Insurance Business America 8.03

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IBAMAG.COM ISSUE 8.03 | $12.95

BUILDING TRUST Auto-Owners CEO Jeff Tagsold on why relationships with independent agents are critical to the company’s success


How global insurers are using their influence to advocate for sustainability

SALVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Can telematics reverse the alarming claims trends in the trucking industry?


A forward-thinking agency on connecting with clients through Instagram

FIVE-STAR WHOLESALE BROKERS AND MGAs Producers name the best wholesale partners in the business

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ISSUE 8.03

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



UPFRONT 04 Editorial

What can the industry learn from the coronavirus fallout?

06 Statistics

Key data that should be on your radar this month

08 Head to head




Sky-high litigation costs are a growing problem in the commercial auto sector. Are telematics the solution?





How Allchoice Insurance is using Instagram to forge more meaningful connections with its customers

Auto-Owners CEO Jeff Tagsold on how the insurer’s relationships with independent agents have helped it thrive


12 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

16 Technology update

The next frontiers for insurtech

18 Opinion

How good risk management can keep a reputational crisis from tanking a company’s share price

PEOPLE 62 Career path

Alex Rosas Salgado’s career has combined his two passions: insurance and sailing

64 Other life

In the fast lane with motorcycle racer and executive coordinator Angela Hiba




If so, consider these five strategies your life raft


What global insurers are doing to move the needle on climate change

Closing the gap between workers’ comp and non-job-related injury claims


10 News analysis

14 Workers’ comp update


Which wholesalers are leading the pack in turnaround time, product range, expertise and more? Producers tell all

How to convince small businesses that cyber coverage is crucial


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E&S is at the heart of what we do, from adapting to meet the unique needs of our partners and their clients, to our unsurpassed financial strength and stability. Let us show how we can put the very best of E&S together for you. E&S/Specialty | AM best rating of A+ (Superior), FSC XV | Fortune 100 company Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Š 2020 Nationwide ESC-0259AO (03/20)

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Lessons from the coronavirus


ities in lockdown, travel bans enforced and a massive slowdown in trade: The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, more commonly known as the coronavirus, has been massive, even without considering the loss of life. For the insurance industry, a pandemic on this scale has far-reaching consequences. First, questions swirl about payouts, particularly among those with manufacturing outlets in key regions of China. Travel insurance claims spike as flights and trips are canceled, business insurance absorbs a blow as events are halted and operations are disrupted, and life insurance naturally comes under the spotlight as the death toll increases. Then there are the more unusual impacts that the resultant panic has had on the insurance industry. In the cyber realm, for example, hackers have used fears surrounding the illness to lure people into clicking on links and inadvertently spreading malware. Meanwhile, marine insurers are being called into action to assist shipowners with chartering and operations and to help prepare staff for what to expect when arriving in port. MAY 2017 EDITORIAL

Managing Editor Paul Lucas Editor Bethan Moorcraft Journalists Alexi Demetriadi, Alicja Grzadkowska, Ksenia Stepanova News Writers Lyle Adriano, Terry Gangcuangco, Roxanne Libatique, Gabriel Olano Staff Writers Ellen Burkhardt, Tom Goodwin, Kasi Johnston, Libby MacDonald, Ryan Smith Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Nir Kossovsky, Brian de Haaff

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

SALES & MARKETING Vice President, US Market Cathy Masek Vice President, Sales John Mackenzie Media Sales Manager Desiree McCue Global Head of Media Marketing Adrijana Monevska


Just as a cyberattack draws attention to cyber insurance, brokers and insurers can use incidents like the coronavirus to focus minds on risk mitigation When pandemics like this arrive, they naturally cause fear and confusion, despite the fact that we’ve been in similar circumstances before with the outbreaks of SARS and Ebola. Yet just as a cyberattack like WannaCry draws attention to cyber insurance or a horrific terrorist attack makes the world think about terrorism cover, brokers and insurers can use incidents like the coronavirus to focus minds on risk mitigation. “This is an opportunity for all organizations to really put that working group together internally and start looking at some of these scenarios of how it would impact their organization, and then put plans and procedures in place,” Renata Elias of Marsh’s strategic risk consulting practice told IBA in February. A broker’s role is no longer about simply selling insurance policies – it’s now about being the risk expert who ensures clients are prepared for all eventualities. The time to prepare for the next crisis is now so that when panic hits, the insurance industry has the chance to do what it does best: be the calm amid the storm. The team at Insurance Business America

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

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MISSOURI BASIN FLOODS $10 billion $2.5 billion


Total number of natural disaster events worldwide in 2019



$10 billion

$10 billion

$4 billion

$3.5 billion


$232 billion

Economic losses from all natural disasters in 2019

$71 billion

Insured losses from all natural disasters in 2019

Typhoons and flooding were the main sources of economic loss from natural disaster events around the globe last year. Of the $126 billion in economic losses recorded across the top 10 disasters in 2019, only $44 billion was insured. Hurricane Dorian and flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers accounted for the most significant sources of loss in the US last year, resulting in total losses of $30 million, only a third of which was insured.


AVIATION CLAIMS RISE … The loss of two almost brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in 2018 and 2019 – and the 300-plus fatalities that resulted – had serious implications for both Boeing and the insurance market, triggering grounding of the airliner and an uptick in product liability claims. Premium




$2.5bn $2bn $1.5bn


Proportion of 2019 natural disasters not covered by insurance Source: Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight, 2019 Annual Report, Aon

$1bn $500m $0









Source: Plane Talking, Q4 2019, Gallagher


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Willis Towers Watson’s breakdown of the 760 insurtechs operating within the functional insurance chain reveals that the lion’s share of firms are dedicated to quoting, binding and issuing coverage.

$15 billion

$8.3 billion

$700 million

$200 million

TYPHOON FAXAI $10 billion $6 billion

TYPHOON LEKIMA $9.5 billion $800 million




$15 billion

$8.1 billion

$9 billion

19% Quote, bind, issue Policy administration and central systems

$500 million


Claims and settlement

$10 billion $200 million


Source: Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q4 2019, Willis Towers Watson

Source: Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight, 2019 Annual Report, Aon

… BUT THE SKIES ARE SAFER Despite the headline-grabbing crash of a 737 Max jet in Ethiopia in 2019, the year was one of the safest on record in terms of airline fatalities, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which reported a total of 283 fatalities from 20 airline accidents, compared to 556 fatalities from 15 accidents in 2018.


INSURTECH INVESTMENT HITS NEW RECORD According to Willis Towers Watson, global insurtech investment topped $6.3 billion in 2019. The year accounts for around 33% of the total global investment in insurtech to date.




Pricing and underwriting


1,000 $6bn 800







$3bn $2bn







$1bn 2013













Source: Aviation Safety Network










Source: Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q4 2019, Willis Towers Watson

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What can be done to close the cyber coverage gap? Despite a growing awareness of cyber threats, businesses – especially small ones – remain underinsured in this area

CEO ProWriters

Kelly Castriotta

North American regional head of product development, financial lines Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Graeme Newman

“There are a few areas we can focus on to close the cyber coverage gap. Insurers can continue to focus on affirmatively covering or excluding cyber in all policies to help reduce gaps and overlaps. Staying on top of changing exposures and being able to better educate clients about their specific exposures and what coverages are available in the market will be critical. Lastly, there are a lot of valuable pre-breach and post-breach risk manage­ ment services, including software as a service, that should not be overlooked, as these can reduce risk and the likelihood of a claim.”

“Two issues dominate: companies that don’t view insurance as an effective risk mitigation tool for cyber incidents and companies that buy the wrong products. On the first point, get both the CISO and risk manager talking to the insurance team to break the silos of purchasing insurance. Second, cyber insurance was viewed as a gap-filler, and that paradigm needs to shift. The product has grown from managing exposure from web content to a privacy security tool to protecting businesses from supply chain interruptions and attacks on critical infrastructure, and it can provide a host of services to manage such attacks.”

“It’s not a coverage gap; it’s an awareness gap. People don’t tend to purchase a new line of coverage until they have experienced an event themselves or seen it happen to someone close. The media focuses on large events affecting well-known businesses because that’s what makes headlines. Thus, some infer that cybercrime is something that only affects large businesses. Most businesses are targeted not because they are valuable, but because they are vulnerable. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to protect themselves and therefore are hit more often than large businesses; it just doesn’t make news.”

Brian Thornton

Chief innovation officer CFC Underwriting

HITTING A SMALLER TARGET Cybercrime is set to be a $6 trillion problem by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures – and despite the large-scale breaches continuing to make headlines, cybercriminals tend to have a penchant for more modest victims. “A cybercriminal has a much greater opportunity for success in attacking a small business because small businesses are very weak in their security countermeasures,” Cyrus Walker, managing principal at Data Defenders, told Forbes. According to global malware prevention provider Malwarebytes, ransomware attacks halted operations for almost 40% of the small and medium-sized businesses hit in 2017. Of those, around 60% never successfully reopened.


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Fueling climate change action In an effort to combat climate change, global insurers are increasingly taking a stand against coal in both their investments and underwriting policies

SINCE THE 2015 Paris Agreement on combating climate change, the number of institutional investors committed to cutting fossil fuel stocks from their portfolios has risen from 180 in 2014 to more than 1,100, according to climate advocacy group Leading insurers have been a key part of this movement: A recent report from global research and strategy consultancy Sigwatch found that the insurance sector accounted for four out of 10 of the brands most praised by NGOs and activist groups, due in large part to insurers’ pledges regarding coal divestment. “The bigger NGOs recognize that the financial sector is the linchpin of fossil fuel development due to the importance of insurers as institutional investors,” says Robert Blood, founder and managing director

institutional investors, insurers are increasingly embracing sustainability in their underwriting efforts, too. Both Zurich and Swiss Re have signed the UN Business Ambition for 1.5° C, which calls on businesses to set science-based targets with the goal of limiting the worldwide temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius. Both insurers, along with Allianz, have also joined the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, committing to ensuring their investment portfolios represent net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Swiss Re also refuses insure or reinsure any business with more than 30% exposure to thermal coal across all lines of business. According to Martin Weymann, head of sustainability, emerging and political risk

“Coal is, from an insurance perspective and from an investment perspective, no longer an asset that we want to support” Martin Weymann, Swiss Re of Sigwatch. “Corporations exist far longer than governments, and in many ways, their decisions have far more long-term impact.” As institutional investors and holders of substantial capital, Blood says, insurers can play a major role in directing the development of the renewable energy sector. He adds that, in addition to wielding their power as


management at Swiss Re, this threshold allows the company the flexibility to work as a partner in the transition to a low-carbon economy with organizations that are making substantial efforts in this area. “We believe that, in the very long term, coal is, from an insurance perspective and from an investment perspective, no longer

an asset that we want to support due to its environmental footprint, but also because we believe it is not attractive from an economic perspective,” Weymann says. “Wherever possible, we bring the economic and the sustainability perspectives together.” According to Zurich’s head of sustainability, Linda Freiner, Zurich’s position on thermal coal, oil sands and oil shales was a first step in addressing carbon-intense industries. In addition to refusing to insure companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue from those industries, Zurich also pledged to work with companies that don’t meet that threshold on a transition plan. Freiner notes that thermal coal in particular is not essential to the energy mix anymore, as it can be replaced with cheaper renewable energy. “The reality for insurers is that we cannot move faster than the real economy because we invest in the real economy and we insure the

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20,000% Increase in assets committed to divestment since 2014

9.5% Proportion of the primary insurance market controlled by companies that have ended or limited cover for coal projects

37% Proportion of the insurance industry’s global assets covered by coal divestment policies

4 Number of global insurers/reinsurers among the 10 brands most praised by activists and NGOs in 2019 real economy,” she says. “So, where our role then becomes really important is in engaging with the carbon-intense industries to really try to help facilitate their transition.”

moving quickly to transition, Freiner says. “From a risk perspective, we have to ask ourselves if [these are companies] we want to do business with in the long term,” she

“Where our role becomes really important is in engaging with the carbon-intense industries to help facilitate their transition” Linda Freiner, Zurich Freiner adds that the threshold introduced by Zurich has been an effective means of engaging with these companies to help them work through transition plans and understand how to diversify their businesses so Zurich can insure and invest in new types of business with a much lower carbon footprint. It was apparent which companies were

says. “Stranded assets are a risk from both an investment and underwriting point of view.” With regard to Swiss Re’s initiatives in responsible investing and underwriting, Weymann says the company has seen clients and peers starting to make similar moves, which he believes is creating a momentum that highlights the positive impact sustain-

Sources:, Unfriend Coal, Sigwatch

ability initiatives can have on clients, investors and society at large. “I think the whole (re)insurance industry plays a very important role by providing solutions to sustainability challenges and thus creating long-term value for its stakeholders,” he says. Freiner likewise feels that insurance companies have an essential role to play in the move away from a carbon-centric economy. While insurance might not be feeling big pressure from consumers yet, she says, it’s just a matter of time before consumers expect more sustainable practices and more sustainable solutions from their insurers. “Our role as an insurance company is really to be able to engage with our customers and incentivize them to transition and help them be part of that journey,” she says.

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Alliance Insurance Services

Based in Washington, DC, Alliance has nine employees and approximately $1.6 million in annual revenue

Fidelity National Financial

FGL Holdings

Fidelity has agreed to purchase life insurer F&G in a deal worth approximately $2.7 billion in equity value


Hanover Excess & Surplus

Its purchase of the regional MGA will enhance Gallagher’s presence in North Carolina

The Hilb Group

Regency Insurance Group

The Florida-based P&C agency will continue to be led by Kagen Cooksley and Kevin Koelemeyer

Hub International

Triester, Rossman & Associates

The addition of the independent agency will boost Hub’s presence in Greater Philadelphia

Marsh & McLennan Agency

Momentous Insurance Brokerage

Momentous is a full-service risk management and employee benefits firm based in California

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings

Vigneron Insurance Company

VICI, a captive insurer that underwrites deductible reimbursement policies, is R&Q’s first acquisition in Montana

USI Insurance Services

Orgill Singer & Associates

All of the insurance agency’s team members in Las Vegas and Reno will be joining USI

CFC rolls out event insurance package

Specialist insurance provider CFC has introduced a new product for event organizers that combines cancellation coverage, general liability and commercial property under one policy. Designed to protect against a broad range of liability exposures, the commercial property component includes coverage for contents that have been lost or damaged in transit, as well as expenses like temporary repairs. The policy will also reimburse costs associated with event cancellation, abandonment, curtailment, postponement or relocation for reasons outside the organizer’s control.

Marsh unit makes Momentous deal

Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA), the middle-market agency subsidiary of Marsh, has snapped up California-based Momentous Insurance Brokerage. Founded in 2008 and led by president and CEO Diane Brinson, Momentous is a full-service risk management and employee benefits firm specializing in high-net-worth private client services and insurance solutions for the entertainment industry. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but MMA said it will bring all 220 Momentous employees onboard. “Momentous has a long-established reputation for both their dedication to serving clients across the country and their expertise in the entertainment, film and TV industries,” said MMA CEO David Eslick. “We are excited to collaborate with the Momentous team and work together to further enhance our client offerings.”


PDP Group introduces parametric hail insurance

PDP Group, the MGA arm of Amynta Group, has partnered with Hailsure Underwriting Managers to develop a parametric hail insurance program for the auto dealer marketplace. Based on a program that Hailsure introduced to auto dealers in Colorado in 2019, the product will be available to dealers in 13 hail-prone states in 2020. The policy allows dealers to choose the limit needed to offset the impact of their underinsured hail exposure; the recovery amount is determined by hail size, and no adjuster is involved in the claim process.

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PEOPLE Beazley expands Virtual Care policy

Specialist insurer Beazley has enhanced its Virtual Care insurance policy to offer greater protection for companies that provide techenabled healthcare and lifestyle management services. The new Surge endorsement to the policy provides first-party coverage for direct financial loss arising from e-crime, business interruption loss from security breaches or system failures, data recovery loss, cyber extortion loss, or cryptojacking. Those protections are in addition to the coverage already in place within the Virtual Care policy, including medical malpractice and a range of other third-party coverages.

Sompo adds comprehensive life sciences policy

Sompo Global Risk Solutions has unveiled Sompo Life Science Plus, a comprehensive product aimed at small and middle-market companies in the life sciences industry. The policy provides coverage for various life science products, including products used in human clinical trials, products loaned or rented to others, and errors and omissions related to financial loss. It also offers a broad array of property coverages tailored to address life science companies’ specific needs, including research animals, bio and radioactive contamination, and research and development business income.

Insurtech Lemonade moves into pet insurance

Insurance disruptor Lemonade has announced plans to offer health coverage for cats and dogs later this year. The new offering will leverage Lemonade’s signature digital purchasing experience, which promises immediate claim payments; the company has opened up registration on its website for those interested in gaining early access to the coverage. “Many at Team Lemonade, myself included, are devoted pet parents, so we decided to build the dream pet health insurance product for our best friends,” said co-founder and COO Shai Wininger.





Marina Barg

The Navigators Group

W. R. Berkley Corporation

Senior vice president, claims

Matthew Crane

QBE Insurance Group

AmWINS Group

CEO, THB Group; president, AmWINS international division

Peter Flores

Ironshore Insurance

Arch Insurance

Senior vice president, US retail property

Mike Hessling


Gallagher Bassett

CEO, North America

Peter Krause


Marsh & McLennan Agency

Southeast regional CEO

Anna Morgan

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

BPL Global

Legal director

Crystal Ottaviano

Swiss Re America

Aspen Insurance Holdings

Group chief risk officer

Tracy Ryan


Liberty Mutual Insurance

President, Global Risk Solutions North America

Carol Sipe


Great American Insurance Group

Senior vice president, property & casualty group

Kelly Yates


Topa Insurance Company

Vice president, claims

AmWINS names new head of THB Group

AmWINS has tapped Matthew Crane to succeed Frank Murphy as CEO of AmWINS Group company THB Group and president of AmWINS’ international division. Murphy, who has served as CEO of THB since 2009, is transitioning into a new role as a senior strategic advisor to AmWINS. Crane joins THB from QBE, where he most recently served as executive director of market management, responsible for sales, distribution, client management and risk management for all QBE Europe insurance activities. “I am delighted to be joining the AmWINS family and the THB leadership team,” Crane said. “The scale of AmWINS, coupled with the entrepreneurial spirit of the company, is a combination that cannot be replicated anywhere in the market.”

Gallagher Bassett creates new top post

Gallagher Bassett’s North America chief client officer, Mike Hessling,has been promoted to the newly created position of CEO for North America, reporting to global CEO Scott Hudson. Hessling has been with Gallagher Bassett since 2012; prior to joining the claims manager, he held roles at Bain & Company, Arthur Andersen and Bridge Strategy Group. “I’m excited and humbled to lead GB’s North America business,” Hessling said. “We have an incredible team of talented professionals who are extremely passionate about making a positive impact for our clients, their businesses, and the people they employ and serve.”

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WORKERS’ COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS AmTrust advises companies to plan coronavirus contingencies

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to expand across the US, Jeff Corder, vice president of loss control at workers’ comp insurer AmTrust North America, is warning businesses of the importance of preparing for a pandemic. “I recommend that companies start planning now and build contingencies to account for absenteeism and the slow spread of the virus because it will help their business in the long run,” Corder said, suggesting that businesses physically run through their contingency plans with management and employees to identify potential gaps if certain workers are out of the office as a result of the virus.

ICW Group kicks off safety-focused webinar series

ICW Group Insurance Companies has launched a series of safety-focused webinars. Aimed at educating ICW Group’s workers’ comp policyholders on best practices to keep workers safe, the free series includes bimonthly, hour-long webinars. While the series is designed for ICW Group customers, anyone can register to attend. “The ICW Group Safety Webinar Series is designed to teach businesses actionable ways to improve safety right now and build a culture of safety within their organization,” said ICW risk management vice president Rick Fineman.

Traveller Assist lands US defense base assistance contract

Chubb has appointed Traveller Assist, a specialist in medical and security assistance in complex environments, as a claims and assistance provider for its new Defense Base Act (DBA) workers’ compensation coverage. Traveller Assist will provide additional


claims and assistance services to workers under US military contracts in Kurdistan, Turkey, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and parts of Africa, helping workers to submit claims, schedule hospital consultations, coordinate physiotherapy appointments and book associated travel.

biBERK teams up with Bold Penguin on digital platform

Berkshire Hathaway firm biBERK has joined forces with commercial insurance technology provider Bold Penguin to make its workers’ compensation coverage available digitally. The integration will allow agents and brokers who use Bold Penguin’s platform to access biBERK’s comprehensive suite of workers’ comp products. “Efficiency is key in quoting small commercial,” said Bold Penguin founder and CEO Ilya Bodner. “By welcoming additional key carriers to our platform, we’re allowing them and their distribution partners to reduce the number of screens, portals and access points necessary to get to a quick and accurate quote.”

Delaware to see $4 million in workers’ comp premium savings

After three consecutive years of workers’ comp rate decreases, businesses in Delaware are set to realize more than $4 million in premium savings in 2020, according to the Delaware Department of Insurance, which examined filings from the state’s top writers of workers’ compensation insurance. “Delaware businesses large and small are seeing decreased premiums from the third consecutive year of workers’ compensation rate decreases, and that benefits everyone,” said Delaware State Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “We will continue to work to make sure that Delaware has an inviting atmosphere for businesses and safe environments for employees.”

Holding doctors to account Citing a “defined delta” between workers’ comp and private claims, one expert is calling on the industry to promote evidence-based medicine A leader in the workers’ comp space is calling on insurers to start holding doctors accountable for what he describes as a “defined delta” between workers’ compensation claims and private health or non-occupational disability claims. Christopher Schaffer, the president and chief executive of Charles Taylor TPA, says this delta reflects the trend of workers’ comp claims costing more and taking longer to resolve than private healthcare claims in the non-occupational environment. “There’s just no reason for that,” he says. “If you’re injured at work, there’s no reason why it should cost more or take longer to recover than if you were injured outside of work – and yet that’s what’s happening. It’s a delta that’s easy to identify, and the workers’ compensation doctors are complicit in that delta. I think we as an industry have to try to close that delta and hold doctors to account.” One way the insurance industry can do this, Schaffer says, is by promoting evidencebased medicine and using claims data to challenge the status quo. “We can use scientific and evidence-based data to challenge workers’ compensation doctors if their treatment is not performing as well as their peers and colleagues in the wider healthcare industry,” he says. “It’s important to highlight that. If doctors are only treating workers’ compensation claimants, they might not see or feel the differences

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that have emerged [versus claims in the nonoccupational environment]. We can provide that information and challenge that delta not only with medical opinion, but also with stats based off our claims data.” Another issue at play is what’s known as secondary gain – in the workers’ comp environment, injured employees don’t always have


Cathy Swann Vice president SUMMIT CONSULTING

“If you’re injured at work, there’s no reason why it should cost more or take longer to recover” much incentive to recover and get back to work as quickly as possible. That’s a dynamic that’s driving up costs and is something that can only be addressed, Schaffer says, with the help of medical professionals who are delivering evidence-based care. He believes education lies at the heart of this problem and that the insurance industry has an important role to play. Insurers can help educate the medical community about the delta, why it’s occurring and what practical steps they can take to mitigate the issue. “Insurers have so much data at their fingertips,” Schaffer says, “so instead of having competing medical opinions by qualified experts, now we can advance a position that is not only backed by a qualified expert, but also by the quantum of statistics from the medical community. That can be very powerful and effective when utilized properly.”

Years in the industry 33 Fast fact Swann oversees the loss prevention and premium audit departments at Summit and holds designations as an Associate in General Insurance and Associate in Commercial Underwriting

The rise of wearable devices Artificial intelligence has been transforming the world of insurance. How is it impacting workers’ compensation in particular? Artificial intelligence and robotics offer tremendous opportunities for enhanced workplace safety to help reduce injuries and workers’ compensation claims. For example, we’re seeing scanners that sort items in recycling and manufacturing operations, remote-control jackhammers, and even wearables on cattle that allow electronic opening of gates in and around farm premises.

What should employers take into consideration if they’re looking to implement wearable devices in the workplace? One of our loss prevention consultants, Robert Glaze, has helped guide employers through the process of implementing wearable devices in the workplace and offers this advice: First, determine the reason behind using a wearable device in the workplace and evaluate the pros and cons. Second, train employees on how to properly use the device and share why you are collecting the data. Employee privacy concerns must be considered. Third, consider possible job distractions associated with implementing new technology. Introducing the device to a test group of employees first to analyze responses is often recommended. Fourth, conduct a cost-benefit analysis before implementation. The upfront cost can be significant, but some vendors offer options to rent, lease or buy devices. Normally, there is an additional data charge to collect information in real time. This notifies the employer if an employee wearing the device has a fall or is experiencing heat stress or fatigue. Finally, determine how data will be stored and who will interpret the data. There is a balance. When the balance is achieved, productivity may increase, slips and falls may decrease, and employees may be more engaged.

What’s the biggest benefit of wearable technology? Using technology to reduce or eliminate workplace injuries is an advantage for both the employee and the business owner. Robotics can be used to perform high-risk activities, such as demolition and heavy lifting, which remove the risk of direct human involvement that can lead to injury. Human workers are still very much needed and valued in these operations, but the technology allows workers to do what they do best while taking on some of the more hazardous tasks and mitigating the risk of injury.

What other trends are we likely to see this year in the workers’ compensation space? Telematics and cameras have been used in the trucking industry for years. This continues to gain momentum in other industries with traveling employees. Claims for motor vehicle accidents are increasing, and distracted driving is a safety issue that can be monitored and influenced with this technology.

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Where is insurtech headed now? Insurers are increasingly turning to tech that improves processes and enhances the customer experience

ment as we think about how you collect data for small commercial and how you make that process have less friction for the insurance agency,” says Kristin Hackney, EVP of customer experience at Applied Systems. “That’s an area that a number of insurtechs are looking at, and it’s something that we’re spending time on as well.” For agencies, small commercial can be a challenge because those accounts don’t tend to be very profitable, so the more agents and

“An agency that has a management system at its heart ... isn’t going to see its clients leave”

The insurtech investment space is heating up again, and the proof is in the deals making headlines, from Aon’s acquisition of SME insurance platform CoverWallet to Travelers’ partnership with HOVER to help its claims team assess property damage. HOVER takes smartphone photos of properties and turns them into accurate 3D models, gathering exact measurements of a building’s exterior, including the roof, siding and windows, which allows Travelers to expedite the claims process, says Patrick Gee, Travelers’ SVP of personal insurance claims. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve had


almost a complete transformation of the claims process in many arenas,” he says. “Working with folks like HOVER and many other startups, we’ve been able to advance the process of essentially making it more efficient and more effective on the operating side and meeting [customers’] expectations by working with smartphones and mobile devices.” In addition to the widespread application of insurtech solutions in personal lines, commercial insurance is also getting a tech revamp. “There are a lot of commonalities between small commercial and personal in many ways, and I think there’s a lot of room for improve-

Insurtech investment breaks new records

Insurtech investment hit an all-time high in 2019, according to Willis Towers Watson’s latest Quarterly InsurTech Briefing, which reported that global investment in the insurtech sector in 2019 was $6.37 billion – a third of the historic total funding for the sector. The fourth quarter alone saw $1.99 billion invested in 75 projects. In addition, 2019 saw the creation of five ‘unicorns,’ or privately held startups valued at more than $1 billion, as well as a 90% jump in investment rounds that exceeded $40 million.


their partners can drive efficiency and automation in that space, the more time they have to focus on larger accounts. Another critical tech-based area of focus is agency management systems, which can be tricked out with tech tools that can improve the customer experience and help keep customers on board for the long term. “One of the analogies we use is online banking,” Hackney says. “If that bank is servicing you in the way you expect, the last thing you want to do is move to a different provider where you have to set all of that stuff up. We think an agency that has that management system at its heart and then the ability to engage with insureds through mobile and a portal isn’t going to see its clients leave.”

TheGuarantors brings insurtech vet on board as COO

Insurance startup TheGuarantors has appointed Sean O’Donoghue to serve as its chief operating officer. Most recently the chief operating officer for Trov, O’Donoghue brings three decades of experience in developing technology and digital strategies, product development, operations, and financial management. O’Donoghue said TheGuarantors has “an exceptionally strong team, with a wealth of knowledge and new ideas, and I look forward to helping the company thrive and expand.”

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Paul Gaglioti

The power of artificial intelligence

Founder and CEO HARBOR.AI

Years in the industry 10 Fast fact Gaglioti founded Diversified Risk Solutions when he was 25, and his experience in focusing on complicated risks led him to create

As a wholesale insurance broker, what value does the marketplace bring to the insurance agent community? The marketplace brings a frictionless, liquid, intelligent and transparent way of processing commercial lines transactions. provides a multitude of commercial lines products, typically with more than one quote, to all class codes of business while increasing automation. Through our 10-plus digital carrier integrations and small-business MGA, we help the insurance agent community provide quote options and cross-sell in real time with no additional SaaS, lead generation, maintenance or integration fees. With the help of artificial intelligence, processes and transactions will be streamlined, including those for the excess & surplus lines marketplace.

What role does artificial intelligence play in your value proposition? Artificial intelligence is a critical component in the commercial insurance exchange. Harbor uses AI in several different ways. We encode knowledge, such as the insured’s information used for underwriting, in a knowledge graph, with our AI proactively asking the insured, broker and data providers for this knowledge. Based on this knowledge, we use machine learning to help optimize decisions, such as which coverages to recommend to the insured, and use logical inference to follow compliance and underwriting guidelines precisely. The net benefit of Harbor’s use of AI is an exchange

Nationwide taps Notion’s smart home monitoring

Nationwide has partnered with Notion to offer its smart home monitoring technology to policyholders. Nationwide customers that opt into the service can purchase Notion’s WiFi-enabled smart home monitoring system at a discount and enjoy savings on their homeowner’s insurance. Participants can use the system to track real-time instances of burst water pipes or CO2 alarms through their mobile devices. The program will initially be available to customers in Alabama, Arizona and Illinois, with additional states to be added soon.

Novidea and Xceedance join forces

that efficiently collects and moves knowledge to where it is needed, which is a critical element to Harbor’s value proposition.

What are your aspirations for your business and the insurance industry as a whole? We want to help create a fast and consistent commercial insurance experience for the business owners and managers purchasing insurance while optimizing the relationship between insureds and brokers through artificial intelligence. Our goal is focused on the end user getting better pricing and more options online, faster, with less effort and an overall better user experience. For the brokerage side, it is to increase revenue by crossselling in a fraction of the time of traditional brokerage. As for the carrier/insurer side, our goal is for them to receive consistent and completed applications through appetite-driven deal flow.

How challenging has it been to combine the worlds of technology and insurance? Technology is always changing and evolving, whereas insurance has been relatively consistent for many years. It has been challenging and hard work to integrate the two. Since the insurance industry is highly regulated and can vary from state to state, compliance plays a major role with the integration of our technology. Commercial lines transactions are very complex, and it is exciting knowing that we are helping to solve a problem that will set up the next generation in the industry for success.

Data-driven insurance distribution platform Novidea has partnered with strategic operations support provider Xceedance to broaden the global reach of its cloud-based platform, which connects insurance distributors to a digital insurance ecosystem using the Salesforce Cloud and artificial intelligence. “Our growth vision and approach put strong emphasis on collaboration with leading industry experts to make the onboarding of new customers to the platform as seamless as possible,” said Novidea chief revenue officer Alex Zukerman.

ITC expands with acquisition of Agency Matrix

Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) is poised to expand its agency management system with its acquisition of insurance tech provider Agency Matrix, whose offerings include an agency management system, insurance agency websites, document management and a virtual employee. The move will bolster ITC’s agency management system offering while giving Agency Matrix clients access to ITC’s marketing products and services, as well as TurboRater, its personal lines comparative rater.

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13/03/2020 2:58:45 AM




Safeguarding share price Insurance and other risk management strategies are key to protecting a company’s share price during a reputational crisis, writes Nir Kossovsky DURING A reputational crisis, equity pricing is especially sensitive to investors’ cognitive biases. According to a survey published in early 2020, global executives attribute 63% of their stock value to their company’s overall reputation. Informational and behavioral economic principles, along with the findings of a study of a dozen reputational crises, suggest how insurance and other risk management strategies can protect share price. Reputational risk is the peril of impaired cash flow due to behavioral changes by angry and disappointed stakeholders, usually following an adverse event. When emotionally charged, people often make very different decisions than they would otherwise. While the emotional intensity may diminish, the economic effects of decisions made in the heat of a crisis can persist for weeks, months and even years. A recent Steel City Re study shows that while crisis communication is an important tactic, positioning risk management and reputationally relevant corporate financial information (such as corporate asset structure, reputation value volatility and share repurchasing volume) before and during a reputational crisis can impact up to 80% of the direction and magnitude of a company’s equity price change following an adverse event. The high-profile cases studied included Boeing, Bausch Health, BP, Equifax, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, Target, United Airlines, Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and Walmart, all of which suffered from a crisis that threatened their reputation at some point in the last decade.


Managing reputational risk is both a governance and enterprise-wide endeavor involving all aspects of a firm’s risk management apparatus. Our study found that more than 60% of equity damage can be mitigated through the following governance and risk management strategies: • Using financial instruments such as insurance to communicate governance and enterprise risk management strategies to stakeholders in simple and credible terms

not risk management. Trying to manage crises purely through marketing is rarely effective, and companies that delegate their reputational risk management to marketing are doing themselves a disservice. That’s not to say that the marketing department shouldn’t be involved in the aftermath of a reputational crisis. Crisis communication can help mitigate the consequences of a reputational crisis. But as critics have observed, post-event marketing/crisis communication alone is not risk management. Any and all marketing efforts should be deployed in concert with strong risk management, finance and governance controls. We are in an age when information – both accurate and inaccurate – can be spread instantaneously and a generalized sense of anger and distrust in large institutions makes stakeholders quick to lash out with unease, disappointment and fear. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that companies constantly monitor the ever-changing expectations of stakeholders. While the speed at which information travels may make the collapse of a company’s reputation appear sudden, it’s actu-

“Corporate leaders often make the mistake of thinking that reputation is a product of media coverage. It is not – and marketing is not risk management” • Reducing the percentage of the firm’s balance-sheet assets that are intangible to minimize equity losses in the first days after a crisis occurs • Buying back shares with some of those liquidated assets to minimize equity losses in the first year after a crisis occurs • Managing enterprise reputational risk and the firm’s reputational value volatility to mitigate risk and reduce equity losses by the second year after a crisis Corporate leaders often make the mistake of thinking that reputation is a product of media coverage. It is not – and marketing is

ally the result of numerous compromises to governance protocols that gradually changed company culture over time. Governance and risk management professionals can take this message to the bank. For effective reputation crisis prevention and reputational risk mitigation, leaders must implement pre-emptive strategies that are keyed to the protection of corporate cash flow. Dr. Nir Kossovsky is the CEO of Steel City Re, which analyzes the reputational strength and resilience of companies and provides tools and insurance to mitigate financial losses when reputational crises occur.

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Since 1916, Auto-Owners Insurance has been dedicated to the independent agency system and proudly stands behind the agents who represent us.

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A GAME PLAN FOR GROWTH Jeff Tagsold started his career at Auto-Owners Insurance and eventually helped lead the insurer from underwriting losses to eight consecutive years of profitability FOR JEFF TAGSOLD, chairman and CEO of Auto-Owners Insurance, the opportunity to work in insurance came completely out of the blue. While Tagsold was finishing up his senior year at Central Michigan University, the university sent his transcript to Auto-Owners because the company had let universities in the state know about two open positions geared toward graduates with a mathematics major. Suddenly, Tagsold was holding a maildelivered application from Auto-Owners in his hands, though it wasn’t the first time he had heard of the insurance group. “One of my father’s best friends in my hometown was a local independent agent, and all of our business and personal insurance was with Auto-Owners,” he says. As with previous Auto-Owners CEOs, Tagsold started in an entry-level position, beginning his career in the actuarial division and gradually working his way up the company’s ranks. He eventually gained experience in underwriting and marketing and ran Auto-Owners’ operations in Georgia for more than seven years. Finally, around a decade ago, Tagsold became president, and in 2018, he was named CEO and chairman. “I accepted every position I was asked to take and had the good fortune to work closely with many key leaders,” Tagsold says, adding that those leaders later saw he had the skills


to take on leadership roles. “By accepting these moves, I demonstrated my commitment to doing what is best for Auto-Owners.”

Embracing independent agents During one of his roles as a marketing representative, Tagsold was tasked with visiting agencies to promote Auto-Owners. Seeing all of the other insurance companies’ plaques on the walls and their manuals on the shelves of these agencies made him appreciate the

he says. “We are also blessed to have a wide array of products with competitive coverages and pricing, and great agency-facing automation, which allows them to do business efficiently with us.” Auto-Owners’ approach to building relationships with independent agents even has its own tagline: “refreshingly human.” That means that instead of hiding behind an automated answering system, agents have actual people available to talk to them, such as the

“I have focused on sharing the story about our change from being unprofitable to profitable so we keep our focus on the game plan established years ago” extent to which insurers have to work to earn the business of independent agencies. Today, looking out at the organization from a CEO’s perspective, Tagsold believes nothing drives more business to Auto-Owners than its employees and the relationships it enjoys with thousands of standout independent agents. “We consistently demonstrate our 100% commitment to the independent agency system, paying generous commissions and not competing against them by writing directly,”

local marketing and claims representatives who regularly visit agencies. “We’ve had a couple of sayings that have been around for years at Auto-Owners,” Tagsold says. “One is ‘bricks and mortar are cheaper than bureaucracy.’ While most carriers are closing smaller offices and consolidating into large regional centers, we continue to do the opposite. This plays into the other saying that’s been around for years – ‘people do business with people they know,

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PROFILE Name: Jeff Tagsold Title: Chairman and CEO Company: Auto-Owners Insurance Based in: Lansing, Michigan Fast fact: Tagsold has been with Auto-Owners for his entire 35-year career in insurance

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like, trust and respect.’ It is much easier to earn that standing with agents when they can see you and talk with you, and that is best done through having a local presence.”

Growth by numbers Along with its approach to working with agents, Auto-Owners’ growth strategy is clearly paying off. In 2019, the insurer achieved its eighth consecutive year of profitability, thanks in part to its careful and conservative management of its exposures to natural catastrophes. The group achieved double-digit premium growth of more than $800 million. But it wasn’t easy to get there. Shortly

Casualty Insurance Company in 2016, the Concord Group in 2017 and Capital Insurance Group in 2019. These moves have paid off in several ways, including adding an excess & surplus lines option for independent agents via Atlantic Casualty. “It’s disappointing to have to tell an agent you don’t have a program in place to insure one of their commercial customers,” Tagsold explains. “We also recognized that we didn’t have the necessary experience to start an E&S company from scratch, so an acquisition was the best way to proceed.” Its affiliation with Concord and acquisition of Capital Insurance Group allowed AutoOwners to expand into eight additional states,

“While most carriers are closing smaller offices and consolidating into large regional centers, we continue to do the opposite” after Tagsold was named president, AutoOwners was midway through year three of four consecutive years of underwriting losses. Turning the company around required implementing many initiatives, and the actions taken to improve profitability back then are still working today. “Our consistent, profitable results have enabled us to improve the competitiveness of our rates, leading to record growth in the past few years,” Tagsold says. “When I became CEO in 2018, there were no significant changes needed. I have focused on sharing the story about our change from being unprofitable to profitable so we keep our focus on the game plan established years ago. This is very important because more than half of the active associates at AutoOwners have never worked for the company when we were not profitable.” In recent years, Auto-Owners has added to its portfolio of companies through a handful of acquisitions and affiliations: Atlantic


bringing the total number of states it operates in to 34. Previously, the Auto-Owners brand was entering states one at a time – a fairly slow and resource-intensive method. Tagsold found it was much more efficient and effective to partner with carriers that boasted well-established reputations and hundreds of existing relationships with quality agencies. Both Concord and Capital Insurance Group were also committed to operating exclusively through the independent agency system, a key mandate for Auto-Owners. Building on years of success, the senior leadership team at Auto-Owners plans to keep executing on the game plan that’s worked so far as they look into 2020 and beyond. “We will continue to work with Atlantic Casualty, Concord and Capital Insurance Group, doing whatever we can to enhance their operations,” Tagsold says. “With a little luck from Mother Nature, we hope to achieve an underwriting profit for a ninth consecutive year.”



Year Auto-Owners Insurance Group was established


Number of companies in the Auto-Owners Insurance Group (12 P&C companies and one life, health and annuity insurer)


Number of licensed agents


Number of states Auto-Owners operates in

6 million+

Number of policies written by Auto-Owners and its affiliates

$8.8 billion

Net written premiums for 2019

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Producers chime in on which wholesalers and MGAs stood out by providing top-notch service to their clients and partners CRAFTING INNOVATIVE solutions for complex risks is the bread and butter of the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines insurance industry. Companies in this space are experts in placing unique and hard-to-place risks; the best of the bunch have the ability to react quickly to – and even foresee – market changes to accommodate non-standard needs. According to the 2019 year-end report from the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX), the 15 US surplus lines stamping and service offices recorded collective premium of $37.45 billion in 2019, marking a significant 19.32% increase over the $31.39 billion reported


for 2018. Additionally, total filings were up 9% from 2018, coming in at around 4.83 million. Those numbers represent more than 60% of the surplus lines premium written nationwide and therefore provide a solid basis for estimating nationwide growth for the year, according to Brady Kelley, executive director of the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA). In 2018, the SLTX year-end report noted premium growth of 11.3%; AM Best’s September 2019 Market Segment Report announced 11.2% growth nationwide. Using that as a guide, Kelley anticipates AM Best’s September 2020 report will reveal nationwide growth close to the 19%

reported in the SLTX report. “I think this is being driven by overall economic growth in the US,” Kelley says. “There’s growth in commercial and residential development, higher payrolls, new businesses emerging, and new product innovation, among many other positive economic developments. All of those things drive increased consumer demand for insurance.” As surplus lines premium intake grows amid positive market conditions, WSIA membership has also boomed. In September 2019, the association had its largest annual marketplace ever, hosting 5,049 attendees, a 13% increase from

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2018. Kelly anticipates even more growth through 2020. All of these factors point to stability and strength in the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry and signal continued positive growth moving forward, even in the face of market challenges. Within this segment, which wholesale brokers and MGAs are delivering standout service to their retail partners? To find out, IBA asked retail producers to rate the performance and service of their wholesale broker and MGA partners on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10

(excellent) in eight essential areas: • Underwriting responsiveness/ turnaround time • Technical expertise and product knowledge • Range of products • Communication • Compensation • Marketing support • Claims support • Technology/automation


The wholesale brokers and MGAs that earned an average score of 8 or greater in at least one category were awarded a five-star designation, signifying their exceptional service. Producers were also asked to provide feedback on how their partners could improve each aspect of the producer/wholesaler relationship. In total, 32 wholesale partners earned a fivestar rating this year. Of those, 25 were also designated as All-Star Wholesalers, having earned five-star status in all eight categories. Read on to find out which companies earned top marks from producers.

HOW WELL DID WHOLESALE BROKERS AND MGAs PERFORM? Technical expertise and product knowledge 8.85

Underwriting responsiveness/turnaround time 93%

Underwriting responsiveness/turnaround time 8.72


Communication 8.66


Technical expertise and product knowledge

Range of products 8.63


Claims support

Range of products

8.49 40%

Compensation (commission, bonuses, profit share, etc.) 8.45

Reputation 19%

Claims support

Technology/automation 8.25

Marketing support


Marketing support

8.17 1 Poor

5 Fair

10 Excellent


Compensation (commission, bonuses, profit share, etc.) 14%

Technology/automation 10%

Geographical reach 4%

WHAT OTHER AREAS ARE IMPORTANT TO PRODUCERS? Producers shared a few other qualities they look for in their wholesale partners: Honesty Ease of submitting an application A committed partnership rather than a transactional relationship

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Technical Underwriting Range of expertise and responsiveness/ Communication products product knowledge turnaround time

Claims support Compensation

Technology/ Marketing automation support

All Risks AmWINS Anderson & Murison Appalachian Underwriters Bass Underwriters Brown & Riding BTIS Burns & Wilcox CRC Executive Perils Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company Hull & Co. Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co. J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency Johnson & Johnson MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company Monarch E&S Insurance Services NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program Risk Placement Services RT Specialty SIS Wholesale Insurance Services Scottish American Southern Insurance Underwriters Synapse Services TAPCO USG Western Pacific Insurance Network Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

All-Star Wholesale Partner



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To deliver the solution that wins the account

AT RT SPECIALT Y, IT’S WHAT WE DO. Our wholesale specialty risk professionals have the expertise and tenacity to craft superior coverages for retail brokers’ toughest risks, regardless of account size. Contact your RT Broker at





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W O R K E R S ’ C O M P E N S AT I O N


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Monarch E&S Insurance Services NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company


Monarch E&S Insurance Services NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company

Peachtree Special Risk

Anderson & Murison

Preferred Property Program

Appalachian Underwriters


Risk Placement Services

Bass Underwriters

Burns & Wilcox

RT Specialty



Scottish American

Risk Placement Services

Executive Perils


SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

RT Specialty

Executive Perils

Scottish American

Southern Insurance Underwriters

SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

Hull & Co.

Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company

Synapse Services

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co.

Hull & Co.


Southern Insurance Underwriters

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co.

Synapse Services

J.M. Wilson

J.M. Wilson

Jimcor Agency

Western Pacific Insurance Network

Johnson & Johnson

Worldwide Facilities

Johnson & Johnson

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

XS Brokers

Western Pacific Insurance Network

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

Worldwide Facilities

Bass Underwriters Brown & Riding

Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company


Brown & Riding

Jimcor Agency

Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program


XS Brokers

Average wholesale partner performance

8.85 Retailers made it crystal clear that their wholesalers and MGAs have stepped it up in the area of technical expertise and product knowledge, although the average score increased only slightly from 8.84 in 2019 to 8.85 this year. Every single company earned a five-star rating in the category this year – the only category where this happened. For the most part, wholesale partners are living up to producers’ expectations for providing the comprehensive coverage guidance and information they need. “They can’t improve; they earn their compensation for knowledge and placements,” one producer said of their wholesale partner. Another raved: “They are awesome to work with – the turnaround time and product knowledge are second to none.” But even in a category dominated by glowing comments, there are always growth opportunities. “Performance could be improved with consistent responsiveness and support and knowledge of products,” said one producer. Other recommendations included “additional assistance with coverage comparison, coverage knowledge and additional markets/products” and “focusing their efforts to make their broker team extremely knowledgeable.”


Average wholesale partner performance

8.72 According to producers, underwriting responsiveness and turnaround times have remained mostly consistent since 2018 and 2019, despite a dip in the average score from 9.00 last year to 8.72 this year. That’s good news for producers, 93% of whom ranked underwriting responsiveness as one of their top priorities when choosing a wholesaler. Overall, producers praised their wholesalers’ prompt response to quote requests. “Quote timing is always in range, and they have a 100% response rate and excellent broker service,” one producer enthused about their MGA. Another reported, “My underwriter and her assistant go above and beyond to answer questions, and I rely on their expertise to assure that I don’t offer the wrong product to a client.” There were a few who outlined potential areas of enhancement, however. “Less wait time on the phone” and “more underwriters for even quicker turnaround time” were among the desired improvements. Another producer wanted their wholesaler to “be more willing to work with new agents on obtaining info from clients to close more deals,” while another was frustrated by last-minute responses to quotes.

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BINDING AUTHORITY FOR DIFFERENT SIZES OF E&S RISK For risks big and small, RT Specialty is the solution. Our RT Binding underwriting professionals deliver swift, expert E&S coverage for small- and mid-sized accounts. Retail brokers and agents, contact your local RT Binding Underwriter today in one of our 40+ offices at



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JOHNSON & JOHNSON Headquarters: Mount Pleasant, SC

Founded in 1930, Johnson & Johnson is a family-owned and -operated business that was built on a foundation of longterm relationships with agents and companies. A technology- and servicedriven sales organization committed to writing business with agency partners, the company describes itself as “a passionate, team-oriented family celebrating successes together.” “We are a family of highly trained professionals recognized as industry leaders,” says president Francis Johnson. “Our commitment to continued education


enables us to handle day-to-day business quickly and to craft creative solutions for difficult accounts. We are motivated to work and to build long-term relationships with our agency and company partners.” Some of the value-added services Johnson & Johnson offers include direct billing, which imparts financial savings to agents and has had a 10-point impact on retention; IVANs direct policy download, which offers labor savings to independent agencies with an impact as high as 30%; and in-house programming by a team of more than 15 programmers, which allows the company to make quick changes in technology. “Johnson & Johnson is a leader in

technology, with online capabilities including rating, policy documents, payments and claims reporting,” says COO Harry Johnson. “We continue to be committed to the independent insurance agency system and are focused on service, technology, markets, and an ever-increasing ability to provide a clear path to ease of doing business for our partners.” The company currently operates in 20 Eastern and Southern coastal states and has plans for expansion. “We are very excited to continue our mission to support our partner independent agencies and our partner companies,” Francis Johnson says.

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13/03/2020 4:31:17 AM

The number of companies calling Enterprise AI “game-changing” has quintupled. Are you one of them? We’re hiring. © 2020, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is a mark of, Inc.

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FIVE-STAR WHOLESALE BROKERS AND MGAs Left to right: EVP Garry Batten; EVP and managing director Blaise D’Antoni; chairman, president and CEO Alan Jay Kaufman; VP and associate managing director Bonnie Steen; COO Daniel J. Kaufman


BURNS & WILCOX Headquarters: Farmington Hills, MI

For 50-plus years, Burns & Wilcox has worked in partnership with more than 30,000 independent brokers and agents to help them achieve success. Offering a range of specialty insurance solutions, the company is recognized for its expertise in commercial and professional liability, property, marine, transportation, environmental, and personal insurance. To better serve its clients’ growing needs in specialty areas, Burns & Wilcox has established personal insurance, professional liability and transportation practice groups and continues to expand that framework into further specializations. In 2019, Burns & Wilcox captured $1.65 billion in premium and recently expanded its presence beyond the US and Canada into the UK and Europe.


“As leaders in the insurance industry, our retail brokers and agents rely on us for deep expertise and access to markets to address the increasing needs of their clients,” says Daniel J. Kaufman, COO of Burns & Wilcox and executive vice president of H.W. Kaufman Group. “We take great pride in delivering specialty insurance solutions to better protect those clients in times of need. In 2019, we secured strategic partnerships to further develop our underwriting expertise and product offerings in key markets that posed growth opportunities. As part of the growing H.W. Kaufman Group network of companies, Burns & Wilcox provides access to a robust range of exclusive offerings and capabilities.” Some examples of this include the company’s partnership with Wildfire Defense Systems to provide monitoring of all active wildfires in the US, its

expansion of cyber risk capabilities with Advisen Cyber OverVue through a suite of analytics and an arsenal of cyber data, and its commitment to implementing leaders in parts of the business where clients need expert counsel. “We are both hiring and promoting talent in areas where the expertise is needed the most, working to ensure we are positioned to be easily accessible, no matter the location,” Kaufman says. “To deepen our bench of expertise across all lines of business, Burns & Wilcox continues to amplify its practice group structure. We are continuing to explore technology investments to improve client service through broker-facing portals, among other quoting and bind-issuing solutions. It is crucial that we work to excel in all facets of the business to showcase the invaluable support we offer our brokers, agents and partners.”

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Monarch E&S Insurance Services

All Risks

NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company

Anderson & Murison


Monarch E&S Insurance Services NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company

Peachtree Special Risk

Appalachian Underwriters

Preferred Property Program

Brown & Riding


Risk Placement Services

Burns & Wilcox

Risk Placement Services


RT Specialty


RT Specialty

Scottish American

Executive Perils

Scottish American

SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company

SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

Appalachian Underwriters Bass Underwriters Brown & Riding

Executive Perils Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company Hull & Co.

Southern Insurance Underwriters

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co.

Synapse Services

J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency


Johnson & Johnson

Western Pacific Insurance Network

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

Average wholesale partner performance

8.66 Communication is king in relationships – and that’s especially true for the partnership between producers and wholesalers. Fortunately, wholesalers are performing well in this area, judging by the average score of 8.66 and the fact that all but one company earned a five-star rating in this category. For producers, being able to contact their wholesaler through any channel makes a difference – and even if requests aren’t time-sensitive, producers always appreciate timely answers. “Clearer communication of changing market conditions,” “communication with the broker and attending meetings with actual insureds to understand the risks to present to underwriters” and “responsiveness in communications – either email or phone calls,” were among producers’ top requests in this category. When wholesalers succeeded on this front, producers were just as generous with their praise. “Communication is the best in the business,” one producer said of their wholesaler. Another echoed the sentiment: “I do not have any problems with my wholesaler. Communication is excellent.” While the quality of communication at a company is ultimately determined by individual underwriters and staff members, building a culture focused on timely, thorough interactions can help improve relationships and set the standard when servicing retail partners.




Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program

Hull & Co.

Southern Insurance Underwriters

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co.

Synapse Services

J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency


Johnson & Johnson

Western Pacific Insurance Network

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

Average wholesale partner performance

8.63 A broader range of products and access to more niche markets are two things many producers are looking for in a wholesale partner – 40% ranked product range as one of their top considerations. Most wholesalers are keeping pace with these expectations: 31 of 32 companies earned five-star ratings for their product range, and together they garnered an average score of 8.63 out of 10. Coverage for theft, commercial auto, recreational vehicles, trucking insurance, e-commerce, equipment breakdown and workers’ compensation all made producers’ wish lists. Some expressed appreciation for their wholesalers’ access to a wide variety of markets but were disappointed by a lack of knowledge or coverage within those markets. Others had glowing feedback for their wholesalers. “They search the marketplace and negotiate with carriers to get the best coverage for my client,” one producer said. “Everything is great as is – very good coverage, pricing, ease of doing business, responsiveness and claims involvement,” said another. Sometimes, though, a narrow focus can be an advantage. “They are an excellent niche partner,” one producer said of their wholesale partner. “We use them for their expertise in certain classes of business, and they have an excellent understanding of our specific program needs and the current marketplace.”

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2019 IN REVIEW $8.9 billion

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strategic master agencies

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

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13/03/2020 4:31:34 AM




All Risks

Peachtree Special Risk

All Risks


Preferred Property Program


Risk Placement Services

Appalachian Underwriters

Anderson & Murison Brown & Riding BTIS CRC Executive Perils Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co. J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency Johnson & Johnson MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company Monarch E&S Insurance Services

RT Specialty Scottish American SIS Wholesale Insurance Services Southern Insurance Underwriters Synapse Services TAPCO USG Western Pacific Insurance Network Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company

Anderson & Murison

Brown & Riding BTIS

Monarch E&S Insurance Services NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program

Burns & Wilcox

Risk Placement Services


RT Specialty

Executive Perils

Scottish American

Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company

SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

Hull & Co.

Southern Insurance Underwriters

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co.

Synapse Services

J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency


Johnson & Johnson

Western Pacific Insurance Network

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

Average wholesale partner performance

8.49 Efficiency and effectiveness are key when it comes to insurance claims, and wholesalers that can help streamline this process are highly valued by producers. To get the most accurate picture of claims support, IBA asked producers to rate their wholesaler in this area only if they’ve experienced a claim in the last year. Despite a drop in the average score (8.49 this year versus 8.58 last year), claims support was wholesalers’ fifth best-performing area. Even though many respondents recognized that claims are largely in the hands of the insurer, they still appreciate when wholesalers can provide updates or assist in finding solutions to issues. Scores in this category tended toward the extreme, coming in at either the very top or the very bottom of the scale. With those low scores, producers often included requests for more feedback and updates, more details during the process, better communication, and faster response times. For those companies that received scores of 9 or 10, the feedback also primarily revolved around communication. “Always keeps the agent informed as to how the claim is progressing,” said one producer who gave their wholesaler a 9. Another reported, “They are proactive in working with their agents on claims, allowing direct access when the carrier permits it.”


Average wholesale partner performance

8.45 Coming in sixth out of eight categories, wholesalers’ compensation practices earned an average score of 8.45 this year, compared to 8.64 last year. Regardless, 31 of 32 wholesale partners garnered a five-star rating in this area. While the majority of producers rated their compensation as fair in last year’s survey, this year saw an uptick in requests for increased compensation. “Increase commissions or provide incentives to earn additional compensation,” “stop reducing compensation” and “more competitive compensation” were all mentioned when producers were asked to define areas where their wholesale partners could improve. Not everyone was unhappy in this area, though; many producers noted that their compensation was fair, above average or even excellent. “[Our wholesaler] has proven for years that the compensation paid for their services is beyond measure,” one producer said. And while more money is usually welcome, producers also recognize that there’s more to the relationship. “Every agency wants more compensation, but a realistic agency knows that the wholesaler has to make money,” one producer said. “Would we like more compensation? Sure. But not if it compromises the service level and expertise of the wholesaler.”

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If they can do it, we can place it.

Every risk starts with a big, bold idea. And at RPS, we believe that every risk deserves the most secure placement. That’s why we never say no when it comes to finding trusted markets for unprecedented business ventures. Let’s talk about what’s new, what’s next, and what’s possible.

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FIVE-STAR WHOLESALE BROKERS AND MGAs TECHNOLOGY/AUTOMATION FIVE-STAR WHOLESALE BROKERS AND MGAs All Risks AmWINS Anderson & Murison Appalachian Underwriters Brown & Riding BTIS CRC Executive Perils Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co. J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency Johnson & Johnson MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program Risk Placement Services RT Specialty SIS Wholesale Insurance Services Southern Insurance Underwriters Synapse Services TAPCO USG Western Pacific Insurance Network Worldwide Facilities XS Brokers

Monarch E&S Insurance Services

Average wholesale partner performance

8.25 This category has consistently ranked toward the bottom of both producers’ priorities and wholesalers’ performance, but this year, technology and automation managed to climb from last to second-to-last place in the performance ratings, despite a slight drop in score (8.25 this year compared to 8.29 last year). While only 10% of survey respondents listed this area as one of their top three considerations when choosing a wholesaler, the topic came up frequently as an area of improvement. “Technology is always changing, so I would suggest more emphasis in this area” and “doing great, just improve technology” were among producers’ comments – although a few swung the opposite way. “Less technology and more interpersonal relationships in risk selection,” one producer said when asked how their wholesale partner could improve. But considering that speed and accuracy are major concerns for producers, most pointed to technology as the solution. “Provide faster turnaround by using technology to quote, issue and bind many lines of coverage,” one producer suggested. “More technology and self-service options to get consistent turnaround time,” said another. In general, technology and automation are now considered basic requirements by producers, and if their wholesalers or MGAs are going above and beyond, all the better. “[Our MGA] offers a lot in technology and automation,” one producer said. “They are constantly making changes to continue to improve.”



By using proprietary technology and building meaningful industry relationships, USG Insurance Services provides


solutions for hard-to-place insurance needs. The company partners with more than 300 markets to provide an option for nearly any coverage request, with a focus on contractors, habitational, hospitality and manufacturers/distributors. The team also includes brokers with specialized

expertise in aviation, environmental, surety, workers’ compensation, garage, transportation, professional liability, energy and several other specialties. “Our focus in 2019 was to seek and understand our partners’ feedback on how we’re doing and how we could do better,” says Jennifer Kessel, USG’s national marketing director. “We took that feedback and allowed it to shape the direction of how we move forward – by focusing on what our agency partners need the most from us.” As USG looks to 2020 and beyond, the company has plans to continue to expand operations nationally through new branches, new programs and a heavy focus on providing retail agents with the technology, marketing and sales tools they need to service and grow their agencies and individual books of business.

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5 S

O F a A u s o p m

O i

Momentum 50 Years and Stronger Than Ever

Thank you to our dedicated retail agents for rating us an All-Star Broker & MGA.

Over the last five decades, Worldwide Facilities has built a solid foundation in an industry that continues to thrive. As we look ahead, we do so with unrelenting focus on delivering solutions to our customers through our highly specialized group of producers, best and brightest team members and collaborative culture.

Our best years are in front of us.

Range of Products Compensation Claims Support

Technology/Automation Communication Marketing Support

Technical Expertise & Product Knowledge Underwriting Responsiveness & Turnaround Time

Thank you to our dedicated retail agents for rating us an All-Star Broker & MGA. Range of Products Compensation Claims Support

Technology/Automation Communication Marketing Support

Technical Expertise & Product Knowledge Underwriting Responsiveness & Turnaround Time

Worldwide Facilities has been offering property and casualty insurance solutions since 1970. ©2020 dwide Facilities, LLC. CA Lic. #0414108 Worldwide Facilities has been offering property and casualty insurance solutions since 1970. ©2020 Worldwide Facilities, LLC. CA Lic. #0414108

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Monarch E&S Insurance Services


NIF, a JenCap Holdings Company

Anderson & Murison Appalachian Underwriters

Peachtree Special Risk Preferred Property Program

Brown & Riding BTIS CRC

Risk Placement Services

Executive Perils

RT Specialty

Genesee General Agency, a JenCap Holdings Company

SIS Wholesale Insurance Services

Izzo Insurance Services, a division of Hull & Co. J.M. Wilson Jimcor Agency

Southern Insurance Underwriters Synapse Services USG

Johnson & Johnson

Western Pacific Insurance Network

MJ Kelly, a JenCap Holdings Company

Worldwide Facilities

8.17 Just 17% of the producers surveyed by IBA said marketing support was one of the three most important qualities they consider when choosing a wholesale partner, and it ranked lowest among all the categories in terms of performance with an average score of 8.17 out of 10. Only 26 of 32 wholesale brokers and MGAs earned a five-star rating for their marketing support this year – the fewest of all the categories. However, those who thrive in this category are handling marketing exceedingly well, according to producers. “Keep doing what you’re doing and being thoughtful and thorough with the marketing and quote options,” one producer told their wholesaler. “They assist in all areas throughout the marketing and placement process and serve as a true partner,” said another. Most producers, however, voiced a desire for broader marketing options, more education and more communication from marketing representatives. “Provide comparison of major differences in coverage when marketing,” suggested one producer, while another called for “better marketing of our accounts and not just rubber-stamping them.” A couple of respondents suggested providing agents with direct access to real-time marketing and claims status.


NIF, A JENCAP HOLDINGS COMPANY Headquarters: Manhasset, NY

President and COO Mark P. Maher


NIF (North Island Facilities) is a national specialty insurance facility with established expertise in wholesale brokerage, binding authority/MGA services and program underwriting. Based in New York with branch offices nationwide, NIF has been partnering with the independent agent community since 1976, offering access to specialty property & casualty coverage such as contractors, difficult products, environmental, property and management/professional liability. NIF also underwrites exclusive programs for nonprofits, social service agencies, bowling centers, landscaping operations and trade contractors. “Year after year, NIF continues to bring five-star value to our partners by helping them grow their business through access to our exceptional products and exclusive programs,” says NIF president and COO Mark Maher. “We ramped up our customer service standards in 2019 by streamlining our MGA renewal processes through new technology and best-practice workflows. It’s a true honor to be continually recognized by our agency partners as a five-star wholesaler, and as a subsidiary of JenCap Holdings, we are thrilled to extend the power of the JenCap platform to our agency partners.”

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In a market with rampant construction defect litigation and marketplace challenges, Rick Richter formed Western Pacific (WestPac) in Colorado in 2003 as an independent construction specialty wholesaler, with the assistance of a few industry friends and the now CFO/COO, Jake Goin. WestPac partnered with various construction industry associations and


specialty markets and spent countless hours in front of the legislature on behalf of the construction and insurance industries. Quickly, WestPac emerged as a leading specialist for construction and contractor insurance programs and became the wholesale partner for independent agents. In 2009, Richter’s son, Eric, also joined the business, becoming the fourth generation of wholesalers in the Richter family. As wholesale acquisitions were sharply increasing, WestPac saw an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with its independent agents and, in 2013, formed Virtus Underwriting Group. Virtus diversified WestPac beyond the boundaries of construction, making it a much broader

Left to right: Virtus president and VP of marketing Eric Richter, president Rick Richter, CFO/COO Jake Goin

commercial wholesaler with a multitude of commercial E&S capabilities. “Our responsibility to our partners goes beyond being responsive – it’s about focusing on relationships and being resourceful as well,” Rick Richter says. “As a regional independent, we have local expertise and agility to develop unique relationships and deliver unparalleled solutions for all.” Combined, WestPac and Virtus serve the Rocky Mountain region and have independent retailer support throughout the West. The firms strive to remain at the forefront of industry knowledge and expertise, foster success, prioritize relationships and create a family culture for all employees.

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HOW CAN WHOLESALE PARTNERS IMPROVE? IBA asked producers what wholesale brokers and MGAs can do to improve the service they’re offering to their retail partners. Here’s what they had to say:

“More products, more automation” “Maintain competitive premium pricing and customer service supports” “Add companies that will accept flood and earthquake, along with older and historical commercial buildings” “Continue to offer additional market options” “Faster turnaround time”

“More online rating, more product introduction, fewer applications, more incentives” “Use web-based tech products for quotes and submissions instead of old-school emailing of PDF forms” “More carrier choices” “Improvement with personal touches and relationships”

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RISK PLACEMENT SERVICES Headquarters: Rolling Meadows, IL

Since it was founded in 1997 as a scratch operation with just four employees, Risk Placement Services (RPS) has grown to be one of the leading specialty insurance distributors in the nation. “Our promise to our retail brokers is simple,” says president Joel Cavaness. “We do whatever it takes to help them come through for their clients.” In 2019, the company saw continued solid financial results due to strong organic growth and the addition of new merger partners. RPS has focused its investments on growing talent and digital and data strategies, as well as developing new products that give clients a competitive edge. Among its technology innovations,


RPS has an online quote-bind-issue platform that includes nearly 20 products (and growing) and enables clients to complete the process, from quote to issuance, in less than three minutes. “Our business doesn’t stand still, and neither do we,” Cavaness says. “To position us for the future, we have several key initiatives. One of the most important is data strategy, to analyze the vast amounts of data within our systems so we can deliver more exclusive products and programs for our clients [and] enhance and support the strong relationships between our retail clients and their RPS counterparts, ensuring seamless and simple delivery of specialty products. What sets us apart is the wide range of placement services we offer through our varied divisions – open brokerage,

President Joel Cavaness

binding/MGA, programs and non-standard auto, which is offered through our Pronto Insurance brand.” RPS today employs 3,000 associates. In every community where RPS does business, its employees nurture a corporate culture based on creativity, expertise, collaboration and ethics. “We are a company of experts with deep specialization in our products and programs,” Cavaness says. “More than anything, our company culture sets us apart from others. We have instilled social responsibility and a sense of fun into our corporate culture from the beginning. That’s why many current employees chose to begin their careers at RPS and one reason why we stood out as an IBA Top Workplace in 2019. We enjoy what we do and enjoy working together.”

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IS 202

A medical error transpires. Questions are asked. Reputations are at stake.

Will your claims process be reactive or responsive?

Innovation never stops. Neither do we. We stay ahead of risk by keeping pace with change. Our in-house claims specialists, nimble approach, and access to senior leadership has helped us stay as agile and relentless as the companies we protect. Backed by the financial stability of Liberty Mutual, we deliver the ultimate combination of scale, expertise, and creativity to move quickly, solve problems, and think ahead for our clients long before they need to file a claim. To customize a plan go to The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service.





The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product or service.

IS 2020 Print Campaign_MEDICAL_ERROR_IBA.indd 1 24-53_Five Star Wholesale-SUBBED.indd 45


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Founded in 1982, Genesee General is a full-service MGA and wholesale company based in Georgia, with branch offices in Colorado and North Carolina, and licensed in all states. “We’re extremely honored to be recognized by our agency partners as Five-Star MGA/Wholesaler for the fifth consecutive year,” says president and CEO Roger Ware. “At Genesee, we pride ourselves on service, fast turnaround, loyalty and innovation. These are the core attributes that our agents have relied on and recognized for almost 40 years. In 2020, we will continue to strive to provide top-notch service to our agents and look to add markets and talent and expand our footprint to help better service our clients.” Genesee General is a subsidiary of JenCap Holdings, and as such, is thrilled to extend the power of the JenCap platform to its agency partners. Genesee focuses on commercial insurance products for the excess & surplus lines industry and is committed to partnering with independent insurance agents. Genesee specializes in transportation, garage, P&C, professional liability, specialty property, programs and premium financing.

IBam ABout_Quarter page_UPDATED_2.pdf 1 16/02/2018 1:46:00 AM






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ANDERSON & MURISON Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

Specializing in personal umbrella coverage, Anderson & Murison offers a full line of personal and commercial products for virtually all types of risks. The company uses numerous online tools – including self-raters, EZ applications, self-service options and the ability for agents to view their book of business – and continually seeks to provide retail partners with more options

and efficient service. “We realize ease of use is critical for our agents, which is why we offer many direct bill options, and we continue to refine our online presence to improve the agent and customer experience,” says executive vice president Mitch Jawitz. “Our goal in 2020 is to continually improve and once again be recognized as a Five-Star Wholesale Broker and MGA.” A two-time Five-Star Wholesale Broker and MGA, Anderson & Murison has more than 50 years of experience in helping independent agents and brokers find solutions for their clients’ hard-to-place and specialty insurance needs. “With retail partners in all 50 states and access to both admitted and non-admitted markets, including Lloyd’s of London, A&M continues to work with our carriers to offer new products and solutions unique to the excess market, and we hope to have additional products available in 2020,” Jawitz says. Reflecting this, the company recently rolled out new and improved programs for light hazard manufacturers, distributors and commercial excess.



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BROWN & RIDING Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

Founded in 1980, Brown & Riding is built around the core values of teamwork, quality and professionalism. Since its inception, the company has developed 17 specialty practice areas. “Rather than being organized by territory, we are organized by expertise and bring retail producers the best collective efforts, knowledge, and relationships of the entire firm, not just one individual broker,” says chairman Chris Brown. “We operate as an extension of the


From left: President and CEO Jeff Rodriguez, chairman Chris Brown

retail producer’s own team, offering expert, trustworthy advice and service for a wide variety of business.” The company has access to more than 350 markets and was the first wholesale insurance broker in the US to achieve ISO 9001 certification, a nationally recognized certification requiring a comprehensive quality management system that is externally audited annually. Over its 40-year history, Brown & Riding has grown to 18 office locations nationwide, which are owned and managed by more than 35 active employees. “We continue to evolve and anticipate

our clients’ needs by becoming even more hyper- and micro-specialized,” says president and CEO Jeff Rodriguez. “A growing number of risks simply cannot be properly managed or insured by generalist brokers or ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions.” In 2020, Brown & Riding plans to continue expanding its offerings by further building out its specialty groups. “We also plan to continue the strategic long-term growth of our national footprint,” Rodriguez says. “We have consistently achieved double-digit organic annual growth for more than a decade and are paced to continue.”

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We Are Going to Exceed Your Expectations “Customer service is not an approach. It is really who we are as a company. When given the opportunity, we are going to exceed our customers’ needs. We will deliver unparalleled professionalism, product and service – most specifically when customers need us to respond to a catastrophic loss of some kind.”

– Mark Wilhelm, CEO

Mark Wilhelm with members of Account Services

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SYNAPSE SERVICES Headquarters: Syracuse, NY

Synapse Services is an independent, national wholesale specialty insurance agency dedicated to serving retail brokers and their insureds. The company empowers brokers with specialized knowledge, sophisticated tools and the technical resources required to evaluate liabilities and cover insureds’ risks. “This past year, we’ve invested heavily in key areas of importance to retail brokers,”


Clockwise from top left: Partners Brian Macrae, Daniel Beck, Ken Burrell, Michael Gill and Vita DeMarchi

says managing partner Daniel Beck. “Centralis, our proprietary data technology system, is now enhancing every aspect of our service delivery platform. With Centralis, we compare risk factors across 15 years of data by industry classification, premium, limits, endorsements, carrier appetite, claims and more. Our data provides a foundation for insurer negotiations and coverage reviews.” Synapse’s technical brokers leverage their resources to procure the broadest and most comprehensive coverage

available, and retail brokers look to Synapse for expertise and experience in environmental and business insurance. “We can provide detailed coverage reviews for our brokers and their insureds, comparing quotations across up to 40 different policy criteria, facilitating an in-depth comparison of product options,” Beck says. “The comparisons offer a clear resource to easily recognize key differences in coverage across multiple policy forms, which are not standardized in their coverage structure or language.”

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President Brian Barrilleaux





MJ Kelly is a national, full-service managing general agency and wholesaler headquartered in Missouri. Founded in 1976, MJ Kelly’s team of experts provides innovative and competitive insurance products to agency partners. MJ Kelly has four key areas of specialization: property & casualty, transportation, professional liability and garage. President Brian Barrilleaux reports that “2019 was a year of tremendous growth and positive change for MJ Kelly. We fully rebranded the company, restructured our leadership team with incredible talent and elevated our expectations at every level of the organization. MJ Kelly is a subsidiary of JenCap Holdings, and we are thrilled to extend the power of the JenCap platform to our agency partners. We are pleased to be recognized by our agency partners for this distinctive award.”

3:06 PM

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WORLDWIDE FACILITIES Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

CEO Davis Moore


Since 1970, Worldwide Facilities has steadily expanded its footprint throughout the United States. The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, following another recordsetting year in 2019. Through its three distinct operating divisions – brokerage, MGA and programs – Worldwide Facilities provides a broad array of products through highly specialized brokers and underwriters. “We are especially pleased with the continued product and geographical diversification we have achieved; 2019 was another year of strong organic growth, fueled by increased market share and developing our talent through our professional development program,” says CEO Davis Moore. “In addition, our acquisitions continued in 2019 with the addition of Benchmark Management Group and Risk Management Advisory Group to round out our company portfolio.” Partnering with retail agents to provide them with the technical expertise and product knowledge needed to best serve their clients, Worldwide Facilities strives to deliver “in every way possible,” Moore says. In 2019, that included launching transportation facilities through its Austin office, growing its cannabis program and launching an innovative energy facility in its Houston office. “Our growth strategies are rooted in the desire to continually increase our relevance to the customers and markets we serve, to continually increase opportunities for our employees, and to provide a diversified base of earnings and appropriate returns for our equity holders,” Moore says. “Our current success would not have been possible without the support and contributions from our constituents.”

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Telematics: the light at the end of the tunnel IBA sat down with industry experts to find out how technology and telematics could be a saving grace for the beleaguered commercial auto sector

MASSIVE PAYOUTS in trucking accidents across the United States are causing transportation companies to crash and burn – and their insurance carriers are struggling to climb out of the ditch. In what appears to be the largest verdict against a trucking company to date, a jury in Georgia awarded $280 million in a suit against scrap metal company Schnitzer Southeast and its parent company, Schnitzer Steel, in 2019. That far eclipsed the previous record of $101 million, handed down in Texas in 2018. “There is no insurance company in America that’s making money on commercial auto,” says Stewart Brown, senior vice president at CRC Group. “It’s been historically underpriced, and these nuclear verdicts are a huge issue.” Defined as an award over $10 million, nuclear verdicts have been driven up, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, by increasingly aggressive litigation in recent years. Industry experts believe nuclear verdicts are a primary reason why the commercial auto insurance industry continues to face challenges. “Runaway jury results have set the trend for third-party attorneys to exploit trucking companies with direct allegations of gross negligence and punitive damage claims to


maximize recovery,” says Keith Dunlap, senior vice president and transportation practice leader at Gallagher Bassett. As a result, insurers must either significantly increase rates or retreat from writing liability coverage altogether, Dunlap adds. The average verdict last year for trucking lawsuits in the Southeast was approximately $17.5 million, according to CaseMetrix data. That’s up from $16.9 million in 2018 and around $7 million in 2017. “Claims are being settled for amounts that are exponentially higher than what they would have been just a few years back, so it’s becoming very difficult for carriers to keep up with the loss development,” says Pete Feeney, regional director for transportation binding at CRC Group. Several loss-sensitive, insurance-funded risk retention groups that existed are no longer in business, Brown says, and while some carriers have been pushed out of the segment, those that are committed to the space continue to refine their risk appetite, underwriting guidelines, policy pricing, and terms and conditions.

How telematics can help It’s not all doom and gloom for the trucking industry. Dunlap says most of the top

trucking companies in the US have implemented some type of telematics or techdriven safety features to their fleet, recognizing the return on investment. From collision avoidance technology to autobraking systems and video cameras, technology is helping to reduce the frequency and severity of loss. “These motor carriers also understand how implementing these systems helps protect against meritless claims by thirdparty attorneys,” Dunlap says. Lytx, a leading provider of video telematics, safety and productivity solutions in the commercial auto space, has connected more than 600,000 devices for thousands of clients worldwide and partnered with more than 20 insurance carriers. “A video can show really quickly exactly what happened in an incident and who is at fault,” says Trevor Schmidt, partnership director at Lytx. “Even in a case where the driver ends up being at fault, it still helps the insurance carrier resolve the claim more quickly without spending more time and resources than you need to.” The increased use of technology within the trucking industry is improving losses overall by providing information during the claims process and eliminating issues

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“We are no longer held captive by participant bias, police bias or witness bias when investigating an occurrence” Keith Dunlap, Gallagher Bassett of subjectivity that come about in the courtroom due to lack of evidence. “We are no longer held captive by participant bias, police bias or witness bias when investigating an occurrence,” Dunlap says. Telematics also provide a significant

amount of data that can help with commercial fleet management by improving maintenance and route planning or monitoring drivers to increase safety. “The same way a professional athlete reviews video of themselves in order to

improve, drivers who take their job seriously are open to the idea of seeing what they can do to be better,” Schmidt says. “It gets drivers engaged in safety and ultimately helps them do what they want to do, which is come home to their families every night.” Violations for unsafe driving in the commercial trucking sector are down 2% yearover-year through November, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. And at the end of 2019, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance began fully enforcing its electronic logging device mandate for truckers across the country, which helps to

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THE SPIKE IN NUCLEAR VERDICTS CaseMetrix’s data on court cases across the Southeast demonstrates just how dramatically the size of the average verdict against trucking companies has risen over the last few years.

$18m $16m $14m $12m $10m $8m $6m $4m $2m $0 2010









2019 Source: CaseMetrix

monitor breaks and ensure truckers don’t drive for more than 11 hours a day.

A proactive approach Whether it’s the use of cameras, logs, GPS or a combination, these measures are having an impact on claims. While the proportion of trucking companies using the technology is still relatively small, that number is growing, and insurance providers are supporting the movement. “There are lots of incentives in the market; some insurance companies are subsidizing the costs of the systems,” Brown says. “Not only is technology helping transportation companies cut costs through lower premiums, but it can also help identify what drivers are doing.” Access to the data that telematics systems can provide has benefits for both insurers and insureds. This information helps underwriters gain a better understanding of mileage, driver profiles and safety aspects, which in turn helps with risk selection and pricing of accounts.


would permit them to reduce their loss costs. But even when fleets invest in technology, underwriters are still hesitant to offer significant premium reductions because commercial auto is still incurring non-acceptable industry loss ratios, he adds. “It’s going to be a bit longer before telematics and cameras can really make a difference to rates, but we will quickly see them integrated into fleets and non-fleets,” Feeney says. Hard-market conditions have also pushed prices up and reduced capacity in the marketplace, but competition among insurers still exists for bigger accounts. Dunlap believes greater adoption of technology, coupled with changes to the legal system, will be a major force for change in the marketplace. “Tort reform is desperately needed in

“If you go through the expense to install cameras and telematics, but you don’t use that information to educate drivers and make changes to the company’s safety culture, that will come back to bite you” Pete Feeney, CRC Group For insureds, the key is not to let this information go to waste, Feeney says. “If you go through the expense to install cameras and telematics, but you don’t use that information to educate drivers and make changes to the company’s safety culture, that will come back to bite you.” Non-fleet accounts are still being hit particularly hard with rate increases on renewal, even when they’ve experienced only nominal claim activity. According to Dunlap, this is partly due to the fact that they lack the funds to invest in technology that

the United States, especially in Florida, California and Texas, where we see runaway verdicts predominantly occurring,” he says. Brown agrees that pricing will eventually improve as more companies invest in telematics systems. “There needs to be stringent underwriting, and we can already see that happening,” he says. “In three to five years, we will probably start seeing technology’s impact on pricing, partly because it’s just going to take that long to implement technology in a broader way.”

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13/03/2020 3:09:25 AM



Mastering social media Jared Bellmund, managing partner at Allchoice Insurance, reveals what’s worked for the agency as it builds its brand via social media channels

IBA: Tell us about your background in social media and what Allchoice Insurance’s experience using these channels has been like. Jared Bellmund: Jack Wingate [Allchoice’s founder and CEO] and I connected through social media and connections through Agency Nation, the Big I and some Facebook groups that we were a part of, and our connection was due to helping each other through navigating the use of social media. That was about three and a half years ago, so Jack and I have been working together as peers in the industry for that long. He had been doing a really good job with posting on the website and blog, and he would recycle a blog post with a picture and an attachment with a link through Instagram and Facebook. But Instagram has always been my baby – I have used Instagram personally and have had a lot of success with engagement in my community. Now I’m trying to figure out how to do that for the agency, which is I think a little more difficult because there is a professionalism [required], and the agency has its own culture, so I can’t just be me on our Instagram – I have to be the full team. That’s something we’re navigating, but I think it’s important and I think the more we do it and the more open we are with who we are as a team and what we’re trying to embody


as an agency for our customers, I think we’ll be embraced more by our audience.

IBA: How do you approach the management of the agency’s Instagram channel so that it’s beneficial for clients? JB: We focus on engagement and education as a way to share what we do in insurance and our value as advisors, but also to interact with consumers on their level – so answering the questions they have instead of regurgitating what we think they want to know. We find that when we’re asking a question of our audience, they’re responding. We post pretty regularly, but I can tell that we get more engagement through our use of the story platform. One of our biggest engagements is Would You Rather Wednesday. We post three questions of ‘Would you rather do A or B?’ and people can choose in the poll, and then

we post [the results] the next day. That not only gets people engaging with us, but often they send us a direct message and say, “I just couldn’t choose one.” It opens up a platform to discuss things with our audience.

IBA: How has using social media helped you establish your brand and build trust with your clients? JB: Digital marketing isn’t linear like marketing used to be, where you would buy a billboard or put an ad in the Yellow Pages. I think it’s more of a spiderweb nowadays, where people find you in one place and like you, but they want to learn if they can trust you, so they search for you in other places. Our culture is to make people comfortable with us, so you can tell from our Instagram that we’re light-hearted and we like to joke around, even when we spotlight team members. Recently, we’ve also been using Yogi

ALLCHOICE INSURANCE’S MISSION North Carolina-based Allchoice Insurance was founded with the purpose of creating an agency that cared more about its customers than its insurance carriers. The agency decided to demonstrate that value in part by servicing its clients through the independent agent system. After establishing the agency, the Allchoice team obtained contracts with a core group of insurance carriers that remains unchanged to this day, though other carriers have been added over time to service specific niche market opportunities.

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Workers’ compensation

“We focus on engagement and education as a way to share what we do in insurance and our value as advisors, but also to interact with consumers on their level” Berra quotes. It really is that true branding that we’re not the suit-and-tie guy, so we want to show that – that we’re serious advisors, but that we’re also part of the community.

IBA: What advice do you have for agencies hoping to follow in your social media footsteps? JB: I would say the number-one thing would be consistency. Every morning, I pretty much put the same two posts up to start my day – so on my personal brand, I do a ‘what I’m reading for the day,’ and then I record me walking up to my office on Main Street here in Hendersonville. It created a consis-

tent thing that I did every day, and posting that every day, people feel comfortable looking to my content to the point where if I had morning meetings and didn’t get to the office till 11:00 or 12:00, people would ask [where I was], which is great because then they’re engaging. I do the same thing with the agency. Would You Rather Wednesday was a choice by us to do something every Wednesday, and now for 2020, we’re working on at least one post on Instagram stories every day to create a more consistent avenue for our consumers so they see us and our community gets to know us.

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Long-term care

Various financial alternatives Year founded: 2004 Headquarters: Hendersonville, NC Number of offices: 5 Leadership: Jack Wingate, founder and CEO; AJ Brower, director of operations; Mike Reese and Jared Bellmund, managing partners – Wilmington; Laine Fowler, customer happiness coordinator

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Are you drowning in meetings? If meetings are taking up most of your day and preventing you from doing your real work, Brian de Haaff explains how to regain control

YOU VERSUS your calendar: You’re fighting for time to get your real work done. Nervously eyeing the clock. Each day is a relentless sprint from meeting to meeting, but the calendar always wins. It goes something like this: 8 a.m.: Start work 8:15 – 12 p.m.: Booked with meetings 12:15 – 12:30 p.m.: Lunch (while catching up on email) 12:30 – 5 p.m.: Booked with meetings You wearily plead with your boss for help, but he’s just as busy with his own meeting schedule. Eventually, you resign yourself to the fact that you won’t begin your actual work until the end of the day, when the meeting reminders mercifully cease (at least


until the morning). You surrender your workdays to an endless loop of meetings. There’s a reason these meetings all seem the same. The organizer has no agenda, no clear goals, no questions or action items for attendees. The meeting drags on and on, wasting valuable time for everyone involved. These meetings are stealing something valuable from you – the time to think deeply and be productive. Now, I’m not suggesting we say goodbye to meetings overall. On the contrary, I think it’s important for teams to connect often – sometimes even daily. The problem arises when meetings are consuming more time than the actual work. I recently faced this problem myself. My calendar was filling up fast. I expect this as the CEO of Aha!, even though we spend as little time in meetings as possible. I enjoy checking in with the team, customers and

potential job candidates. But I had less and less time to think through the big issues that affect the team and the company. So I blocked off Wednesdays as meeting-free on my calendar. I call it Wonder Wednesday. It’s my time to work and think deeply about the business. I realize that not everyone is able to block off a full day on their calendar. But here are five things you can do to lighten the load when you’re drowning in meetings.

Block off time You might not be able to block off an entire day each week, but I bet you have a few hours here and there. It’s reasonable to carve out chunks of time to do your work (or even to take a lunch). This doesn’t mean being inflexible if a teammate needs you during one of these chunks. It’s simply ensuring that you have enough time to get work done or take a needed break.

Hit pause Before you automatically hit ‘accept’ on an invite, take a moment to think about why you’re needed. If this isn’t totally clear, ask the organizer why they included you: “What is the purpose of this meeting? How can I help specifically?” You might find that your attendance is not actually necessary to move the work forward. For example, the organizer might need information that you could easily share via a document or report. Or perhaps they’re looping you into a project that you’ll only have peripheral involvement in. In this case, ask for meeting notes instead.

Set parameters Even if you’re not the organizer, you can help keep things productive by

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you have one of these on your calendar, think about what you could do to improve it. Maybe it’s automating a report for a weekly status meeting or emailing ahead with prepared talking points to help encourage others to stay on track. Also, consider asking the organizer if you’re still needed at these meetings. Perhaps there’s a recurring meeting that no longer requires your attendance or only needs you for a few minutes at the beginning or end.

Talk to your boss

Before you automatically hit ‘accept’ on an invite, take a moment to think about why you’re needed. You might find that your attendance is not actually necessary to move the work forward setting parameters — show up on time, stay on topic and follow up with any tasks that come out of the conversation. Also, consider asking the organizer for an agenda beforehand. Even if it’s not a formal document, simply having some bullet points about the topics of discussion and desired goals for the meeting can help move things

along. Don’t be afraid to kindly redirect the conversation back to the agenda when it takes a turn.

Evaluate regularly Everyone has experienced the ‘standing meeting’ that starts off as necessary and grows ineffective over time. If

If you’re truly drowning in meetings each day, talk it over with your manager. Have an honest conversation about how these meetings are impacting your schedule and explain that you need more time to get work done. Who knows – maybe your manager is struggling with the same issue. The epidemic in your workplace may be symptomatic of larger organizational issues, and your honest assessment could help prompt action. You may not be able to overhaul a meetingheavy culture, but you can protect your own corner of it. Do what you can to ensure you’re getting to the work that really matters. It’s worth it to take steps to protect your time and work. Is attending that meeting the only way you can learn something critical? Are you crucial to decisions that need to be made in that meeting? If not, don’t go. The calendar may be a mighty force, but it doesn’t always have to win. Brian de Haaff is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! and the author of Lovability. His two previous companies were acquired by well-known public corporations. De Haaff writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life. For more information, visit Author photo by Chris Yeh

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CHARTING HIS OWN COURSE Alex Rosas Salgado has been able to combine his love of sailing with the industry that’s in his blood Although his family’s history in Puerto Rican insurance stretches back 150 years, Rosas Salgado planned to study architecture in the US. The family’s annual three-month sailing trip between Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands also exerted considerable influence on him. “That gave rise to what I love about the design of vessels. Insurance was the conversation of every afternoon and then sailing on the weekend – that was the first 20 years of my life.”


2003 TAKES ON MORE RESPONSIBILITY Just before leaving for college, Rosas Salgado took one last summer internship in marine insurance that led to a position of greater responsibility. “After my first internship, the company said they wanted me back and would accommodate me if I wanted to study at night. And then the marine insurance broker retired and there was no one to replace him, so for three months, I ran marine insurance.”

2013 HITS THE DOLDRUMS After several years of working in Puerto Rico, Rosas Salgado found himself “too close to the ceiling for comfort” and began plotting a move to the US. “I was going nowhere; the island was getting tighter and tighter. It stopped being creative; for a year and a half, I was working because I had to work. That was when I decided I had to get out of Puerto Rico and started researching opportunities in the US.”

2018 FINDS FREEDOM Challenged by a mentor to pursue his passion in a more independent environment, Rosas Salgado got the opportunity to do just that when he became part of AmWINS. “After many weekends of policy drafting and business planning, in May 2018, AmWINS Specialty Logistics Underwriters opened its doors to the market and mine to my passion. It’s my shop; it’s a line of business that I knew needed a market distributor. I’m charting my own course – that’s why I named it Full on Freedom.” 62

2002 LANDS A FATEFUL INTERNSHIP Encouraged by his family to use his summer vacation productively, Rosas Salgado made his first foray into the insurance industry via an internship at age 17. “I wanted to do something I considered easy, something that flows in my veins. I was looking for an easy summer! The internship was in yacht insurance, and it grew on me – working at insuring what I’ve been using my whole childhood came naturally to me.”

2007 FINDS HIS NICHE After finishing his architecture degree, Rosas Salgado quickly realized he wasn’t interested in a career in the field and instead found himself pulled back to marine insurance.

“Marine insurance had been in the back of my head this whole time, but I didn’t want to admit it because I was the family rebel! I gravitated to international cargo: a niche within a niche” 2013 LEAVES THE ISLAND While on his honeymoon in Charlotte, Rosas Salgado interviewed for the job that ended up providing his exit from Puerto Rico. “On Monday I put my résumé on Indeed, and on Wednesday I got a phone call from a headhunter. During the interview, I didn’t mention my family at all – I didn’t want them to know about the family background in insurance until I was hired.”

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Hiba was featured on the back of her motorbike in the video for Shagg y’s “It Wasn’t Me”


Number of first-place finishes Hiba had during her racing career


Hiba’s rank at the RACE Super Series Pro 125 Grand Prix at the peak of her career


Weekends per year Hiba spent competing at the height of her career

THE NEED FOR SPEED For Angela Hiba, nothing compares to the thrill of watching the world rush by on the seat of a motorcycle ANGELA HIBA took to two wheels at the age of 10, on the minibike originally bought for her brother – but she was the one who developed a passion for the sport. Hiba went on to get her competition license before moving on to motorcycle racing. “Two weeks [after getting my competition

license], I entered my first race,” she says. Competitive riding tapped into Hiba’s drive to succeed and led her to aggressively pursue the Pro 125 Grand Prix title – which she ultimately won in 2004, becoming the first woman to do so. These days, Hiba, an executive coordi-

nator at Gallagher, gets on her bike far less often, but she makes a point of competing in one event a year to maintain her pro status – and to reawaken the sense of excitement she gets from riding. “I really like the thrill,” she says. “I can’t even put into words what it feels like to get that rush.” Photo credit: Damian Pereira Photography


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