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RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
The inside track on strengthening your risk manager partnerships PLANNING FOR THE WORST
How to prepare clients for the increased likelihood of extreme weather
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THE END OF THE CONSTRUCTION BOOM? Amid a slowing economy, is the construction sector still a good bet for brokers?
CAPITALIZING ON CAPTIVES
The key to leveraging businessesâ€™ growing interest in captive solutions
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UPFRONT 04 Editorial
Is it time to rethink how auto premiums are determined?
05 Head to head
What can insurance do to increase representation of minority groups?
A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE
08 News analysis
How brokers can branch out into the world of captives
14 Technology update
Is a professional employer organization right for your workers’ comp clients?
In his 40 years with FM Global, chairman and CEO Tom Lawson has become a believer in the power of using engineering to mitigate risks
How to prepare clients for the new reality of constant catastrophes
12 Workers’ comp update
Key data that should be on your radar this month
This month’s big movers and shakers
What do risk managers want from their broker partnerships – and how do brokers need to step up their game? IBA found out
RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
Gallagher’s Walker Taylor sheds light on the complexities of insuring the life sciences space
New risk mapping capabilities can help insurers and brokers dip a toe into the private flood market
The road to organic growth starts with collaboration between sales, marketing and underwriting
FEATURES 38 The power of fear
Tips for pushing past fear and seizing success
PEOPLE 39 Career path
He initially rejected insurance, but Michael Brown has come to embrace it
40 Other life
On the trail with Boy Scout troop leader Dave James FEATURES
Despite the economic slowdown, the construction sector is still a prime place to grow business
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12/04/2019 3:52:36 AM
Time for a shakeup in insurance
hether it’s by embracing technology, enticing more young people to the industry or becoming more diverse, we’re constantly told that insurance needs to move with the times. However, is it the way insurers determine premiums that is most in need of a shakeup? In mid-March, a new bill was introduced in Congress that would make it illegal for auto insurance companies to use consumers’ credit scores in determining insurance rates. The Bill, HR 1756, was introduced by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib. If passed, it would prevent credit bureaus from offering consumer reports or consumer information “to any person for use in making any decision to underwrite or rate auto insurance.” The legislation would also disallow auto insurers from using credit scores in underwriting. According to Rep. Tlaib, the practice of using consumers’ credit scores to calculate premiums “punishes people for being poor.” In a letter to colleagues, she noted that “the continued use of credit histories to set auto insurance pricing compounds racial discrimination and exacerbates wealth inequality.”
With self-driving cars set to revamp auto premiums anyway, now seems like an opportune time for insurance to refresh its processes – and its image The bill is certainly indicative of the times. It comes on the back of pressure from groups in California, which have petitioned Insurance Commissioner Richard Lara to prohibit the use of occupation and education as factors for setting auto premiums. The petition claims the current system skirts “civil rights protections to allow insurers to charge non-white, lower-wage drivers more.” Controversy aside, Accenture’s recent Financial Services Consumer Study found that nearly 60% of customers are willing to share more information in return for lower prices on products and services. Indeed, customers largely support the use of personal data to tailor insurance premiums, and 64% were interested in receiving adjusted premiums based on their driving habits. Perhaps this holds the key to fairly determining insurance premiums. No matter whether you agree that “non-white, lower-wage drivers” are being unfairly charged more, there is little doubt that insurance needs to move some of its practices forward, and the chance to use technology to more accurately personalize offerings based on driving habits seems crucial. With self-driving cars set to revamp auto premiums anyway, now seems like an opportune time for insurance to refresh its processes – and its image. The team at Insurance Business America
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HEAD TO HEAD
What’s the key to elevating underrepresented people? How can insurance better promote different races, sexes, ethnicities and other underrepresented groups in the workplace?
Heather Matthews Senior vice president Crawford & Company
President Toronto Insurance Women’s Association
“I believe the key to elevating under represented people – women in particular – in the workplace is to instill confidence in them. Confidence elevates women, as does knowing that their perspective is respected and valued. Everyone needs to understand and appreciate that a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints is critical in the workplace. Give them a voice and believe in and embrace their contributions. Women’s success inspires others to aim higher. I challenge everyone to raise your awareness of who is and is not represented at the table in your organization and create a path to diversity. Awareness is a strong start.”
“This must be an organizational goal actively engaged with from top to bottom. For some organizations, this may involve a significant cultural reset to ensure programs and initiatives are met with the authenticity needed to implement longterm, sustainable change. Within the last decade, the P&C industry has become more inclusive. However, there is still work to be done, especially in relation to middle management and senior leadership roles. The commitment shown toward developing diverse talent pipelines and supporting post-secondary insurance education programs by offering on-the-job training is commendable.”
“At Travelers Canada, gender balance, diversity and inclusion are not just initiatives, they are business imperatives. I am proud to work for a company that aspires to be the leading advocate for women in insurance, committing to raising awareness of insurance as a career for women, providing training for women in the industry, and supporting networking and mentoring for women in insurance. Because our people are our competitive advantage, my focus is to continue building our talent pipeline to attract, develop, mentor and retain the next generation of leaders at all levels of our organization.”
President and CEO Travelers Canada
THE GENDER GAP According to STEMconnector’s latest report on women in insurance, the proportion of female employees in insurance occupations ranges from 46.5% of sales agents – a figure roughly on par with the average across all American industries – to 85% of claims and policy processing clerks. But at the other end of the spectrum, women hold only 11% of named executive officer positions and only 19% of board seats across the industry, despite making up more than 60% of the insurance workforce overall. According to the most recent Future One Agency Universe Study, only 35% of independent agencies are led by a female principal or senior manager. Perhaps most tellingly, as recently as 2016, women in insurance took home only 62 cents for every dollar earned by men.
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STATISTICS INSURANCE AND THE ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES CRASH
Insured value of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane alone
THE BIGGEST POLITICAL RISKS FOR 2019 Ongoing US-China tensions, trade wars, Brexit and changes within the Eurozone, the future of Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and tensions between Russia and the West topped Marsh’s annual list of the biggest sources of political risk around the globe. Spain, Nicaragua, Zambia and Mali were among the countries Marsh highlighted as having deteriorated in political stability over the past year.
Total number of fatalities in the crash
Estimated amount of compensation payments for the eight US victims of the crash
Estimated compensation payments for all of the passengers who were killed Source: Reuters
CATASTROPHE LOSSES REMAIN HIGH While 2018’s $155 billion in catastrophe losses marked a significant drop from the $350 billion recorded by Swiss Re in 2017, the year included enough major events that it ranked as the fourth costliest year for insured losses over the past 50 years.
TOTAL ECONOMIC LOSSES FROM CATASTROPHES
GLOBAL INSURED LOSSES FROM CATASTROPHES
$79 billion (estimate)
2017 Source: Sigma, Swiss Re, 2019
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CUTTING BROKERS OUT? Recent research from Chubb into consumers’ insurance-buying habits found that more than half of consumers have already shopped online for homeowner’s insurance, and even more say they’re likely to do so in the future.
80-100 70-79 60-69 50-59 < 49 No data Stable
Have shopped online for homeowner’s insurance in the past year
Source: Political Risk Map 2019, Marsh
A SPIKE IN CLAIMS Swiss Re expects claims from disasters that occurred in the last quarter of 2018 to come in at around $1 billion. The costliest catastrophes during that period were the November wildfires in California and the typhoons that hit Japan in September.
Are likely to shop online in the future
Said saving time is the main reason they shopped online
Sources: Winning the New Client Journey, Chubb, 2019
WHAT CONSUMERS WANT To find out where brokers fit into evolving consumer preferences, Chubb asked consumers to name the advantages of working with a broker and describe what they want out of their interactions with brokers.
BIGGEST Q4 CATASTROPHES BY PROJECTED CLAIMS VALUE
CAMP AND WOOLSEY FIRES
$150 TYPHOONS JEBI AND TRAMI
Like being able to talk to a real person in the event of a claim
Appreciate receiving advice on protecting their home Want brokers to prioritize the right policies over the lowest price
Source: Sigma, Swiss Re, 2019
80% Source: Winning the New Client Journey, Chubb, 2019
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Going to extremes With stormy skies ahead, the insurance industry and its corporate clients are under increasing pressure to prepare for extreme weather events
THE LEADERS of businesses worldwide must focus on effectively deploying capital to prepare their businesses for more weather-related property damage and business interruption losses in the near term, according to a recent report from FM Global. While US-based companies have their own regional exposures to worry about, from wildfires in the West to hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to tornadoes in the Midwest, today’s globalized world has opened up organizations to even greater natural catastrophe risks. “Where there are large-impact, widescale events, you’re seeing ripple effects that
That means CFOs can’t turn a blind eye to the risks their companies face as extreme weather events intensify. “They have to understand the impacts that can occur if they have a disruptive event,” Jones says. “Over the last 15 to 20 years, the trend is pretty consistent that we’re having not only more frequent [extreme weather] events, but also more severe events, both in terms of the magnitude of the storms that are occurring, as well as the magnitude of the impacts on businesses and the economy as a whole. CFOs have to pay more attention to any type of risk that is clearly growing and emerging and having larger impacts.”
“Where there are large-impact, wide-scale events, you’re seeing ripple effects that get larger and larger around the world” Eric Jones, FM Global get larger and larger around the world and impact more and more companies because of the far-flung nature of a lot of companies – but more importantly, the global nature of supply chains and how interconnected everything is,” says Eric Jones, operations vice president and global manager of business risk consulting at FM Global.
While it’s human nature to forget about susceptibility to catastrophes if two or three years pass without significant losses, that sort of short-term memory loss is more difficult today because of the frequency of events. Jones outlines what brokers can do to help CFOs batten down the hatches. “Trying to determine what the appro-
priate strategy is to deal with these risks starts with understanding the risk,” he says. “Also, understanding how much can that risk really hurt the bottom line [is important], so insurance professionals need to help their clients understand the risk and quantify [its] impact to the business overall.” Insurance companies themselves are also trying to get a handle on catastrophe risks by using risk modeling to understand exactly how much of their portfolio is exposed. Risk modeling companies compile data on various weather events and translate that into models that reflect the probability of future events. But it’s impossible to provide an exact answer as to what weather-related damages are likely to impact an insurance company’s portfolio in the next year or the next decade. “Everyone wants a number in the industry: How much is my risk going to increase by percentage terms or dollar
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A SNAPSHOT OF 2018’S EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS
There were more than 1,600 significant flood events in the United States during 2018, some of which were 1,000-year flood events
The number of acres burned by wildfire in 2018 (as reported through November 30) is the eighth highest in US history
Hurricane Florence caused flooding and wind damage to 700,000 residential and commercial properties, with estimated total losses of between $20 billion and $30 billion
terms?” says Pete Dailey, VP and lead on Americas climate models for catastrophe risk modeler RMS. “We can come up with a mean or average expected outcome, but there’s going to be a fairly wide range of uncertainty
size of a large campus or a ZIP code, so that means that they can resolve individual storms [and] how those storms will evolve in a future climate.” However, the impact of individual events
“If you think about projecting climate 20, 30 or 50 years out, what is the exposure going to look like at that time?” Pete Dailey, RMS around that outcome.” While risk modeling has come a long way in the past 20 years, there are still many unknowns in predicting the scale of exposure. “Climate models divide up the globe into little cells,” Dailey explains. “Today, they’re getting down to a scale similar to weather models that are actually able to look at the
or long-term changes in climate on a collection of assets is hard to pin down. “The exposure is, first of all, increasing in value as people are building more expensive homes along the coastline and in harm’s way,” Dailey says. Meanwhile, building codes typically improve over time after major events, so buildings may be more
Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $2.5 billion to $4 billion insured losses from wind and storm surge Source: CoreLogic
resilient when the next catastrophe strikes. Even so, “there comes a point where you’re not going to rebuild, so if you think about projecting climate 20, 30 or 50 years out, what is the exposure going to look like at that time?” Dailey says. As catastrophes become more commonplace, Dailey has seen developing interest in these risks and how to prepare for them. “Our clients – the industry and people in general – want to know more, and they want to know what the risks are and should we be worried, and if so, what should we be worried about? That drives the need for better information, and it drives the need for what we do.”
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INTELLIGENCE CORPORATE ACQUIRER
North Carolina-based TriSure specializes in commercial property & casualty insurance
Hammerberg Insurance Services (First Iowa Insurance Agency)
The deal expands Gallagher’s presence in Iowa
The Hilb Group
Marsh-Kemp Insurance Agency
Massachusetts-based MK offers a range of personal and commercial insurance options
RiteHealth is a boutique employment benefits brokerage based in Lafayette, Colorado
American Environmental Group
AEG offers a range of environmental consulting services for the insurance industry
Preservation Capital Partners
Cove Programs is a construction-focused MGA
Specialty Program Group
Insurance Programs of America and Risk Advisors of America
IPOA and RAA form a hospitality-focused insurance distribution platform that serves the Orlando, Florida, area
Beazley enhances environmental liability
Beazley has announced enhancements to ECLIPSE, its environmental liability insurance policy. The policy now includes blanket liability protection for non-owned locations and warehouses and distribution chains. Also now standard is coverage for the costs of business interruption and crisis response, including fees for public-relations support, medical and funeral expenses, and psychological counseling. “As well as risk transfer, we want our clients to be able to access the resources they need to deal with a potential crisis,” said Beazley’s Jayne Cunningham.
Preservation Capital creates powerhouse MGA
Private equity firm Preservation Capital Partners has announced a strategic investment in Cove Programs, a construction-focused managing general agent. Combined with cyber and specialty lines MGA Ascent Underwriting, which it acquired last year, Preservation Capital has formed one of the largest independently owned specialty lines MGAs, managing more than $200 million in gross written premium. Ascent and Cove will continue to operate under their respective brands, but the businesses and senior management will combine. “Uniting at a corporate level allows us to realize the many synergies between our two entirely complementary businesses,” said Kevin Hastings, CEO of the combined group. “Our combined resources and innovative, classleading expertise will help propel significant growth for the business.”
Berkley extends management liability
Berkley Professional Liability has introduced a new primary management liability offering for private companies. The comprehensive policy includes directors, officers and entity liability; employment practices liability; and fiduciary liability; crime coverage will soon be available, too. According to Berkley Professional Liability president John Benedetto, the new product taps into the “growing market of nearly 20 million privately held companies operating in the US today,” which are “vulnerable to litigation from a variety of plaintiffs, including competitors, customers, investors, creditors and employees.”
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PEOPLE Nationwide develops on-demand rideshare insurance
Nationwide Insurance has partnered with cloud services provider Slice Labs to develop on-demand rideshare insurance solutions for drivers working for companies such as Uber and Lyft. The coverage will be made available to rideshare drivers via an app and will be offered at variable increments that match the time they drive for the ridesharing platform. “This partnership exemplifies our commitment to innovation by leveraging technology to provide rideshare drivers with a flexible and comprehensive insurance product,” said Nationwide associate vice president Teresa Scharn.
Lockton enters the reinsurance space
Lockton has announced the formation of Lockton Global Re, a new global reinsurance business. The new business will be a major build-out of Lockton’s reinsurance capabilities and will incorporate Lockton’s London-based specialty team. Lockton Global Re will be led by Tim Gardner, current CEO of North America operations for Guy Carpenter; Claude Yoder, current managing director and global chief innovation and product development officer for Guy Carpenter; and Nick Durant, managing director for Guy Carpenter.
AmWINS and Alliant team up in waste disposal
AmWINS Group has partnered with Alliant Insurance Services to service clients in the waste disposal sector. Alliant’s WasteAssure clients can now secure coverage through the WasteHaulers program offered by AmWINS Program Underwriters [APU]. The program offers comprehensive coverage for clients engaged in the disposal, transport, storage and treatment of non-hazardous waste, from landfills and recycling operations to sanitation contractors and medical waste treatment facilities. “We’re excited to work together to assist our retail agents with all of their waste program needs,” said APU’s Ben Francavilla.
Vice president and producer
Senior vice president and property broker
Kori M. Johanson
H.W. Kaufman Group
Corporate vice president and chief compliance officer
Executive vice president and global client services practice leader
Willis Towers Watson
Head of broking, global marine
Stephen C. Ruschak
CEO, North America
Liberty Special Markets
Global head of oil and gas
Willis Towers Watson
EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants
QBE Integrated Advantage for Healthcare
Global risk solutions lead
The Guarantee appoints new North American CEO
The Guarantee has named Stephen C. Ruschak as CEO of both The Guarantee Company of North America and The Guarantee Company of North America USA. Ruschak has a diverse background in insurance with experience in claims, underwriting, reinsurance and surety. He joined The Guarantee in 2009 as president of the North America USA operation; over the past decade, he has built a strong team and driven growth in the US market. He will continue to hold the president role in addition to his new responsibilities. Ruschak replaces Jules Quenneville, who is returning to the role of president and co-CEO of Princeton Holdings. Quenneville will also continue to serve as a board member for The Guarantee Company of North America.
Worldwide Facilities adds SVP and property broker Worldwide Facilities has added Shane Holden to its Atlanta team as a senior vice president and property broker. Holden has 25 years of industry experience in a variety of roles, including retail broking, E&S broking and risk management. He has expertise in traditional E&S insurance placements, as well as captive and reinsurance programs. “Shane offers a broad range of experience, from E&S property placements to large, multi-layered complex risks,” said Worldwide Facilities SVP Jordan Connelly. “We’re confident he will be an excellent addition to our property team in Atlanta.”
12/04/2019 3:31:50 AM
WORKERS’ COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Texas Mutual Insurance welcomes new board member
Texas Mutual Insurance’s board of directors has added a new member to its ranks: Carrollton, Texas, native Ron Simmons. Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed Simmons to the workers’ compensation insurer’s board for a term that will conclude in 2023. Simmons is currently chair of Retirement Advisors of America. He was formerly a State Representative for District 65 and was a board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council. He has also served on the Education Commission of the States and was a vice chairman of the Autism Society of America.
ChronWell brings chatbots to workers’ comp claims
Florida-based insurtech firm ChronWell has developed an automated workers’ compensation claims process that connects injured workers to a chatbot that can answer questions, schedule medical appointments and send follow-up reminders. After making initial contact with an injured worker, the chatbot determines the best course of action by recommending self-care, on-site care or a healthcare facility. According to ChronWell, chatbot interviews can help injured workers by helping to streamline the claims process and relieve overloaded claims adjusters.
Ohio seeks compensation from pharmacy benefit manager
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is seeking recovery of $16 million in alleged overcharges from pharmacy benefit manager OptumRx, according to The Columbus Dispatch. In February, Yost wrote to OptumRx, asking the company to repay $16 million to the state’s Bureau
of Workers’ Compensation, which hired OptumRx to manage prescription benefits. Yost claims that OptumRx has overcharged the bureau since 2015. A spokesperson for OptumRx told The Columbus Dispatch that Yost’s “allegations are without merit” and that firm is “working with the state to resolve the bureau’s concerns.”
Technology is driving down workers’ comp claims frequency
The use of technology in workers’ comp is bringing down claims frequency and severity, which in turn is driving down rates, according to one expert. “Just in the last 12 months, for example, we’re seeing that insureds are using mobile apps now to track their claims activity, which we hadn’t seen previously,” said Jim Mitchell, VP of workers’ compensation and accident and health at All Risks Ltd. “They’re also reducing claims by using wearables, so now you’ve got employers that are able to track exactly what their employees are doing throughout the day and how they’re doing it to better identify loss trends.”
Workers’ comp to remain competitive through 2019
Competition in the workers’ comp marketplace in the US should continue to remain strong for 2019, according to Willis Towers Watson’s Marketplace Realities 2019 report. The brokerage predicted that “workers’ compensation pricing should remain soft amid an insurance marketplace with excess capacity, a rising exposure base and three years of underwriting profitability.” The report went on to cite several other factors that have contributed to this competitive environment, including a decrease in lost-time claims thanks to improvements in medical care and the adoption of return-to-work programs, as well as the growth of telemedicine.
The many benefits of PEOs A professional employer organization might be the best solution for tougher workers’ comp exposures The traditionally cyclical workers’ compensation insurance market is currently in the grips of sustained soft market conditions. As a result, not all standard carriers have been charging adequate rates for tougher workers’ compensation exposures. According to an expert in the space, these carriers are navigating risky territory because as rates drop, experience mods begin to grow, and carriers’ loss ratios are at risk of creeping up to unacceptable levels. “The worker’s compensation market is cyclical, and this cycle is lasting longer than most,” says Edmund Dabrowski, strategic development at Builders & Tradesmen’s Insurance Services [BTIS], a nationwide wholesale intermediary based in California. “It’s been relatively soft since the last recession, with either perceived or real rate redundancy throughout the country.” In recent years, Dabrowski says, lots of high-experience-mod accounts in tougher-toplace classifications have chosen to get their workers’ compensation insurance from standard carriers or state funds, when perhaps they might be better suited to a professional employer organization [PEO], where they can outsource their workers’ compensation responsibilities to an employer of record. BTIS runs a tough comp program through Integrated Underwriters that is specifically designed to provide coverage for PEOs with tougher workers’ compensation exposures. The program can take high experience mods up to 4.0 and is designed for larger risks with minimum premium of $100,000.
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“The challenge we have when we try to place an insured with a PEO is really driving home the process they’re entering into,” Dabrowski says. “Under a PEO, they’re no longer the employer of record for tax purposes, and they must abide by the PEO mandates.
PEOs use economies of scale to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. They improve their members’ cash flows by reducing or even eliminating the premium deposits often associated with buying workers’ compensation.
“The challenge we have when trying to place an insured with a PEO is really driving home the process they’re entering into” “As part of a PEO in our tough comp program, employers will receive A-rated workers’ compensation at an aggregate price lower than statutory workers’ compensation,” he adds. “Should they join a PEO, they will no longer have a policy renewal date, per se. Rather it’s a pay-as-you-go transaction, where they pay each week to stay in the program.”
If a high-risk employer in a PEO structure suffers a big loss, a tough workers’ compensation program would react in the same way as the standard market, Dabrowski explains. The employer and the injured employee remain subject to the workers’ compensation rules and regulations of their particular state with respect to age reimbursement, medical treat-
ment, returning to work and so on. “When it comes to loss control and risk management in tougher-to-place workers’ compensation risks, [the PEO] should be no different to statutory compensation in that it’s truly catered to each and every account,” Dabrowski says. “If you have a risk with an experience mod as high as 4.0, you have to identify the primary cause of loss ... and either remove or mitigate it.”
SOLUTION ORIENTED. Specialized expertise and flexible program design supported with relationship-driven customer service.
Let’s start the conversation. SafetyNational.com | 888.995.5300
Workers’ Compensation | Commercial Liability Public Entity Liability | Commercial Auto | Cyber | LPTs
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Diving into private flood insurance High-tech risk modeling is opening up new opportunities in the burgeoning private flood market
hydro-enforced, which means it’s corrected to flow downhill, flat or level. When you combine hydro-enforcement with bare Earth elevation, you can make very accurate measurements about flood risk.” In recent months, Intermap has received a lot more interest from admitted carriers looking to get into the private flood insurance market. “There’s an enormous opportunity to grow premium – and it’s safe because the analytics carriers need in order to do it safely,
“There’s an enormous opportunity to grow premium”
In recent years, changes to the National Flood Insurance Program have helped usher in a powerful private flood insurance market. Geospatial intelligence provider Intermap Technologies Corporation is one firm that has truly embraced this “enormous opportunity” with its InsitePro underwriting tool, which scores flood and wildfire risk. Based on Intermap’s NEXTMap series of terrain profiling data sets, InsitePro can help insurers and brokers understand the shape of the ground at any location, therefore
providing insight into how water might flow around a property. “Our digital terrain model has a few very specific characteristics,” says Ivan Maddox, EVP for commercial products at Intermap. “First, it’s a bare Earth elevation model, which means we’ve removed all of the houses, infrastructure and plant life from the data so that we get accurate renderings of where the surface of the Earth is. “The second important characteristic is that the water in a digital terrain model is
Vertafore ramps up support for independent agents
Insurance technology firm Vertafore has expanded its agency associations and networks program, hiring former independent agency owner and seasoned insurtech executive Rick Fox to lead the unit. As VP of agency associations and networks, Fox will collaborate with agency associations, clusters and aggregators to ensure they have the right technologies, systems and policies in place, which he said “will have a tremendous impact on providing stability and support for the independent agency model.”
smartly and in a controlled manner are readily available,” Maddox says. “We’ve noticed a lot more interest coming from the admitted market, whereas it used to be exclusively from the E&S markets. Companies are doing their homework. This is a really valid way to grow your premium, and we can help carriers do it in a way that’s not completely out of control.” It’s not just insurance carriers who can benefit from more comprehensive flood data analytics. Brokers can use InsitePro as a differentiation tool and a way to bring fully baked solutions to clients, Maddox explains. “Agents are hearing more and more from homeowners and property owners who want flood insurance,” he says. “It’s not just people in higher-risk flood zones; it’s just more people in general. Agents and brokers are eager to have a solution that meets that need.”
AssuredLeads rolls out commercial insurance platform
AssuredLeads has launched a software-as-a-service [SaaS] platform designed to assist in every step of the commercial insurance sales process. Currently being used by more than 80 agencies, the cloud-based platform offers a customizable dashboard that provides easy-to-view snapshots of new leads, CRM tools and reports. It allows users to streamline the sales and underwriting process and gather data insights into industry trends, marketing effectiveness, and agent performance and engagement.
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Mike Furlong Co-founder and CEO
Eliminating paperwork headaches
What is Indio Technologies, and why should brokers be interested?
Years in the tech industry 6 Fast fact Furlong recently won the 2018 John Love Risk Innovation Award from insurance broker association TechAssure
At Indio Technologies, we’ve set out to help agents and brokers streamline their workflow when collecting information from the insured during the new business and renewal data-gathering process. We give insurance agencies an online platform with their own unique branding where they can collect all the carrier-specific information they might need to go to market and get quotes. We’ve digitized over 5,000 carrier forms, and we’ve put them into a common platform, mapping all the data points in between. This significantly reduces the amount of data entries that an agency and their clients must do during the application process. It’s a way better customer experience for the agent and the client.
Why did you create Indio Technologies? I set up Indio about two and a half years ago. Before that, I ran a software company in San Francisco. Every year I had to apply for business insurance, and I had to fill in various paper applications with my broker. I understood it the first year, but it was painful having to fill out the same insurance forms from blank each year because the carriers required new applications. I thought there must be a better way to get this done, and that’s how I came up with Indio. I believe insurance brokers give a ton of advice that you can’t get elsewhere. They’re instrumental from an advice standpoint, but many brokers lag significantly when it comes to technology enablement. We’ve built this streamlined software platform to assist agents
Berkshire Hathaway’s GUARD branches into AI
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies has announced a partnership with AI-driven data platform Planck that will allow GUARD to expedite its digital underwriting initiatives for small and medium-sized businesses. Using a business’s name and address, Planck’s AI combs through online and offline data to provide insurers with the information necessary to evaluate risks. “In the next few months, the time from submission to quote is going to be dramatically reduced,” said GUARD’s Sy Foguel.
and brokers, improve efficiency, and create a better insurance experience all round.
What types of agencies are best suited to your platform? We have over 30 of the top 100 agencies in the US using our platform every day. Many of those agencies are focused on mid-market commercial risks, but we also have a lot of smaller agencies. Our system really shines when there’s a lot of data to be collected. It works better for established business accounts with at least two policies where the broker needs to collect lots of information.
How do you see the role of the insurance agent or broker evolving? I think agents and brokers need to continue evolving into trusted advisors. Specifically, they need to specialize in certain industries and risks, and build networks and relationships within those industries. That will lead to differentiation and will result in much more knowledge about the specific client base they might be serving. A lot of insurtech companies have been set up to disrupt the agent/broker channel. The problem is, they’re missing the relationship and advocacy aspects of the broker. Insureds will soon realize that, and they’ll choose to work with more traditional brokers with areas of specialty. At Indio, we’re trying to empower the broker channel and enable them to carry out their trusted advocacy role with the help of technology.
Chisel AI wins Zurich’s innovation competition
Zurich Insurance Group recently announced the winners of its first ever Zurich Innovation World Championship. Toronto-based startup Chisel AI took the top spot for its artificial intelligence solution, which aims to improve the processing of unstructured data sources. The naturallanguage AI processing tool, known as Policy Check, allows commercial insurers and brokers to extract, identify and classify unstructured data sources such as insurance documents 400 times faster and much more accurately than a human.
Are insurance websites too complex?
Insurers could improve consumer trust by simplifying and clarifying their communications, according to a new report from software firm Visible Thread. In the first quarter of 2019, Visible Thread evaluated the websites of 54 of North America’s largest insurers and found that 79% of the websites did not communicate with the average consumer. Complex word density was an issue for 100% of the sites surveyed, and Visible Thread found that only two websites were easier to read than Moby Dick.
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BUILDING RESILIENCE During his long tenure at FM Global, chairman and CEO Tom Lawson has remained focused on furthering the company’s mission of mitigating risk through engineering expertise
THE PATH to a long and successful career is often more about the journey than the destination. Long before Tom Lawson reached the upper echelons of commercial property insurer FM Global, he began at the firm as a field engineer, conducting risk assessments, providing loss prevention engineering recommendations to clients, and gaining exposure to the wide range of industries and Fortune 1000 companies to which FM Global brings value. For 23-year-old Lawson, the experience proved invaluable, and the more he did the work, the more he enjoyed it and saw how the company’s values aligned with his own. “Forty years later, here I am,” he says. “It’s pretty rewarding to sit back and think about it now – that you can start out as a field engineer and end up as chairman and CEO. For me, it’s been a great journey.” In between his first position at FM Global and his current one, Lawson climbed up the ranks of the company’s engineering group and was responsible for opening a branch office as an engineering manager. He later picked up the title of underwriting manager, which was his first foray into the insurance side of the business. “It was interesting not having any insurance experience, but the real focus was the ability to differentiate risk, which is something that’s fundamental to everything we
do in the company,” Lawson says. Later, he created the unit that oversaw the company’s global forest products operations and eventually led the team that built the company’s research campus – the world’s largest center for science-based property loss prevention research and product testing. It was one of the shining moments of his career at FM Global.
2014 before picking up the title of chairman in 2018, he was more than prepared to lead a company whose many sides he had already seen. Today, he’s a key example of FM Global’s ability to retain its team members for an average of 13.2 years, which he credits in part to its mutual structure. “We’re a mutual company as opposed to a stock company, which allows a singular focus
“The fact that we’re a research-based organization, as opposed to an insurancebased organization, allows us to create the science that our engineers then turn into practical solutions and share with our clients” “Our research campus is where everything starts,” Lawson says. “It’s really a foundation for everything the company does related to engineering and underwriting. To be able to design and build a one-of-a-kind facility that is used to deliver on our value proposition was pretty important.”
Employee of the decade When Lawson took over the operations of the company as an executive vice president in 2008, and finally was appointed CEO in
on what’s best for our clients, who are actually our owners,” Lawson explains. “Unlike a publicly traded company, there’s never a conflict between what’s best for our shareholders versus our clients. It also sets the tone for our culture in the way we deal with our mutual owners, our clients. It permeates into how we deal with each other at the company and contributes to long-term relationships.” With FM Global’s high employee retention rate, it’s clear the company is doing
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PROFILE Name: Tom Lawson Title: Chairman and CEO Company: FM Global Based in: Johnston, Rhode Island Years in the industry: 40 Career highlight: Leading the team that designed and built the FM Global Research Campus
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something right as retirements loom large over the insurance industry. Millennials get a bad rap, according to Lawson, who meets with many new employees when they join the company and says they consistently tell him they’re taught to change jobs every few years in order to advance in their careers. “What they say is that as long as their employer is interested in their development and spends time to communicate with them, they’re not interested in switching companies every two years,” Lawson says.
A focus on loss prevention FM Global’s capital and risk management expertise is focused on commercial property
into practical solutions and share with our clients,” Lawson says. The FM Global Research Campus is devoted to stopping physical threats from becoming major catastrophes. Its four laboratories study fire technology, natural hazards, electrical hazards and hydraulics. Teams within each lab run experiments that help to develop understanding around each risk. In the fire technology lab, for example, researchers learn about the causes of structural failure, the speed at which fire spreads and sprinkler protection systems. Natural catastrophes, business interruption and cyber attacks that demobilize physical facilities are a few of the top-of-
“The majority of loss is preventable, so the good news is you can actually change your future by choosing to make your facilities and your corporation resilient” insurance, and it aligns itself with companies that share its belief in the value of loss prevention. It’s important to find clients who think the same way, Lawson says, and are willing to commit to making loss prevention a key part of their strategic planning and to taking the actions needed to make their facilities resilient. In order to create resilient companies, FM Global’s experts start by identifying the property-related risks facing their clients and then provide them with practical solutions to mitigate exposure. The company is unique in its risk management approach in that it uses engineers, not actuaries, to help clients assess and address their property risks. “The fact that we’re a research-based organization, as opposed to an insurancebased organization, allows us to create the science that our engineers then turn
mind risks threatening insureds today, but there’s another, often overlooked danger that Lawson believes is crucial for companies to pay attention to. “The biggest risk that’s emerging is when you don’t make loss prevention and risk management part of your strategic planning,” he says. “I think that’s acknowledging that loss is not a foregone conclusion, and you don’t have to accept that. The majority of loss is preventable, so the good news is you can actually change your future by choosing to make your facilities and your corporation resilient.” FM Global was founded nearly two centuries ago on the premise that members of the mutual company had to take care of their businesses’ facilities. This belief continues to underpin the insurance company’s work as it turns science into solutions for its clients around the world.
FM GLOBAL BY THE NUMBERS
Year FM Global was founded
Number of years the average employee spends at the company
Client retention rate in 2018
Countries serviced by FM Global’s engineering network
FM Global’s consolidated net earned premium in 2018
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GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email email@example.com
Transparency trumps trespassing In today’s competitive market, true collaboration between sales, underwriting and marketing is critical for survival, writes Arthur B. Seifert HYPER COMPETITION, evolving technology, excess capacity and distribution consolidation are just some of the elements challenging the insurance marketplace. Growing organically and producing an underwriting profit is always demanding – maybe more today than ever before. When I left my comfy salaried insurance carrier position in 1986 and became a retail producer, my goal was to reach $100,000 in commission income by my third year. I learned my hit ratio, did the math and realized I would have to make 11,250 phone calls a year – and I did. I knew the power of productivity, and I quickly learned the power of productive partners. The fact is that sometimes you nurture a client for months, even years, before they agree to let you in the door – only to be let down by a carrier who doesn’t want to write the business. Why does this happen? Perhaps a sales associate has ignored the carrier’s appetite, or an underwriter has overlooked the actual risk potential, or a marketer hasn’t communicated effectively. Program managers must recognize that there needs to be true understanding and collaboration between sales, underwriting and marketing to grow organically, produce an underwriting profit and develop an ongoing relationship with agents. This requires breaking down the silos and being
comfortable with sharing what was once sacred turf. In today’s market, transparency trumps trespassing. And if it doesn’t, it’s often at the agent’s expense. Marketing builds the relationship that creates the opportunity for sales to open doors, and sales maintains the constant flow
sions competitive and how much context and landscape is needed to make the underwriters comfortable. Underwriters need to know what information they want from agents, and they need to know what that information truly means. Your submissions are in the right hands when the underwriters don’t have to compare apples to oranges. Underwriting expertise in a class of business is an advantage. Underwriters who have reviewed thousands of files in a specific class have greater insight and are positioned to make better underwriting decisions. Marketing has a duty to assist sales and underwriting by conducting research to gain a solid understanding of the challenges associated with the class. What keeps the prospect up at night? What message will attract attention and create an opportunity? This information shouldn’t be carrier-exclusive. Marketing departments ought to serve as a resource for agents by providing them with the important updates, industry news and marketing collateral they need to stay up-to-date on business operations and bind business. When you combine sales, underwriting and marketing efforts, what results is a
“When you combine sales, underwriting and marketing efforts, what results is a team that truly brings value to the agent and can help them bring additional value to their client” of qualified submissions that underwriting productivity depends upon. But these ties are useless if all parties don’t understand, appreciate and respect the amount of work, time and expense an agent must invest to produce a submission. Submissions are the raw material that drives insurance production: no submission, no business. Sales should be in the field or on the phone to help drive the submissions in the door. To be a truly helpful resource, salespeople have to understand their industry deeply and be able educate their agency partners on its need-to-know nuances and product advantages. They must tell agents what information will make their submis-
team that truly brings value to the agent and can help them bring additional value to their client. Driving profitable organic growth is always challenging. It requires constant communication and collaboration. The quality and quantity of information increases the probability of better underwriting decisions. Better decisions lead to better results, and better results lead to profitable organic growth. Arthur B. Seifert has 40 years of insurance industry experience, including positions in sales, financial consulting, underwriting and leadership. He currently oversees niche insurance programs as the president of Glatfelter Program Managers.
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A SPECIAL REPORT
RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS -STAR MGA E IV
RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
How well are you meeting the expectations of your risk manager partners? Risk managers told IBA what they appreciate and want most from their insurance brokers THE PARTNERSHIP between risk managers and brokers is crucial to the safety and sustainability of organizations around the globe, which is why IBA asked risk managers to divulge their honest opinions in its first Risk Managers on Brokers survey. How well are insurance brokers serving risk managers
and the organizations they represent? And what can brokers do to be a better partner? On the following pages, risk managers from around the country reveal how well their brokers are providing key services and also name the brokerage partners that are excelling in their relationships with risk managers.
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Risk managers rated their insurance brokerages on a scale of 1 (not satisfied) to 10 (very satisfied) in 11 key areas that define the broker-risk manager partnership.
Connections with a large range of insurers
9.33 Communication and responsiveness
9.24 Current knowledge of policy forms and available market coverage
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WHICH BROKERAGES DID RISK MANAGERS RATE MOST HIGHLY? These brokerages received the highest overall scores across the 11 categories. TAR MG E-S A IV
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Silver RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
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Platinum RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
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Bronze RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
THERE’S A LOT riding on a successful relationship between a risk manager and an insurance broker – without brokers, risk managers would have to face the complex insurance market on their own, risking exposures and coverage gaps. This dynamic puts risk managers in a unique position to evaluate the services and offerings of brokerages around the nation. Risk managers fully understand the complexity of their risks and the challenge it can be to mitigate those exposures, and because many risk managers come from insurance backgrounds, they are in a good position to provide valuable feedback on how this partnership can improve. The respondents to IBA’s Risk Managers on Brokers survey made it clear that risk managers value the insights and expertise brokers bring to the table. When it comes to insurance, brokers are a risk manager’s eyes and ears. “We look to them to guide us in terms of what they’re seeing in the marketplace,” says David M. Gresko, risk and insurance manager at Noble Energy. “We don’t have access to a lot
of the detailed information that they have; they can tell based on what they’re seeing with their other clients what the other market trends are in terms of increases/decreases, what coverages are being tightened or what endorsements underwriters are giving that they wouldn’t typically give in the past. They give us the intelligence we need to figure out how we need to structure our program.” Risk managers also appreciate when a broker goes beyond just offering insurance coverage and provides additional services that benefit the business. One example is advising organizations about potential risks when they’re considering new business opportunities. “As we are looking into new business ventures, we will talk with either the underwriting or claims people at the brokerage or insurance carrier to try and figure out what the new exposures are that could potentially affect our company,” says Richard J. Roberts Jr., director of risk management and employee benefits at Ensign-Bickford Industries. “Our brokers have been very good to us when setting
up those calls and in providing input on which risks to look for and how best to manage them.” Among the many factors that impact the risk manager-broker relationship, there are a few that raise concern among risk managers, one of which is consolidation in the insurance industry. With mergers and acquisitions occurring in every segment, risk managers are worried about how this M&A activity will affect their insurance coverage. “Those of us in a larger risk portfolio are a bit concerned that the choices we have on an international footprint basis are narrowing a little bit,” says Lance Ewing, executive vice president of global risk management and client services with Cotton Holdings. “So I think that’s a concern related to broker services, as well as the opportunities we have, in order to choose our brokers appropriately.” While consolidation isn’t something brokers have control over, there are plenty of other areas they can work on to improve their relationships with risk managers. One such area is improving transparency across the insurance chain. Gary Langsdale, university risk officer at Penn State University, explains how his broker acts as a screen between him and the insurer, something he would like to change: “We want to sit with the risk-taker and understand what’s important to them and have them hear directly from us, and get their questions answered instead of filtered [through a broker].” Overall, risk managers consider brokers to be an extension of their risk management team, working with them to navigate everchanging risk landscapes. Numerous moving pieces make up these relationships, and risk managers had a lot to say about how various aspects can improve.
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. alliedworldinsurance.com
22 www.ibamag.com 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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KNOWLEDGE OF INDUSTRY RISKS
ABILITY TO PROVIDE SPECIALIZED COVERAGE
RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
The expertise and knowledge a broker can bring to the table is the cornerstone of what makes the insurance industry so valuable to organizations around the world. Risk managers know their organizations inside and out, and they expect their insurance brokers to have the same level of expertise. Risk managers unanimously agreed that for a successful partnership, a broker must “know the business.” One risk manager stressed that brokers need to work with organizations over long periods of time so they can truly learn the business’s unique attributes, which can put pressure on a brokerage to assign brokers to accounts long-term. As director of compliance and risk management for Five Colleges Inc., which includes Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and UMass Amherst, Stacie Kroll recognizes that specialization goes hand-in-hand with understanding the risks unique to her industry. “If [a broker is] specialized in the industry, they are specialized in the unique products that meet the needs of the industry,” she says. “If you have a broker who specializes in higher education, then they will have the resources and partnerships dedicated to higher education.” And it’s not just brokers’ expertise that risk managers seek; expertise on the carrier side is also critical to ensure all risks are covered. “Understanding the industry we are in is key and critical,” says Cotton Holdings’ Ewing. “I make it mandatory that our broker visits one of our sites once a year with an underwriter. The idea is, if they are going to underwrite it and provide insurance to me from behind a desk, I need them to get out from behind the desk and physically walk my properties and my locations to see what it is they are insuring.”
When industry specialization is not a top priority for risk managers, coverage specialization often is – a few risk managers even said they prefer coverage experts over industry experts. “When we look for a broker, we look for who’s got the expertise in that particular market,” says Penn State’s Langsdale. “For example, my brokerage business is divided based on the type of coverage we are seeking; we have great partners for general liability, separately on medical malpractice and for executive risk.”
“My brokerage business is divided based on the type of coverage we are seeking” Gary Langsdale, Penn State University Other risk managers also fall in this camp, including the RIMS Risk Manager of the Year, Luke Figora, who serves as senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer at Northwestern University. “I think specialization is really important both on the coverage/line of business side as well as on the industry side,” he says. “In our current insurance brokerage relationships, we have found a sweet spot of having dedicated coverage line experts on all the areas of risk we transfer.” However, not all risk managers have found the necessary coverage experts for their risks. One respondent to IBA’s survey said their organization is using a captive to address supply-chain credit risks because they fall outside of traditional commercial insurance offerings.
RISK MANAGERS’ COMMUNICATION PREFERENCES In a report published last year by IBA, risk managers revealed how often they communicate with their broker and how often they’d prefer that communication to happen – in some cases exposing a fairly significant gap. How often are you in contact with your broker?
How often would you like to be in contact with your broker?
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Average score (insurer connections)
7.85 If there’s one thing risk managers want more of from their brokers, it’s data – specifically, quality data that produces solutions. And currently, brokers are falling short of risk managers’ expectations in this area. “Provide more benchmarking scenarios” and “provide more data-based decision-making” were among the comments from survey respondents. Another risk manager wanted their broker to “provide more detailed benchmarking, modeling and more pertinent data for companies in the same industry sector.”
“Brokers [now have] true data analytics tools above and beyond typical benchmarking-type approaches” Luke Figora, Northwestern University Whether it’s industry-specific data or information about adjacent industries, risk managers rely on data to mitigate risks and plan insurance portfolios. In an era when data can be found in nearly every nook and cranny, Northwestern University’s Figora says he’s starting to see “brokers having true data analytics tools above and beyond typical benchmarkingtype approaches.” But even if that data is available, brokers are still struggling to meet risk managers’ needs. The biggest challenge, according to the risk managers surveyed, is the fact that confidentiality and compliance restrictions have made it difficult for risk managers to obtain data from brokers that can be used to craft effective risk solutions. Risk managers also understand how important data is to insurers, and they want to feel confident that their carriers are considering all available data when computing industry coverage and premiums. Feeling confident that data is being openly shared with all necessary parties helps risk managers believe that their industry is being properly evaluated and insured.
9.33 Average score (cost guidance)
8.47 Large corporations require a wide breadth of expertise and products, and brokers have responded with a wide network of insurers, according to survey respondents. Especially in niche industries, risk managers want to ensure their broker has the resources and connections to insure their every risk – and the more resources and connections, the better. “Not a lot of insurers want to do business with higher education because of the myriad of risks we bring,” says Penn State’s Langsdale. However, he notes that brokers struggling with niche risks can compensate by having a wide net of resources. He encourages local broker teams to have a national resource that can assist with finding unique markets for niche industries. When one broker can’t satisfy all the markets needed, risk managers have no problem spreading their business among multiple brokerages in
“I think what I value the most is the relationships [my brokers] have built that can help insure my programs” Stacie Kroll, Five Colleges Inc. order to leverage the best expertise. “I have a few brokers on our account,” says Kroll of Five Colleges Inc., “and I think what I value the most is the relationships they have built that can help insure my programs.” When it comes to those insurer partnerships, cost is also important to risk managers – and the strength of a broker’s relationship with an insurer can impact how well that broker can guide a client through various insurance costs. Although a few risk managers keep their cost allocations internal, the ones that do seek guidance from their brokers praised the excellent advice they received; one risk manager noted that their broker is “very much involved in the preparation of our biennium budget.”
WHAT DO RISK MANAGERS WANT MORE OF? The risk managers IBA surveyed last year overwhelmingly wanted better service from their insurance brokers.
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RISK MANAGERS ON BROKERS
Average score (connections)
CLAIMS STRATEGY, FORESIGHT, LOSS CONTROL AND TRENDS
Average score (claims management advice)
COMMUNICATION AND RESPONSIVENESS
What’s a relationship without communication? Fortunately, this is an area where brokers are largely excelling. Risk managers praised their brokers for being “always available” and “open to talk when I need them.” During renewal season, it’s common for risk managers and brokers to communicate once a week. At other times throughout the year, the line of communication expands to about once a month or once every two months, although a few risk managers said their conversations with brokers outside renewal happen more on an as-needed basis.
“I would much rather hear about 50 new products and say 49 of them aren’t for us than to miss the one” Luke Figora, Northwestern University All risk managers recognize the importance of regular and open communication. “I think communication is key,” says Five Colleges Inc.’s Kroll. “It’s really about the communication and making me aware so I can get ahead of things, whether it’s coverage changes, premium increases or anything like that. Any heads up they can give me, the better, because it’s an appearance of being on top of the program.” That sentiment is echoed by Northwestern University’s Figora. “I would much rather hear about 50 new products and say 49 of them aren’t for us than to miss the one,” he says. “I think always coming forward with new ideas is so valuable. Risk managers can get trapped in the routine … just having someone who is always asking questions and coming up with new ideas is essential to making it all work.”
8.28 Average score (strategy, foresight and loss control)
8.09 Average score (identifying trends)
7.66 When it comes to claims strategy, assistance and loss control programs, risk managers would like to see more effort from their brokers. “One area where they are weak is loss control and claims,” said one respondent about their broker, while another wished for their broker to “provide more loss control advice on potential property risks.” Another simply noted, “We have had some challenges with the property and financial lines claims advocacy group.” Overall, risk managers found that the performance of their broker’s claims team often falls short of expectations, and several risk managers said they prefer to bypass their broker altogether and work directly with insurers in the event of a claim. “If there is a complex, high-value claim/loss, I work with the loss adjuster directly and have direct relationships with them,” one respondent said. That said, many risk managers said they’d appreciate more oversight of the claims process from their brokers. In terms of loss control, what risk managers want is for their brokers to “continually monitor losses for claim trends” and then provide “recommendations for improvement.” But it seems that brokers are falling short in this area as well – a few risk managers even noted that trend analysis and loss control services are not offered by their brokerage. One risk manager described their broker’s risk control services as “borderline worthless.”
HOW BROKERS CAN IMPROVE As part of this year’s survey, IBA asked risk managers to explain what their brokers can do to improve their partnership. Here’s what they had to say:
“Provide greater support/guidance with respect to emerging risks” “Discuss new market trends openly without seeing a financial benefit and simply as a consultant helping his customer” “They could be more proactive in anticipating areas of concern and then proposing ideas and options. Too often they only react to our requests”
“The broker can always bring more and better industry-specific benchmark data regarding liability claims” “Think globally and innovatively … what’s new on the risk horizon?” “Review my company’s coverages and propose changes at each renewal”
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8.42 Out-of-the-box thinking is essential when creating innovative insurance programs to protect against the unique risks of organizations far and wide. Some risk managers were satisfied with their brokers’ problem-solving abilities; others, not so much. “To date, we have been unable to implement truly creative insurance solutions to some of our unique problems,” said one risk manager. Another noted that their broker “needs more technical staff and people who can solve business problems versus push around policies/applications/certificates.” Problem-solving can come in many forms, whether it’s coming up with new solutions when issues present themselves or thinking ahead and preparing risk managers by providing them with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions. Sonia Bridges, director of the risk
“My expectation is that every year we take a step back and say, ‘The program we had in place worked for us last year; what has happened in the intervening time to cause us to reconsider how we are doing business?”
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David M. Gresko, Noble Energy and benefits division for the City of Miami Beach, says it would be helpful if her broker could “provide more educational trainings/seminars with other clients so that we can learn best practices and openly discuss issues with other entities.” Brokers can also problem-solve by being innovative with their services. “[In the midst of renewal], it’s really easy for a broker to say, ‘We’ll just go back to the same markets and renew the coverage the way we had it,” says Noble Energy’s Gresko. “My expectation is that every year we take a step back and say, ‘The program we had in place worked for us last year; what has happened in the intervening time to cause us to reconsider how we are doing business?’”
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“What drives me crazy is when the brokerage team feels compelled to bring half a dozen people to any given meeting because they think the client expects that … We don’t need a half-dozen people at [every] meeting or conference call” “Provide requested documentation in a timely manner” “Reporting about claims and incidents in the industry”
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SECTOR FOCUS: CAPTIVES
A captive audience More and more clients are looking for captive insurance solutions, but are agents and brokers ready to step up?
ance solutions, including manufacturing, healthcare, construction, retail, professional services, energy, religious organizations, and colleges and universities. The flexibility provided by captives make them an appealing option for all types of organizations. “The ability to design and customize the risk financing program to fit the unique needs of each company or group of companies can make exploring a captive opportunity worthwhile to a large number of organizations engaged in any number of industries,” Meehan says.
Why captives? ALTHOUGH CAPTIVES are generally perceived as being more the domain of risk managers than brokers and agents, the captives market represents an untapped channel for many insurance professionals. It’s a market that provides brokers and agents access to a client base that previously might have been out of their reach.
and seeing little in return. Organizations that join a captive are able to take control of their insurance business and gain access to shared risk management resources. “Captives can be an excellent risk financing tool for organizations of many different sizes, engaged in all sorts of businesses,” says Mike Meehan, a 25-year industry vet and consul-
“The ability to design and customize the risk financing program to fit the unique needs of each company or group of companies can make exploring a captive opportunity worthwhile” Mike Meehan, Milliman Group captive insurance solutions sit between traditional guaranteed-cost policies and self-insurance solutions and represent a solid option for middle-market commercial clients looking for an alternative to the unpredictable, cyclical insurance market. Clients who have recorded years of minimal losses can understandably grow frustrated with paying premiums into a corporate pot
tant in the Boston office of Milliman. “We often see organizations that have an existing large-deductible program explore forming a captive. In addition, companies with exposures that are unique or difficult to insure through the traditional market may also consider a captive alternative.” Meehan sees clients in a wide range of industries gravitating toward captive insur-
As with all forms of self-insurance, captives offer a number of benefits and risks. Having the ability to customize the insurance policy to fit the specific needs of an organization is a major advantage. For group programs, the potential for better cash-flow management and the ability to retain any underwriting profits and investment income are also attractive benefits. There are a number of other upsides of captive solutions that are often overlooked, Meehan explains, including the ability of an organization to better manage and maintain their data, and possibly insure third-party risks, which could allow for the retention of additional underwriting profits. Organizations considering a captive should be fully aware of the potential costs and hazards before they commit. “First, since the captive will need to be capitalized, the organization is tying up capital that could otherwise be put to a different use,” Meehan says. “Also, instead of underwriting profits, there could be an underwriting loss in any given year or years. For these reasons, it is important to make sure that the policies are properly priced and that appropriate levels of reinsurance are in place. In general, when set up correctly, captives can be a great risk financing tool.” As with the more traditional areas of insurance, the captives market is ever-
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ORDINARY PEOPLE GETTING THE EXTRAORDINARY DONE
TOP 10 CAPTIVE DOMICILES 1. Bermuda
2. Cayman Islands
7. North Carolina
10. Luxembourg Source: Insurance Information Institute
evolving, and new trends can emerge with little warning. Meehan identifies medical stop loss as the biggest trend in the captive market right now. He has seen a solid uptick in new formations, and even mature captives have been exploring insuring this coverage. “Over the past six to nine months, I would estimate that medical stop loss has been a point of discussion with about half of the companies and organizations that I have spoken with about forming a captive,” Meehan says. “Similarly, a number of companies with existing captives have also inquired about adding this coverage to their captive business plan.” There was a strong demand for new captive formations in 2018, and many domiciles have seen new licenses in the double digits over the past year. When closures for 2018 are taken into account, overall net growth was negative; however, Meehan believes that microcaptives, or enterprise risk captives, make up a large percentage of the closures. “Several of the domiciles that specialize in these specific types of captives represent the domiciles with the greatest number of closures over the past year,” he says. “Even considering the overall negative growth, I would still categorize the captive market as being active and strong. Attendance at industryrelated conferences seems to be growing each year, and interest in the captive market seems to be as strong as ever.”
Meehan’s positivity on captives is echoed by Brady Young, president and CEO of Strategic Risk Solutions. He describes the current condition of the group captive market as being “very solid overall.” It’s a market that continues to gain traction, regardless of market conditions, as more and more mid-sized accounts entertain the idea of joining a captive. “We see nice growth on our existing group captives, but the single captive formations were a little bit slower last year and at the beginning of this year,” Young says. “Typically the first part of the year tends to be a little slower, and we see more people gain interest in the middle and latter part of the year. That being said, we are working on several feasibility studies for people looking to set up new captives, so overall, things are very solid.” Captives’ positive reputation is a key driver in the increased interest in recent years. The vehicle is viewed as a modern financial and risk management tool, and more companies are now considering it as a way to cut costs and increase monetary efficiency. “The application of captives has moved well beyond traditional property & casualty insurance risk,” Young says. “It can be a lot more flexible and creative and used to solve a variety of different problems. Using captives as a profit center, where you can reinsure profitable business that different companies may have access to, is appealing and another reason why demand is still strong.”
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12/04/2019 3:36:42 AM
SECTOR FOCUS: CAPTIVES
“The application of captives has moved well beyond traditional property & casualty insurance risk. It can be a lot more flexible and creative and used to solve a variety of different problems” Brady Young, Strategic Risk Solutions
TYPES OF CAPTIVE PROGRAMS Single-parent captive Group captive Association captive Segregated cell captive Risk retention group
Capitalizing on captives The captives market offers fresh opportunity for the majority of brokers. As interest continues to grow, clients are eager to have conversations and learn more about captives, even if they’re not ready to enter an agreement. That business leader who wants to have an informal chat about captives today could be a new client tomorrow. In order to benefit from the growing
market, Young urges brokers and agents to take advantage of the various learning opportunities the industry provides. “There are several good conferences, and you can learn a lot by attending those sessions and meeting different people,” he says. “We do webinars on different topics within captives every month, which are free to non-competitors, and a lot of brokers listen in on those to learn what is going on in the captive world.
“Brokers should also identify expert resources that can help them out,” he adds. “Most brokers are not going to learn enough to be a captive expert, but the key is to know where to go when you have situation that might be a fit. This is a specialist area, and brokers need to know who to work with when a captive might make sense.”
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12/04/2019 3:36:30 AM
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Scientific discovery From development to production, risk management is critical to the life sciences industry. Gallagher’s Walker Taylor tells IBA why
IBA: How are current trends such as the opioid crisis affecting life sciences insurance and risk management? Walker Taylor: The industry handles the opioid crisis by putting exclusions on insurance policies, which is kind of like how insurance handles asbestos, lead and other crises. The opioid crisis has narrowed the supply of insurance for organizations, and when risks are being underwritten, underwriters are looking very closely and being very careful with the underwriting. That’s why the risk management industry is so valuable to the life sciences and pharmaceutical space; it helps bring safer and more effective products and services to market. Also, the laws continually change in this industry. There was recently a Supreme Court decision, Helsinn v. Teva, in which the court ruled on patent protection and when businesses must file for it. So if you have a drug company that is partnering with a device company, the Supreme Court essentially ruled that you cannot prevent a sale, but you could potentially lose patent protection if you don’t patent before a device is commercialized.
IBA: As a broker, what are your keys to servicing this industry? WT: The first key is understanding the client and their product and service, which is critical when I go to the underwriters. On the liability side, there can be anywhere between
12 to 15 exclusions on any one life sciences insurance policy, but by understanding my client’s needs, I can help underwriters write out the policies and walk them through what a loss might look like. The life sciences industry is extremely broad, and these are often large, complex businesses. At Gallagher, we basically deal with life sciences organizations that have some kind of FDA-regulated environment. There are eight classes of products the FDA regulates, and we are mostly concerned with three: pharmaceuticals, medical devices and blood vaccine/biologics, and then any related exposures, such as contract research organizations, contract manufacturing and laboratories. And within the life sciences industry as a whole, there are many different pieces. For example, with medical devices, the regulations, processes and exposures are different
than they are for pharmaceuticals. Beyond that, you have biologics, immunotherapy, synthetic technology and much more. In addition, the latent exposures can have a long tail in this industry. So the number-one priority is to be committed to this space every day. That means attending bio conferences, collaborating and networking with underwriters, keeping up with FDA information, understanding claims trends, keeping up with EU and other international regulations, and researching current clinical trials. It is basically living and breathing in the space.
IBA: What are the most challenging aspects of working with clients in the life sciences space? WT: In life sciences, you are dealing with and working to understand a very complex envi-
ABOUT WALKER TAYLOR After a career playing professional golf, Walker Taylor joined his family’s insurance agency in the late 1980s, where his first client was a one-man, contract-for-search organization, Pharmaceutical Product Development, which is now one of the world’s largest contract research organizations. Over time, Taylor became a go-to broker in the life sciences space. “I always thought it would be good to specialize in something,” he says, “and I just became interested in the life sciences world, particularly in the drug development and research side.” After his family’s agency merged with Gallagher in 2009, Taylor founded Gallagher’s life sciences practice group in 2010. Today, he is senior managing director of the life sciences insurance and risk management practice at Gallagher, one of the company’s fastest-growing practices.
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FAST FACTS: GALLAGHER
Headquarters: Rolling Meadows, IL
Year founded: 1927
Number of employees: 30,000+
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“The risk management industry is so valuable to the life sciences and pharmaceutical space [because] it helps bring safer and more effective products and services to market” ronment. A lot of the insurance policies are layered programs, and you are often dealing with different carriers that don’t want to write all the lines of coverage, so you have to manage the exclusions.
Then you have to understand the client’s product. We group products into three phases: discovery, development and commercialization. So you must understand the risks associated with each phase, because the risks
are different if the client is developing drugs in clinical trials versus operating in a preclinical discovery phase. Then there are times when clients that are funded by venture capitalists may have developed the next new therapy or drug, and the board of directors will try to monetize and maximize a return by taking a company public. So we have a team of experts who work on that in the bio space and who understand what the securities risks are for a stock that starts trading. But in addition to that, exposures such as cyber and data protection risks, and other company risks, also have to be managed. So putting that all together in the broker channel, often on many insurance policies, and making it organized, understandable and cost-effective, can be a challenge. But I think that at Gallagher, we do that better than anyone in the life sciences space.
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SECTOR FOCUS: CONSTRUCTION
Building up The construction industry has enjoyed a period of sustained growth, but as the economy begins to slow, what’s in store for the sector for the rest of 2019?
THERE ARE few industries whose performance is as closely linked to the wider domestic economy as construction. The US economy has been on a tear in recent years, and it’s been an extremely positive period for the construction sector, too. Even as the wider economy enters what could be a period of constricted growth, causing many analysts to predict a flat forecast for 2019, the outlook
as a result, competition causes pricing to remain soft. “However,” he adds, “construction is a high-risk class of business, and as a result of loss activity, certain classes of business are softer than others. The increased number of construction projects, as a direct result of a healthy economy, has provided retail and wholesale brokers, as well as underwriters, a
“The increased number of construction projects, as a direct result of a healthy economy, has provided retail and wholesale brokers ... a considerable amount of new opportunities” Chad Hall, RT Specialty for construction remains strong. “The construction market has had considerable growth since 2012,” says Chad Hall, president of RT Specialty’s Tampa office. “That, combined with a surplus of capacity pouring into the insurance marketplace, has given contractors and owners of projects a lot of choices for insuring their projects. With a soft market comes competition, and
considerable amount of new opportunities to write business.” Pricing for construction insurance is mainly flat, although some of the harder classes of business are experiencing strong increases, Hall says. The residential condo construction and New York-based construction markets have continued to see losses, and prices have been adjusted as carriers have
pulled out of the space. “A lot of the business that had transitioned back to the standard market from the E&S market while markets competed for business is finding its way back to the E&S channel due to standard markets pulling back due to poor loss results,” Hall says.
Expertise is vital The strong demand for insurance in the booming construction industry has given ambitious agents and brokers ample opportunity to take advantage. But construction remains a risky business, and as competition ramps up, construction companies are increasingly looking for agents and brokers who have the expertise to address their specific risks and requirements. “The construction space represents a good opportunity for agents and brokers, but it is extremely important to get the job done right, rather than merely placing a policy,” says Kyle Domire, assistant vice president and broker at Worldwide Facilities. “Instances have occurred more times than I can count wherein an insured binds a policy that either excludes the type of work they perform or severely limits coverage – i.e., lack of additional insured forms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when placing construction risks.” Unique exposures that change by project type and court jurisdiction create many challenges for construction clients, and Hall believes it’s these complexities that create opportunities for agents. He sees construction as a space where agents can illustrate their value proposition by taking a consultative approach. Agents should aim to develop a deep understanding of coverage design quirks and terms and conditions differences, which need to be customized on a projectby-project basis. “By becoming a student in the space, you can really set yourself apart,” Hall says. “Construction remains one of the highest-risk classes of business, and agents and brokers
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CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE RATE PREDICTIONS FOR 2019 Trend
Flat to +3%
-2% to +2%
+5% to +20%
-3% to +3%
-5% to -10%
Project-specific/controlled insurance programs
-5% to flat
Source: Willis Towers Watson
can provide tremendous value-add by becoming specialists.” Domire advises agents to not just focus on their clients’ current risk, but to think ahead to their potential future needs as they acquire more – and different types of – work. “If the client performs single-family work, make sure to ask if they would take jobs in the multifamily space if offered,” he says. “If so, a policy excluding condominiums and townhomes is not going to be an appropriate product. Seek value for the client and focus on coverage over price. Price is always important, but ultimately, coverage protects the insured.”
The outlook for 2019 All signs point to continued strength in the construction industry for the next few years, although experts estimate that growth will be slower than in the boom years of 2012 to 2015. There are, however, some areas of sensitivity that industry insiders are keeping a close eye on, including rising costs of materials caused by ongoing tariffs and trade wars, rising interest rates, and a stricter immigration policy that could affect the number of people seeking homes. “The construction industry has been able to fend off these headwinds,” Hall says, “but if the economy turns downward, it will greatly impact the industry.” Persistent labor shortages – exacerbated by the mass retirement of
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SECTOR FOCUS: CONSTRUCTION
KEY FEATURES OF A CONSTRUCTION POLICY Builder’s risk Wrap-up liability Project interruption Property Contractor’s equipment and tools Business income Equipment breakdown Crime Inland marine Commercial auto Commercial general liability Umbrella liability Excess liability Directors & officers
baby boomers – will continue to put upward pricing pressure on the construction industry. Associated Builders and Contractors economist Anirban Basu noted in December that “as of July , there were a recordsetting 6.94 million [construction] job openings in the United States,” representing a 3.6% unemployment rate. Even if new starts slow modestly, the current labor shortage remains a reality. In late 2018, the Associated General Contractors of America reported that 755 of its firms were expecting to add workers in 2019 – a finding that appears to be playing out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction jobs grew by 52,000 in February 2019, and it projects that employment of construction laborers will grow by an average of 12% per year between 2016 and 2026 – the highest average of all occupations.
In particular, the lack of skilled workers remains an issue. In September 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of unfilled job openings in construction had increased by 55%. While the industry’s boom has created jobs for people who struggle to find employment elsewhere, the influx of unskilled workers has led to a greater probability of job-site accidents and the potential for decreases in the quality of workmanship. “Skilled worker shortages in framing, rough and finish carpentry have been the most prevalent,” Domire says. “As deadlines and heavy workloads have added pressure to existing contractors, workmanship issues have started to rise, particularly in multifamily residential and entry-level tract dwellings. We’ve seen claims activity rising at a higher rate in trades such as roofing, exte-
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“It is extremely important to get the job done right, rather than merely placing a policy ... Don’t be afraid to ask for help when placing construction risks” Kyle Domire, Worldwide Facilities rior cladding, plumbing and HVAC. Hastily conducted work and shortcuts will ultimately lead to claims scenarios.” Another factor driving the positive outlook
for the construction sector, even in the face of economic slowdown, is persistent demand. “Population growth is poised to continue to fuel demand for single-family and multi-
family housing, as well as apartments, and the subsequent commercial growth in areas like office space,” Domire says. “The aging population is driving demand for commercial building in healthcare such as assisted living, clinics and hospitals. Increased military procurement and infrastructure projects are also quite plentiful for the foreseeable future. “Long story short, the sector looks strong for the time being,” he continues. “A downturn is always unfortunate, but there appears to be enough demand and shortage of labor to cushion against a total calamity like we saw in 2009.”
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FEAR AND SUCCESS
The power of fear Rather than being a warning of failure, fear can often be a sign of approaching success. The challenge, explains Molly Moseley, is learning to work through it
YOUR PALMS are sweaty. Your stomach has that light, unsettled feeling. Your mind races eagerly from thought to thought. Fear is an innate part of the human experience and has been essential to our survival as a species for thousands of years. While fear keeps us from danger, it also can keep us from many other amazing experiences.
I accepted the offer and decided not to let fear get in my way. To do the best job possible, I knew extensive preparation was essential. I took plenty of time to prepare my points, hone my message and practice out loud. I was nervous but ready. Ultimately, the presentation went well, and I got tons of great feedback. I’m glad I
While fear keeps us from danger, it also can keep us from many other amazing experiences Recently, I was asked to speak at a community networking event. I was excited about the opportunity, but fear reared its ugly head. Like it is for many others, public speaking is outside my comfort zone. The thought of addressing a crowd full of people was overwhelming. Would I speak well? Would they learn from me? Could I inspire them? Doubt sunk in. A flurry of negative thoughts raged through my mind, from stumbling over my words to physically stumbling over the podium. I had a choice: Give into fear and maintain the status quo, or challenge myself and give it my best.
accepted the offer and tried something new. When faced with a career challenge, it’s easy to take the comfortable path. However, when you do this – whether for public speaking, a big promotion or a move across the country – you’ll always wonder about the road less traveled. The next time fear creeps up, rather than considering it a warning of impending failure, view it as a sign you’re on the right path. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and inventors attest that fear isn’t always a warning of the negative; it’s often a signal that you’re on your way to success.
When facing doubt, it’s important to realize fear is not unique to you. Everyone experiences fear, even those you might feel are immune to it. Will Ferrell’s 2017 commencement speech for the University of Southern California made this point perfectly. “You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid,” Ferrell said. “I was afraid to write this speech. And now, I’m just realizing how many people are watching me right now, and it’s scary. Can you please look away while I deliver the rest of the speech? But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of ‘what if.’ What if I never tried at all?” For the graduates about to embark on a brand-new adventure, he offered some advice that I think is fitting for just about anyone:
• Enjoy the process of your search
without succumbing to the pressure of the result.
• Trust your gut. • Keep throwing darts at the dartboard. • Don’t listen to the critics – you will figure it out.
So next time you feel fear holding you back from trying something new – whether in your personal or professional life – push those feelings down and stomp them with your foot. Then be bold and see what happens. Chances are, you’ll succeed. At the very least, you’ll be glad you tried. Molly Moseley is a marketing strategist and brand evangelist. She serves as part of the cross-functional leadership team at LinkUp in developing, managing and positioning products that capture new market share and expand existing relationships. For more information, visit linkup.com.
12/04/2019 3:38:53 AM
NO OPPORTUNITY WASTED His innate curiosity has led Michael Brown to become a leader within his agency
Born into an insurance family, Brown was determined not to follow in their footsteps. Instead, he landed a job at a restaurant straight out of high school, planning to use it to pay for college. “I was a dishwasher – it was the worst! And I spent the next three years looking for excuses to be at work; school bored me, and work was fun. I liked the frenzied pace and surmounting challenges.”
WALKS AWAY FROM INSURANCE
2002 CRACKS THE BOOKS Golden Bear put Brown in a course called Introduction to General Insurance, which ended up being the first of 30 courses he took over 16 years. “I heard about the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter program and that it was the pinnacle of education for the industry, so I immediately ordered the first textbook to see if I could figure it out – and by hook and by crook, I managed to get through the program in just over four years.”
2011 PRESENTS TO ANALYSTS In light of the steady growth of Golden Bear’s earthquake book, Brown was tasked with making a presentation to A.M. Best analysts. “The CEO contacted me and said, ‘You’re in a good position to articulate the risk.’ I called my wife to tell her we had to go shopping for a suit because I didn’t own one. It was like jumping in at the deep end.”
2015 REACHES THE VP LEVEL Much to his surprise, Brown received a promotion to vice president during an annual review.
“I did not expect to get promoted to VP. It was a real validation that the things I had done through the years really did matter. I may have peaked, but if so, it’s a pretty good peak”
STARTS AT GOLDEN BEAR After 15 years of working in restaurants, Brown was lured back to insurance by the opportunity to finally enjoy some nights and weekends off. “My father called me one day and said he had met a guy who was having trouble finding an earthquake underwriter. For the life of me, I have no idea why they offered me the job. I had an understanding of the jargon because my parents spoke insurance, so that helped.”
2009 BECOMES A LEADER Promoted to special risk underwriter, Brown stepped into a role that required him to become a mentor. “That was my first opportunity to give back; I was the guy they came to with questions. It was very exciting and thoroughly intimidating at the same time; I felt like I was still the new guy.”
2013 CROSSES INTO MANAGEMENT When the post of commercial property department manager became available, Brown jumped at the opportunity. “I had held management positions during my restaurant years, so I felt comfortable with that piece. Those skills cross over in a lot of ways, and I was familiar with setting goals for staff and being left holding the bag.”
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TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email email@example.com
SCOUT’S HONOR When he’s not at his desk, there’s a good chance Dave James is in the great outdoors with his Boy Scout troop HAVING BEEN a Boy Scout himself, Dave James grew up with a love for the outdoors – so it’s no wonder the St. Louis-based broker enjoys his role as den leader for his son’s Boy Scout troop. In fact, James jokes that he became den leader so he could keep reliving his own experience.
Number of boys in James’ Boy Scout troop
Merit badges James collected during his time as a scout
“It reminds me of the first time I got to sleep out in the woods without a tent or the first time I caught a fish in the wild,” he says. “It’s fun to see the boys experiencing things the same way I did 30-odd years ago.” In addition to leading weekly meetings, James is a committee head and assistant
Miles James hiked with his scout troop in 2018
scout master of the troop, but what he enjoys most is his involvement with the troop’s monthly campout. “I get to play in the woods and cook over an open fire, while also teaching [the boys] how to camp in a safe and respectful way,” he says.
Scouting For Food, in which scouts across the US collect donations for food ba nks a nd shelters, bought in almost 2 million pou nds of donations in Ja mes’ area last year
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