar revenue mark in less than seven years and is currently close to exceeding $2 million annual revenue. Johnson is a graduate of the Leadership



to encompass healthcare, manufacturing, construction, real estate and captive insurance programs. “My key strategy has been in cultivating relationships on both a business and social basis,” Weber says. “I have primarily done this through expanding relationships with current clients and engaging with several outside organizations. [In 2019], I will continue to do what has made me successful, which is making a concerted effort to visit clients on a regular basis. In today’s age of technology and electronic delivery of insurance services, this is more important than ever before in order to continue to cultivate and expand relationships.”

Mississippi Class of 2010, the Leadership Greater Jackson Class of 2011–2012 and the National Alliance Producer School, where he finished fifth in his class. An active member of several insurance organizations, Johnson is also part of the MS Road Builders Association, the Minority Contractors Association of Mississippi and the National Association of Surety Bond Producers. He is also involved with many civic and community-based organizations, including the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, 100 Black Men of Jackson, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the FBI Citizens Academy and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Josh Jabour began his insurance career in 2003 as an aviation insurance broker. Today, he’s sales executive at AirSure, where he is responsible for developing commercial fixed- and rotor-wing accounts, in addition to handling and developing products and maintenance programs for fixed-based operators and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities. “Aviation is a passion for me, so being able to represent, advise and be around the people I admire and respect helps my passion shine through,” Jabour says, adding that 2018 “saw the aviation market harden for the first time in a decade. I made it a top priority to stay educated on driving market factors; this knowledge and insight allowed me to stay in front of the conversation, retain my current clients and better educate incoming prospects.” Jabour is a member of several local, regional and national business aviation and insurance associations. Last year, he was named to the National Business Aviation Association’s inaugural Top 40 Under 40 list. In addition, he advocates for Part 135 air charter operators on the National Air Transportation Association’s air charter safety committee; is a member of the North Texas Business Aviation Association, the Aircraft Owner & Pilots Association and Experimental Aircraft Association; and is a colonel in the Commemorative Air Force.

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TOP 2019

BOB HENDREN Executive vice president, business insurance HIGGINBOTHAM


Bob Hendren’s key strategy for growing his book of business involves melding value with communication. “I look for ways to bring value beyond insurance coverage to my clients and prospects,” he says, “like sending them OSHA compliance updates, assisting with their contract reviews and helping them with employee training.” In addition, consistent communication with clients about their operations helps

Hendren find opportunities to retain clients and earn referrals and new business. To drive success in 2018, Hendren put more emphasis on “calendar discipline” and also identified areas in the market with room for improvement so he could fill those voids when working with his clients. “I continue to see more gaps in coverage, claims reserves set too high and brokers who have become complacent about educating their clients about the marketplace and outside-the-box options to control their total cost of risk,” he says. “My plan for 2019 is to continue to pull the curtain back on our industry, revealing what goes into marketing, loss control, claims and underwriting processes so my prospective clients can make well-informed decisions to best protect their businesses.”


For Carrie Babij, technical competence and a capacity and commitment to deliver quality service have been the foundation of a stellar career. In addition, her ability to listen to cues and respond in an empathic way has been a key differentiator. “I really like people,” Babij explains, “so I make people friends because I like them as friends, not because I want to sell them insurance. Then I give them advice because they are my friends, not because I want to sell them insurance. It has to be authentic – otherwise people will see right through it. After that, my friends want to buy insurance from me.” Babij knows that in order to achieve her goals, she needs to avoid time-consuming administrative tasks. In 2018, she focused on building a team of support staff that she could trust with service, administration and new business processing. “Now that my support staff and carrier network is organized and in place, I plan to do more of what has been working,” she says. “I also plan to expand my personal reach to multiple prospects through approaches such as educational seminars directed at prospects and centers of influence.”


Three key elements have propelled Trae Vaughan’s career: developing a niche, having a mentor and building the best centers of influence in his area. While working at Travelers, Vaughan was trained in construction underwriting, and he naturally progressed into working with real estate owners and developers. Today, he continues to hone his skills within those two markets while looking for other ways

to develop niches. When working with clients, Vaughan has created centers of influence that have become a critical resource in growing his business. “My best high-quality customers have come from my existing customers, CPAs, attorneys, banks, payroll companies, etc.,” he says. “The key to developing great relationships with these COIs is to do a great job with the folks they send you and to send them good qualified leads back when practical.” Vaughan also credits his mentors for the success he has achieved. “I am fortunate to have several mentors and wouldn’t have had half of my success without them,” he says. “You can quickly cut the learning curve out of our business if you have an experienced and successful mentor with a vested interest in your success.” To expand his current book of business and open up doors with new prospects, Vaughan also helped develop a proprietary captive within his agency. “Not only has this provided a great valued-added service to our existing client base and created a new cross-sell opportunity,” he says, “it’s also opened up doors with prospective customers we likely never would have had an opportunity to talk to.”

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Executive vice president

Senior vice president, partner


With a decade of insurance experience, Kyle Schielack joined Higginbotham two years ago as a vice president. Today, he serves as EVP at the firm’s Houston office, where he partners with divisions such as financial services and employee benefits to provide a mutual benefit for clients and the agency. Schielack credits great mentors and networking as his keys to success in insurance. “I believe you can never have enough mentors,” he says. “I’ve found that most mentors think differently, and this gives you fresh ideas on strategies that work well. Networking and building relationships within the community not only helps you expand your opportunities for success, but it allows you a better understanding of buyers’ wants and needs as our industry, services and products continue to change through time.” Schielack is passing on that mentality by serving as a mentor to young agents; in addition, he dedicates his time to serving his community in a variety of capacities, including the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. He also established Live Oak Professionals, a group of young executives committed to professional development.

DAVID SCHAWE JR. Area executive vice president GALLAGHER



With expertise placing and managing international insurance programs, Kevin Loar provides brokerage and consulting services to address clients’ property & casualty exposures. Prior to his current role, Loar held various account management roles at Woodruff Sawyer,


serving as primary account handler for key technology clients and working with the firm’s Assurex partners to develop a guide for compulsory policies placed internationally. Loar’s strategy has always been to keep his clients and contacts consistently impressed with his service. “Whether it was a client who had moved to another firm and hired us again or an influencer who has consistently referred business because of the high level of service they know we offer, much of my success this year and in prior years was a result of this,” he says. “In order to keep leaving a strong impression, I make myself available and accountable.”

During his six years as vice president at Weiser Insurance Group, Eric Weiser has concentrated on understanding the core business, risk and future needs of his clients. “I take the time to work with them instead of selling to them and have been told I seem more like an employee and trusted advisor than

an outside vendor,” Weiser says. “Behind my deep-rooted fulfillment from helping my clients and seeing them succeed is knowing that my back-office team excels in several industries, providing me the ability to deliver on my promises.” In addition to determination and a desire to serve clients, Weiser believes education is key to success. Investing in education will be a top priority for him in 2019, in addition to ensuring his team continues to deliver trust, transparency and true partnership to clients. “I expect that my unique vantage point allows me to continue to drive change and instill empowerment to an industry that is ‘old’ in its culture,” he says.

Making a repeat appearance on IBA’s Top Producers list, David Schawe’s strategy has been simple, if not necessarily easy: work hard. “Beyond hard work, there was no ‘secret recipe’ to my success,” Schawe says. “The hardest part is doing it every single day. Do the basic blocking and tackling of taking care of your clients’ needs, and if they’re really happy with their broker, they will let their peers know.” Other key tactics for Schawe have been emphasizing problem-solving and technology, understanding how to make the jobs of clients’ risk management teams easier, and delivering ideas rather than just

premiums and programs. “Take the extra time to learn about their business and figure out what they really need, not just what they say they need,” he advises. “Pay attention, and listen more than you talk.” In 2018, Schawe embraced Gallagher’s CORE360 approach. “While it sounds gimmicky, it’s really a great way to frame the conversation about a client’s risk by looking at six buckets,” he says. “Most brokers stop after the first two – insurance premiums and program structure – but we also assess coverage gaps, uninsured and uninsurable losses, loss prevention, and claims and contractual liability.”


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TOP 2019

RAY SUATONI Vice president and regional director, construction services M&T INSURANCE AGENCY

In 1980, Ray Suatoni began his career as an insurance and bonding specialist with Wausau Insurance. He went on to work in the construction departments at Hatch Leonard Naples and First Niagara Risk Management before joining M&T Insurance Agency. Suatoni describes his career strategy as always trying to exceed the expectations of his customers. “In order to accomplish that, I found it necessary to surround myself with talented risk management teams that shared common goals,” he says. “In addition, although I have been in the insurance and surety business for many years, I have continuously focused on developing my technical knowledge.” In addition to his production duties at M&T, Suatoni is also the market leader for Upstate New York, which requires him to devote time to coaching younger producers. “I found it necessary to only pursue larger and more complicated business, and share smaller business accounts as an opportunity and development tool for those producers,” he says. “By doing so, our region has benefited by further developing a team-based approach that has created more capacity for additional sales.”


Throughout his career, Tim Powers has dedicated himself to offering his clients first-class service by following the golden rule: treating others as he would want to be treated. Powers’ experience includes starting several businesses and working with one of the largest companies in the US. At Missouri General Insurance Agency, he enjoys working with individuals and business owners in the St. Louis area to assist them with insurance planning and achieving their personal and business insurance goals. Education is a priority for Powers; he has earned the Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist designation and has others on the horizon. This year, he plans to continue focusing on customer service to grow his book even further. “We have a consistent growth model in place and plan to keep 20%-plus annual growth by following a lot of the same procedures and regular analytics, along with additional customer service and feedback,” he says. “With our team focusing on going the extra mile with customer service, we plan to further strengthen our relationships with our existing clients and possibly find introductions into new relationships.”

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TOP PRODUCERS 2019 DUSTIN GLOVER Executive vice president and shareholder THRELKELD & COMPANY INSURANCE

Consistency and hard work have been the foundation of Dustin Glover’s successful career. “Keep your head down, grind and be there when your clients need you – you would think more producers would do this, but my experience has showed it’s rather rare,” he says. Glover has learned that finding a niche or two and hitting angles that are often overlooked can offer producers opportunities to grow. “For example,


Steve Fisk joined Marsh & McLennan Agency [MMA] in 2007 and currently serves as a principal in its Orange County business insurance division, co-leading the consumer goods and apparel practice groups. “My key strategy continues to be a hyper-focus on serving the needs of those within the consumer goods space,”

DAVID FISHEL Managing director, business insurance HIGGINBOTHAM

David Fishel has grown his business by selling the whole account, not just property & casualty coverage. “If a prospect identifies pain in employee benefits, 401k, life, personal lines, etc., that is where I place my focus and bring in a partner who specializes in those areas,” he explains. “If we can take care of a need and get


if most trucking producers are always pushing to quote auto liability, then find another line of coverage to separate yourself from the pack and become an expert in that coverage,” Glover advises. Recently, Glover put that philosophy into action by focusing on a niche market and learning a line of coverage within that niche. “Once I had established credibility within a few accounts, they began referring me to a number of $1 million-plus accounts,” he says. “My goal is to find out what the competition is missing out on or errors they have made and improve or correct those mistakes.”

he says. “This goes beyond just insurance. When I have a pulse on the critical issues that my clients face, I can help them achieve their organizational goals and really make a difference. This past year, I placed an emphasis on deepening relationships with my clients and within the community. Connecting with the valuable people around me has provided me with overwhelming support in reaching new heights.” Within MMA, Fisk sits on the executive committee and has a particular passion for mentoring younger producers within the firm. Outside of MMA, he is actively involved in several organizations, including City of Hope, Cal Fashion and Gen Next.

one foot in the door, I believe we will be successful in earning more of their business in future years.” To increase business in 2018, Fishel focused on selling upstream to grow average revenue per client while keeping his client base at a manageable size. In addition, he partnered with fellow producers who specialize in different areas to help increase his closing ratio. To continue improving his book, Fishel plans to focus on clients for whom he doesn’t write all of their insurance. “Rounding out these accounts is my primary focus because they already know who Higginbotham is and how we service our accounts,” he says.

RYAN VON HADEN Partner, vice president, business insurance specialist TRICOR INSURANCE

In 1997, Ryan Von Haden began working in his family’s insurance agency while still in high school. During his time at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, Von Haden interned at TRICOR Insurance. When he joined the industry full-time, he served as an underwriter for West Bend Mutual for two years before returning to TRICOR. Since then, Von Haden has been TRICOR’s leading property & casualty producer and was promoted to partner and vice president of business accounts in 2014. During that time, he’s been able to grow his book of business to more than $11 million in premium and around $1.4 million in revenue while earning the Certified Insurance Counselor and Associated Insurance Services designations. In addition to making his third consecutive appearance on IBA’s Top Producers list, Von Haden has also received the PIA National Young Agent of the Year Award and the Wisconsin Insurance Agent of the Year Award, among others.

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TOP 2019

MARK GRESSER Area executive vice president GALLAGHER

Over the course of his 20-plus-year career, Mark Gresser has focused on

DAN BECK Senior vice president


Three decades of experience have positioned Thea Curiel as trusted partner for her clients when advising them on how to protect their businesses. Having served in many capacities on both the agency and carrier sides of the industry, Curiel joined Owen-Dunn Insurance Services in 2005, where she specializes in captive insurance programs. Focusing on the construction, auto dealer, waste management, hospitality and property management industries, she has helped her clients turn their insurance premiums into an asset rather than an expense. “In 2018, I focused specifically on captive insurance and helping clients increase their profit, earn equity and lower their risk,” she says. “For 2019, I plan to strengthen the working relationships I have with my centers of influence and channel partners and narrow down my specific goals for the year to stay focused and accomplished.”


Each year, Dan Beck creates a roadmap for his personal and agency sales, which has kept his career on track amid a competitive environment. In 2018, he created a new telemedicine


Since 2003, Dwight Pilgrim has specialized in surety bonds and construction insurance. From 1987 to 2002, Pilgrim held senior management roles in a variety of surety companies; prior to that, he worked in banking and

becoming an expert in contractor P&C and contractor surety, where his commitment to transparency, accessibility and holding the highest of standards has differentiated him from the competition. Within the last year, Gresser shifted his new-business model to one where the prospect chooses their broker first and then works with that broker to determine if they are with the right carrier. “I used Gallagher’s CORE360 model to demonstrate the depth of expertise and services we can bring to the table to become the broker of choice,” he says. To continue to grow his business, Gresser plans to realign his team to free up more time for marketing efforts and to ask key accounts for referrals to their best-inclass trading partners.

claims reporting feature for workers’ comp injuries with a third-party vendor, which has been a great success with clients. “Our clients are seeing the benefits of this program with financial savings and employee engagement,” Beck says. In light of new California laws that require all companies with five or more employees to provide harassment certification classes, which can be a major expense for some organizations, Beck is currently working with a third-party human resources company to provide complimentary valueadded services to clients and prospects.

for an international accounting firm. He attributes his success to focusing on the surety and construction business and developing relationships with markets to best meet the needs of his clients. Pilgrim holds Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Global Management Accountant, Certified Insurance Counselor and Construction Risk Insurance Specialist designations and is a past president of the Oklahoma Surety Underwriters Association. He is also active in most construction trade organizations and has been named Member of the Year by the Oklahoma Municipal Contractors Association.

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A two-time IBA Top Producer, Brian Stanton brings more than 20 years of industry expertise to Gateway-Acentria Insurance, a subsidiary of Acentria Insurance. He specializes in estate and life insurance planning for high-net-worth individuals, as well as commercial insurance for restaurants, contractors, wholesalers, distributors, trucking and retail. With a strong focus on outstanding customer service and creative insurance program design, Stanton aims to continue propelling GatewayAcentria Insurance to the forefront of the insurance industry.



The top producer among 300 producers at Insurance Office of America [IOA] in 2018, Alka Manaktala brings more than two decades’ worth of experience in quick-service and fine-dining restaurants to IOA’s restaurant group. Having written coverage for more than 600 restaurants, Manaktala’s client portfolio includes national brands such as Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. and Papa Johns, for which she arranges coverage for P&C, workers’ compensation and employment practices liability. To further increase her business in 2019, Manaktala plans to hire part-time support in telemarketing, in addition to asking her clients for referrals, which she has singled out as the key strategy to growing her book of business.


JD Powers has found a competitive edge in the insurance industry by proactively managing insurance and risk management programs for nearly any type of exposure. “Over the course of my 10-year career, I attribute most of my success to developing our proprietary risk management approach to challenge the status quo and proactively


David McKinnon serves as a senior vice president at Fisher Brown Bottrell, where he focuses on construction

safeguard our clients, their employees and families,” Powers says. “In 2018, most of our success was due to staying focused on growing our specialty niches, which include hospitality, manufacturing, educational institutions, construction/heavy equipment, habitational and personal risk management for successful families.” Thanks to his efforts to help Powers Insurance & Risk Management become a recognized regional firm for these specialty practices, Powers grew his clientele significantly in 2018. His plan for 2019 is to continue to grow all of his practices regionally while also focusing on growing the construction and heavy equipment unit nationally.

insurance and surety for clients across the Southeast. McKinnon maintains one of the largest books of business at the firm and was the number-one producer for new business in 2018. He credits his success to valued relationships with his clients, as well as his dedicated support team, who allow him to exceed production goals year in and year out. McKinnon is actively involved in numerous construction associations, including serving on the board of one.

TOP 2019

LEROY CHRISTIANSEN Executive vice president and shareholder GULFSHORE INSURANCE

Leroy Christiansen has become a true risk advisor for his clients by seeking knowledge of the issues affecting the building industry. Over the course of his career, he has learned the niche industries of his clients, from ultra-high-net-worth custom homebuilders to concrete/


tie-beam heavy subcontractors, to gather a greater understanding of their risks. To further serve his clients, Christiansen is focusing on securing the necessary state licenses in the life and health sector this year, while also expanding his footprint beyond his region. Prior to joining Gulfshore Insurance, Christiansen served in the US Army, where his duties involved overseeing the risk mitigation and safety programs for more than 600 soldiers in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

At Turner & Associates, Jarrett Bridges focuses on risk management services and the coordination of insurance programs. “The biggest differentiator we bring to the table is the ability to quickly solve issues that give challenge to our clients,” he says. Last year, Bridges and his team worked on complicated multi-state accounts with unique exposures, allowing them to use their expertise and skill set to identify and solve problems. “Much of this effort was supported by our firm’s unique risk management process and the use of analytical data in reviewing accounts,” Bridges says, “which helped us present these businesses in the most transparent manner to the insurance marketplace.”

RICHARD TERLECKI Area senior vice president GALLAGHER

Richard Terlecki built his career in the field of public entity property insurance. In 1999, he joined Gallagher’s public sector division after working as a municipal occupancy specialist and account vice president of sales for Arkwright Mutual Insurance Company’s public entities group. Terlecki has served as a consultant for the City of Boston, was responsible for the placements for large intergovernmental risk pools and has been responsible for the placement of coverage for more than 5,000 public entities. Today, he keeps on top of his clients’ risks by staying informed about emerging trends, including blockchain, active shooter and OPPI coverage. Terlecki has been asked to speak at numerous industry conferences for airports, intergovernmental risk pools and national public entities. “I have found this is an excellent way to make a large number of new contacts while simultaneously imparting knowledge in my area of expertise,” he says.

Tired of small talk, sweet talk and big talk? Then how about some straight talk. Whether we’re working with our clients on a customized solution, or taking them through the claims process, we always get right to the point. It’s unambiguous. It’s sincere. Insurance coverage is underwritten by member companies of Allied World. Coverage is subject to underwriting. Member companies may not be licensed in your state or jurisdiction. To find out if coverage is available, please contact your insurance broker.

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In 2007, Scott Lugering founded Insurance Solutions of America, where he specializes in providing insurance for the fire suppression industry nationwide. Through the years, Lugering has grown from writing for fire suppression contractors in Florida to now insuring hundreds of fire

KEN TUCKER Sales executive NFP

JEFF MCINTOSH Vice president, commercial insurance ENERGY INSURANCE AGENCY

In 1989, Jeff McIntosh joined Energy Insurance Agency, where he serves as vice president and a commercial insurance agent today. Throughout his career, McIntosh has aimed to add value to his clients by helping them understand their insurance coverage and what they can do to avoid claims. “Education is a big part of what I do for my clients,” he says. “But I also


suppression contractors in more than 40 states. He is active in many associations related to the fire suppression industry and has conducted several seminars to educate employers on their specific risk management needs. In 2019, Lugering plans to focus on “[continuing] what I have been doing over the last 10 years since I opened my agency: do the best possible job I can for all my customers, and their business and the referrals will come.”

By focusing his career on designing specialized coverages and gaining a thorough understanding of the niche of rental houses for the entertainment industry, Ken Tucker has been able to grow his book to well over $10 million in premium. Tucker began his career as a broker in 1983, selling various niche products. In 1990, he helped Insurance West (now NFP) grow its exclusive rental house program with The Hartford to become the largest entertainment rental house program in the industry. Beyond his work at NFP, Tucker is involved with Big Brothers and has helped supply food and resources to those in need for the past 15 years.

value my underwriters. There is nothing more important to any agent than their relationship with their underwriters. I have always tried to provide the detail of information to help my underwriters understand the clients so they can help me provide that client the best protection, loss control services and competitive premium … Value doesn’t necessarily cost more; in fact, well-educated clients tend to pay less and get preferred rates because they have fewer claims.” From 2009 to 2013, McIntosh was appointed by Kentucky’s governor to serve on the state’s workers’ compensation funding commission board. In 2017, he was named a member of the Kentucky workers’ compensation dispute resolution board for the NCCI.


As managing partner of the Capstone Group, Kevin Fox is responsible for managing all aspects of the firm’s core services; in addition, he helped establish Capstone’s property & casualty division, which offers risk management and insurance programs to businesses, nonprofits and individuals. As a leader at an emerging firm, Fox and his team take a two-pronged approach to growing the business: first by focusing on what clients need above and beyond what they expect from a traditional insurance broker, and second by building a team of insurance professionals who aim to exceed expectations with every client interaction. “This results-driven approach has resonated well with middle-market organizations that require a higher level of accountability from their broker partners,” he says. “Our major initiatives for 2019 all center on our drive to continue innovating, evaluating and reinventing ourselves every day. This industry is changing rapidly, and the only way we can continue to deliver exceptional value to our clients and their employees is by staying ahead of that curve. We look to achieve this mission by strategically reinvesting profits back into personnel, technology and infrastructure to maintain a fresh perspective.”

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TOP 2019




Zachary Fanberg taps into his extensive background in real estate when servicing his niche clients. At Eagan Insurance Agency, Fanberg specializes in condominium associations, restaurants, hospitality risks, contractors and manufacturing, as well as personal insurance for high-net-worth individuals. He has been named an IBA Top Producer for the last four years, and he was also featured in New Orleans CityBusiness’ Ones to Watch column. A competitive sailor, Fanberg served as commodore of the Bay Waveland Yacht Club in 2018 and has won the United States Men’s Sailing Championship three times.

Managing director, business insurance HIGGINBOTHAM

Brian Schneider has been with Higginbotham for nearly a decade, working out of the firm’s Forth Worth office as a managing director in business insurance. Continuous learning and keeping up with industry changes have been primary focuses for Schneider and have helped him build his business over the course of his career. In the coming months, he plans to use more of Higginbotham’s in-house resources and customize technology solutions to meet his customers’ needs.



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PLATINUM PRODUCERS CLUB These six producers achieved more than $3 million in commission revenue in 2018, representing the pinnacle of success in the insurance industry

SCOTT MEYER Managing director and executive vice president WILLIS TOWERS WATSON

Scott Meyer’s guiding principle of being a trusted advisor and strategic problem-solver for clients has been the primary factor behind his success in the insurance business. Another key has been surrounding himself with a team of experts who specialize in their sectors and are dedicated to their clients’ success. “Clients don’t want to be sold products – they desire a partner who is helping them think through business issues on a proactive basis,” Meyer says. “My client book of business has always been in the areas of property & casualty and employee benefits consulting, which affords a more holistic view of risk.”




President and CEO




Pinpointing a unique niche has been the main driver of Robert Weber’s success. Weber founded Rainprotection Insurance, an insurance provider for trade shows and conferences, and has built a reputation as the go-to company when an industry problem requires an innovative solution. In 2018, Weber added new services, such as the ‘inability to attend’ program, and initiated new advertising and marketing campaigns to target new business. This year, he plans to focus on customer management by combining all of his client data into a single integrated platform that will enhance his business’s efficiency and growth across areas such as sales, customer service and marketing. “We value our customers and realize that they are the single most important asset to our organization,” he says. “We want to cultivate those relationships.”

Rob Foote has experienced significant success as president of Frank H. Furman, where he and his team generate 88% of prospective clients from current client referrals. To boost business, Foote focuses on impacting clients’ operating results, which he says requires the firm to make more deposits than withdrawals in the client relationship. “If there is an imbalance in the impact we deliver or take, the relationship at some point may be questioned,” he says. By specializing in specific industry groups, Foote has placed himself at the center of his clients’ trends and challenges. “It is our ability to predict our clients’ riskrelated needs before they encounter an event that permits our clients to see us as trusted advisors and industry experts who are stakeholders in their enterprise and valued assets to them,” he says.

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BRIAN C. FENZL Vice president of business development M&T INSURANCE AGENCY

Brian Fenzl started his career on the carrier side of insurance before moving into the broker world in 1986. Four years later, he joined Matthews, Bartlett & Decker Agency, which was later purchased by M&T Bank and became M&T Insurance Agency. As vice president of business development, Fenzl manages and services the agency’s insurance and risk management programs for local, regional and international companies. His diverse background includes expertise in commercial P&C, executive coverages, group health benefits, alternative risk financing, self-insurance and captives, and his client base is made up of companies in the healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, real estate, education and technology industries. A true believer in 24/7 service, Fenzl has developed a reputation for his personalized guidance. “When a client calls, they know I will be there to respond,” he says. “That service and commitment to each and every client has, and will always be, the real foundation to my growing book of business. Plus, I never stop looking for new clients. I believe there is always someone out there who needs my help with their insurance program. When a prospect says no, don’t just stop there; persistence and honesty will endure. When one door shuts, another opens up.”

Jeff Maconaghy began his career in 1993 with Alexander & Alexander as an account executive in the transportation department. In 2012, he became president of Encompass Risk Solutions, which joined AssuredPartners in 2016. Last year, he led the agency to write more than $75 million in premiums. Over the years, Maconaghy has learned how developing a marketing and growth


Brian Payne has spent his entire professional career in the insurance industry, and his passion for the business and serving others has not wavered. “When you really enjoy what you’re doing, you don’t have to call it work,” he says. Payne specializes in CAT-exposed risks, along with other lines, and has a full-time support team of 20 that provides daily assistance. Both carriers and industry organizations have recognized Payne and his team for their success and profitability, and he has also served on carrier council groups and advisory committees. Notably, Payne has worked directly with product

strategy can be critical to success. “The key lesson is to be true to who you are and the types of clients you intend on prospecting,” he says. “Most of our successful relation­ ships start from a consulting approach and hopefully evolve into a friendship over time … I generally start my calendar prospecting by asking my clients for referrals and going from there. My best successes are truly from direct referrals.” In the commercial auto market, where conditions constantly change and carriers continually lose money, Maconaghy also puts considerable effort into finding new players while preparing clients for the reality of the marketplace.

teams to successfully design and launch product offerings for the E&S marketplace. “I put heavy emphasis on staying engaged within the marketplace, product availability, underwriting and carrier relationships, while scaling to sell and service super efficiently – therefore creating a true brand with value to clients,” he says. “This allows for continued growth while driving revenue and profitability for the carriers and brokers I work with.” Last year, Payne focused on scale and productivity while increasing his use of technology and digital marketing to open up more opportunities. However, he says the greatest contributor to his success has been the support of his family and the relationships he has formed through the years.

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Helping the helpers By understanding the exposures faced by nonprofits, brokers can ensure these organizations’ important work continues NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS operate in a unique, idealistic environment that demands the energy of a great many dedicated people. But the idealism that fuels nonprofits does nothing to preclude them from operating in the real world, where no combination of hope and good intentions can compensate for the damages incurred when insurance coverage falls short.

Because the standard appointed markets struggle to deal with the unique risks faced by nonprofits, it can be difficult for organizations to get the insurance coverage they need. Part of the challenge derives from the diverse and often dynamic nature of their operations. “Nonprofits are typically looking to help the communities in which they exist or align themselves to a particular cause,” says

“It used to be that only a small number of insurers would provide coverage for nonprofits, but now there are many carriers that do” Pamela Davis, Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group Because of their large numbers of volunteers and regular contact with the general public, nonprofits require a complex and lengthy combination of policies, from general liability and D&O to property coverage and business auto. Insurance brokers who fully understand the nonprofit space can offer these organizations the guidance and specific products they need to mitigate the risks associated with a vast list of exposures.


Maureen Dyson, area executive vice president at Charity First Insurance Services. “However, their operations can be very unique and change over time as the needs change within the communities they serve. A nonprofit that does job training one year may end up employing clients the next.” Dyson explains that insurance rates are based on standardized classifications, something nonprofits don’t always fit neatly into.

FIVE ESSENTIAL COVERAGE NEEDS Boards of directors: A nonprofit’s officers and board of directors could be named in lawsuits alleging fraud or mismanagement; D&O coverage is a must in these instances. Cyber vulnerability: Nonprofits are rarely prepared to deal with the far-reaching, sometimes calamitous effects of a major data breach. Employees and volunteers: Employment practices liability coverage can protect both paid and unpaid members of an organization in the event of discrimination, harassment or unfair employment practices. Special events: Any public event carries with it the risk of property damage or bodily injury. Coverage should be tailored to the specific activity being presented by the organization. Offices: Nonprofits require coverage for any accidental damages sustained by visitors to the organization’s property.

A counseling office, for example, might be classified for general liability coverage as a consulting organization, which has a rate based on payroll, but one of that group’s counselors might be a volunteer. “As a result,” she says, “an underwriter must get creative when it comes to classifications and generating a premium that is commensurate with the exposure presented by a nonprofit’s operations.” Depending on the segment of society a nonprofit group targets for assistance, it might also have difficulty finding a carrier willing to insure its property. Pamela Davis, founder, president and CEO of the Nonprofits

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Insurance Alliance Group, says that even carriers that focus on nonprofits might decline coverage for certain habitational exposures, including domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, halfway houses for paroled sex offenders, and residential programs for people struggling with psychosis and addiction. “Group homes – for children and for many others – are typically not considered desirable property or liability risks by commercial insurers,” Davis says. With the US government farming out a greater share of its difficult community work to private nonprofits via contract – responsibili-

“With all of the activity that is going on with regard to cyber liability, I think it’s a coverage that nonprofits really need to start looking at more frequently” Vince Terlaje, NIF Pacific ties that Davis says seldom come with sufficient funding – government agencies are often quick to foist liability onto their nonprofit partners, even in instances of the government’s own

wrongdoing. “Nonprofits are definitely insurable for their own risks but cannot also take on the burden of insuring against errors by government agencies,” Davis says.

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Critical coverage Even though American nonprofits are as diverse as the country itself, the most significant exposures they face are often quite similar. Lacking coverage in any one of these areas could be a death knell for an organization. For nonprofits that have any interactions with minors or dependent adults, “improper sexual conduct liability, aka sexual abuse, is a must,” Davis says, adding that such a policy should cover both abuse and the costs of defending the alleged perpetrator “unless and until he or she is criminally convicted.” Dyson concurs, adding that in light of the ongoing #MeToo movement, employment practices liability coverage is critical for nonprofits looking to protect themselves from harassment claims. She says coverage should also be arranged for special events such as fundraisers, something almost all nonprofits take part in. “Liability coverage for these special events is an important coverage element and often required by sponsors, facility owners and others,” Dyson adds. In the age of frequent data breaches, cyber insurance is another necessity for nonprofits. “With all of the activity that is going on with regard to cyber liability, I think it’s a coverage that nonprofits really need to start looking at more frequently,” says Vince Terlaje, president of NIF Pacific and national director of its Nonprofit Social Service Program. Although nonprofits often have a significant internet presence and typically have large amounts of data that is protected under various privacy laws, Terlaje says “the percentage of nonprofits that carry cyber, or at least full cyber liability coverage, is pretty low.” He also points out that umbrella coverage is often overlooked or underutilized in the nonprofit space. “A million dollars today is not what it used to be, even 10 years ago,” he says. “A nonprofit needs to consider whether they should acquire higher limits on their coverage.” Because umbrella liability coverage can extend to general liability, professional liability,




of those D&O claims were employmentrelated


of nonprofits have had a D&O claim in the past 10 years


of D&O claims were regulatory


of D&O claims were fiduciary Source: Towers Watson Directors and Officers Liability Survey, 2011

sexual misconduct, worker’s comp and other lines of business, Terlaje says “it’s something [a nonprofit] might want to consider, particularly if they’re operating in the public and have exposure for larger claims.”

Growing market, growing opportunities As the number of nonprofits in the US has

increased, so has the amount of coverage available and the markets offering coverage. “It used to be that only a small number of insurers would provide coverage for nonprofits,” Davis says, “but now there are many carriers that do.” According to Terlaje, the increase in competition is a double-edged sword: It has

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kept prices flat, but it has also forced brokers to stay focused and informed. “Almost every year, people are shopping their accounts,” he says. “It causes the carriers that are in the space to make sure they’re offering a quality product at a very competitive price.” But quality products must be matched with quality advice. Because nonprofits are generally more focused on other aspects of their operations besides insurance, brokers working the space must be willing to go the extra mile to ensure their clients get the specific coverage they need. Otherwise, the results could be costly for all involved.

“Your E&O is on the line in a big way if you don’t do your homework,” says Krissy Kyjovsky, VP of underwriting at Tangram Insurance. “If you don’t realize what to look for when you secure a package policy with abuse and professional liability, if you get it wrong, it can really cost [the organization]. If they’re paying a claim out of pocket or the claim gets denied because you messed up, it could be really problematic.” Davis also stresses the importance of a detail-oriented approach, especially with carriers lacking experience in the space. “Either they miss exposures that would be

obvious to a more experienced underwriter and are surprised by claims they didn’t expect, or they take too much time in the underwriting process to allow the profit margin most carriers require,” she says. “Nonprofits are loyal clients if they are treated well.” Kyjovsky encourages brokers considering the nonprofit space to concentrate on one vertical – private schools or drug rehab, for example – and then start doing their homework by reading and comparing the relevant forms. “It doesn’t take a lot of work to get clear as to what a nonprofit’s needs are,” she says. “And there’s a huge upside.”

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The building blocks of success USI Insurance Services’ Christine Chipurnoi reveals the key trends – from robotics to natural disasters – that are driving the construction and real estate insurance market

IBA: Which construction trends are having the biggest impact on insurance today? Christine Chipurnoi: There are a couple things right now in the construction field that are both problematic and things we need to look at. The biggest issue is the lack of qualified labor, and from an insurance perspective, that’s really important because if you don’t have skilled labor on the job, you can have more accidents. In New York, we have labor laws, which makes owners strictly liable for any and all falls from a height, grave injuries or deaths on a job site. These claims are non-defendable because it’s strict liability. There’s no comparative negligence between the employer of that employee – who’s likely a subcontractor – and the owner, so if somebody falls and breaks their leg, owners will pay somewhere in the seven-figure range, which impacts our market. The second issue is the major changes going on in technology. Modular construction is changing how we build, what we build and how fast. Structures are built somewhere else, and then we bring them in, stage them, pick them up with cranes and stack them together. What that does is it brings projects to comple-


tion up to a year ahead of schedule. It’s a different way to build, and as such, a different way to structure policies, and the industry is still figuring out how it’s going to charge for those exposures. Builders are also using drones, laser-guided equipment, robotics and wearable technologies that all have an impact on safety, so we have to make sure our policies are crafted to take all of that into consideration.

IBA: What are the most underinsured risks and exposures you see in the construction space? CC: I think the area where most clients

are either misinformed or underinsured is effective risk transfer. A lot of clients will come to us and say, ‘I own a building, and there’s a triple-net lease with XYZ company, so I don’t need insurance.’ Then when we look at the lease, it may or may not say that. Sometimes it says the landlord is responsible for the building systems and certain structural aspects. When people outsource stuff, they think they’re washing their hands of the liability, when in fact they are not. The second big area is cyber. People don’t realize all of the different facets cyber policies cover, and most real estate and construction companies will say they don’t need cyber when

AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE Active in numerous commercial real estate groups, including serving as a board member of CREW Network, one of the largest organizations for women in commercial real estate, Christine Chipurnoi has established herself as an expert in construction, real estate, hospitality and retail insurance. A 30-plus-year insurance veteran, Chipurnoi focuses on being an advisor to her insureds while also tapping into a network of resources when needed. “It helps you build your business and makes you invaluable to your clients,” she says. “It gives you a seat at [your clients’] table to help with business problems, and it makes them want to bring you in early to look at properties before they buy them so you can be consultative and help them make good decisions. My goal is to be a business partner with them and help them be more successful in their business.”

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FAST FACTS: USI INSURANCE SERVICES Headquarters: Valhalla, New York Year founded: 1994 Number of offices: 150+ nationwide

warehouse, he said, ‘If your sprinklers go off, the bins will fill up with water, and the whole conveyor system will collapse.’ These are the things that no one thinks about that make us change how we do things. Now they are retrofitting that system to come up with a solution so we don’t end up with bad claims due to a sprinkler going off accidentally.

“Builders are using drones, laserguided equipment, robotics and wearable technologies that all have an impact on safety, so we have to make sure our policies are crafted to take all of that into consideration” it’s probably one of the most important products for them to protect their company. The thing I hear is, ‘We don’t take credit cards.’ They believe that if they’re not initiating transactions, then they don’t need cyber coverage.

IBA: How are building trends affecting insurance coverage? CC: The office market across the country is not in great shape because most of the product

we have in the US is dated. Older buildings are not equipped to handle new technologies, so we have seen big warehouses going up that have different kinds of exposure bases. One we just worked on was a robotic warehouse that had machines picking up the merchandise people were buying and putting it into bins; the bins would hang from a conveyor system and be driven around the warehouse. When the insurance inspector came to see the

IBA: How have external factors such as natural disasters and government regulations impacted construction coverage? CC: The intensity and frequency of natural catastrophes like wildfires, tornadoes, severe storms and flooding have really impacted the market coverage. Nowadays, it is getting harder to get coverage where you need it, and deductibles are higher. If you want to build a building on a floodplain, you’re going to pay a lot of money for your insurance and have a much bigger deductible. The problem is, that’s where everybody wants to be. They want to be in all these places that are high CAT and on the coastline. We have seen catastrophic losses come in through reinsurance companies, and now their rates are going up, and they’re carving out areas that they no longer want to cover. So that makes it harder for us to buy the right insurance and enough insurance for our customers.

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Driving through the fog The trucking insurance sector is experiencing a serious shakeup, but it still represents an opportunity for agents to drive up profits

THE COMMERCIAL auto segment – and the trucking industry in particular – is in the midst of significant transition. Technology is revolutionizing the way companies are run and drivers are managed, and the rapid growth of online retailers is fueling more demand for delivery services than ever before.

stringent, and business owners are forced to take on significant risks, both from an economic and an insurance standpoint. Despite new challenges from all angles, the trucking industry’s recent performance has been very strong. Jimmy Proffitt, head of transportation at Risk Placement Services,

“The industry is a tougher endeavor today than it has been in the past, both from a trucking standpoint and from an insurance and risk management standpoint” Jimmy Proffitt, Risk Placement Services It remains, however, a notoriously difficult business in which to succeed. Margins in the trucking industry are increasingly thin, so companies have to be very well run to be successful. The sector requires heavy capital investment, compliance requirements are


describes the recent growth as “terrific.” “The economy drives the success of the trucking industry, and in the past few years, the external factors have been outstanding – probably as good as I have ever seen in my career,” Proffitt says. “The demand for

trucking is as high as it’s ever been: Goods are shipping, freight rates are as high as we’ve ever seen, and load boards are full. However, we are starting to see indications that the economy may pull back, with rising interest rates, trade uncertainty with China and political instability – that is definitely starting to affect some things.” Currently, though, the only significant factor inhibiting trucking firms is a shortage of qualified drivers. With demand running high and freight rates rising, there is a temptation to put unqualified drivers in trucks – a move that seriously increases a company’s risk exposures. It also creates a challenge for Proffitt, who is constantly trying to educate trucking clients on the importance of staying

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WHAT A COMMERCIAL AUTO POLICY COVERS Liability coverage Medical payments Collisions Uninsured and underinsured motorists Hired or borrowed vehicles Coverage for employees who use their cars for business

disciplined, focusing on getting the right drivers behind the wheel, and implementing practices to attract and retain drivers. “It’s not just a matter of hiring – it’s a matter of retention,” he says. “We have a number of programs in partnership with trucking company clients to assist them in doing that. We call it closing the back door – trying to keep good drivers from going somewhere else.”

The nuclear option While the trucking industry itself is performing well, the insurance market that covers the space has endured a tough period. Loss frequency and severity continue to rise each year. Loss results from major carriers

with significant positions in the space show that commercial auto has underperformed the rest of the insurance industry by 12 to 15 points over the past four to five years. Proffitt describes the commercial auto insurance market as being “stressed and distressed” – a situation that’s being driven by a number of factors, including the number of unqualified drivers on the road. “Distracted driving has also become a huge issue, and highways are a lot more congested than before because our truckers are running more miles today than they ever have, and our infrastructure – roads and bridges – is not as strong as it was 10 to 15 years ago,” Proffitt says. “All of this means the industry is a tougher endeavor today than it has been in the past, both from a trucking standpoint and from an insurance and risk management standpoint.” The influx of driver and fleet data is also adding to the challenges being faced by truckers and their insurance companies. More data than ever is being compiled, which means insurers know more about their trucking company clients than at any point in history. However, that data is not just being used by insurance companies; it’s also being leveraged by plaintiffs’ attorneys. As a result, nuclear verdicts – ones that are large enough

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to wipe out an insurer’s entire profits – are becoming increasingly common. Damages of $10 million to $15 million are being handed down more often; in late 2018, a court awarded a $100+ million verdict. “In the past, when there was a loss, it was generally due to driver error, but plaintiffs’ attorneys have done a great job in not only attacking the drivers, but also attacking the trucking company itself,” Proffitt says. “If they can prove the trucking company places profit motive over safety, then they could find some very sympathetic juries. That’s how a lot of these nuclear verdicts have been handed down.” Unsurprisingly, the costs associated with nuclear verdicts are being passed down to trucking companies. Proffitt estimates that loss costs are increasing between 4% and 6% annually for both physical damage and auto liability. In order to combat rising losses, rates are going up between 4% and 5% on high-performing accounts, 6% and 10% on moderate accounts, and as high as 20% or 25% on poor-performing accounts, if they’re even renewed at all. Insurance companies are also using the availability of new data to segment their business and define the types of risk characteristics they want to insure and how to price that risk. “Data and predictive analytics are having an enormous impact and are driving many of the underwriting and pricing decisions that we see in the marketplace,” Proffitt says. “There is so much data associated with a risk submission today that we cannot evaluate it all anymore – we have to enter it into a system that creates the rates and underwriting, and it tells us what we will and won’t do for our clients. Insurance companies that are ahead of the game with these predictive analytics are performing much better than companies that are still trying to do it the way they were 10 years ago.”

Tech support The introduction of new technologies to trucking fleets, including telematics, sensors,



Fuel costs

Driver benefits 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%




Truck/trailer lease or purchase payments Auto insurance premiums







Repair and maintenance Permits and licenses



2017 Source: Statista

“Telematics should be a staple for any program that wants to continue growth and profitability. The data provided ... can only help give a clearer picture of any given risk” Mark Sullivan, Midlands Management Corp. cameras and autonomous tech, is also having an impact. The more conscientious, sophisticated trucking companies have adopted some or all of this technology because they recognize the value in knowing when their drivers are braking heavily, turning too sharply or quickly, or accelerating too rapidly. They can then use that data to coach their drivers and, over time, improve performance and produce better underwriting results and lower rates. “It is helping insurance carriers, and telematics should be a staple for any program that wants to continue growth and profitability,” says Mark Sullivan, transportation unit team leader at Midlands Management Corp. “The data provided from telematics can only help give a clearer picture of any given

risk. Exterior-facing cameras have also proved to be a great resource as well. “ Although the trucking industry is currently going through a somewhat painful shift, Sullivan believes this segment still represents an opportunity for brokers and agents to grow their books of business. However, success will hinge on specialist knowledge and a dedication to managing – and helping clients through – change. “It’s an opportunity for brokers and agents who are willing to manage their risks for 12 months versus the two months prior to renewal,” Sullivan says. “Communication and accountability with motor carriers throughout the policy period has proved favorable from our case studies.”

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FORWARD WITHOUT FEAR When it comes to her career, Valerie Butt has never been afraid to learn from her experiences and move on

Although Butt had dreamed of being a prosecutor since childhood, conversations with more than a dozen unhappy lawyers during her pre-law studies prompted her to pivot to risk management. “I took risk management because of the contractual and liability focus and found it a fascinating topic; that, coupled with realizing that being a lawyer would not be a Perry Mason-esque experience, made me change course.”



1996 EMBRACES RISK MANAGEMENT Butt traded the “organized chaos” of life as a broker for the strategic world of risk management when she was approached by Centre Re to run underwriting for its Western region.

“One day I would be asked to insure satellite launches, the next to securitize the future revenue stream of Iron Maiden” 2007 TAKES A GLOBAL POSITION Upon her return to the US, Butt’s first position was as Zurich’s global head of relationship management for North America. “I was ready to get back in the business. My job was to take this concept and make it a value differentiator for Zurich. Working with customers and brokers to help them solve their complex problems is in my DNA.”

2018 COMES FULL CIRCLE Butt’s appointment to head of casualty for North America at Zurich brought her back to the field where she started her career as a broker. “The foundation is solid. My question is: What does the future hold? What differentiators we can develop? I have the combination of technical experience and understanding customers’ needs. I like the idea of coming home.”


STARTS AS A BROKER Butt reported to work as a broker at Sedgwick the Monday after her college graduation. In the days of the burgeoning dot-com boom, she found herself serving as the client executive for such names as Apple and Cisco Systems. “It was baptism by fire – no day was ever the same; I was exposed to so many parts of the business. There was such innovation. It was a fascinating way to start my career. It provided me a great foundation.”

2005 JOURNEYS TO THE MOTHERSHIP After joining global insurance giant Zurich, Butt set her sights on “the mothership”: company headquarters in Switzerland, where she eventually worked for three years. “The most important takeaway for me was learning to work with other cultures – what drives a person’s behavior is very nuanced. I changed my management style to incorporate the best of each culture I worked in. My management style is more global now; it’s an amalgamation of many cultural aspects.”

2016 WINS RECOGNITION Butt’s promotion to EVP and global head of customer and distribution management in 2012 ultimately culminated in her team winning an award four years later from the Strategic Accounts Management Association. “It’s one of the most personally satisfying moments of my career – we were always being told by customers that we had the best customer relationship model, but it meant a lot to have that validation, to know that everyone knows we’re the best and that we worked together to achieve a common goal.”

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Benoit-Fey’s repertoire includes songs by Gu ns N’ Roses, The Cure, a nd Steppenwolf


Size of Benoit-Fey’s largest audience, at fan expo Dragon Con in 2017


Total number of musicians in the Gwinnett Symphony


Value of Benoit-Fey’s first cello (currently appraised at $7,000)

ANOTHER STRING TO HER BOW She jokes that she “envies piccolo players,” but there’s nowhere Christa Benoit-Fey would rather be than behind her cello HER PARENTS’ subscription to the symphony meant that Christa Benoit-Fey “grew up in love with classical music.” When the Atlanta-based underwriter was asked at age 12 to choose an instrument to play, the choice was obvious. “The cello had such a wide range,” she says. “I always liked the sound.”


Benoit-Fey played all through high school, ultimately attending university on a music scholarship, before establishing a string quartet in the ’90s that has provided a social outlet and sideline gig ever since. Its current iteration, known as the Southern Manor String Quartet, is in high demand, particularly during wedding

season. Combined with her work with the Gwinnett Symphony, it makes for a busy schedule, but it’s one that Benoit-Fey is more than happy to keep up. “I love the music, and performing for people is a great feeling,” she says. “I love how the audience responds, especially when we get standing ovations.”

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Expect big things in workers’ compensation. Most classes approved, nationwide. It pays to get a quote from Applied.® For information call (877) 234-4450 or visit Follow us at ©2019 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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Profile for Key Media

Insurance Business America issue 7.02  

The magazine for America’s insurance broking and advice community.

Insurance Business America issue 7.02  

The magazine for America’s insurance broking and advice community.

Profile for keymedia