Insurance Business America 8.10

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IBAMAG.COM ISSUE 8.10 | $12.95

2020 85 of the next big names in the American insurance industry THE HARD MARKET GETS HARDER

Is there any relief on the horizon from skyrocketing insurance prices?



The Hartford’s chief D&I officer on what’s been successful at her organization


How to make sure nonprofits have the coverage they need during COVID-19

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ISSUE 8.10

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UPFRONT 03 Editorial

Finding opportunity amid the challenges of the pandemic








From tech-savvy underwriters to ambitious brokers, these 85 young professionals are making their mark on the insurance industry



Nonprofit organizations are facing a multitude of challenges – and finding affordable insurance coverage is chief among them


Key data that should be on your radar this month

06 News analysis

Insurance rates have spiked since the start of the pandemic. Will that trend continue for the rest of 2020?

08 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

10 Workers’ comp update

COVID-19-related workers’ comp claims are declining as employers adjust to the pandemic

12 Technology update

The importance of keeping customers front and center when pursuing a digital strategy


19 Opinion



How Camille Hicks used her youth to her advantage when starting her own insurance agency

Susan Johnson, chief D&I officer at The Hartford, reveals the strategies that have helped foster greater diversity and inclusion at her company


04 Statistics


Why companies in the oil and gas industry need to pay attention to insurers’ subrogation rights

PEOPLE 64 Other life

Pro boxer and insurance agent Kingsley Ibeh pulls no punches



Distraction is rampant in the modern world – here’s how to fight back


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

CONTRIBUTORS Jim Noe, Tim Woodard, Aytekin Tank

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador 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

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

Editorial Inquiries Subscription Inquiries Advertising Inquiries,

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Reaching for opportunity


here has never been a more exciting time to work in the insurance business. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up some immense challenges, but with every challenge comes opportunity. As businesses struggle to navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic, they are looking to their insurance agents, brokers and carriers for extra support. Now is the time for insurance professionals to find differentiation in their customer service, whether that means carriers offering premium rebates or alternative coverage solutions, or brokers and agents taking the time to check in more frequently with clients to help them weather the COVID-19 storm. Education is another distinguishing factor in the context of the pandemic. If the public health crisis has highlighted anything, it’s that not many people fully understand their insurance coverage. Over the past six months, there has been a flood of litigation around business income and business interruption losses; many business owners believe they are owed payouts related to mandatory shutdowns. Perhaps if there were more clarity in insurance policy wording and better education around coverage, the industry would not find itself receiving quite as much negative attention as it’s getting today.

Now is the time for insurance professionals to find differentiation in their customer service There are also opportunities for the industry to find solutions for emerging risks. The pandemic has triggered a massive change in the way we live and work. While digital trends have been accelerating in recent years – especially in online retail and communications – the pandemic has caused a relative boom of digitalization as businesses shift to remote operating models. This has created a horde of new risks, particularly around cyber and technology, and a number of question marks around how companies can best protect their intangible assets – their reputation, human capital and intellectual property – in a primarily digital future. Finding the answers to such questions will fall to the industry’s brightest young minds. In this issue, Insurance Business America celebrates 85 of the industry’s Rising Stars – those who are already making their mark on insurance early in their careers and who truly understand that every challenge (even one as big as the COVID-19 pandemic) comes with opportunity. The team at Insurance Business America

Insurance Business Australia T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business NZ T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business Asia T +61 2 8437 47OO Printed in Canada Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.

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Total number of data breaches in the US since 2005


Average cost of each lost or stolen record


Highest number of data breaches in a single year (2017)

1.38records billion



As adoption of digital technology steadily increases, data breaches are becoming commonplace. In the US, California stands out as the capital of data breaches, according to a recent study from Comparitech, which analyzed records of data breaches between 2005 and June 2020. California had by far the most data breaches at 1,777, with more than 5.6 billion records exposed. The large number of technology and internet companies based in California makes it a major data breach hotspot, which prompted the state to pass one of the most stringent data privacy laws in the US in 2019. While other states were far behind California in both numbers of data breaches and records exposed, the data in states like Oregon demonstrates that the number of breaches isn’t always proportionate to the number of records exposed – a single severe data breach can account for the vast majority of records exposed in a state.


1,777 breaches

5.6 billion records exposed

CONSUMERS MOST CONCERNED ABOUT CLAIMS HANDLING Claims handling was the top complaint area among customers of the 10 largest auto and home insurers in the US, according to a survey by LendingTree and ValuePenguin. Sixty-eight percent of complaints involved claims issues, far more than the second-place category, underwriting, which only accounted for 17% of total complaints.



Policyholder service

1,000 800



4.6 billion

Highest number of records exposed in a single year (2016) Source: Which State Has the Most Data Breaches?, Comparitech


834 550

400 200 0

Unsatisfactory settlement/ offer


Denial of claim



Adjuster handling

Premium and rating




Cancellation Nonrenewal Surcharge




Statespecific issue

Comparative negligence

Premium refund

Source: What Frustrates People Most About Their Insurer?, LendingTree and ValuePenguin

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After experiencing a 30% drop in late March due to the COVID-19 crisis, reinsurance capital appears to be getting back on track, according to the latest Reinsurance Market Report from Willis Re, which noted only a 3% drop in capital for the first half of 2020. Moreover, total capital remains 12% higher than at the end of 2018. “This suggests, based on current investment market levels, that COVID-19 is not a capital event for the industry,” the firm said.

296 million records exposed





365 breaches


295 million



388records million

355 million

records exposed



records exposed


$600bn $500bn $400bn





356 million



records exposed




Roughly three-quarters of US workers’ comp insurers are actively looking to digitize business processes such as paperwork, forms and signatures, according to Lightico and Sapiens. The firms attributed that sentiment largely to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has turned non-digital processes such as face-to-face meetings and mailing reports into liabilities.

5% 20%


TO WHAT EXTENT ARE YOU LOOKING TO DIGITIZE PAPERWORK, FORMS AND SIGNATURES? Urgently looking Actively looking Potentially looking Not interested


2020 (first half)











175,000 0

Source: Workers’ Comp Insurance on Cusp of Digital Transformation, Lightico and Sapiens


The recent devastation wrought by wildfires in the West makes it clear that wildfire risk is escalating in the US – and data from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty backs that up. Between January 1 and June 12, the US saw 20,351 wildfires, compared to 16,630 during the same period in 2019. AGCS estimates that a total of 4.5 million properties in the US currently have high or extreme wildfire risk.




Source: Reinsurance Market Report – Half Year 2020, Willis Re

Source: Which State Has the Most Data Breaches?, Comparitech



200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000

2 million 2.2 million Source: Allianz Wildfire Report 2020

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Up, up and away Commercial insurance prices have continued to climb, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the fire, other factors have done plenty of heavy lifting in bringing about this hard market

THE SECOND quarter of 2020 has shaped up to be one of the most interesting periods on record for the insurance industry. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global economies – and specifically on insurance companies – has become clearer. In the meantime, commercial insurance pricing reports have revealed that premiums are climbing higher – in some cases, to their highest levels since insurers started tracking the numbers. Global broker Marsh recently reported a global average increase of 19% for commer-

in the US, thanks in part to public company D&O prices, which were up 59% on average, with more than 90% of clients experiencing an increase. So far, COVID-19 has had a limited impact on insurance prices, but the effects of the pandemic are set to have reverberations further down the line. “COVID will have an impact, but I think it’ll be a longer-term impact,” says Christopher Lang, global placement leader for the US and Canada at Marsh, who adds that insurance pricing has been under pressure for

“I just don’t see this market slowing down with the rate that’s required for carriers to provide capacity” Brian Dove, USI Insurance Services cial insurance prices for Q2 2020, the largest spike since its Global Insurance Market Index was launched in 2012. Notably, Marsh revealed that global property insurance was up 19%, while global financial and professional lines were up 37% and global casualty was up 7%. The upward movement in prices was seen across all geographic regions, including an 18% overall increase in pricing


some time now – certainly long before the pandemic hit. On the property side, a period of lower premiums and losses from natural catastrophes, as well as attritional losses, has led to a harder market. Meanwhile, social inflation has had an impact on casualty lines, resulting in higher jury awards and a generally more litigious environment that has pushed losses

to higher levels than they have been traditionally over the past several years. As a result, Lang says, “the markets are having to catch up to that impact.” In the midst of this already challenging market, the losses brought on by the corona­ virus – from event cancellation to business interruption, the latter of which is still largely playing out in courts – have already started to pile up. Meanwhile, losses from previous years are also weighing on the industry. “The escalation of paid losses from 2017 to 2018 created a challenge to the market, and throw on top of that the pandemic, which requires a lot of work in regards to carriers defending their coverage positions,” says Brian Dove, national real estate practice leader at USI Insurance Services. “There’s a tremendous amount of expense related to that, and they’re not only paying claims related to the pandemic, but we had the escalation of past claims due to inadequate valuations.” On the property side, Dove says clients are

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THE UPWARD TREND IN INSURANCE PRICING Global commercial insurance pricing increased by an average of 19% in the second quarter of 2020, according to Marsh’s latest Global Insurance Market Index, marking the 11th straight quarter of pricing increases and the highest increase since the index was launched in 2012. YEAR-OVER-YEAR GLOBAL COMPOSITE INSURANCE PRICING CHANGE 20% 18% 16% 14% 12% 10% 8% 6%


facing increases at each renewal and are likely to continue seeing increases into the rest of 2020 and 2021. And it’s not just premium prices that are leaving clients smarting – it’s also the changes in policy language.

nesses continue to feel the sting of COVID19-related risks and natural catastrophes add additional burdens. Already in Q2, some carriers have seen coronavirus hit their bottom lines, even though it’s still



Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 2017 2018 2018 2018 2018 2019 2019 2019 2019 2020 2020 Source: Marsh Global Insurance Market Index

“We envision that for the next two quarters at a minimum, the market will continue to be challenging” Christopher Lang, Marsh “All the renewals we have had postpandemic … have included pandemic exclusions,” Dove says, “whereas in the past, especially for hospitality-type accounts, we were able to secure some limited coverage for communicable disease-type events.” The pandemic is far from over, and the hard market isn’t likely to ease up as business interruption court cases are decided, busi-

somewhat unknown what will be considered an insured loss in the context of the pandemic. “We are seeing some claims being paid, but the ultimate impact is still to be understood,” Lang says. In the meantime, wildfires continue to burn up and down the West Coast, and there’s more left to the hurricane season,

which has already brought the devastation of Hurricane Laura onto US soil. “I just don’t see this market slowing down with the rate that’s required for carriers to provide capacity,” Dove says. “With the resurgence of the pandemic potentially in the future, that could only further impact the marketplace.” While Lang also sees challenges in the marketplace continuing for the coming quarters, he doesn’t believe pricing will increase at the same 20% pace witnessed in Q2. “We envision that for the next two quarters at a minimum, the market will continue to be challenging,” he explains, adding that “we are hopeful that rates will begin to at least moderate.”

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Alera Group

FNL Insurance Group, JDM Benefits

FNL provides benefits programs to small and medium-sized businesses in Maryland; New York-based JDM specializes in private exchanges and self-insured benefits plans

Hub International

Rockville Insurance Agency, Jeffrey Preston Zepp, Charles R. Butler

The three Maryland-based intermediaries were formerly part of Nationwide’s distribution network


Landers Underwriting

Landers Underwriting founder and principal Harry Landers has announced his retirement in conjunction with the acquisition

Risk Strategies

McCamon Hunt, Securitas Insurance Partners

McCamon Hunt is an all-lines insurance agency with roots dating to 1939; Securitas specializes in venture capital- and private equity-backed portfolio companies

Ryan Specialty Group

All Risks

The merger of All Risks into RSG will result in a company with more than 70 offices and approximately 3,300 employees in the US, the UK and Europe

Sompo International

Diversified Crop Insurance Services

The deal makes Sompo one of the largest crop insurers in the world, with total GWP of more than $2 billion

World Insurance Associates

Countywide Insurance Agency, Maximum Benefit Insurance Agency

The duo of acquisitions will boost World Insurance Associates’ personal and commercial insurance footprint in the New York/New Jersey region

Zurich helps businesses with climate change resilience

Zurich has launched a new offering designed to help businesses better prepare for current and future risks related to climate change. The insurer’s new Climate Change Resilience Services arm offers mitigation and adaptation solutions for extreme weather events, including wildfires, windstorms, floods, and rises in temperature and sea level. It also helps clients withstand risks and implement sustainability measures at the site level. Clients will be able to map exposure along their value chain for regional and global operations, specific sites or vital pieces of equipment.

Ryan Specialty Group, All Risks complete merger

Ryan Specialty Group (RSG) and All Risks have completed the merger of the two firms into RSG. The combined entity will have approximately 3,300 employees and more than 70 offices across the US, the UK and Europe, and is projected to handle nearly $15 billion in premium this year. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “The world has become a much riskier place, and our clients’ needs have expanded. As hazards continue to evolve, they are becoming larger and more complex,” said RSG founder, chair and CEO Patrick G. Ryan. “Further strengthened by the former All Risks team, Ryan Specialty Group is in prime position to continue to be nimble and innovative as we create products and find the answers that meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.”


CyberCube revamps Account Manager platform

CyberCube has released an updated version of Account Manager, its cyber risk modeling platform for insurers and reinsurers. The update includes a revamp of the scoring methodology and a broader collection of threat information. “We have sourced and curated signals related to the digital supply chain, web traffic hygiene and common software vulnerabilities as a part of the new edition of the product,” said CyberCube’s Morgan Hervé-Mignucci. “We have also revised our scoring algorithms to include new risk factors to help underwriters select, differentiate and price risk in a robust fashion.”

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PEOPLE AXIS, Simply Business to cover home-based businesses

Simply Business, a digital insurance agency offering small business insurance, has partnered with AXIS Insurance on a new product designed for US small business owners who conduct business from their homes. The product, AXIS Home Based Business Insurance, is designed to fill the gaps in homeowner’s insurance, which can leave entrepreneurs who run businesses from their homes exposed to commercial losses. Simply Business CEO David Summers said the coverage “comes at a critical moment, as many entrepreneurs have been forced to work from their homes due to the pandemic.”

Cowbell Cyber makes platform enhancements

Cowbell Cyber has rolled out enhancements to its cyber insurance platform to allow for larger risk underwriting with increased ease, accuracy and speed. New features include recommendations to help policyholders improve their risk ratings and minimize cyber risks, the use of inside-out data for refined risk assessment, one-click integration of data from cloud providers, customer experience improvements, and enhanced support for all distribution channels. The company said the changes are designed to “make cyber insurance approachable to all businesses and policyholders.”

Colonial Life introduces COVID-19 coverage

Colonial Life has launched a new group critical illness plan with an optional rider that offers a lump-sum benefit for hospitalization due COVID19. The rider also covers more than a dozen other infectious diseases, such as meningitis, Lyme disease and sepsis. The plan includes coverage for up to 56 different serious conditions and treatment procedures, including heart attack, stroke, cancer, organ failure and more. It also covers additional conditions for children at no extra cost, including Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and cleft lip or palate.





Allison Buytenhuys


Ames & Gough

Senior vice president

Julia Chu



Chief risk officer

Andrew Glisson


EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants


Conrad Lagasca

Willis Towers Watson

BMS Group

Branch manager, San Francisco

April McLaughlin



Head of Latin America treaty reinsurance

Melissa Merrick

Newfront Insurance

Liberty Company Insurance Brokers

Director of agency integration and onboarding

Grant Owens

Willis Re


Chief product and underwriting officer

Susan Piccione


Valley Insurance Agency Alliance

Regional manager, Missouri

A. Lynne Puckett




Arjun Ramdas


Charles Taylor InsureTech


Fiona Shaw


Willis Towers Watson

Head of data, analytics and innovation, Global Fac

Kip Tryon


Liberty Company Insurance Brokers

Vice president, marketing and branding

Markel appoints new chief risk officer

Markel Corporation has appointed Julia Chu to the newly created role of chief risk officer, responsible for the company’s enterprise risk management, capital planning and ceded reinsurance placements. Since 2018, Chu has served as Markel’s chief global ceded reinsurance officer; prior to that, she was a managing director at Guy Carpenter and a vice president at Aon Re. “This appointment reflects the contributions Julia has made to our enterprise risk management framework,” said Markel CFO Jeremy Noble. “She has played a key role in further developing and implementing Markel’s ceded reinsurance strategy and has been instrumental in positioning our reinsurance placements and partnering with executive leadership to build and protect Markel’s capital.”

Openly names product and underwriting chief

Homeowner’s insurance platform Openly has appointed Grant Owens as chief product and underwriting officer. In his new role, Owens will lead the product team and spearhead product development. Prior to joining Openly, Owens served as an executive vice president at Willis Re. “Grant has a proven track record of developing and deploying innovative platforms and products,” said Openly co-founder and CEO Ty Harris. “We trust that with Grant joining our team, we are charging forward on a path to provide simplified insurance processes for all independent agents and consumers.”

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WORKERS’ COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS One Call expands CarePath program to cover COVID-19

One Call, a provider of specialty network management services for the workers’ comp industry, has expanded its CarePath program to meet the needs of those suffering from lingering symptoms and complications of COVID-19. The program uses a licensed nurse known as a care navigator, who engages the patient early and supports an individualized recovery path. The care navigator works directly with One Call’s medical advisory team to remain up to date on medical recommendations associated with COVID-19.

Sapiens adds Gradient AI to workers’ comp software

Insurance software provider Sapiens International has partnered with Gradient AI to incorporate artificial intelligence into its workers’ comp offerings, Sapiens CoreSuite for Workers’ Compensation and Sapiens GO for Workers’ Compensation, to provide predictive insights for both the underwriting and claims processes. According to Sapiens president and CEO Roni Al-Dor, the integration of Gradient AI’s capabilities will allow insurers to better forecast future probabilities via real-time insights. Al-Dor said Sapiens plans to expand the technology to its P&C and life insurance software next.

New York State Insurance Fund offers credit for PPE

The New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) has launched a new program to credit policyholders who purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program enables current NYSIF workers’ comp policyholders to earn a credit of


up to 5% of their annual premium on the purchase of PPE, with a maximum reimbursement of $500. NYSIF hopes the new program will help offset the cost of PPE and other safety-related items needed to protect workers from the coronavirus, as well as make it more affordable for policyholders to get back to work.

AF Group adopts AI-powered underwriting platform

Workers’ comp insurer AF Group has adopted Convr’s AI-powered commercial underwriting platform to help accelerate its underwriting transformation by reducing time to quote while improving accuracy and the customer experience. The platform can read and digitize submission paperwork, provide additional risk insights from third-party data sources, respond to underwriting questions using artificial intelligence, and enable risk selection and prioritization to better focus downstream underwriting resources. AF Group vice president Abel Travis said the company chose Convr based on “the exceptional performance of their platform and strong culture of partnership.”

National Safety Council appoints new workplace vice president

The National Safety Council (NSC) has appointed Mark Baker as vice president of workplace. Baker previously served as global director of workplace safety and vice president of global risk for hotel giant Hyatt. In his new role, he will focus on increasing value and engagement for the more than 15,000 member organizations that are part of the NSC, along with overseeing programs that drive workplace safety thought leadership. He will also help launch NSC Marketplace, a new customer portal of safety products and services.

Adjusting to a new reality As companies figure out how to deal with the pandemic, COVID-19related claims are down, but the need for risk management remains Players in the workers’ compensation market have been busy over the past six months as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses, physical workplaces and employees. The National Council on Compensation Insurance, for example, has made several COVID-19-related changes, including collecting payroll for furloughed workers so it wouldn’t be used in premium calculations and excluding COVID-19 claims from the experience rating calculation. Employers have also had to tackle new challenges. At the outset of the pandemic, businesses were facing a ton of uncertainty around how to continue to operate, but now, most understand the importance of implementing social distancing measures and other safety protocols. According to Kevin Clary, vice president of risk management at Amerisure, “the biggest impact is how people are organizing their workforces in the field.” Some industries have been more affected by COVID-19 from a workers’ comp perspective than others. Construction, which is one of Amerisure’s areas of focus, was one that largely kept operating during state-mandated lockdowns. “Construction never really stopped, especially in the Southern states,” Clary says. However, Amerisure has seen a lot of workers’ compensation claims activity during the past six months in healthcare, specifically operations like nursing homes and rehabilita-

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tion centers. “Early on, we saw a significant influx of COVID-related claims, from the last half of April into the beginning of May, and since then, things have levelled out,” says Steve Donnelly, Amerisure’s chief claims officer. “In August, we’ve seen a 15% to 20% decrease in

“Early on, we saw a significant influx of COVID-related claims … since then, things have levelled out” our COVID-related claim counts.” There were a few reasons for the initial spike in claims, Donnelly says, including the fact that a lot of claims were reported with occurrences from prior months. In addition, people slowly became aware that there was workers’ comp coverage available for COVID19, especially as 14 states took steps to extend coverage to include COVID-19 as a workrelated illness. For Amerisure, close to 100% of the claims during the pandemic’s initial outbreak in the US came from the healthcare space. Today, the company is seeing a broader spectrum of professions reporting COVID-19 claims, including construction. Meanwhile, the insurer saw a significant dip in non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims when the country shut down; claims activity in this area has just started to return to normal levels.


Michael Schultz Co-founder ACLAIMANT

Years in the industry 31 Fast fact Schultz is also the president of American Staffing Assurance Company, a captive insurer that provides workers’ comp insurance for staffing firms

Risk management goes remote How would you define best practice employee risk management in this era of remote work? During this time of remote work, it’s important that employers treat employees with the same respect and dignity as if they were in the office. The best employee risk management strategy is to think like a plaintiff attorney – meaning if you can anticipate the risks that employees might encounter on the job, you can be one step ahead of preventing these risks right from the start.

Is there a way for employers to have better oversight over their employees’ safety as they work from home? In order for employers to have better oversight over their employees’ safety as they work from home, they must instill a corporate culture that supports safety first. This will establish trust with employees and ensure they understand not only why their employees require this oversight, but also how it benefits them in the long run. For example, the ability to do an ergonomic analysis specific to a home office and floor plan within the household is a nonthreatening form of feedback that will ultimately enhance the employee’s remote work situation by ensuring that their office is set up properly.

What sort of wellness programs should employers consider for their remote employees? As the world of employment practices continues to evolve, especially amid the current pandemic, unrestricted access and affordability to mental, physical and psychological health professionals is the key. Wellness programs that prioritize these initiatives will be the key to success for many businesses. Especially as we continue to navigate the work-from-home situation, productivity and employee engagement remain top of mind for employers. If productivity is to improve, individual health must improve, and that can start with improvements to wellness programs that emphasize all aspects of employee health, especially physical and mental.

As employees continue to work from home, the distinction between work hours and non-work hours can get murky. How can organizations keep accurate track of work injuries in this context? The ability to report, document and triage an incident in real time is the first step in reinforcing a safety-first culture, regardless of where an injury takes place. If the employer is to be their advocate, not their adversary, in the event of an injury, accident or illness, there must be an agreed-upon and implied level of transparency and trust. This starts with employers clearly addressing the current remote work environment, how employees can achieve better work-life balance during this time and the role they play if an employee were to get injured or sick when working from home.

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Better service should be the goal One executive warns insurers not to go digital without a plan to improve the customer experience

mation into it, doesn’t necessarily improve the experience – yet he says many insurers consider this to be ‘digital transformation.’ He believes the disconnect might lie with the erroneous assumption that insurance technology only benefits back-office processes. “I don’t think insurance companies are intimidated by technology,” Murphy says. “There is certainly a lot of technology in every insurance company. However, I would say the fear enters in the area of change. Most legacy insurance platforms were designed to

“The companies that make [buying insurance] easier and faster will win”

Although every insurance company has a thing or two to say about making the transition to digital platforms, not every insurer has a clear picture of how to accomplish full digitalization. But one concern should be paramount, according to Greg Murphy, executive vice president for North America at insurance software platform Instanda: enhancing the customer experience. “Insurance companies should go through


extensive transformation to be competitive,” Murphy says. “Why? Because the writing is on the wall for companies that choose not to do it. There is not a person alive who enjoys buying insurance. The companies that make this process easier and faster will win, hands down.” Murphy adds that taking an existing insurance form and putting it online, where either the customer or broker has to type infor-

Duck Creek’s shares spike after Nasdaq debut

Shares in Duck Creek Technologies rose 55.5% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on August 14. Duck Creek’s IPO, which priced shares at $27, raised $405 million; during the company’s first day of trading, the share price rose to a high of $42.84. Duck Creek also raised $230 million from new and existing investors ahead of its IPO. “Our platform’s performance, particularly during these recent months, has shown the industry that SaaS can deliver new levels of value,” CEO Michael Jackowski said in June.


serve the back office and were not designed to serve the interest of the end customer and make it easy for them.” Murphy adds that when an insurance company embarks on a customer-focused digital transformation, it will ultimately lead to changes for the back office anyway. He advises insurers to get started by focusing on one part of the digitalization process. “Don’t try to change everything at once,” Murphy says. “Pick a new product, a revised process, a new market or a new offering and get it to market quickly.” He adds that platforms like Instanda, which allows insurers to build, configure and introduce products online without the need for complex coding, “excel because they enable this kind of change.”

ClarionDoor, Vertafore enhance MGA distribution

ClarionDoor has partnered with Vertafore to integrate its AIM platform into ClarionDoor’s MGA Hub. The integration will allow MGAs to enter submissions in AIM and then use the carrier connections in MGA Hub for instant market appetite, comparative rating and quote binding. Vertafore’s AIM centralizes underwriting, accounting and claims operations for MGAs; the company said its partnership with ClarionDoor will expand and enhance AIM’s capabilities for real-time interaction with carrier channels.

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Stuart Ganis Senior vice president of sales and business development INSURANCE TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (ITC)

Years in the industry 31 Fast fact Ganis also runs an insurance agency, which he and his wife, Mary, grew from scratch to $20 million in premium in just four years

Grappling with a remote workforce Now that remote work has become the new standard for most businesses during the pandemic, what are the main challenges insurance agencies must address?

policy and client data is in the system. Over the course of a year, at renewal or otherwise, scan the necessary documents into the client file.

Agencies cannot expect to run their businesses the way they did at the beginning of the year. We’re used to being behind a desk in an office with everyone under the same roof. That is not our reality anymore. You must undergo a cultural shift that moves your business away from attending an office daily to a virtual business. Many agencies are not the best at communicating with their staff. Now, with everyone in different locations, the need for consistent formal and ad hoc communication is more important than ever.

What other tools can agencies adopt to maintain their efficiency and boost their client service while working remotely?

This seems like the perfect time for agencies to go paperless. How should they approach that transition, especially when physical access to their files could be limited? There are agencies that are not paperless yet. If you’re dependent on pulling a file every time you service a client, it’s going to be a difficult, uncomfortable transition. The good news is that it’s not impossible. You need to get out of your comfort zone and get used to doing business completely different than you’re used to because your future depends on it. My recommendation is a multi-step approach. First, find an agency management system that suits your lines of business and your agency’s needs. Then order a bulk download from your carriers so that basic

Chubb aims to simplify digital partner integration

Chubb has launched Chubb Studio, a global platform that promises to streamline the distribution of insurance products through partners’ digital channels. Chubb Studio allows Chubb’s partners in the retail, e-commerce, banking, fintech, airline, telecommunications and other industries to add digital insurance options to their own product and service offerings. Partner companies can get digital access to a wide range of Chubb’s consumer insurance products, along with customer service and claims.


You essentially need to move your agency to the cloud by using web-based tools. Everything you could need to run an agency – comparative rater, management system, email marketing, email hosting, document storage, HR, accounting, etc. – there is a solution out there that is web-based.

There have been reports of hackers exploiting the work-from-home situation by targeting remote employees and their computers, which usually lack industry-level cybersecurity. How can insurance agencies secure their data from theft? Choose the best vendors to store your data. Ask your software vendors for their policy regarding how they will protect your data on their end. Contract with a local IT expert who scans your computers and adds some sort of oversight to employee-issued computers. I would not allow employees to use their own devices. They should be using updated company equipment that is safe, secure and accessible to you. Nobody should expect 100% privacy on a work computer.

Most insurers haven’t reached ‘digital maturity’

Fewer than 30% of insurance carriers have managed to digitize the value chain, according to ACORD’s Insurance Digital Maturity Study, which examined the digital practices of the world’s top 130 carriers. ACORD also found that while those embracing digitization are significantly outperforming the industry, 13% of insurers are still not leveraging digital technologies in their current business processes. More than half of the insurers the organization studied are still exploring how digitization can be applied to their business model.

Dovetail launches platform for small commercial market

Digital MGA Dovetail has launched Dovetail for Agents, a quote, bind and issue platform for independent agents in the US. The platform features an intuitive user interface, real-time quotes, and end-to-end quote, bind and policy issuance. Once the platform is fully populated with carriers, agents will be able to access business owner’s, workers’ compensation, general liability, professional liability, commercial auto and umbrella policies for small commercial insurance clients.

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COMMITTED TO CHANGE Diversity and inclusion has flourished at The Hartford – and Susan Johnson has been the one leading the charge

SUSAN JOHNSON’S name is widely recognized in insurance thanks to her work in promoting diversity and inclusion from her post as the chief D&I officer at The Hartford, which has been recognized as one of the most inclusive companies in insurance. But before Johnson helped The Hartford become an industry leader in D&I, she cut her teeth developing and leading pioneering HR programs in both the public sector and at Fortune 500 companies. After graduating from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Johnson began what she calls a typical career path for HR professionals. One of her earliest positions was as manager of leadership development at e-commerce company Pitney Bowes, where she returned later in her career after a stint as chief of staff for the deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “What really defined my career was that at each company, I was engaged in diversity and inclusion work early on,” Johnson says. While at Pitney Bowes, for example, she and her team developed precursors to employee resource groups focused on minorities and women, and Johnson had a chance to chair the minority group. At that point in the late 1990s and early 2000s, D&I was still in its infancy, and companies were realizing that, based on demographic projections, a


significant number of new applicants would be women and people of color, Johnson explains. In turn, many firms, including Pitney Bowes, were trying to figure out what this meant for their organizations, giving Johnson a seat at the table in developing D&I-focused HR programs, which would set the tone for the rest of her career.

decided to rethink its D&I strategy, the role offered Johnson the chance to have a say in what D&I would look like at the company for years to come. For the past seven years, she’s done just that, helping The Hartford develop and implement an effective D&I strategy that has seen three iterations. The first phase focused on building a foun-

“Nobody can deny the significance of the racial reckoning that we’ve experienced over the past three months. The work we’ve been doing at The Hartford has enabled us to have a solid foundation to hear, address and appreciate the heightened level of this conversation” Making waves in insurance By 2013, Johnson was ready to bring the lessons she’d learned about D&I to another sector. She was drawn to a role at The Hartford, where she would have the opportunity to lead diversity and inclusion alongside a supportive leadership team. “It was a highly ethical company with a strong character and a good reputation,” she says. Because The Hartford had recently

dation for success by establishing a common language to discuss D&I, as well as understanding what diversity and inclusion means and the behaviors required to achieve it. The second cycle of the D&I strategy took these foundational skills to the next level. “It was a much more complex world, both internally and externally, and we needed to enable our organization to be able to talk about stressors and differences in the work-

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PROFILE Name: Susan Johnson Title: Chief diversity and inclusion officer Company: The Hartford Based in: Hartford, Connecticut Outside the office: Johnson chairs the board of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and is the board secretary for the National African American Insurance Association

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place,” Johnson says. During this cycle, The Hartford launched its Courageous Conversations initiative and has since held hundreds of conversations with thousands of employees on tough topics such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation and ageism. In the third iteration of the D&I strategy, Johnson and her team honed in on accountability and inclusiveness, which has been empowered by the harder, more aggressive work that still needs to be done to address racial equality. Johnson’s team has also examined talent initiatives to increase workforce representation for women and people of color, as well as to better understand other commu-

level of this conversation. We weren’t starting from scratch following George Floyd’s murder and the heightened calls for racial equality. We had strong initiatives, culture and skill sets in place for our employees and leaders to talk about what was happening, how it hit them, what personal learnings they had and what sort of behavioral commitments they could make.” As Johnson looks at the broader insurance industry, she is encouraged by the progress made on D&I since she joined The Hartford. At the outset, she was surprised by the lack of formal diversity and inclusion initiatives in insurance, but today, she sees many indicators that the industry is working

“We’re all going to be pitching in very aggressively to make sure we translate all of this action and initiative into results that culminate in greater representation of people of color within the insurance industry” nities (including people with disabilities, women of color and the transgender community) to ensure that The Hartford is known as a company that welcomes everyone.

A critical moment in time The next phase of The Hartford’s D&I strategy comes at a critical point in history, when the modern civil rights movement has been reignited by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, which set off a wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and around the world. “Nobody can deny the significance of the racial reckoning that we’ve experienced over the past three months,” Johnson says. “What’s gratifying for me is that the work we’ve been doing at The Hartford for the past seven years has enabled us to have a solid foundation to hear, address and appreciate the heightened


hard to implement such strategies. From the National African American Insurance Association, where Johnson is secretary of the board, to organizations like Dive In and trade groups that are taking a harder look at diversity, there’s been a significant uptick in D&Irelated work from just five or six years ago. “The exponential growth of activity within the industry is encouraging, and our opportunity right now is to sustain it and see some real results,” Johnson says. “We’re all going to be pitching in very aggressively to make sure we translate all of this action and initiative into results that culminate in greater representation, specifically of people of color within the insurance industry, but also more organizations having a deeper and more strategically thought-out approach and definition of diversity and inclusion that makes sense for their organization.”


1810 Year The Hartford was founded as a fire insurance company

19,500 Approximate number of employees

8 Number of offices in the US

$20.7 billion Total revenue for 2019

$11.5 billion Total P&C written premiums for 2019

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The importance of subrogation For oil and gas companies with large losses, subrogation can be a crucial tool in a hard market, write Jim Noe and Tim Woodard THE OIL PATCH is known for many things, including occasional large insurance losses. Subrogation by insurers is an important tool to mitigate the impact of a paid loss and can benefit insureds by improving their loss history. This can be very important in a hard market, and insureds should – and are obligated by their policy to – facilitate subrogation and ensure that they do not prejudice the insurer’s subrogation rights. The steps needed to support subrogation vary depending on the size and cause of a loss. The first step is to thoroughly investigate the loss, including causation. Obtain information from witnesses and gather and preserve evidence (photos, video, drones, visual inspections, testing) about the site of the incident and its condition immediately following the event. For a large loss or where litigation is anticipated, engage outside counsel early to take statements and assist with the investigation. Hiring counsel early will also prove valuable if claims are brought by workers, neighbors or customers impacted by the event. Identify the cause of the loss with expert assistance as necessary. The cost to investigate a loss, including hiring experts, is usually covered by insurance policies or can be agreed on by insurers following a loss. Collect documentation that will impact subrogation, including contracts with parties involved with the site or the work involved. Also collect information concerning the full financial impact of the event. This includes costs incurred by the insured to investigate the loss and effect the recovery. It also includes third-party costs to clean up, repair, rebuild or

replace the insured item (‘betterment’ may be an issue and should be considered early on when making replacement decisions) and information on the impact of the event on the operations of the insured, including increased costs and lost revenue. For the latter, the cost of hiring a forensic accountant is usually covered as part of a property insurance claim and often proves invaluable. With rare exceptions, oilfield contracts contain ‘knock-for-knock’ risk allocations and

state ‘anti-indemnity’ laws, as well as prohibitions against protecting a party from the consequences of its own gross negligence or willful misconduct. Insureds must not waive or settle rights against third parties without the agreement of their insurer, or they could prejudice insurance recovery. There may be instances where there is not full alignment of interests between the insured and insurer – for example, if the party at fault is a large customer of the insured. These need to be identified and addressed; insurers may agree to forgo subrogation efforts that are harmful to the insured’s business. Insurers typically use subrogation firms that are engaged with very healthy contingency fees. If liability against a third party is clear and they have insurance, an insured may want to consider pursuing a claim itself to avoid the cost of subrogation counsel appearing on its loss record. The subrogation action should seek recovery of the insured’s uninsured losses (e.g. deductibles), and state law will dictate who gets paid first where there is not a full recovery. It might be wise to reach agreement with the insurer on allocation of recoveries once the

“Insureds need to pursue their insurance claim following a loss but should do so in consideration of possible subrogation efforts by insurers” associated indemnities that are intended to prevent one party from seeking recovery of its own losses from the other. These contracts also require that parties owed indemnity be ‘named and waived’ on insurance policies to preclude subrogation by insurers that is contrary to the risk allocations in the agreement. As a result, contracts relating to a loss need to be reviewed by counsel before subrogation is pursued. This review should include an assessment as to whether the indemnities meet legal requirements (e.g. the ‘express negligence’ rule) and were carefully written to protect all potentially liable parties (e.g. subcontractors). The indemnity and insurance undertakings may also be against applicable law, including

claim is close to complete and before negotiations with or trial against the culpable parties. Insureds need to pursue an insurance claim following a loss, but they should do so in consideration of possible subrogation efforts by insurers. Ideally, this will include collaboration on how to optimize recovery based on a well-documented subrogation claim. Jim Noe is a partner at Jones Walker who represents energy industry clients in transactions, disputes and government relations matters. Tim Woodard is head of office for Louisiana at Lockton Companies, where he specializes in the marine and energy industries.

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2020 These 85 young professionals are creating a brighter future for the US insurance industry AN INDUSTRY is only as strong as its youngest participants. As more and more insurance professionals reach retirement age, this truth takes on even more weight. Fortunately, the industry is bursting with talented young professionals who are contributing fresh perspectives, leadership, energy and visions of change to their organizations and the industry as a whole. This year’s Rising Stars list highlights 85 such individuals, nominated by their peers and selected by a panel of four independent industry advisors: Sarah Lin, president of casualty for San Francisco at RT Specialty; Rekha Skantharaja, president and CEO of Tangram Insurance Services; Megan Hodge, founder of Cultiver; and Omari


Jahi Aarons, director of employee enablement at Liberty Mutual Insurance. (Advisors were not able to vote for themselves.) All 35 years old or younger and all making noteworthy contributions to their respective niches of the insurance world, this year’s Rising Stars aren’t settling for playing by the stale rules established by their mostly white, mostly male, mostly older predecessors. Rather, they are harnessing their collective power to reach out to fellow young people, champion the industry’s opportunities and ensure that action is being taken to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In the process, they’re building an open and welcoming industry for themselves and anyone else who would like to join.

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RISING STARS INDEX NAME Omari Jahi Aarons Fela Abioye Owie Lei Agbontaen Cameron Alford Ryan Apgar Lauren Atkinson Marcella Reynolds Beasley Diane Bidek Elizabeth Bounds Beau Cantrell Michelle Chia Kudakwashe (Kuda) Chibanda Christian Colangelo Vanessa Contreras Amy S. Cooper Leon Davis Stephanie Dunstan Frannie Epps Haley Epstine Christiana Flaherty Noemi Garcia Collin Gillaspie Kira Godfred Sarah Griffith Jaclyn Guerrero Olivia Guthrow Jessica Hanneman Charlotte Harvey Molly Hentges Liz Jaipargas Alyssa Johnson Doug Johnson Ashley Kaiser Jennifer Kastenholz Ainsley Keating Max Kenion Max King Kenneth Knoll Josh Kraft Kevin Kumar Brittany Lannan Antonio Lopez Daisy Lopez



Liberty Mutual Insurance The Hartford Sompo Global Risk Solutions Evonik Corporation Socius Insurance Services Synapse Services Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. Beecher Carlson Insurance Services Brown & Riding Brown & Riding Zurich North America

50 39 24 30 43 54 22 44 32 40 38

The Hartford


Hull & Company SCOR Reinsurance Company Gallagher Bassett The Hartford Arch Insurance Marsh RT Specialty Chubb Nationwide Insurance CRC AIG Beecher Carlson Insurance Services Metabiota Continental Underwriters Marsh & McLennan Agency Watson Insurance Agency Gallagher Bassett Aon Munich Re US Munich Re US AmWINS Access Gallagher Bassett Marsh Synapse Services Hays Companies Claim Central North America Victor US Crawford & Company Everest Insurance Insurance Warehouse of FL Crum & Forster Insurance Company

46 35 54 36 37 36 42 24 38 31 52 40 52 22 31 34 37 50 55 42 32 47 34 50 42 51 31 34 39 32 54




Judy Lyon Annice Ma

AmWINS Group Marsh

26 40

Beckley Maggio Paige Maisonet Umair Mala Niko Matic LaKeisha McGhee Caroline McKeon Lauren Melzer Dan Mittelmark Tiara Morris Courtney Murphree

Aon ABD Insurance and Financial Services Aon Risk Insurance Services West Risk Placement Services Chubb Liberty Mutual Insurance Gallagher Socius Insurance Services Chubb Brown & Riding

43 35 26 41 49 46 29 52 53 43

Carl Nagle Joey Nawa Anella Niewenhous Kyle Pass Jaimee Patane Jon Perry Man Phung Dieuly Pierre Eric Quinn Aaron Reissner Alexander Salazar Francisco SaldaĂąa Rocco F. Schiaffino Chris Senkbile Matt Shanks Joe Slater Melissa Smyt

33 55 48 45 47 27 28 38 41 36 46 55 22 48 28 29 30

Charlie Sturm Jake Timmins Colin Tinley Mike Tracy Chelsie Tysdal Briana Vu Victoria Vu Ashley Walker Eric Weber Ben Wells

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty RT Specialty Burns & Wilcox Risk Placement Services Tangram Insurance Services Beazley Brightway Insurance WKFC Underwriting Managers RT Specialty Technical Risk Underwriters Crawford & Company USI Insurance Services Philadelphia Insurance Companies UNICO Group AmWINS Brokerage of Georgia IFG Companies OLI Insurance Services Specialty Program Group/ Monarch E&S Insurance Services, a division of Specialty Program Group Socius Insurance Services RT Specialty ICAT RT Specialty Burns & Wilcox USLI Travelers Aon The Flood Insurance Agency Hub Northwest

Jasmin Zamora Laura Zoltan

Combined Insurance, a Chubb Company Arch Insurance

51 27

Yiana Stavrakis

24 29 47 30 48 39 44 51 28 44 33



RISING STARS ROCCO F. SCHIAFFINO Regional sales manager Philadelphia Insurance Companies Age: 31

Shortly after graduating from Lafayette College in 2012, Rocco Schiaffino landed a position as a marketing trainee at Philadelphia Insurance Companies. At the time, he was still unsure of the career path he wanted to pursue, but he threw himself into cold calling, soliciting new business and providing overall support to the regional marketing team in the company’s Lawrenceville office. A year later, Schiaffino transferred to New York and has served the New York City metro area ever since, first as a marketing representative and currently as a regional sales manager. In 2019, he was named an Emerging Leader by the Insurance Brokers Association of New York. He has also been one of his company’s top producers for four consecutive years. “Looking forward, I would like to see the industry gain popularity with younger people,” Schiaffino says. “Companies in the industry have been looking to find and grow young talent, but I think more could be done. With all the different career paths available, there are opportunities for everyone.”

OLIVIA GUTHROW Underwriting analyst team lead, structured risks Continental Underwriters Age: 24

MARCELLA REYNOLDS BEASLEY Account manager Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. Age: 34

Marcella Reynolds Beasley’s insurance journey began in the mailroom seven years ago. Since then, she has earned multiple designations and has become an account manager with Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., where she strives to provide superior service to her book of large contractor business. In less than a decade, Beasley has made significant accomplishments in her career. She recently received the Young New Professional and Risk Management Professional of the Year awards from International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP). She also serves as secretary and membership chair of her local board for IAIP, as well as California Council membership chairelect, Region VII education liaison and chair of the International Marketing and Publications Task Force. Moving forward, Beasley’s career goals include becoming more involved in local and regional council memberships and reaching the next account manager level at Alliant Insurance Services, Inc..


Olivia Guthrow was introduced to insurance when she was still in college. By taking advantage of the opportunities presented to her to get involved in the industry early on, Guthrow’s initial doubts about pursuing a risk management and insurance major quickly dissolved. In her senior year, she served as the president of Virginia Commonwealth University’s chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, which gave her a platform to educate other students about career opportunities in insurance. Now, as an underwriting analyst team lead at Continental Underwriters, Guthrow works to ensure that her team runs smoothly and efficiently. She also strives to ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront on the industry’s radar. “I believe the role of women and people of color will continue to grow in importance as companies seek to maintain relevance and to meet the evolving needs of their insureds,” she says. “Diversity and inclusion must not only be a focus of individual companies, but become embedded in the culture of our industry.”


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RISING STARS OWIE LEI AGBONTAEN Senior underwriter, business development lead – Midwest Sompo Global Risk Solutions Age: 26

CHRISTIANA FLAHERTY Underwriter, specialty casualty Chubb Age: 27

Christiana Flaherty joined Chubb as a professional associate in 2017 and, a year later, was promoted to underwriter in the specialty casualty and construction division. During that time, she has strived to exceed expectations for customer service, renewal retention and the acquisition of new business. Last year, Flaherty surpassed her new business goal by nearly 60% and was selected to be part of Chubb’s Circle of Excellence. Flaherty is also a branch connector for the Pacific IMPACT group, which supports the development and advancement of women within Chubb and the wider insurance industry. She also recently accepted the role of manufacturing resident advisor, charged with reviewing complex, hard-to-place manufacturing and distribution accounts. In addition, Flaherty serves as a leader in the Chubb IMPACT business roundtable; supports the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, the Chubb Charity Challenge and LiNC, which promotes the inclusion of Latinx individuals in the insurance industry; and participates in MOSAIC, Chubb’s multinational roundtable, and Pride, Chubb’s LGBTQ+ roundtable.


Owie Lei Agbontaen began his career in 2016 and quickly made a name for himself in the New York and Boston insurance markets. Now based in Chicago, Agbontaen serves as a senior underwriter and business development lead for the Midwest at Sompo Global Risk Solutions, where he’s responsible for growing Sompo’s middle-market business in the region from the ground up. Agbontaen was a founding member of NAAIA’s Boston chapter, as well as a founding member of the Board of Young Professionals for the Steppingstone Foundation, an organization that helps students from historically marginalized communities access, navigate and graduate from college. “As the industry starts to get older and the world starts to evolve, I would like to see a greater wave of the younger generation joining the industry and creating insurance solutions that are truly new and innovative,” Agbontaen says. “An industry that evolves with the world should also contain new ways of thinking from generations that are fully immersed in these new challenges.”

YIANA STAVRAKIS Chief sales officer/president Specialty Program Group/Monarch E&S Insurance Services, a division of Specialty Program Group Age: 34

As chief sales officer at Specialty Program Group (SPG), Yiana Stavrakis provides strategic sales and marketing guidance and support to acquired business partners. Since starting her insurance career at Metro Insurance Services, Stavrakis has climbed the ranks of the industry, mastering underwriting processes and holding roles focused on sales, growth and specialty practice at several companies. Recently, she was named president of Monarch E&S Insurance Services, a division of SPG, where she’s responsible for establishing the national small business platform. Stavrakis has been featured on IBA’s Hot 100 list and received the Steven R. Gross Under 40 Award from the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA). She’s also been involved in numerous industry organizations, including serving on the board of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York and as past president and co-founder of the WSIA’s Next Generation group. Stavrakis is also involved in various women-focused initiatives, recently launching SPG’s Women’s Network and serving as an advisory member for the Women in Insurance Global Network.

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RISING STARS JUDY LYON Senior vice president, finance AmWINS Group Age: 33

As senior vice president of finance at AmWINS Group, Judy Lyon is responsible for several functions for AmWINS Access, a nationwide binding platform for small property & casualty business. Most recently, she implemented a regional underwriting leader strategy, created a KPI dashboard and developed a full suite of coordinating reports to regularly analyze performance for the division. Lyon is also integral to AmWINS’ training programs and regularly supports AmWINS Access branch leaders and regional underwriting leaders through data-driven decision-making. She began her career as an auditor before moving into a transaction advisory position, where she helped private equity clients with post-acquisition integration of their portfolio companies. Beyond her daily responsibilities, Lyon provides mentorship to her team by helping them create individualized career paths for future growth. She also participates in AmWINS’ Diversity and Inclusion Council, trains new production underwriters on how to analyze their team’s profitability and their overall compensation, and is a member of the North Carolina Association of CPAs.

UMAIR MALA Senior account specialist Aon Risk Insurance Services West Age: 31

KUDAKWASHE (KUDA) CHIBANDA Director of data science The Hartford Age: 34

Kuda Chibanda has dedicated her career to helping companies make data-driven decisions. Over the years, she has worked in consulting roles in commercial and personal lines as an actuary and data scientist. She currently leads a team at The Hartford that brings analytical rigor to low-frequency, high-severity lines of business. Prior to taking on her current role, Chibanda worked as a manager in the advanced analytics actuarial practice at PwC. Looking ahead to the next year and beyond, Chibanda hopes the industry can become more responsible in eliminating insurance data bias. “We have traditionally relied heavily on demographic information to underwrite, price and reserve risks,” she says, “but the advent of Big Data now allows us to substitute that with behavioral data, which is more causal and less likely to be susceptible to bias.” Outside of The Hartford, Chibanda is a board member at the Casualty Actuarial Society and serves on its Joint Committee on Inclusion, Equity and Diversity.


Umair Mala’s goal for his insurance career was to become a senior account specialist; after almost a decade in the industry, he achieved it last year. His new goal: to build on his communication and leadership skills to become an account executive. In addition to building what he calls his “dream team,” Mala strives to grow his book of business by providing extraordinary service, educating his clients and identifying revenue growth opportunities. He is responsible for creating proposals and coverage presentations; processing endorsements, audits, and billings; and assisting in expediting certificates of insurance – all in addition to retaining 100% of his clients year-over-year. Throughout his career, Mala has discovered a love for mentoring and leading. To ensure new associates have the tools they need to succeed, he implemented a mentorship program and introduced problem-solving techniques for his team, aiming to provide clear solutions to secure better outcomes overall.

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LAURA ZOLTAN Vice president, executive assurance, and financial institutions and private equity industry practice lead Arch Insurance Age: 35

Laura Zoltan has more than 13 years of underwriting experience and is currently the leader of Arch Insurance’s financial institutions/ private equity industry (FI/PE) practice, responsible for growing its industry presence across management, professional and property & casualty lines. Zoltan launched this industry practice from the ground up, expanding Arch’s product offerings and capabilities to better serve the needs of FI/PE clients in a comprehensive, customized and convenient way. In addition, Zoltan is a vice president in Arch’s executive assurance division, where she manages a team of six reports and oversees a financial services book of business worth approximately $25 million across some 400 policies. “Looking ahead, I am hoping to see more race, gender and sexual diversity within the industry’s senior management ranks,” she says. “This process starts with a pledge to recruit and hire a more diverse workforce and continues with a promise to foster an environment where BIPOC, womxn and LGBTQ+ can thrive throughout their career with access to sponsors and allies.”

JON PERRY Underwriter, executive risk Beazley Age: 33

As an underwriter for the US executive risk team at Beazley, Jon Perry is responsible for growing a profitable book of business. Perry entered the insurance industry in Travelers’ underwriting professional development program after graduating from college, then worked on the D&O team at Allied World before taking on his current role. In addition to his work as an underwriter, Perry is passionate about recruiting and developing young talent in the industry. He is a member of Gamma Iota Sigma’s board of trustees and volunteers as a mentor to students, helping to foster their interest in insurance and providing them with shadowing and networking opportunities to kickstart their careers in the industry. Perry was named the Katie School of Insurance Young Leader in 2018 and was also a Gamma Iota Sigma Alumnus of the Year.

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Executive vice president, professional lines

Multi-unit agency owner


AmWINS Brokerage of Georgia

Brightway Insurance


Age: 33

Age: 34

Age: 29

As the leader of the Atlanta financial lines practice at AmWINS Brokerage of Georgia, Matt Shanks manages market strategy, corporate initiatives and team synergies across the office, leading a team of six that specializes in management, professional and cyber liability. Shanks is dedicated to supporting and giving back to new brokers. “Helping others to develop and become industry leaders can be incredibly rewarding,” he says. An active member of Young Risk Professionals, he helps to prepare the next generation of leadership and connects with fellow industry professionals through social and educational settings. “I have always enjoyed how insurance evolves – new products and solutions are always available, and I am always learning,” Shanks says. “During this COVID marketplace, I’ve learned that focusing on how to deliver tough renewals in a strange economic environment is how we stand out from our competition.”

Man Phung owns two Brightway Insurance agencies, both of which he built from scratch using his decade-plus of sales experience. Phung opened his first location in Fishers, Indiana, in July 2017, becoming the first Brightway franchisee in Indiana. A little over a year later, he opened another agency in Round Rock, Texas. In 2018, Phung received three awards from Brightway for his achievements: New Agency Owner of the Year, Mover and Shaker, and Midwest Sales Leader. A member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana, Phung believes industry professionals need to constantly educate themselves. “You can’t stop learning about the complexity of insurance; consumers rely on our expertise to help them navigate their personal or commercial insurance needs,” he says. “I’d also like to see more agents take time to educate consumers. It’s important to understand we’re not selling a commodity, but rather a transfer of risk designed to protect consumers from financial loss.”

As a senior broker in Aon’s environmental services group, Ashley Walker works with clients to analyze their environmental risk, structures suitable insurance programs and negotiates with underwriters to obtain the necessary terms and conditions. With more than six years of insurance and risk management experience, Walker has worked with clients in the middle, national and global markets. Prior to joining Aon, Walker spent two years as a senior environmental underwriter at Allied World, where she managed a significant book of business and earned an Award of Excellence. Before that, she was an environmental underwriter at AIG and an environmental health and safety consultant for clients in the oil and gas industry. Walker is active in insurance networking and charity events, including events that engage women and new members of the industry. She also participates in events for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and Covenant House.

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LAUREN MELZER Senior manager, national market relations and branch programs Gallagher Age: 34

Early in her career, Lauren Melzer worked as a commercial accounts underwriter for two major insurance companies. As the director of technology insurance for The Hanover’s Midwest region, Melzer led the P&L for a six-state territory. She also co-founded the company’s Women’s Networking Group and was awarded the Community Hero Award for her work with the Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties. Melzer joined Gallagher’s national market relations team in 2017 and currently oversees several of the company’s top carrier partnerships, providing oversight on strategic initiatives and driving profitable growth. Earlier this year, she was promoted to manage Gallagher’s US branch programs. “As we continue to adapt to our new environment, I hope to see inclusion and diversity continue to be a top priority for insurance companies,” Melzer says. “We need to attract more women and people of color to the insurance industry, and it starts by creating a culture of change and making diversity and inclusion a priority.”

CHARLIE STURM Producer, assistant vice president Socius Insurance Services Age: 31

Charlie Sturm began his career in 2008 as an intern at USLI, where he was hired full-time after he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. In January 2012, he joined Apogee Insurance Group as a healthcare product leader, focusing on the medical malpractice, health and human services, and allied healthcare lines. He moved on to oversee the middle market and program divisions before joining Socius Insurance Services in 2018 to open the company’s first Northeast office in Philadelphia. Sturm currently spearheads the professional, management and cyber liability efforts at Socius and serves as healthcare co-director of the professional liability practice. In his short time with Socius, Sturm has become the company’s go-to healthcare expert. “Having extensive background in this area, I assist producers on complex healthcare risks nationally, as well as keeping Socius and our customers up-to-date on the ever-changing healthcare marketplace, which has become vital amidst the pandemic,” he says.

JOE SLATER Assistant vice president, construction practice leader – primary casualty IFG Companies Age: 33

Joe Slater started his career in 2009 as a casualty underwriter at CoverX Specialty in Boston. Three years later, he relocated to New York City to join Scottsdale Insurance Company before moving on to IFG Companies, where he’s spent nearly six years writing primary and excess casualty business. When Slater started at IFG, the company didn’t have an excess casualty department. “It was incredibly rewarding to contribute to the growth and development of a department that has turned into a tremendous success,” he says. “Writing both lines gives me a unique perspective on the business that I find is very valuable.” Slater was promoted to the newly created role of construction practice leader for the primary casualty department in September 2019, charged with leading the creation of project-specific construction policies and working closely with the product development, claims, actuarial and underwriting teams. “Learning to use the expertise of individuals in other departments continues to strengthen my aptitude as an underwriter on a daily basis,” he says.

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25/09/2020 3:52:49 am


RISING STARS COLIN TINLEY Vice president, homeowners ICAT Age: 33

CAMERON ALFORD Risk and insurance specialist Evonik Corporation Age: 25

In his three years at Evonik Corporation, Cameron Alford has overseen and improved internal claims management for the marine cargo program, helped enhance the workers’ compensation process, and increased efficiency and compliance with the vendor risk management program. A proponent of continuous improvement, Alford is currently pursuing a master’s degree in risk and insurance. “Thinking ahead to the next 12 months, I expect companies within our industry to hold themselves accountable for standing against racism,” Alford says. “We must challenge management to support and listen to their teams and their members. We must also confront our external relationships and how those organizations may contribute to the systemic and systematic nature of racism.” To help drive that change, Alford is a member of RIMS’ Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, serves as alumni chair and co-founder of GammaSAID, and is a member of the National African American Insurance Association.


Since joining ICAT in 2015, Colin Tinley has been promoted three times, culminating in his current role as vice president of the homeowners business unit. During his first few years at ICAT, Tinley led the buildout of the company’s full homeowner’s policy, including rates, forms and underwriting guidelines for catastrophe-exposed policyholders in 18 states on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast. Tinley has also served as the state manager for all territories, carrying responsibilities for the product’s overall profit and loss. He is closely involved in the development of new products, including ICAT’s first builder’s risk product, a short-term rental product, a residential wind-only product and products targeting high-net-worth individuals. “Like a lot of people in the insurance industry, I got in by accident, but now I’m never leaving,” Tinley says. “I’ve always been highly interested in the capital markets, technology and data/analytics, and I feel very fortunate that the industry strongly supports these passions with opportunities to fuse multiple disciplines across product development and management.”

MELISSA SMYT Vice president OLI Insurance Services Age: 34

After graduating with degrees in biology and art history, Melissa Smyt quickly found a niche in sales and marketing. This skill set eventually paved the way for her to join Heffernan Insurance Brokers as a junior producer. Today, Smyt is vice president of OLI Insurance Services, a boutique insurance aggregator designed to boost local agencies with market access, back-office support, resources and perpetuation solutions. Under Smyt’s leadership, the business has experienced exponential growth and continues to expand its national footprint. Looking ahead, Smyt hopes to see more agencies working to develop comprehensive gender equity and diversity initiatives to help women and people of color forge career paths in insurance. “The insurance industry provides endless opportunities for professional and personal growth,” she says, “but it is critical that gender equity and inclusivity are built into the fabric of that advancement.”

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25/09/2020 3:52:53 am

JESSICA HANNEMAN Vice president, director of business relations Marsh & McLennan Agency Age: 30

In 2013, Jessica Hanneman, a former Miss Alaska USA, traded in her heels and crown for a career in sales. After her first year, Hanneman was inducted into the National Quarter Million Dollar Club. She began working for Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) in 2015 as an entry-level sales professional and, two years later, was promoted to vice president and business relationship manager. At the age of 28, Hanneman became the youngest member of her office’s executive committee and was promoted last year to director of business relations and sales leader for the MMA Alaska office. In addition to her full-time job, Hanneman has served as chair and co-chair of MMA’s GROW (Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women) Committee. “There is a lack of women in leadership in the insurance industry,” she says, “and I’ve been shaping the future by mentoring, serving and encouraging other women.”

JOSH KRAFT Senior vice president and actuary Victor US Age: 31

Josh Kraft joined Victor US in 2014 and was promoted earlier this year to senior vice president and actuary. He plays a key role in the immediate and long-term analysis and oversight of all business lines and is responsible for monitoring rate adequacy levels, collaborating with senior leaders on how to profitably add new business lines, and determining appropriate structural changes to best support risks. “I believe that innovation and predictive analytics are key for the industry’s success,” Kraft says. “As more data and better tools become available, industry leaders should take advantage of these changes to reconsider risk appetites. We are in the risk-taking business, and these changes should help broaden coverage. A lot has changed in the last 12 months, and those who can adapt quickly, innovate and keep an open mind to try different approaches and learn new skill sets will be successful in the long run.”

COLLIN GILLASPIE Transportation team leader CRC Age: 31

Collin Gillaspie joined the CRC team in 2014 and currently serves as the transportation team leader for the Dallas office. He began his insurance career in 2011 as a claims counselor with The Horace Mann Companies. Known for leading by example, Gillaspie strives to provide superior customer service and stay current with industry trends and market changes. “I truly enjoy collaborating with agents and team members to offer the best possible coverage solutions for every insured,” he says. “I never stop working to be a better broker and look forward to helping pave the way for those who will come behind me.” Looking ahead, Gillaspie says he’d like to see significant improvement in claims litigation and settlement. “I am a firm believer in claims being paid at exactly the amount owed – no more and no less,” he says. “The overly litigious situation we have found ourselves in today has carriers paying overinflated claims settlements that ultimately hurt the policyholders.”

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25/09/2020 3:52:58 am


RISING STARS ANTONIO LOPEZ President Insurance Warehouse of FL Age: 34

Antonio Lopez began his insurance career shortly after graduating from high school in 2003. “I didn’t know then that it would become my full-time career, but I quickly noticed that I enjoyed helping others, learning new things and sales,” he says. While working at an independent insurance agency, Lopez also started college, attending night and weekend classes. He completed his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2008 and also obtained his general agent’s license. In 2017, he started his own independent agency, Insurance Warehouse of FL, and today he strives to bring young Hispanic individuals into the insurance industry. “My contribution to the industry and a goal of mine is to bring more diversity into the industry and give employment opportunities to those who wouldn’t necessarily have it otherwise,” Lopez says. “Getting into the insurance industry is not easy for everyone, and I look to make it more attainable for the Hispanic community.”

ELIZABETH BOUNDS Vice president, senior corporate counsel Brown & Riding Age: 32

Liz Bounds oversees Brown & Riding’s legal, risk management and claims departments. As the company’s chief legal resource, she reviews and negotiates corporate contracts and manages the firm’s litigation, internal legal resources and relationships with outside counsel. Additionally, Bounds works with B&R’s senior management to develop overall risk management strategies and is directly accountable to the board of directors for implementing risk control measures and facilitating and overseeing corporate liability insurance placements. Bounds joined B&R as staff counsel in 2014, was promoted to assistant vice president and corporate counsel in 2016, and assumed her current role of vice president and senior corporate counsel earlier this year. She is a member of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers and the Association of Corporate Counsel. “I learn so much from my peers and colleagues on a daily basis,” Bounds says. “Embracing and harnessing the unique knowledge, talents and perspectives of those around me has not only led to immense personal growth, but consistently allows me to deliver better results.”


ASHLEY KAISER Vice president of strategic initiatives AmWINS Access Age: 29

At AmWINS Access, a nationwide binding platform for small property & casualty business, Ashley Kaiser leads digital strategy and is responsible for the development of key underwriting tools. Her dexterity with data played a key role in her recent creation of loss review dashboards to identify personal lines loss trends and improve risk selection, which were used to advise underwriters and inform product strategy for contract renewals. Kaiser has also developed a dynamic and sensitized ‘what if’ analysis to optimize an entire portfolio program. Beyond her daily responsibilities, Kaiser mentors new analysts and developed a program to provide professional development goals for younger team members. “I am passionate about inspiring young professionals to pursue and grow careers in insurance,” she says. “By developing and leading a new AmWINS analyst program, I hope to provide young leaders with a foundation for professional development and exposure to differentiated insurance verticals, and encourage intellectual curiosity that drives the industry forward.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:02 am

CARL NAGLE Loss control engineer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Age: 30

Carl Nagle’s insurance career began in 2013 when he joined the associate program at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) right after college. There, he learned the ropes of insurance and was exposed to large corporate clients, providing him the opportunity to get involved in strategy meetings and draft reports on programspecific loss control developments. In the years since, Nagle has transitioned from fieldwork to proactive consultancy. His four-year, hands-on experience of documenting and evaluating risks at different transit hubs has established him as a key cargo loss control contact at AGCS. Additionally, his expertise on global exposures, new technologies and overseeing high-risk operations is constantly sought out by the company’s diverse group of clients. With a background in engineering, Nagle is looking forward to incorporating more technology into the insurance industry. “There is a wide range of applications and devices that could have an immediate benefit if applied in the right way,” he says.

BEN WELLS Surety and commercial insurance advisor Hub Northwest Age: 33

Ben Wells joined Hub Northwest in 2017 as a surety and commercial insurance advisor and has spent the last three years building a book of business by leveraging his technical ability and industry relationships. Wells constantly works to deepen his knowledge of the commercial insurance industry to best advise his clients. He also consistently exceeds his new business goals: In 2019, he shot past his goal by more than 180%, and he’s on pace to come in ahead of his 2020 goal as well. By developing his network and his reputation as a knowledgeable resource, Wells has made an impact on surety bonding and commercial insurance in the Northwest. “The pandemic has reinforced the importance of being able to adapt in our industry,” he says. “I’ve continued to have success by leveraging strong relationships on the carrier side to provide competitive terms for my clients and by leveraging different forms of communication in order to get in front of prospects to find the unique solutions needed to win their business.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:07 am


RISING STARS CHARLOTTE HARVEY Benefits producer Watson Insurance Agency Age: 31

AINSLEY KEATING Vice president Marsh Age: 29

Ainsley Keating joined Marsh in late 2015 as an associate placement specialist on the Qualified Solutions Group’s umbrella/ excess team. Today, she is a vice president and team lead for the umbrella/excess group, managing her book of business and leading a team of eight brokers. Within her first year at Marsh, Keating was asked by senior management to lead the casualty relationship with Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) partners. She traveled to each MMA office, fostering relationships and assisting with difficultto-place risks to eliminate the use of thirdparty wholesalers. In three years, she grew the casualty book by 250% and was recognized with the elite John Doyle CEO Award. “In the last six months, we have been forced to adapt and evolve in order to continue to serve our clients effectively,” Keating says. “It is my hope that our industry continues this evolution through the use of improved technology and emerges on the other side as a current and effective industry.”


Charlotte Harvey grew up in an insurance family. After college, she worked for her father’s healthcare benefits company to hone her skills before deciding she could best serve clients by becoming a broker. She joined Watson Insurance Agency in 2018 and quickly became the leading producer of new group benefits clients. Harvey employs innovation to design cost-effective health plans for clients while enhancing member experience. Helping clients and members navigate the complex US healthcare system isn’t easy, but Harvey’s team is building a reputation for doing just that, adding new dimensions to the Watson Insurance brand in the form of plan participant advocacy and payments to medical providers based on a function of the Medicare fee schedule. Harvey has served on the board of the Charlotte chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) for five years. As the chapter’s upcoming president, she looks forward to working through NAHU to bring transparency to medical and prescription drug pricing and metrics for quality healthcare.

KEVIN KUMAR Business and operations analysis manager Crawford & Company Age: 29

Kevin Kumar has been an integral part of Crawford & Company since he joined in 2016. As a member of the global strategy team, Kumar has had a profound impact on the business globally through his projects, which range from strategic planning and industry analysis to financial modeling, market research and more. Prior to joining Crawford & Company, Kumar worked for a number of firms, including a global insurance carrier, an insurance agency, a multinational beverage corporation, a large regional bank and a multinational consulting company. “The world is becoming more complex, and the role insurance plays in our lives is evolving,” he says. “I would like to see the industry develop reimagined business models utilizing state-ofthe-art technology. I also hope the industry is more proactive in attracting young talent, which can be achieved through educating people about the opportunities within the industry and the positive impact insurance brings to society.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:11 am

VANESSA CONTRERAS Senior vice president and US deputy team leader, professional lines SCOR Reinsurance Company Age: 33

At SCOR Reinsurance, Vanessa Contreras assists with the strategy and direction of the casualty treaty portfolio by coordinating efforts among underwriters and managing client relationships. Prior to being promoted to her current role earlier this year, she served as vice president and senior underwriter. Contreras was inspired to get into insurance by her mother. “She helped low-income families understand their healthcare insurance options and utilize resources they otherwise may not have realized were available to them,” she says. “Seeing how her work positively impacted so many families made me want to understand the industry better. It drove me to seek a career that would challenge and fulfill me in the way that her job did for her.” For six years, Contreras served on the Reinsurance Under 40s board. She is currently a member of the Association of Professional Insurance Women and the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) and has successfully completed the LAMP program though PLUS and the ASPIRE Leadership Program through SCOR.

PAIGE MAISONET Senior people operations manager ABD Insurance and Financial Services Age: 33

During her five years at ABD Insurance and Financial Services, Paige Maisonet has led a variety of people operations functions, including recruiting, retention, perks and rewards, wellness, and employee engagement, ultimately helping the company double in size in both employee and revenue growth. As ABD’s senior people operations manager, Maisonet focuses on creating and maintaining the company’s award-winning, employee-led culture by implementing innovative ideas to enhance organizational and leadership development. She founded ABD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and continues to lead belonging and inclusion efforts for both the company and the insurance industry. She also co-founded BLACK at ABD, the company’s Black employee resource group. “In the near future, I am hoping to see greater movement and results of diversity within the industry, especially in leadership roles,” Maisonet says. “I believe that organizations like CIAB will help provide resources for all of us to move the needle in our organizations.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:15 am


RISING STARS AARON REISSNER Senior underwriter Technical Risk Underwriters Age: 33

Aaron Reissner has more than 10 years of insurance experience and currently serves as a senior underwriter at Technical Risk Underwriters (TRU). Reissner joined TRU in 2012, shortly after the MGU was formed, and has been a vital contributor to its development and growth in the market. He specializes in underwriting large wood-frame builder’s risk, including CAT exposures. Prior to TRU, Reissner worked for a surety underwriting company. “Something I have reflected on throughout my career is how to best serve clients and brokers and organize my workload to become more efficient,” Reissner says. “Building strong relationships with brokers and negotiating win-win outcomes for all parties involved is how I have been able to effectively grow. In the next year-plus, I hope to see emerging technology to help provide even better property surveillance and risk mitigation in the builder’s risk space. I would also like to see coverage trends that remove ambiguity of the coverage being provided.”

FRANNIE EPPS Senior vice president Marsh Age: 34

Since she joined Marsh in 2008 as a member of the graduate training program, Frannie Epps has quickly risen through the ranks of the casualty practice. Today, as a senior vice president, she manages a team of 11 colleagues who are responsible for overseeing every aspect of their clients’ total cost of risk. By identifying and prioritizing cost reduction opportunities, they create sustainable casualty programs designed to meet each client’s needs. Additionally, Epps personally manages a book of accounts in the Fortune 500 space, serves as a liaison for new business opportunities across the Midwest and mentors up-and-coming junior colleagues. “Looking to the future, I’m hopeful that our industry will continue to put an emphasis on the importance of diversity and inclusion and we will begin to see the numbers speak for themselves as initiatives are truly put into action,” she says.


LEON DAVIS Assistant director, media and public relations The Hartford Age: 28

Since joining The Hartford in 2014 as a public relations intern, Leon Davis has gained increasing responsibility within the company, including working with local TV stations and news outlets across the country to promote community events and The Hartford’s Junior Fire Marshal fire safety program. Based on his ability to effectively manage the company’s brand through positive media coverage, Davis was promoted to assistant director of media and public relations in 2019. He works on complex, public-facing insurance issues as part of the crisis communications team and leads media relations for The Hartford’s Ability Equipped program. Davis has a long-standing commitment to community service. He currently serves on the communications committee for the NAAIA chapter in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Since 2018, he has been the communications lead for The Hartford’s Black Insurance Professionals Network employee resource group. He’s also this year’s head coach for the NAAIA case competition with students from the University of Connecticut.

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25/09/2020 3:53:18 am

STEPHANIE DUNSTAN Southeast regional vice president – national accounts casualty underwriting Arch Insurance Age: 35

A results-oriented insurance executive with 14 years of experience in driving profitability and creating underwriting solutions, Stephanie Dunstan currently serves as the regional vice president of Arch Insurance’s Southeast region, managing the primary casualty division. She works to recruit and retain top-performing individuals, manage profitability for the portfolio, and build and maintain broker and client relationships. Dunstan began her career in her hometown of Philadelphia but has since obtained nationwide experience, with a strong understanding of the markets in California, New York and Georgia. In addition to her daily responsibilities, Dunstan has joined forces with a colleague to start a D&I committee for her division. As the co-chair, she will be executing internal and external initiatives to increase diversity within Arch and will also serve as a mentor to an inner-city student to give them exposure to the insurance industry.

MOLLY HENTGES Account executive – carrier practice Gallagher Bassett Age: 24

Molly Hentges joined Gallagher Bassett in 2019 as an account executive, responsible for new business development for carriers, captives, programs and alternative market claim outsourcing solutions. She serves as the sales liaison to all parties, including captive program managers, insureds, carriers and other stakeholders, and oversees the financial aspects of P&C programs through the sale and implementation processes. Prior to joining Gallagher Bassett full-time, Hentges spent two summers shadowing producers in the Gallagher internship program. Outside of her daily job duties, Hentges is passionate about mentoring. “I enjoy devoting my time and energy toward educating rising professionals about the nuances of insurance and the skills necessary to be successful within the industry,” she says. “Watching my mentees’ professional growth and development has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career thus far.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:23 am







P&C actuarial research analytics director

Assistant vice president – underwriting

Head of professional liability and cyber

Nationwide Insurance

WKFC Underwriting Managers

Zurich North America

Age: 33

Age: 34

Age: 35

Noemi Garcia has more than 10 years of experience in the P&C insurance industry. As Nationwide’s P&C actuarial research analytics director, she leads a team that explores how to approach catastrophe risk through innovative lenses and how to leverage analytics and automation for catastrophe event response. Garcia’s natural curiosity, passion for innovative strategies and commitment to serving others have made her a successful leader with a record of building teams, creating efficiencies and developing talent. She also serves as board member of the National Latino Alliance, an associate resource group within Nationwide. “Reflecting on the past 12 months, something that has helped me grow in my career was discovering my mission and vision,” Garcia says. “A great leader is self-aware, able to cast vision and inspire the people they are leading. People will follow you if they believe alongside you, and the only way to do that is to know your purpose.”

Dieuly Pierre’s initial entry into the insurance industry was unplanned. A recent graduate with a history degree, he landed a job in a small independent retail brokerage. As he started getting involved in more lines, he was inspired to make insurance his full-time career. “What drew me to want to remain in the industry was the way it permeates through every part of our daily lives, the increased use of technology and the fact that no two days are ever the same,” Pierre says. “As the world evolves, so does the industry. There will always be new opportunities available to explore and learn.” As an assistant vice president of underwriting and head of WKFC Underwriting Managers’ Renewal Express Department, Pierre manages a team of seven and is responsible for $30 million in GWP renewals. He also helps develop new talent within the organization and is currently expanding his analytical and marketing skills to direct his team into developing new business.

Michelle Chia has specialized in professional liability and cyber for more than a decade. At Zurich North America, she manages profit and loss for the technology and miscellaneous professional liability and cyber portfolios. “The future of work interests me, which is why I recently engaged in the launch of Zurich’s Talent Marketplace,” Chia says. “The innovative program matches managers who have talent needs with Zurich employees whose primary disciplines may be experiencing fluctuations in demand. I jumped at the opportunity to rotate in talented colleagues with diverse perspectives who can help my team think critically while expanding their individual skill sets. I’m excited to further explore our agility in how we work.” Chia is also part of the New Leadership Council for the Metro New York chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and, from 2017 to 2020, served as a global ambassador for Zurich’s Women’s Innovation Network.

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25/09/2020 3:53:26 am

BRITTANY LANNAN Senior underwriter of professional liability, Everest Specialty Underwriters Everest Insurance Age: 33

Brittany Lannan joined Everest Insurance in 2019 to help launch the lawyers’ professional liability policy. Her responsibilities include growing the lawyers’ professional liability business, developing and strengthening relationships with brokers, and using her specialized industry knowledge to effectively address clients’ needs. Prior to joining Everest, Lannan spent five years as an underwriter at Sompo International and three years as an accountant at QBE. “Having spent a few years in the back office of an insurance carrier, I was eager to be a part of generating the revenue I saw in those reports,” she says. A self-described “big fan of data,” Lannan began to harness the power of data as an underwriter to analyze her book of business and identify trends to better inform underwriting decisions. Coupled with her interest in building and cultivating relationships, it made for a seamless transition from accounting, she says.

CHELSIE TYSDAL Associate managing director Burns & Wilcox Age: 34

Chelsie Tysdal oversees Burns & Wilcox’s Los Angeles office and manages the commercial insurance department; she also specializes in commercial insurance and has one of the fastest-growing books of business in Los Angeles. With a background as a competitive athlete, Tysdal understands the importance of teamwork and enjoys the industry’s competitive nature. A firm believer in leading by example with integrity and determination, she actively encourages her associates to go above and beyond and ensures they are recognized for their excellent performance. “I want to see more diversity throughout the insurance industry, mainly at the top level,” Tysdal says. “Diversity is key to the future of the industry, as well as attracting top talent. Achieving more diversity also assists in retaining top performers [and] promotes openness and a willingness to see things from a different perspective, thus reducing groupthink.”

FELA ABIOYE Executive team lead The Hartford Age: 35

Fela Abioye has spent the last decade in the insurance industry, the majority of it at The Hartford. He started his career as a workers’ compensation claims representative in Texas before being promoted to a workers’ compensation team leader, overseeing a satellite claims office in Las Vegas and a remote claims team. After six years in claims, he transitioned to commercial middle-market underwriting. In addition to recently being promoted to executive team lead at The Hartford, Abioye currently serves as vice chair and volunteer chair for the Houston associate board of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and is a board member of the Houston chapter of the National African American Insurance Association. He’s also working on securing his CPCU designation. Last year, Abioye completed a program called Acceler8, which focused on social interaction, emotional intelligence, leveraging one’s network and developing an entrepreneur mindset. He says it helped him sharpen his interpersonal skills, enhancing how he communicates and positively impacts those around him.

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25/09/2020 3:53:29 am


RISING STARS BEAU CANTRELL Assistant vice president, transportation broker Brown & Riding Age: 29

Specializing in distressed primary auto and hard-to-place auto risks that don’t fit the standard market, Beau Cantrell consistently presents comprehensive insurance options to his clients by accessing markets with higher risk tolerance and negotiating competitive terms and pricing within the E&S marketplace. Cantrell earned both a managerial finance degree and a risk management and insurance degree from the University of Mississippi. While in school, he participated in three internships: two with retailers and the third with Brown & Riding, where he came on board as a full-time production assistant in 2013. He was promoted to production associate in 2015, associate broker in 2016, assistant vice president in 2018 and became a broker in 2019. A member of the Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation, Cantrell has participated on the foundation’s marketing committee. He has also maintained his Transportation Risk Specialist (TRS) designation since 2017.

SARAH GRIFFITH Southeast executive liability practice leader Beecher Carlson Insurance Services Age: 34

As Beecher Carlson’s Southeast executive liability practice leader, Sarah Griffith works with multinational, publicly traded and privately held companies in the healthcare, technology, real estate, hospitality, retail and manufacturing industries. She provides solutions for D&O liability, employment practices liability, cyber liability, media liability, technology and miscellaneous professional liability, and fiduciary liability, with a strong focus in the cyber, E&O and technology E&O product lines. In addition to day-to-day servicing, marketing and program design, Griffith also assists with insurance-related contract reviews and provides consultative risk management support. She works closely with senior leadership to develop and update Beecher Carlson’s proprietary cyber liability product, CyberSelect, and continues to grow the company’s cyber risk offering by developing loss modeling tools. Griffith is also actively involved with Beecher Carlson’s internal Rising Leaders panel, helping to develop and shape initiatives such as a formal mentoring program and improved onboarding and IT procedures.


ANNICE MA Vice president, cyber practice Marsh Age: 27

Annice Ma began her career in Marsh’s rotational training program in New York, where she assumed integral client-facing responsibilities within the FINPRO and casualty risk practices. Seeking to broaden her portfolio and be on the cutting edge of new cyber risk exposures, Ma joined Marsh’s cyber practice and has since distinguished herself through her product knowledge, client engagement skills and ability to foster strong market relationships. In each iteration of her career, Ma has found success in advising clients with large, complex risks on the optimization of risk transfer solutions. In addition to managing her growing book of business, Ma serves as a cyber healthcare industry leader, collaborating with Marsh’s industry and practice leaders to generate thought leadership and guidance for brokers across the country. “In the past year,” she says, “I’ve learned that flexibility and agility in the face of change – whether related to my clients, the markets, my own organization or the global economy – catalyzes success in navigating any potential challenges thrown my way.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:36 am

NIKO MATIC Broker Risk Placement Services

Better times are ahead

Age: 33

As one of the top transportation brokers at Risk Placement Services (RPS), Niko Matic helps retailers find coverage for large and complex transportation risks that often require creative solutions. In his first year after transitioning from a binding underwriter to a broker, Matic more than tripled his book. In addition to earning his CPCU and ASLI designations and serving as president of the Charlotte chapter of the CPCU Society, Matic mentors interns within RPS. His goal is to become a role model for younger MGA and wholesale underwriters and brokers. “I heavily focus on building strong, everlasting and trusting relationships with our retail and carrier partners,” Matic says. “My word is everything. I learned early in my career that it takes ages to build up one’s reputation but seconds to diminish it. I’ve also learned to be reliable and to be able to deliver positive results. Effective communication, trustworthiness, reliability and being able to deliver are the key components that have helped me grow in my career.”

When the situation improves and takes a turn toward normalcy, we’ll still be here – working to secure your future with highquality products, simple solutions and reliable care.

ERIC QUINN Vice president – PREXA RT Specialty Age: 34

As a NAPSLO (now WSIA) intern in 2007, Eric Quinn was captivated by the dynamics and career opportunities present in the insurance business. He joined the industry upon graduating from college in 2008 and found mentors who have taken a vested interest in his career. “Any success I’ve had is directly attributable to them,” he says. Throughout his career, Quinn has had the opportunity to work on multiple product lines and classes of business. Over the past six years, his main area of focus has migrated toward CAT property. He currently works on a team concentrating on a proprietary MGU with exclusive distribution; together, they’ve built PREXA, an industry-recognized facility. Looking ahead, Quinn says he hopes to see a continued effort in the industry to adopt technology to “create efficiencies in the value chain as well as leverage data – proprietary or thirdparty – to optimize transactional underwriting decisions and portfolio strategies.”



RISING STARS DOUG JOHNSON Senior vice president, property underwriting team lead Munich Re US Age: 33

MAX KING Vice president Hays Companies Age: 34

Since joining Hays Companies eight years ago, Max King has rapidly progressed through the company’s ranks. Today, as vice president and lead consultant for his clients, King is responsible for property & casualty program design, marketing and placement, and he works closely with leadership to develop innovative client and prospect solutions. He also serves as a mentor to young professionals and has helped with Hays’ internship program. Prior to joining Hays, King worked as a claims professional at Travelers, where he was selected to participate in the claims leadership development program. He’s also part of the Heartland chapter board of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation. “Something I’d like to see improve in the industry is getting more young people into insurance,” King says. “There is already a talent gap, and that problem is only going to accelerate over the next five years. Our industry needs a fresh approach, and I am passionate about recruiting and presenting all of the opportunities that are available in the industry.”


As a property underwriting team lead at Munich Re US, Doug Johnson works with underwriters to provide property treaty reinsurance solutions to regional insurers, MGA programs and national writers. He also is responsible for strategy development and execution, as well as team training and development. Over the past 10 years, Johnson has worked with a wide variety of clients, which has taught him the importance of proactive risk mitigation and making good on the promise of paying claims. “I was recently given the advice that a lot more can be accomplished through your team than what you could ever take on individually,” Johnson says. “Previously, as an individual contributor, much of my work had to be completed by me. As a manager, however, I need to get things done through my team. The shift in mindset to embrace delegation was important. My team grew our portfolio over the past year and completed multiple projects led by my team members. It was the power of the team and the collective work effort that moved us forward.”

HALEY EPSTINE Vice president RT Specialty Age: 29

In her position at RT Specialty, Haley Epstine not only brokers some of the most complex accounts, but also serves as an internal cyber specialist. She is responsible for providing coverage reviews, staying up to date on trends, looking for new and innovative solutions for clients, and training and developing junior brokers. Epstine was selected to be part of the 2019 class of Carnegie Mellon’s Chubb Cyber COPE Insurance Certification, which she completed earlier this year. “Brokering during the past several months during the COVID-19 pandemic has required an extra level of empathy,” she says. “We’re helping our clients navigate unprecedented times where insureds may be in a worse financial position, combined with a market that is seeing higher rates. It’s requiring us as brokers to become more creative to deliver the best possible results for our clients.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:45 am

RYAN APGAR Senior vice president Socius Insurance Services Age: 34

As a senior vice president at Socius Insurance Services, Ryan Apgar focuses on management liability, professional liability and cyber risk. He also manages a team of employees who service his book of business and is currently spearheading the creation of a new servicing unit out of the company’s Birmingham office. Prior to becoming a specialty intermediary broker, Apgar worked at a large national retail brokerage, an experience that provided him with vital insights he uses today with his current retail client base. During his tenure at Socius, he has been named Broker of the Year twice (in 2015 and 2019) and was recognized by IBA in 2018 as a Top Specialty Broker for cyber risk. Apgar has developed one of the fastest-growing books at Socius and attributes his success to “an unrelenting dedication to product knowledge and upholding superior servicing standards” for his retail clients. In addition to managing one of Socius’ largest production teams, Apgar serves as co-leader of the professional liability practice and also oversees a mentorship program for emerging brokers within the organization.

BECKLEY MAGGIO Senior broker and team leader Aon Age: 34

Beckley Maggio began her career as an international insurance broker in the Aon Global Client Network (AGCN) through Aon’s Early Career Program and has spent the past 12 years supporting the brokerage of complex international casualty and Defense Base Act risks. Throughout her tenure at Aon, Maggio has fine-tuned her brokering skills and established strong connections with a diverse client base and markets. She currently serves as a senior broker and team leader at AGCN Chicago, leading strategy, negotiation and implementation for her clients while exploring ways to improve their international insurance portfolios. In addition to her work at AGCN, Maggio is active with the Junior League of Chicago, an organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Maggio recently completed a year-long term as the organization’s executive vice president and is currently a board member at large.

COURTNEY MURPHREE Assistant vice president, transportation broker Brown & Riding Age: 32

Courtney Murphree began her insurance career as an underwriting assistant at Brown & Riding in 2012. After two years, she realized she was better suited as a broker and has since served as a production assistant, production associate and associate broker. In 2019, she became a broker and assistant vice president, specializing in primary and excess transportation. Recently, Murphree was selected for the 2020 Midwest Ascending Stars, a program for which just 11 leaders from the contract binding and brokerage community are chosen annually. Dedicated to growing as a specialist, Murphree is actively pursuing her Transportation Risk Specialist (TRS) designation from the Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation. “The trucking community is extremely important, now more than ever,” she says. “They move necessary goods, including the food we eat and the supplies we need, and helping them has a real impact on the economy, as well as families. I find it personally rewarding to be a part of that.”

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25/09/2020 3:53:49 am


RISING STARS DIANE BIDEK Vice president, national casualty practice Beecher Carlson Insurance Services Age: 34

As vice president of Beecher Carlson’s national casualty practice, Diane Bidek works to develop and implement innovative programs that best fit her clients’ needs. Throughout her career, she has worked alongside some of the largest companies in the US, analyzing their insurance programs and implementing solutions focused on efficiency and effectiveness. Since first entering the industry as a production assistant and then account executive at Gallagher, Bidek has worked to hone her professional skills. This includes obtaining her MBA in finance and risk and insurance and earning CPCU and ARM designations. “I think the risk industry is being tested in a lot of ways right now, and I hope getting into this tough market with much uncertainty really pushes for innovation in how we handle and insure risks going forward,” Bidek says. “Lately, I’ve really been interested in learning about how companies set a risk appetite and the different methods you can use to do that.”

ERIC WEBER Executive vice president The Flood Insurance Agency Age: 29

Eric Weber has spent his entire career with The Flood Insurance Agency (TFIA), hitting the seven-year mark in July. During his time at TFIA, he has helped launch and grow the company’s private-market flood program into one of the largest private flood insurance solutions in the US, assisting more than 40,000 unique policyholders since its inception in 2013. Weber credits his career successes to the mentorship he received from TFIA CEO Evan Hecht. “He took a shot on me to help him bring his vision to reality, and I owe him a great deal for teaching me everything he knew about the industry,” Weber says. “In turn, it has been my great pleasure and honor to be able to lead and mentor a great group of people at TFIA. Watching them grow and develop their own skills and ideas has been truly rewarding. This year has put many of us to the test, but one thing I have learned as a result is how important it is to surround yourself with the right team.”


BRIANA VU Underwriter and assistant product leader USLI Age: 28

Briana Vu is an underwriter for USLI’s California/Hawaii region and the assistant product leader for the lawn care product, for which she has maintained profitability by assessing this class of business on a national level. Responsible for evaluating new risks and servicing her clients with a high sense of urgency, accuracy and care, Vu has proved her determination and advocacy by earning numerous designations, including CPCU, RPLU, ARM, AINS, ARe, AIAF, ARC, AU, AIC and AIS. Vu says her previous experience at an insurance brokerage in the multinational space has been indispensable in her current position, as it provided a thorough understanding of the different dynamics and regulations of several countries. In addition to her daily responsibilities, Vu is part of USLI’s diversity and inclusion team. She is also the co-lead for the Emerging Insurance Professionals of Orange County, charged with balancing the organization’s finances and managing the logistics of networking for the next generation of insurance professionals.

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25/09/2020 3:53:53 am

KYLE PASS Broker Risk Placement Services Age: 27

Kyle Pass began his career in 2015 as a summer intern at Risk Placement Services (RPS). After graduating from college, he was hired full-time into RPS’ healthcare practice in 2016. Pass also joined another broker’s team at that time and subsequently shadowed him for several years, an experience he says was instrumental to his career. Pass became a broker at the beginning of 2020, specializing in professional liability and medical malpractice risks. “This past year, I’ve learned to enjoy the journey,” he says. “It takes time to gain knowledge, grow a book and see the success. Being able to look back four years and compare that time to where I am today is pretty cool. It’s easy to get caught up in your end goal and lose sight of the happiness you can find during the process.” Looking ahead, Pass says he hopes to see more people of color in leadership roles in the industry. “It is on us to step up to the plate and take advantage of the opportunities present in this industry,” he says.

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25/09/2020 3:53:59 am



CHRISTIAN COLANGELO Underwriter Hull & Company Age: 28

After graduating from Appalachian State University with a risk management degree, Christian Colangelo spent three years on the carrier side of the industry, building his knowledge with the help of mentors. Upon obtaining his CPCU designation, he transitioned to the wholesale side and helped Hull & Company launch its Scottsdale, Arizona, office. “In our first 24 months, we have partnered with several strong retail agents throughout Arizona and the Southwest, who have helped us organically grow our book to over $10 million in written premium,” Colangelo says. “COVID-19 has posed some unique challenges, but above all, it has showed us the true value of partnership.” In addition to his day-to-day work with Hull & Company, Colangelo is a member of the Nautilus NexGen Committee and helped create the nonprofit organization Arizona Futures of Insurance, which focuses on connecting the next generation of insurance professionals in the state.


CAROLINE MCKEON Head of digital and customer experience, Global Retail Markets East Liberty Mutual Insurance Age: 34

Caroline McKeon leads digital and customer experience for Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Asia retail operations, delivering best-inclass digital experiences to end customers and business partners and leading Liberty’s overall digital transformation. McKeon joined Liberty in 2015 as part of its corporate development program. From there, she successfully led a global team in launching direct-to-consumer sales in India, Colombia and China before taking on her current role. Earlier in her career, McKeon worked in marketing consulting and media strategy roles for the financial services industry in New York City. In addition to her full-time role, McKeon is a leader in Liberty’s Women and Allies employee resource group, where she supports the new employee experience in the US and leads a mentoring program for women in Asia. She also leads a mentoring circle of MBA students through Liberty’s RISE program. A licensed attorney, she provides pro bono legal services to low-income clients on housing matters.

ALEXANDER SALAZAR Property general adjuster Crawford & Company Age: 30

Since he began as a casualty adjuster trainee with Crawford & Company in 2014, Alexander Salazar has developed a reputation for his expertise in handling specialized losses. Salazar, who holds Property Technical Certifications I and II and an Earthquake Certification, says it’s an honor to serve as a property adjuster and credits his time running a construction business for giving him insight into the client’s perspective on the claims process. “Honestly, I had no idea how complex the insurance industry would be when I first entered it,” Salazar says. “Thankfully, I was honored the opportunity to commence my career as a trainee and was inspired by the culture and type of services offered by Crawford & Company – to insurance carriers, self-insureds, TPAs, their teams, policyholders, underwriters and so forth. The culture and mentorship style here have helped me climb my career ladder, especially thanks to my superiors and colleagues extending a sense of empowerment to me.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:04 am

JAKE TIMMINS Senior vice president RT Specialty Age: 31

JENNIFER KASTENHOLZ Vice president, strategy and operational performance Gallagher Bassett Age: 34

Jennifer Kastenholz began her career during the Great Recession as an investment analyst at Citi Private Bank, where she developed a passion for navigating clients through complicated situations and developing tailored strategies to achieve their unique goals. After receiving an MBA, Kastenholz joined Deloitte as a consultant to banking and insurance clients, delivering customer acquisition strategy, operating model design and business model transformation. Kastenholz eventually took her problem-solving, analytics and relationship management skills to Gallagher Bassett, where she is currently vice president of strategy and operational performance, charged with monitoring, communicating and driving organizational improvement in the areas of quality, capacity, productivity, talent management and compliance. “Throughout my career, I have been involved with equity, inclusion and diversity programs and currently serve on Gallagher Bassett’s steering committee, Include@ GB,” Kastenholz says. “Facilitating the career development of others is a passion of mine, be it through my role as a manager, driving culture engagement initiatives or community volunteering.”

Jake Timmins credits his mother with inspiring him to get into insurance. “I grew up in a blue-collar small town, and my mom – a broker in the recycling industry – was a tremendous mentor to me,” he says. “She often brought me along to work dinners, and those experiences fueled my desire to get into the business.” After studying insurance at Illinois State University’s Katie School of Insurance, Timmins began his career at Westrope, which RT Specialty acquired in 2013. Early on, he learned the ropes through the guidance of mentors on a large property team at RT before creating his own property team in 2018. In its first year, the team wrote more than $14 million in premium. In 2019, Timmins doubled his book, and he is on pace to finish 2020 with nearly $50 million in premium.

JAIMEE PATANE Assistant vice president of operations Tangram Insurance Services Age: 34

Jaimee Patane was introduced to insurance in 2013 when she joined the underwriting department at Tangram Insurance Services. In 2015, she transitioned into operations and was soon promoted to manager of underwriting operations. Last year, Patane was named assistant vice president of operations and joined the leadership team. In her current role, Patane develops and implements all workflows; provides key insights to sales and underwriting through analytics reports; and manages onboarding of new programs, insurance partners, vendors and employees. She also plays an integral role in supporting the corporate culture through diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and community initiatives, and is a member of Women of Influence, a company-led initiative to empower women in the organization and the industry as a whole. “I am grateful to be part of an all-female leadership team – a rarity in the industry – that is leading the charge on diversity in the industry,” Patane says. “I am also proud to be part of an organization focused on the health and wellness of its employees and community.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:11 am


RISING STARS CHRIS SENKBILE Vice president and risk consultant UNICO Group Age: 33

After a stint in banking and franchising, Chris Senkbile began his career in insurance in 2014. As a vice president and risk consultant with UNICO Group, he focuses much of his energy on integration. “The common theme I hear with my clients is their desire for a fully integrated risk management experience,” he says. “I’m actively working to give them this experience.” To that end, Senkbile was recently awarded a grant to build a platform for insurance buyers called Ferro. “As I look to my next 30 years of work life, I’m thankful to be in an industry where I get to serve people and help solve problems while constantly learning,” he says. “The biggest thing I’ve learned in my career is to simply ask the question of my clients: What is working, and what isn’t working? Stopping to listen to their candid feedback has been transformative for me.”

MIKE TRACY Vice president, branch manager RT Specialty Age: 31

While studying risk management and insurance at Temple University, Mike Tracy interned at All Risks and joined the firm (which recently merged with RT Specialty) as an underwriting assistant upon graduation. Over the years, he has been promoted to brokerage underwriter, P&C broker, assistant vice president, vice president and branch manager. In addition to managing 25 employees in the Philadelphia office and overseeing the York P&C operations, Tracy serves as a broker, specializing in Northeast casualty, including construction, real estate, hospitality and products liability. “My team’s approach [during the pandemic] has been to do anything and everything to assist our clients in their time of need,” he says. “Rather than running away from the problem, we ran toward it in a proactive way. I learned that our retailers value this approach, and it has led to stronger relationships, as our retailers know we are focused on a long-term partnership versus any individual placement or account.”


ANELLA NIEWENHOUS Associate vice president and regional practice group leader, personal insurance – Atlantic region Burns & Wilcox Age: 31

In her current role at Burns & Wilcox, Anella Niewenhous manages product offerings and contract renewals and assists with the training and development of the personal insurance teams across seven office locations. With expertise in coastal personal insurance products, Niewenhous continues to help modify the company’s exclusive products for East Coast exposures. She also works with carrier partners to provide optimal programs for her teams and helps strengthen and build relationships with retail clients. Passionate about education and helping others succeed, Niewenhous loves guiding underwriters in writing their first account. She also enjoys recruiting and retaining new talent. “Over the past year, I’ve rediscovered the importance of working for a boss who motivates others and encourages associates to act independently,” she says. “The opportunity to use my knowledge and my voice has allowed me to realize I know more than I tend to give myself credit for. This has empowered me in my current role and will help me continue to grow.”


LAKEISHA MCGHEE Regional recruiting lead, Southeast Chubb Age: 34

With nearly a decade of experience recruiting in the retail, hospitality and insurance industries, LaKeisha McGhee currently serves as a talent acquisition professional at Chubb. She collaborates with hiring managers; local and national HR partners; and business, university and industry leaders to deliver top talent across all business lines for Chubb’s North America field offices. McGhee’s ability to adapt to constantly evolving processes, combined with her innovative, solutions-oriented mindset, enables her to deliver the best service possible to her clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and says she’s inspired daily to fulfill her alma mater’s legacy of making choices to change the world. “Twelve months ago, I decided to switch industries and tackle the insurance world,” she says. “Like everyone else, I’ve also had to learn how to adapt during a pandemic. Taking each day in stride, focusing on what I can control and being comfortable with the uncomfortable have contributed to my career growth.”

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RISING STARS OMARI JAHI AARONS Director, employee enablement Liberty Mutual Insurance Age: 35

LIZ JAIPARGAS Broker and assistant vice president Aon Age: 26

Liz Jaipargas joined Aon in 2016 as a broker specialist within the Aon Global Client Network (AGCN) group, where she handled day-to-day servicing tasks, supported renewals and learned about the risk management needs of multinational companies. Today, as an assistant vice president at Aon, Jaipargas leads foreign casualty brokering for several large multinational clients. Her areas of focus include cross-border risk transfer and international cross-cultural business, as well as strategic counsel on risk finance programs that balance local regulatory and compliance needs with centralized risk finance goals. Jaipargas actively seeks ways to expand her knowledge and personal network. “I’ve attended several Young Risk Practitioners Group networking events over the years, Aon events, industry speaking engagements and even joined an NYC social kickball team one summer with a group of young insurance professionals from all across the industry,” she says. “I’ve also been heavily involved in training and mentoring new colleagues within Aon through a mentorship program.”


As director of employee enablement for Liberty Mutual Insurance, Omari Jahi Aarons works to celebrate employees’ career-level achievements and design a workplace culture that enables them to do their best work. Aarons started his career at Apple and later joined Macy’s as part of its executive development program. He progressed quickly to the director level, concurrently leading a training team and the customer service division’s mentorship and executive development programs. He is the inaugural president of the Boston chapter of the National African American Insurance Association and recently completed a three-year term as the national co-chair of Liberty’s employee resource group for employees of African descent. In September, he received the 10 Outstanding Young Leaders Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “I’m hopeful the industry will embrace the energy and passion surrounding us in this moment to drive meaningful and significant change in racial and gender diversity,” Aarons says. “Our opportunity to be more innovative, think ahead of the curve and reflect the customers we serve is intricately tied to opening up our teams and intentionally adding seats for women and people of color.”

MAX KENION Vice president Synapse Services Age: 30

As a vice president at Synapse Services, Max Kenion designs and places insurance programs for complex commercial and industrial clients. He has deep technical expertise and broad experience within the industrial, energy, chemical and coatings sectors. Kenion came to Synapse via Ironshore Insurance, where he began his career as a production specialist, responsible for underwriting combined pollution and casualty products. At Ironshore, he built a multimillion-dollar casualty book and strong relationships with retail brokers. Kenion also is passionate about investing in the next generation. “The insurance industry needs more youth and more diversity and should be considered an attractive career, not an afterthought,” he says. “The past 12 months have shocked me in the most positive of ways as I’ve learned where talent can come from and how it can be created. Wisdom, education and reason will always come from those with experience, but boldness and creativity often reside within the youth.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:22 am

JASMIN ZAMORA Program manager, communications and community relations


Combined Insurance, a Chubb Company

Managing director and head of product

Age: 29

Jasmin Zamora manages employee volunteerism, charitable contributions and national philanthropic efforts at Combined Insurance. During her fiveyear tenure at the company, Zamora has been a key driver of corporate communication strategies, public relations, media relations, community involvement and D&I initiatives. Most recently, she joined Chubb Mosaic as a regional connector and communication advisor. Outside of work, Zamora serves as a board member for Mujeres Latinas en Accion and has organized dozens of events supporting Latinx, veteran and healthfocused organizations. “I am hoping to see positive change in the industry related to hiring, developing, promoting and creating opportunities for multicultural talent,” she says. “We still see significant gaps, specifically in leadership, where people of color are not representative of the diversity we see in our communities. I am optimistic that 2020 has allowed us to reflect deeply on the change we want to see and dedicate our resources toward a more inclusive workforce.”

VICTORIA VU Account executive Travelers Age: 30

In her role at Travelers, Victoria Vu evaluates and analyzes the risks involved in insuring small businesses of all types. Praised for her commitment to quality service, Vu relies on regular communication and mutual trust to maintain strong agency relationships. “As our society continues to embrace more inclusion in the workforce,” she says, “I believe increasing the number of women in C-suite and executive roles is critical to developing and promoting young female talent in the insurance industry.” To further that goal, Vu has served as co-president of the Emerging Insurance Professionals of Orange County for the past three years; is an executive board member for Gamma Iota Sigma’s LA alumni chapter, which focuses on engaging students and preparing them for insurance careers; and is her local office lead for the Travelers Asian Diversity Network, which is committed to building a cultural bridge to develop, empower and mentor Asian employees.

Claim Central North America Age: 35

Kenneth Knoll has a history of solving business problems through product innovation. He is a former investor, managing partner and COO of WeGoLook, where he led market strategy, product innovation and operations through multiple hyper-growth stages, including expansion from the US into Canada and the UK and positioning the company for a successful exit to a global TPA in 2017. Prior to joining Claim Central North America, Knoll was CEO and co-founder of Goose & Gander, an insurtech-focused consulting firm. He is also a partner and board member for BuildArray. “A significant portion of insurtech adoption to date has occurred in non-claims-related use cases that require minimal operational adaptation,” Knoll says. “I believe that is beginning to change. As existing platform ecosystems and marketplaces mature, we’ll begin to see increased interoperability that improves access to a combination of technology and services that delivers the promise of improved claims handling efficiency and customer experience.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:26 am


RISING STARS KIRA GODFRED Underwriter, public company accounts, financial lines AIG Age: 25

DAN MITTELMARK Vice president Socius Insurance Services Age: 30

A wholesale broker specializing in professional liability, management liability and cyber liability, Dan Mittelmark places a strong emphasis on diverse product knowledge, striving to find the best coverage solutions for his retail partners and insureds through strong relationships with underwriters and niche product knowledge. Recently, he took on the role of director for Socius’ architect and engineer practice nationwide. “Being a good wholesale broker takes a combination of ingredients,” he says. “This includes being available for your clients, having diverse and up-to-date product knowledge, having strong relationships with partner insurance carriers, and being able to think outside the box.” Mittelmark is also a big proponent of continuing education. He has earned numerous designations, including RPLU, CIC, CPCU, ASLI and ARM, and is a certified continuing education instructor in the state of Florida, teaching courses on professional, management and cyber liability.


As an underwriter on AIG’s public company management liability team for the New York region, Kira Godfred collaborates with management, brokers, clients and legal counsel to negotiate contract terms and conditions on Fortune 500 accounts with evolving risk portfolios. Godfred first joined AIG in the summer of 2015 as a financial lines intern. After participating in the company’s Early Career Development Program in 2017, she accepted a full-time position as an underwriting analyst for public company management liability. Beyond her daily responsibilities, Godfred serves on the inaugural advisory committee for The Bridge, a diversity-focused nonprofit dedicated to developing and advancing women in the financial lines field. “I am proud of the strong stance AIG has assumed on diversity and inclusion and its support of me joining an organization such as The Bridge in a leadership role,” Godfred says. “AIG’s commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture has resonated not only throughout the organization, but also within the greater insurance community.”

JACLYN GUERRERO Associate director of product, policy and partnerships Metabiota Age: 29

An epidemiologist with more than eight years of experience in public health research, Jaclyn Guerrero currently serves as the associate director of product, policy and partnerships at Metabiota. During her five-plus years at the company, she has focused on research and development efforts for risk analysis tools and product and market development. Guerrero works to quantify public sentiment on infectious diseases and assess both the macroeconomic and company-specific impacts of these events. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she is currently assessing market needs to prepare for and respond to epidemics and pandemics to ensure adequate protection and coverage against these events. “Looking ahead, I hope to see further innovation for emerging risk classes, like epidemic and pandemic risk, with emphasis on risks that can cause catastrophic damages to livelihoods and economies,” she says. “This year has shown me how fast we can adjust to new challenges. This has helped me in my career to take more chances and continue to push myself to redefine what is challenging.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:30 am

TIARA MORRIS Executive underwriter Chubb Age: 33

Fifteen years ago, Tiara Morris met an INROADS representative on the campus of the University of North Texas and subsequently landed an internship through the organization with a global insurance carrier. She has been in the industry ever since, currently serving as an executive underwriter in Chubb’s global casualty unit. She is also the president of the National African American Insurance Association’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, a big sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program and a mentor for students and young professionals. Coming full circle, Morris was recently recognized as a Top 50 Alumni finalist by INROADS. “I am hoping to see the industry make more progress in recruiting diverse candidates as we continue to bridge the talent gap in our industry,” she says. “As the president of my local NAAIA chapter, I work with my board, members and sponsors to provide quality programming to our membership, CE courses, professional development workshops, job and networking opportunities, and to attract talented, diverse youth through education initiatives.”

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25/09/2020 3:54:34 am


RISING STARS DAISY LOPEZ Assistant vice president, executive risk Crum & Forster Insurance Company Age: 34

As an assistant vice president in Crum & Forster’s executive risk department, Daisy Lopez manages the company’s large lawyers’ and accountants’ professional liability portfolios. Prior to joining Crum & Forster, Lopez worked at Lockton Insurance Brokers in Los Angeles, helping place P&C and executive/professional liability insurance for law firms of all sizes. A 12-year industry veteran, Lopez is also a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. “I was first attracted to commercial insurance for its global nature and its ability to have a positive impact on the lives of others,” she says. “When we are not providing indemnification after a catastrophic event, our industry is helping large and small businesses alike manage and mitigate their risk on a daily basis, and we are there for them when unforeseen events that could jeopardize their ability to stay in business happen. I truly believe that what we do matters.”

AMY S. COOPER Vice president, carrier practice Gallagher Bassett Age: 31

In 2017, Amy Cooper founded Rising Insurance Star Executives (RISE), a young professionals group that strives to bridge the talent gap in the insurance industry. RISE hosts an annual awards program to recognize rising stars in the industry, produces monthly webinars and provides scholarships for young professionals to attend industry conferences and events. In her daily professional life, Cooper is vice president of carrier practice for Gallagher Bassett. She has been recognized by the American Legal and Financial Network as a leading young professional and is a regular speaker about millennials, management, and privacy and security requirements that impact the legal field. She also teaches an ethics course for the Florida Bar. “I’m hoping to see more and more young professionals choose insurance as a career and to see companies invest more in training,” Cooper says. “I’m also hoping that my generation and the next will bring expectations of diversity and inclusion that will change company cultures for the better.”


LAUREN ATKINSON Vice president Synapse Services Age: 33

Lauren Atkinson began her insurance career as an underwriter at ACE. In 2012, she accepted an account executive position at Synapse Services and was promoted to vice president in January 2020. Throughout her time at Synapse, Atkinson has led numerous initiatives to improve inter-regional coordination and national service team platforms. She currently leads the marketing operation for the Southeast region, responsible for the coordination and management of new and renewal business within the region, as well as the management of regional carrier relationships. She also maintains marketing responsibilities for her own book of business. In 2018, Atkinson opened Synapse’s Nashville office, which she continues to grow and develop. Outside of work, Atkinson volunteers with and is an active foster for the Nashville Humane Association, is the current executive board intern for the Middle Tennessee YMCA’s downtown branch and was part of Class 74 of the Nashville Young Leaders Council earlier this year.

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25/09/2020 3:54:40 am

FRANCISCO SALDAÑA Property and casualty practice leader USI Insurance Services Age: 33

JOEY NAWA Vice president, environmental and construction professional liability practice RT Specialty Age: 32

Managing the Southeast and Southwest regions for RT Specialty’s environmental and construction liability practice, Joey Nawa has grown his book of business to nearly $25 million in premium and has assisted in developing the practice’s in-house quoting panel and specific coverage packages across multiple major carriers. Outside of RT Specialty, Nawa is involved with numerous professional associations and has provided presentations on his areas of expertise in conjunction with several industry groups. “We are living through a historic point in time in our country regarding civil rights with the heightened sensitivity surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement,” Nawa says. “I am pleased to see the attention being brought to the movement [and] am hopeful that this continues with positive momentum, which turns into measurable results where more people of color are given the opportunity to not only work in the insurance industry, but be provided fair opportunity at senior leadership roles.”

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Francisco Saldaña grew up in various parts of the US, including North Carolina, Massachusetts and Minnesota, before eventually settling in Miami. After a successful career as director of sales for security company ADT’s top dealer, Saldaña moved into insurance at a small family-owned agency before transitioning to USI Insurance Services. For the past three years, he has been managing director of an approximately $40 million P&C practice that includes new business, retention, growth and meeting of profitability objectives, all while earning his CPCU designation and being named USI’s top performer every year. “I am very excited to see the next generation of our industry join the workforce and continue to modernize and improve our technology,” Saldaña says. “We might have a generational gap now, but it’s shrinking, and I’m eager to see what kind of changes and efficiencies we will continue to find.”

ALYSSA JOHNSON Innovation co-founder, Resilience Domain Munich Re US Age: 31

Alyssa Johnson believes in changing the game by reimagining the future and challenging the status quo. She has deployed this philosophy in various roles at Munich Re US over the past 10 years, spanning actuarial pricing, marketing research, strategy and innovation. Notably, she led the IT and underwriting workstreams on the build of a business case for entry into a new market worth potentially $650 million in business. In her current capacity as an innovation co-founder of the Resilience Domain in Munich Re’s incubator, Johnson is responsible for building and launching new venture concepts that improve societal resilience. In addition to her professional responsibilities, she is an engaged leader and supporter of corporate employee resource groups. “While it took me many years into my career to acknowledge this, I now realize that I own and am responsible for my career advancement and fulfillment,” she says. “The onus is on me to push for what I want, and in general, it never hurts to take initiative to plan and ask for the roadmap you desire as an employee. Persistence and determination are not to be underestimated.”

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Easing the pain for nonprofits Insurance for nonprofits is under pressure from both hardening market conditions and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. IBA examines what brokers can do to provide relief HARD MARKET conditions that intensified through 2019 set the tone early for a difficult 2020 in the nonprofit insurance sector. Commercial carriers began narrowing their appetite, increasing rates and, in some cases, completely exiting the market. “This hardening market was happening across multiple lines like auto and property, extending beyond the nonprofit sector,” says Steve Parkhurst, senior vice president at Heffernan Insurance Brokers. “We’ve seen increased losses in commercial auto, where heavy fleets in the nonprofit realm are getting hit hard because carriers are having a tough time managing those claims.” Added to that are stresses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent pullback in nonprofits’ operations. Many community-based organizations are now seeing even more dramatic premium increases and severely reduced limits, with no end in sight. All the while, many of these nonprofits are on the front lines, providing services to those in need during the pandemic. Given the challenging conditions, “some commercial carriers are deciding not to underwrite at all but instead choosing to exit the nonprofit sector,” says Pamela Davis,


CEO of Nonprofits Insurance Alliance (NIA). In NIA’s recent national survey of nearly 300 brokers and agents, more than half of respondents reported that commercial carriers weren’t renewing entire classes of nonprofits; those working with animals, children and senior citizens were especially hard-hit. Organizations that offer residential

For carriers that continue to write business, Parkhurst says underwriters are requiring more detailed information on the risks. This could involve additional COVID-19 questionnaires that need to be completed for any renewal business or new submissions. In some cases, carriers have implemented an interview process to ensure all necessary precautions are being carried out to keep employees and operations as safe as possible. And it’s not just about setting up guidelines – underwriters want to know they are being enforced. The nonprofit insurance sector is vast, making it a challenging arena for many insurers. Nonprofits can range from large organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union to community associations that provide front-line services for people with disabilities or the elderly. They also encompass animal rescue services, food banks and children’s services. “It’s been feast or famine,” says Paul Doman, specialty care loss control director at Nationwide. “We’ve had customers that have been completely shut down, and we have other

“It’s about finding the diamond-in-therough carrier right now, and as brokers, we need to do a bit more digging to make sure all options are on the table” Steve Parkhurst, Heffernan Insurance Brokers facilities, such as domestic violence shelters, and addiction treatment programs have also been impacted. “It’s hard for clients to understand these increases because they aren’t related to the loss history of that client,” Parkhurst says, adding that many of these changes are a result of catastrophic losses in the property & casualty market from wildfires and other devastating natural disasters.

customers that have ramped up their business. An example might be a YMCA – they’re shut down, but the food bank has ramped up their business significantly, so they’re adding space with new buildings and people.”

Winds of change Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, Parkhurst says another challenge is that many carriers are requiring added sign-offs on new

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policies and renewals, resulting in longer review times. In addition, any changes to protections or government statements results in increased phone traffic as insureds call brokers and carriers with questions that arise. The biggest challenge, however, is that most nonprofits run on very tight budgets. There are approximately 1.3 million charitable nonprofits across the United States, 97% of which have annual budgets of less than $5 million, according to the National Council of Nonprofits. With the sudden

changes in exposures and operations brought on by COVID-19, many nonprofits were forced to make difficult decisions that could result in shutting down programs or services. “Many of these nonprofits are in the business of caring for the most vulnerable and have established protocols for providing that care,” Davis says. “Nonprofits should be in the habit of reviewing their operations with their broker or agent regularly to ensure any changes in how they are providing services, such as using volunteers or new services

they are providing, like transportation, are covered by their insurance policy.” In light of shelter-in-place orders and remote work, Davis says claims volume for certain lines, such as commercial general liability and auto, is on the decline; however, there has been an increase in vandalism on idle vehicles as a result of the pandemic. Parkhurst says it’s difficult to recognize claims trends associated with COVID-19 this early on, but he has noticed that carriers are scrutinizing policies a bit more closely when

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NONPROFIT INSURANCE MARKET SNAPSHOT According to the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance’s recent State of the Market survey, nearly two-thirds of agents and brokers believe nonprofits are likely to face rate increases of more than 25% this year, and more than half of brokers believe nonrenewals are likely.

How likely are commercial carriers to raise prices by 25% or more on certain classes of nonprofit organizations? Very likely Not very likely



Not likely




it comes to health-related nonprofits, such as group homes or senior care, as they are more susceptible to the spread of the virus. “Carriers are taking different stances on risk and exposure for different nonprofits,” he says. “It’s about finding the diamond-in-therough carrier right now, and as brokers, we need to do a bit more digging to make sure all options are on the table.” With more people working from home,

Brokers and agents can also help nonprofits by understanding the needs of each organization to help them find the appropriate coverage. Looking at policy wording carefully is also crucial because not all coverages are alike, especially when it comes to debatable items like business income interruption during the pandemic. “Many insurers are now putting pandemic exclusions on all their policies, while others

“Brokers and agents need to stay up to date and understand that not all carriers are taking a sledgehammer approach to underwriting” Pamela Davis, Nonprofits Insurance Alliance

25.7% 42.3%

Parkhurst expects an uptick in cyber claims, as there are fewer protections around home networks. Given the layoffs caused by the pandemic, he foresees a spike in employment practices liability claims as well.

Mitigating risk

How likely is it that some commercial carriers will not renew certain classes of nonprofits without regard to loss history? Very likely Not very likely



Not likely






Source: State of the Market Survey 2020, Nonprofits Insurance Alliance


Brokers and agents should urge their nonprofit clients to ensure they’re following every protection and precaution available. At minimum, clients need to be following CDC recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) and OSHA guidelines from a workers’ comp standpoint to protect employees, Doman says. “We would see that as the starting point for protecting employees because most of these nonprofits will have services where they’re meeting one-on-one with clients,” he says. In addition, nonprofits should implement increased spot checks and monitor employees to make sure they’re wearing PPE correctly and properly sanitizing. Temperature checks are an added precaution, and anyone who is sick should stay at home.

are excluding the risk of sexual abuse or severely limiting their coverage options,” Davis says. “Brokers and agents need to stay up to date and understand that not all carriers are taking a sledgehammer approach to underwriting.” The hard market conditions in this segment are expected to continue for some time. That’s bad news for nonprofits, which can expect year-over-year rate increases at a time when they’re struggling to meet increasing demand for their services. In some cases, it could become difficult for nonprofits to find the insurance they need. However, Parkhurst says there are new coverages coming out specifically to cover pandemics and other future challenges. “It’s hard to say how nonprofits will be impacted going forward, as there’s a lag time in the insurance industry, and I don’t think we’ve seen the total impacts of COVID-19 yet,” he says. “In the meantime, brokers need to learn about the new solutions that are hitting the market, and we simply have to keep our fingers crossed for an end to the virus.”

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OCTOBER 14, 2020 IBA’s Women in Insurance series has been a global success story, empowering and celebrating women around the world – and we’re continuing our mission as we emerge into the post-crisis workplace. That’s why it’s time to put the Dallas insurance industry in the spotlight at the Women in Insurance Virtual Summit Dallas. Whether a female professional or a male ally, join us from wherever you are for: • • • •

Inspiring speaker sessions and panel discussions with industry leaders and experts Networking opportunities with women of influence in insurance Strategies for becoming a bold female leader – or mentoring the next generation The lowdown on the biggest issues that women in insurance encounter today Gold Partner

Event Partners

Supporting Partners

Media Partner


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Young and in charge Camille Hicks has taken the challenges she’s faced as an insurance professional and turned them into opportunities that set her agency apart

IBA: How did you get started in the insurance business, and what led you to found your own agency? Camille Hicks: The average person doesn’t grow up saying they want to be in insurance, so I fell into the industry. I was working in the environmental services industry, and I had a lot of experience in different roles within different companies, from environmental consulting to sales to the building industry, and then I got laid off from my job and was looking for work. Somebody told me that they thought I would be good at insurance because people can buy insurance from anywhere, so when people buy insurance from you, it’s because of you as a person, and [this individual] felt like I could really be an asset in the industry. That made me look into insurance, and I stumbled across Farmers Insurance and started a Farmers agency as a captive agent. I started my own brokerage a couple of years later, and I’ve been a brokerage agency ever since.

IBA: What challenges and opportunities did you experience when starting your own agency? CH: The challenges were definitely the lack of knowledge. I think for the general public, when it comes to insurance, we all know what insurance is and we know that we need it, but the intricate details and the way policies work, that was a challenge coming in for me. Then, being young in the industry, working in an agency or for a company is


something that is easy to get into, but owning an agency, and especially a brokerage, is definitely a challenge, so age was a factor. Also, I’m an African American, so when I started to reach out to people to ask about mentorship, I really didn’t know who to go to. I saw a couple people in the industry who seemed like they were young and were women and minorities, but there weren’t a whole lot of us. I used those challenges as opportunities because I feel that people who are just like me – who are young and female – we’re more into technology, and we don’t have the same concerns as our parents when it comes to insurance and finances. I thought that would be an opportunity for me to learn, learn, learn everything about the industry and then teach other people about it.

IBA: Why is it critical for the insurance industry to bring more diverse talent into its ranks, especially on the agency side? CH: You have to have professionals repre-

senting all people in an industry like this, because at the end of the day, we are a service-based industry. While you have insurance products to offer, people still have to be serviced. Our world is diverse, our nation is diverse, so we have to have people who represent the people we’re servicing. It makes everything work better because people relate to people they understand.

IBA: What sets your agency apart? CH: I thought about what I needed as a young professional, and I looked at what I didn’t know about insurance, and I utilized those things to set myself apart. For instance, while there are big companies out there offering online insurance services, there’s not always the personal touch to back it up. I figured if I could find some way to incorporate technology into my brokerage agency, then I could not only compete with the companies who are offering it, but I could also add the personal touch. I’m a smaller brokerage firm, so I utilize technology to set myself apart, meaning

ABOUT C. HICKS AGENCY Camille Hicks established her agency in Houston in 2011 and has been the principal broker ever since. The agency works with clients across many industries, from farm and agricultural operations to wine, food and hospitality businesses, as well as personal insurance customers. Thanks to Hicks’ tech focus, many of her clients can take advantage of online quoting services through the agency’s website. Today, C. Hicks Agency has two office locations in Houston, as well as a virtual office.

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Life insurance

Legacy and estate planning

Business and nonprofit insurance

Business consulting

Group and individual health


“You have to have professionals representing all people in an industry like this, because at the end of the day, we are a service-based industry” people can get an online quote, and they don’t have to call or come into the office to get insurance. They can text us, and we can have a full review or meeting through a text message or through a virtual call.

IBA: How have you seen the value of insurance agents evolve during the coronavirus pandemic? CH: Our business has definitely increased during COVID. We all move really fast –

we’re doing a lot of things, and we’re trying to accomplish all of these different goals; we run businesses and have families. I think that the COVID climate has slowed people down and has made people really think about all of their business matters: What insurance policies do they have, and are they covered by their health insurance or their life insurance? That has caused a spike in business as people sit down, do some planning and review their insurance.

Retirement planning


Surety bonds

Auto and home

Celebrity and entertainment


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Why can’t we focus anymore? Aytekin Tank explores the truth behind our modern culture of distraction and what we can do to combat it

WE DON’T always have what it takes to shut off the noise in the background. It’s easy to think that being distracted is just the inability to focus, when in fact it’s more complicated than that. As Seth Godin, the content god himself, said in one of his essays: “If you’re not paying, you and your attention are the products.” We let ourselves get sucked into an endless cycle of distraction while the gatekeepers are busy selling our attention to advertisers. One of the problems with distraction is that we are being handed what we believe is available out there. We never second-guess if there’s anything out there that we need to know as we’re being fed information we think we need. Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist, has learned firsthand about what technology does to our vulnerable minds. Harris put it best when he compared how technology works with how a magician operates: by giving us the illusion of choice. “The more choices technology gives us in nearly every domain of our lives – information, events, places to go, friends, dating, jobs,” Harris said, “the more we assume that our phone is always the most empowering and useful menu to pick from.”


We fail to see what other options are out there because we simply think what we have in our hand is the only set of options we can choose from. A close look at how we get through an hour in a day can tell us so much about how we choose to direct our attention. As the founder and CEO of Basecamp, a project management hub that champions efficiency,

Jason Fried might be the voice we want to listen to: “Time is the most precious thing there is, yet we split it up and give it away like there’s an endless supply. And whatever time you do have, you have even less attention.” Where do we lose all the time we have? Waves of interruption of chat, notifications, presence and always-on expectations. The effect, as you might guess, is the more

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fragmented hours we clock in to finish what could’ve been done in an hour or two if we consciously chose to silence all the unnecessary noise. Detaching ourselves from the over­ whelming noise around us requires some determination, though. Detaching means taking active steps to create a space where absolutely nothing can get in the way of our full attention. That means putting away the smartphone or even not having internet access for a day – or a week, if you dare.

What multi-tasking does to our brains Not switching between tasks is the realistic thing to add in the effort to refocus. Singletasking, as Manoush Zomorodi, the author of Bored & Brilliant, calls it, is a way out that we’ve come to believe is less efficient than its sophisticated, overrated cousin: multi-tasking. “Humans’ neural resources are not infinite, and switching between tasks, especially for those who work online, can happen upward of 400 times a day,” Zomorodi says. No wonder we’re all zombies with missed deadlines. This reinforces another issue introduced by Daniel Levitin, professor of behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, which is that the mind should be allowed to wander between finishing one task at a time. Only then is attention for singletasking not fragmented – and, as a result, we become more productive and successful in completing challenging tasks. The idea that spacing out is necessary might be contradictory to what we’re wired to believe, which is to never let one’s mind wander aimlessly. Being bored is so heavily associated with negative connotation that we

don’t even bother to consider that only out of boredom comes the stimulation-seeking part of our mind, explains Sandi Mann, a psychologist and the author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good. Neuroscientist Marcus Raichle also pointed out that when our minds wander, it activates the default mode network in our brain, allowing us to think back and forth. It allows us to access our subconscious minds and not focus on goal-oriented tasks.

down on the desk in front of us, undercuts our ability to perform basic cognitive tasks. There’s no way of getting rid of technology once it’s adopted, Brown notes. Instead, Boundless Mind is trying to use these persuasive technologies to promote a healthy and democratic society. Essentially, the organization is trying to change the way our minds are controlled by campaigning for upfront transparency for the companies it’s representing. It’s helping people’s engineered

“The more choices technology gives us in nearly every domain of our lives, the more we assume that our phone is always the most empowering and useful menu to pick from” Different connections in our brain circuits then fall into place, creativity takes over, and self-awareness increases our chance to refocus ourselves.

How to reclaim the attention Tristan Harris, the former design ethicist at Google, has created the Time Well Spent movement, which aims to educate people on how not to be abused by online products that profit from our endless attention. Neuroscientists Ramsay Brown and T. Dalton Combs co-founded Boundless Mind with a mission to disrupt America’s addiction to technology. The American Psychological Association revealed in 2018 that 65% of us believe that periodically unplugging would improve our mental health. Another study conducted by the University of Texas in 2017 found that the mere presence of our smartphones, face-

minds be what they want to be and not just robots with more eyeball time. The conversation needs to start – the ability to control our own minds must belong to us. Despite all of these companies advocating for us, we can always start with ourselves. As Derek Powazek, the author of Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places, puts it: “We are not the product if we educate ourselves enough.” Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of JotForm, an online form creation software with four million users worldwide and more than 100 employees. A developer by trade but writer by heart, Tank shares stories about how he exponentially grew his company without receiving any outside funding. For more information, visit

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Ibeh ma naged to sell two insura nce policies over the phone while waiting to weigh in at his latest fight


Ibeh’s professional boxing record


His rank among active heavyweight boxers in the US


Ibeh’s listed reach (in inches)

ONE-TWO PUNCH Kingsley Ibeh delivers knockout blows in the ring and in insurance sales KINGSLEY IBEH isn’t your typical insurance agent. The Nigerian-born Arizonian is also a rising star in the heavyweight pro boxing scene, with a record of five wins (four by knockout) and one loss. His last two wins came within a week of each other, as part of the Top Rank bubble in Las Vegas.


Ibeh first discovered boxing when he was looking for a way to release negative emotions after his divorce. He met the owner of a local boxing gym through an insurance sales call and decided to give it a try. After a few sparring sessions, the coach saw his potential and began training him for a career in pro boxing.

While he’s busy making his name in the boxing ring, Ibeh says it’s his job as a regional general agent with American Income Life’s People First Agency that has enabled him to train in the sport. “Insurance gave me the time and financial freedom to take up boxing and pursue my dream,” he says.

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Arch Insurance would like to congratulate all Rising Star winners, especially our own, Stephanie Dunstan & Laura Zoltan

Stephanie J. Dunstan, CPCU, ARM, ARe Regional Vice President, National Accounts Casualty, Southeast Region

Laura Zoltan, RPLU, ARM Vice President, Executive Assurance Financial Institutions & Private Equity Industry Practice Lead

ARCH INSURANCE GROUP | ONE LIBERTY PLAZA, NEW YORK, NY 10006 | ARCHINSURANCE.COM Š 2020 Arch Insurance Group, Inc. Insurance coverage is underwritten by a member company of Arch Insurance Group Inc. This is only a brief description of the insurance coverage(s) available under the policy. The policy contains reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Full details of the coverage are contained in the policy. If there are any conflicts between this document and the policy, the policy shall govern. Not all coverages are available in all jurisdictions.

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

©2020 Applied Underwriters, Inc. Rated A (Excellent) by AM Best. Insurance plans protected U.S. Patent No. 7,908,157.


25/09/2020 4:05:30 am

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