__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

IBAMAG.COM ISSUE 9.01 | $12.95

42 wholesale brokers who excel at finding coverage for the most difficult-to-place risks DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS, BEWARE

How social media is creating a new vortex for fraud in the D&O landscape

00_OFC_OBC_SPINE-SUBBED.indd 2

THE BEST WORKERS’ COMP INSURERS

Brokers name the carriers providing unparalleled service in the workers’ comp sector

A TURNING TIDE FOR CANNABIS

With federal decriminalization a possibility, where is cannabis insurance headed in 2021?

15/01/2021 3:12:34 am


WE ’LL COVER IT.

IFC-TOC-SUBBED.indd 4

15/01/2021 4:35:50 am


ISSUE 9.01

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

CONTENTS

twitter.com/InsuranceBizUS facebook.com/InsuranceBusinessUS

UPFRONT 02 Editorial

From a year of chaos to a year of opportunity

FEATURES

36

MORE ACT, MORE ACTION

As legislative hurdles continue to fall, will more insurers begin to jump into the cannabis market?

SPECIAL REPORT

18 40

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS IBA spotlights 42 wholesale brokers who are the go-to experts for hard-to-place and niche markets

PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

How USI Insurance Services chairman and CEO Michael Sicard transformed a struggling brokerage into an industry leader

14

FEATURES

CREATING VALUE AMID TURMOIL Susan Ogrodnik-Smith outlines how HUB New England sheltered high-net-worth clients from new risks during COVID-19

04 Statistics

Key data that should be on your radar this month

06 News analysis

A look at the potential social media perils for directors and officers

08 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

10 Workers’ comp update

What the sector can learn from the ongoing impact of COVID-19

12 Technology update

The pandemic is prompting more construction firms to turn to technology to reduce risk

17 Opinion

Property insurers who harness databased imaging will be one step ahead

FEATURES 52 Cultivating strong relationships in the digital age

Follow these four steps to maintain good connections in a virtual world

54 How to be proactive, not reactive

42 FEATURES

5-STAR WORKERS’ COMP CARRIERS

Brokers weighed in – now see who made their list of the industry’s best workers’ comp carriers

Break free from the downward spiral of chasing the competition

PEOPLE 56 Other life

Insurance exec and former baseball player Fernando Alvarez helps other pro athletes discover life after sports

IBAMAG.COM CHECK IT OUT ONLINE www.ibamag.com

IFC-TOC-SUBBED.indd 1

1

15/01/2021 4:35:47 am


UPFRONT

EDITORIAL

A fresh start

T

he beginning is the most important part of any work. Philosophy fans might recognize that phrase from Plato’s The Republic, authored around 375 BC. It’s time for the US insurance industry to think about new beginnings in 2021. We’ve started the year still under the black cloud of COVID-19. In many countries, cases are still soaring, communities are suffering, businesses are struggling, and public positivity is precarious at best. But there are opportunities to turn things around in 2021. We can learn from our mistakes of the past year, we can convert challenges into opportunities, we can innovate and grow, and we can build communities that are more resilient, both to known risks and Black Swan events like the coronavirus pandemic. The insurance industry will play a critical role in the success of society’s new beginning. First and foremost, insurance is a key part of recovery. There are thousands of businesses across the US that need a helping hand to get back on their feet, and so far insurers, brokers and agents have all stepped up to the plate. That support – whether in the form of premium rebates, coverage flexibility, extra risk management advice, interpretation of COVID-19 regulations or all of the above – must continue and evolve through 2021.

The insurance industry will play a critical role in the success of society’s new beginning Now’s the time for insurers and brokers to develop new products and risk management solutions that are more relevant for consumers in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. COVID-19 has sparked a mass movement toward digitalization, giving rise to a proliferation of new digital and cyber-related exposures. This opens up an abundance of opportunities for insurers to transfer these risks and protect consumers as they navigate this new tech-driven society. The pandemic has changed how we go about our lives in many ways. With more people working from home, commercial liability exposure and workers’ compensation have also evolved, albeit temporarily. And on the personal front, individuals are using their vehicles far less, prompting demands for changes in the personal auto space, including greater adoption of telematics and usage-based insurance solutions. Simply put, this new beginning is one of opportunity. The new year represents a fresh start, and insurers and brokers have a chance to increase their relevance to consumers and carry them through the systemic changes that will inevitably arise as a result of the pandemic. This is the most important part of any work.

The team at Insurance Business America

www.ibamag.com MAY 2017 EDITORIAL Managing Editor Paul Lucas Senior Editor Bethan Moorcraft Journalists Alicja Grzadkowska, Ksenia Stepanova, Mia Wallace News Writers Lyle Adriano, Terry Gangcuangco, Roxanne Libatique, Gabriel Olano Staff Writers Pete Miller, Ryan Smith Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Upendra Belhe, Guy Attar, Mark Carter, Darrell Hardidge

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador Production Coordinator Kim Kandravy Customer Success Coordinator Bernz Jalandoni

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

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

Editorial Inquiries paul.lucas@keymedia.com Subscription Inquiries subscriptions@keymedia.com Advertising Inquiries cathy.masek@keymedia.com, desiree.mccue@keymedia.com

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

Insurance Business America is part of an international family of B2B publications, websites and events for the insurance industry Insurance Business Canada john.mackenzie@kmimedia.ca T +1 416 644 874O Insurance Business UK gemma.powell@keymedia.com T +44 20 7193 0935 Insurance Business Australia peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business NZ peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Insurance Business Asia peter.smith@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 47OO Printed in Canada

2 www.ibamag.com

02-03_Editorial-SUBBED.indd 2

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.

15/01/2021 4:26:35 am

IBA H


Subscribe to the leading business magazine for Specialty Brokers and Industry Experts

MONTHLY PUBLICATION Delivered right to your doorstep or office every month

REAL-TIME WEB SERVICE Breaking news, features, webinars, special reports, IB Talk and more

DAILY E-NEWSLETTER Daily news service delivered straight to your inbox every morning

SCAN TO LEARN MORE

02-03_Editorial-SUBBED.indd 3 1 IBA House ad - Subscriptions.indd

15/01/2021 07/11/2020 4:26:42 2:17:34 am pm


UPFRONT

STATISTICS DEVELOPMENTS IN D&O

GLOBAL PROPERTY MARKETS SHOW FIRMING TREND The renewal season at the beginning of 2021 has highlighted the resilience of the global reinsurance market, according to a new report from Willis Re. While 2020 was marked by high natural catastrophe losses and prior-year development on liability lines, as well as further reductions in interest rates and losses inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, global insurance capital has rapidly recovered, tallying 3% year-over-year growth. Willis Re attributed this comeback to improving investment markets, retained earnings and new capital. Despite rate increases in property lines across the globe (including some double-digit spikes in the US and Canada), Willis Re remained hopeful that the increase in supply of capital will result in a firmer insurance market, rather than a truly hard market.

22,391

US businesses that filed for bankruptcy between September 2019 and September 2020

175

Securities class action suits filed against public companies during the first half of 2020

200

Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) seeking reverse mergers in 2021

Canada 30% 20% 10% 0% -10%

United States 30% 20% 10% 0% -10%

Pro rata commission Risk (loss-free) Risk (loss-hit) Catastrophe (loss-free) Catastrophe (loss-hit)

RANSOMWARE COSTS ESCALATE RAPIDLY Ransomware claims made up more than a fourth of all cyber claims in 2019, according to a recent study by Netdiligence. The cost of ransomware claims has risen rapidly since 2015, as has the frequency: Netdiligence reported 263 ransomware claims in 2019, compared to only 19 in 2015.

AVERAGE RANSOMWARE COSTS PER CLAIM Ransom amount

Incident costs

2019 2018

50%+

Increase in D&O pricing for public companies in the third quarter of 2020

2017 2016 2015 $0

Source: 5 D&O Priorities for 2021, Marsh; NERA Economic Consulting

4

$20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 $140,000 $160,000 $180,000 $200,000 $220,000 $240,000 $260,000 $280,000 Source: Netdiligence Cyber Claims Study 2020 Report

www.ibamag.com

04-05_Stats-SUBBED.indd 4

15/01/2021 3:21:08 am


INSURANCE M&A BOUNCES BACK

GLOBAL PROPERTY RATE MOVEMENTS FOR 2021 RENEWALS

United Kingdom

30%

After a slowdown in the spring, insurance mergers and acquisitions returned to a more typical pace in the latter half of 2020, according to PwC, which predicted that strong M&A activity would continue in 2021.

20% 10%

TOTAL ANNOUNCED INSURANCE M&A DEALS

0%

180

Europe

-10%

30% 20% 10% 0% -10%

160

Asia 30% 20% 10%

140

0% -10% 120

Latin America

Australia

30%

30%

20%

20%

10%

10%

0%

0%

-10%

-10%

100

80

132

108

168

100

159

Q3 2019

Q4 2019

Q1 2020

Q2 2020

Q3 2020

Source: Willis Re 1st View, January 2021

SMEs FALLING VICTIM TO RANSOMWARE Ransomware was the number-one cause of cyber losses for small and medium-sized enterprises in 2019, according to Netdiligence. Social engineering (which includes business email compromise and phishing) also accounts for a significant portion of losses, as do staff mistakes, which have increased over the past two years.

Ransomware

18% 3% 4% 5%

COMPANY ASSETS ARE INCREASINGLY INTANGIBLE More than 90% of large companies’ assets are now considered intangible, according to a new study by Guy Carpenter. Having escalated over the past four decades, this trend has transformed the characteristics of risks assumed by insurers and reinsurers.

Tangible 1975

Staff mistake Hacker

CAUSES OF CYBER LOSS FOR SMEs

82%

8%

16% 15%

Rogue employee Other/unknown Source: Cyber Claims Study 2020 Report, Netdiligence

18%

1985

20%

80%

2015

69%

Phishing Malware/virus

Intangible 2005

Business email compromise

31%

Source: Insurance Deals Insights: 2021 Outlook, PwC

31%

1995

12%

88%

2020

32%

68%

9%

91% Source: Leading Up to January 2021 Reinsurance Renewals, Guy Carpenter

www.ibamag.com

04-05_Stats-SUBBED.indd 5

5

15/01/2021 3:21:12 am


UPFRONT

NEWS ANALYSIS

The dark side of social media Almost half of the world’s population is now using social media – but the plethora of personal data being shared on these platforms is leaving directors and officers exposed to potential fraud

THERE’S NO denying that in the 20 or so years since its inception, social media has rapidly evolved to become one of the most popular online activities. But how private is the information we share online, and how can it be used against us by threat actors looking to commit fraud? The annual Global Insurance Fraud Summit has identified the use of social media as a key trend shaping the evolution of insurance fraud. Investigators must acknowledge the crucial role that social media channels present as a source of data intelligence, says Dennis Toomey, global director for counter-

evolving. Criminals are adapting their activities incredibly quickly, often more quickly than defenses can be updated to tackle them. And it’s being used on a massive global scale. In the US, for instance, social engineering is used in a third of cyber breaches, with email compromises accounting for more than $1.2 billion in victim losses.” Broadly speaking, social media is creating new opportunities for fraud, particularly for investment fraud, says Peter Hazlewood, group financial crime risk director at Aviva. When it comes to social media, the common line of thought is that if you’re not paying

“Exploitation of social media and electronic communication has contributed to a fundamental shift in how fraudsters operate” Dennis Toomey, BAE Systems fraud analytics and insurance solutions at BAE Systems. Conversely, consumers must also be educated on the dangers of putting their personal information online. “Exploitation of social media and electronic communication has contributed to a fundamental shift in how fraudsters operate,” Toomey says. “It’s also rapidly

6

for a product, then you are the product, but many people still aren’t highly aware of the dangers involved with sharing private information on a public platform. “For professionals, you need to assume that your social media activity may come into your work life,” Hazlewood says. “Certainly, I always assume that the two things are inter-

linked, and the way I conduct myself on social media is with the assumption that our chairman or CEO might see it.” An area where directors and officers need to be very careful, he adds, is with sensitive information. There have been numerous cases in the past where corporate professionals have gotten into trouble for putting sensitive information online, whether that’s price-sensitive information, disinformation, misleading information or potentially offensive posts. “There’s definitely an uptick in D&O insurance and in the tools that are out there to limit the liability and reduce fraud across the board,” says Rob Douglas, co-founder and CEO of fraud-detection search engine Skopenow. “But it’s difficult because, from what I’ve seen, the more popular or more public-facing a director is, the more risk there is because there are more details exposed, which can make it really easy to guess what their password hints might be.” Faced with the specter of this threat,

www.ibamag.com

06-07_News Analysis-SUBBED.indd 6

15/01/2021 3:13:46 am


FAST FACTS: SOCIAL MEDIA USE

There were more than 3.6 billion social media users worldwide in 2020

LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform among Fortune 500 companies

In the US, 79% of the population are active users of social media

Toomey says anti-fraud teams are rising to the challenge and are harnessing social media themselves to combat fraud – albeit with caution, as this approach carries its own risks. Many carriers around the globe use

dard operating procedures in place to make sure the investigators stay well within the compliance guidelines.” Anti-fraud organizations such as Skopenow are now being used not only for

“You need to assume that your social media activity may come into your work life. Certainly, I always assume that the two things are interlinked” Peter Hazlewood, Aviva social media and open-source intelligence (OSINT) to investigate insurance fraud, although processes, sites and guidelines vary across the industry. “Carriers have to exercise extreme caution when using this to investigate suspicious claims,” Toomey says. “The good news is that most carriers do, and also have stan-

fraud investigations, Douglas says, but also to try to calculate how exposed someone is when online. Meanwhile, Hazelwood says there are several actions professionals can take to protect themselves and their data from fraudsters. First and foremost, he says, directors and officers should always assume

Facebook was the most popular social media brand in the US in 2020 Sources: Statista, LinkedIn

that what they put online will be read widely, both within and outside their organization. This is especially relevant right now, he says, as information-harvesting fraud syndicates are increasingly posing as members of a credible organization to connect with members of an executive team on LinkedIn. Once they’re in that network, they have access to a lot more information, and they can see what an executive is doing behind the firewall of their privacy settings. This, in turn, enables fraudsters to reshape their methodology to make themselves appear even more credible. “One of the things that we do internally, especially in respect of our senior executives, is provide training and advice on how to use social media responsibly and how to stay secure,” Hazlewood says. “And that’s certainly something that is good practice for corporates.”

www.ibamag.com

06-07_News Analysis-SUBBED.indd 7

7

15/01/2021 3:13:51 am


UPFRONT

INTELLIGENCE CORPORATE ACQUIRER

TARGET

PRODUCTS COMMENTS

Brown & Brown

O’Leary Insurances

Brown & Brown’s purchase of Ireland’s largest independently owned brokerage marks its first foray into the Irish market

Cornell Capital, Hudson Structured Capital Management

Vault Holdings

The two entities are set to acquire a majority stake in the high-net-worth insurer from Allied World and Fairfax Financial

CRC Group

Continental Underwriters

The acquisition will expand CRC Group’s capabilities in the specialty marine sector

Howden

Safeonline

The deal will boost Howden’s presence in the US wholesale sector and expand its cyber insurance team

Kemper

American Access Casualty Company

Kemper’s purchase of the specialty auto insurer, which targets the Hispanic community, is valued at $370 million

Marsh & McLennan Agency

Heritage Insurance Service

Heritage specializes in the trucking and transportation industry, with five offices across Kentucky and Utah

Sedgwick

Stericycle

The acquisition of Stericycle’s Expert Solutions service line brings Sedgwick expertise in product recall, remediation and retention

Zurich Insurance Group

MetLife

Zurich subsidiary Farmers Group has purchased MetLife’s US property & casualty business for $3.9 billion

CFC Underwriting adds active assailant cover

CFC Underwriting has expanded its suite of terrorism and sabotage insurance products to include stand-alone active assailant cover. The new policy covers businesses for a premeditated physical attack that has the intention of killing or causing bodily harm. It is not restricted to political, religious or ideological events, and it does not restrict what can be considered a weapon in an assailant attack. Designed to provide cover for victims, customers and employees, the policy includes compensation for injured parties and medical or psychiatric treatment, as well as crisis management costs.

CRC Group boosts its marine capabilities

CRC Group has agreed to acquire the assets of Continental Underwriters, a specialist provider of primary marine, excess marine liability, ocean cargo and inland marine insurance. The acquisition significantly expands CRC Group’s capabilities in specialty marine markets. Continental will become part of CRC’s programs division; the deal also includes Fidelis Marine Underwriters and Fidelis Claims Services, which provide underwriting, broker services, claims management and loss control assistance. “Over the last 50 years, Continental has built a successful track record of helping agents and insureds craft tailored marine, excess marine, inland marine and cargo coverages,” said CRC Group CEO Dave Obenauer. “Equally as important, the team has delivered outstanding underwriting results for their carrier partners. We’re looking forward to welcoming the team to the CRC Group family.”

8

RPS introduces commercial crime product

Risk Placement Services (RPS) has launched a new commercial crime insurance product to cover losses resulting from fraud committed by internal and external parties. The policy offers standard blanket crime coverages, including employee theft, ERISA fraud, forgery or alteration, inside/outside the premises, computer fraud, money orders and counterfeit currency, funds transfer fraud, clients’ property/third party, and sublimited expense costs. It also provides full-limit social engineering coverage. The new policy is available in all 50 states via the RPS online platform.

www.ibamag.com

08-09_Intelligence-SUBBED.indd 8

15/01/2021 3:14:23 am


PEOPLE Trawick International covers COVID-19 and tailgate events

Travel insurance company Trawick International has announced that its trip interruption and travel medical protection plans may cover travelers’ expenses if they contract COVID-19 while traveling. The company has also launched a travel product focused on tailgating, which covers unforeseen events such as sickness or injuries, an accident on the way to the event, or canceled flights. “All across the country, friends and families gather together to celebrate at an event of their choosing,” said president Daryl Trawick. “Now they don’t have to worry if something unforeseen happens and ruins their experience.”

Arbella Insurance bolsters cyber offering

The Arbella Insurance Group has rolled out new cyber insurance coverage for individuals and families in Connecticut. The firm’s new Home Cyber Protection and Home System Protection endorsements can be added to homeowner’s, condominium and renter’s insurance policies. Home Cyber Protection is designed to protect individuals and families after a cyberattack, covering risks such as extortion, cyberbullying or fraud. Home System Protection provides coverage for repairs or replacement when home systems like furnaces or centralized air conditioning units break down.

Zurich brings parametric insurance to construction

Zurich North America has launched a parametric insurance product for weather-related construction delays that goes beyond traditional builder’s risk insurance policies. The policy does not require physical loss or damage for a claim to be paid; rather, payment is based on predetermined weather events, such as extreme rain, wind or temperatures, occurring in the project’s location. The perils, thresholds, limit, deductible and coverage duration can be tailored to meet the needs of the buyer, and the threshold options for each peril are based on historical weather data at the project location.

NAME

LEAVING

JOINING

NEW POSITION

Andrew Aldorisio

SCOR

Obsidian Insurance Holdings

Chief underwriting officer

Tim Christ

N/A

Claimatic

Vice president of growth

Robert Clark

N/A

Everest Re

Head, Everest Specialty Underwriters

Scott Cremens

Disability Insurance Services

Hanleigh

Sales director

Tony Cuthbertson

Price Forbes & Partners

BMS Harris & Dixon Marine

Director

Regine Fiddler

BankMobile

Hiscox

Chief marketing officer

Brian Foley

All Risks

RPS

Leader, national personal lines practice

John W. Glomb

N/A

Philadelphia Insurance Companies

CEO

Nick Hocking

Price Forbes & Partners

BMS Harris & Dixon Marine

Director

Garrett Koehn

N/A

CRC Group

Co-president, brokerage division

Brian Parker

Businessolver

Alera Group

Vice president, employee benefits, technology and services

Susan Pavone

N/A

Topa Insurance Group

Vice president of underwriting

Josh Robertson

Price Forbes & Partners

BMS Harris & Dixon Marine

Director

Brent Tredway

N/A

CRC Group

Co-president, brokerage division

Dan Urias

Marsh

Lockton Pacific

Vice president

Philadelphia Insurance Companies names new CEO

Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) has appointed John W. Glomb as its new CEO, following the retirement of Bob O’Leary. Glomb joined PHLY in 2007 as SVP of the management and professional liability division, later becoming president and chief underwriting officer. He has helped oversee the launch of new surety, corporate underwriting, E&S, accident and health, and environmental divisions. “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to lead PHLY’s next chapter with the support of our exceptional team,” Glomb said. “We’ve shown how resilient we are as a company this year, which fills me with optimism for the future.”

Lockton Pacific appoints vice president

Lockton has named Dan Urias vice president and producer for Lockton Pacific, responsible for growing Lockton’s presence in Orange County, California, and the Inland Empire. Prior to joining Lockton, Urias served as a producer at Marsh & McLennan Agency – West, where he led the construction practice group in Orange County and Los Angeles. “Dan’s resolve to stay 10 steps ahead of clients’ emerging needs will be a tremendous asset for companies looking for a partner who will proactively manage their risk in today’s volatile environment,” said Nate Mundy, chief operating officer at Lockton Pacific. “His ability to advise clients on complex risk, cultivate new ideas and solve problems efficiently will drive uncommon results for our clients.”

www.ibamag.com

08-09_Intelligence-SUBBED.indd 9

9

15/01/2021 3:14:26 am


UPFRONT

WORKERS’ COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Next Insurance acquires open data provider Juniper Labs

Small business workers’ comp insurer Next Insurance has acquired Juniper Labs, a provider of alternative open data and underwriting technology focused on small businesses. Juniper Labs promises better risk transparency by using open data and machine learning to build tools for streamlined data collection and automated underwriting. The acquisition follows the close of a $250 million Series D funding round, which valued Juniper Labs at $2 billion. Co-founder and CEO Lance Poole and his team will join Next Insurance’s machine learning and data analytics group and will help launch the Next Insurance Data Labs.

COVID-19 presumption laws had relatively minor impact

The expansion of workers’ compensation presumption laws to cover employees who contract COVID-19 had a fairly muted impact in seven states, according to new studies from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The organization conducted a series of tests to estimate the proportion of workers covered in each state under the new laws and found that the number ranged from 0.8% (in Missouri) to 6.4% (in Alaska). The WCRI has yet to publish data on eight additional states that expanded presumption laws, including ones such as California and Illinois, where the expansion was much broader.

CopperPoint welcomes expert in pay-as-you-go systems

CopperPoint Insurance Companies has appointed Joe Fox as vice president of its Pay as You Go business unit. In his new role, Fox will be responsible for developing and implementing a new pay-

10

as-you-go premium payment process for CopperPoint’s workers’ compensation business. With more than 25 years of experience in the P&C industry, Fox is a nationally recognized expert in workers’ compensation pay-as-you-go operations and has launched pay-as-you-go solutions for several national insurance providers throughout his career. He helped develop the industry’s first such program at The Hartford.

Appalachian Underwriters creates digital director role

Appalachian Underwriters, an insurance wholesaler that specializes in workers’ compensation, has named William Chambers to the newly created role of director of digital partnerships. Chambers will be charged with managing the company’s digital partner strategy from a distribution and vendor perspective to offer a more automated, easy-to-use and competitive offering to its appointed agents. Chambers previously held roles in underwriting and digital partnership management at a leading specialist insurer, where he was involved in implementing third-party technologies and using homegrown capabilities to develop an online small business program.

Method adopts AI-powered underwriting solution

Workers’ compensation MGU Method has expanded its partnership with Gradient AI to incorporate AI and machine learning solutions into its underwriting process. Method plans to use Gradient’s predictive analytics model to predict the number of claims each policy is likely to have and the probable losses associated with those claims, as well as to launch low-touch automated underwriting for submissions under $35,000 in premium.

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 A look at how the workers’ comp sector has adapted – and continues to adapt – to the pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic had an undeniable effect on workers’ compensation: Indemnity workers’ comp claims increased from about 21% of all claims to as much as 35% during the first half of 2020, according to Marsh and Oliver Wyman. But the pandemic affected more than just the number of claims. “One notable change seen in workers’ compensation claims management during the pandemic was the use of tele­medicine services,” says JJ Schmidt, senior business product management consultant at Conduent. “As most nonessential healthcare activity was put on hold, telemedicine became a viable alternative for many injured workers and healthcare providers.” While the coronavirus forced some workers to stay home, industries like healthcare, energy and construction continued largely as usual, and employees reported work-related injuries – such as sprains, strains, fractures, lacerations or burns – amid the pandemic. As for claims related to COVID-19 exposure, Schmidt says so far, the acceptance has been very low. “It is difficult to prove that exposure took place in a work environment or in the course of employment,” he says. “We saw this in the measles outbreak that occurred several years ago.” However, the pandemic did prompt several states to make changes to their workers’ comp

www.ibamag.com

10-11_Workers Comp Update-SUBBED.indd 10

15/01/2021 3:14:59 am


regulations to allow for COVID-19-related claims due to workplace exposure. Most of these claims were anticipated to come from healthcare workers and first responders, but there have been some exceptions. “Because of state regulatory actions in some states regarding workers’ compensation compensability – the introduction of presumption rules – there have been accepted claims that were in industries that would not typically have seen these types of claims, such as retail workers in grocery stores or transportation workers,” Schmidt says.

“It is difficult to prove that [COVID-19] exposure took place in a work environment” Workers’ comp consulting firm Health Strategy Associates said it expects new injury claims to be down by 20% for 2020, thanks to broad trends like high unemployment, widespread furloughs and a reluctance by some employees to file claims while their job prospects are uncertain. “For many employees who were able to transition from working in an office to working at home, their workplace demands did not change to a great degree to impact injury claims,” Schmidt says. “In industries where the risk for injuries is higher, such as retail, hospitality and certain sectors of transportation, employees were furloughed or laid off. As a result, they were not working and therefore were not in a situation to experience a workplace injury.” However, Schmidt cautions that “these trends may be gradually reversed” as the economy continues to reopen.

Q&A

Kirstin Marr Head of data solutions INSURITY

Years in the industry 12 Fast fact Marr is a founding member of the Insurance Careers Movement, which brings together 1,000 organizations in 30 countries to inspire young people to explore a career in insurance

The value of data analytics Your company has been harnessing data analytics to assess the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ compensation. What trends have you observed? We recently conducted research based on data contained within Insurity’s Valen Data Consortium, which provides a broad view of what is happening on the ground, holding over $60 billion in workers’ compensation policy and claims data. The data revealed some key trends, most notably that new quotes were down substantially – 17% or more in industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Also, payrolls appear to have held steady through Q3 2020, which could be misleading and indicate that they weren’t adjusted for furloughs and layoffs. Upon retrospective audits, insurers may need to return a significant amount of premium. Ultimately, carriers may not have a real-world view of how their books stand right now. Employing better use of data analytics can help them obtain an aggregate, realtime view of risk.

Have workers’ comp applications and renewals also changed during the pandemic? We found that new submissions were down significantly in some industries like arts, hospitality and public administration. Other industries, such as mining, manufacturing and technology, were more naturally insulated from pandemic impacts. While results vary dramatically by industry, overall, quotes were down 10% through Q3 2020. Renewal rates, however, have held steady, possibly because shopping for insurance was not a priority amid other pandemic-related concerns.

With the pandemic expected to continue affecting the economy well into 2021, how should workers’ comp insurers prepare for the future? Investment yields are at all-time lows, while expense ratios continue to climb. This requires heightened focus on underwriting excellence. More than ever, carriers need to select the right risks and adequately price for them. They must also look to lower expense ratios and encourage new business without having to manually touch policies where possible. Predictive analytics can help insurers achieve more precision in scoring, triaging and pricing risk for new and renewal business. If insurers are building their own models, they can be supple­mented with consortium data to provide much better outcomes. Likewise, straight-through processing is critical to achieving efficiency at the point of quote and winning business. New forms of thirdparty data embedded into the workflow for better decisioning are absolutely essential. Ultimately, this is not the time to press pause on your underwriting investments and strategy. There are real and tangible ways to put data analytics to work that will give insurers an edge in 2021 – and be better prepared for whatever is next.

www.ibamag.com

10-11_Workers Comp Update-SUBBED.indd 11

11

15/01/2021 3:15:03 am


UPFRONT

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

Keeping construction safer with technology As risks evolve for the construction industry, technology can mitigate some common dangers

using technology that can help them better enforce social distancing and monitor contact tracing,” Banks says. “As the number of people on-site has decreased, there’s been an increase in the use of systems that can provide additional insight into what is happening on the job site day to day.” While risk management technology is out there for contractors to use, Banks says the uptake has been rather limited overall.

“There’s been an increase in the use of systems that can provide insight into what is happening on the job site day to day”

Construction is one of the riskiest industries in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with multiple safety hazards for workers. Factors such as poor job-site conditions, improperly maintained equipment and inadequate safety training can lead to accidents. And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of risk for workers. It can be tough for construction companies to adapt to this ever-changing risk landscape, but technology can help both contractors and their insurers control costs. According

NEWS BRIEFS

to Casey Banks, senior regional risk control consultant at Travelers, advanced technology systems and devices have been finding their way onto job sites across the industry to alleviate some of the safety, staffing and production pain points for contractors. For example, some companies are using water sensors to detect leaks or wearable sensors to mitigate work-site damages and injuries. The pandemic has further accelerated the use of technology to keep workers safe. “Since the pandemic began, contractors are also

Zywave shakes up agency management with purchase of ITC

Zywave, a leading provider of cloud-based sales management, client delivery, content and analytics solutions for the insurance industry, has inked a deal to acquire Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), which provides agency management software, comparative rating and quoting tools, and marketing automation solutions for more than 9,000 insurance agencies and 250 carriers. Zywave plans to integrate ITC’s products with its Zywave Sales Cloud offering, which includes multiple software solutions that streamline critical workflows.

12

“Many contractors are still trying to figure out the best approach to using technology,” he explains. “When considering implementing something new, we always recommend starting by asking what problem you are trying to solve and how this technology can help provide a solution.” Banks also notes that it’s not enough to implement the latest tech; workers must also be trained to properly use such technology. “Training and education are critical for ensuring that workers know how to use the technology correctly, that they understand its value for them and the company overall, and that they know exactly what will be done with the data collected,” he says.

CoverWallet for Agents joins Big “I” tech council

CoverWallet for Agents has become a supporting partner of the Big “I”’s Agents Council for Technology (ACT). “Our ecosystem is seeing a rapidly increasing volume of technology providers, and CoverWallet for Agents bridges the gap among those,” said ACT executive director Ron Berg. “We’re looking forward to having CoverWallet’s input in our work group and meeting discussions.” CoverWallet’s Mario Ramos added that his company is proud to help the Big “I” and ACT “[propel] the independent agency system forward.”

www.ibamag.com

12-13_Tech update-SUBBED.indd 12

15/01/2021 3:15:46 am


Q&A

Inaki Berenguer CEO and founder COVERWALLET (AN AON COMPANY)

Years in the industry 5 Fast fact An avid marathon runner, Berenguer has run the New York City Marathon five times

Tackling the hurdles of online insurance sales What are the main challenges of convincing clients to buy insurance online? Businesses today are used to managing everything they do online – they’ve come to expect that digital experience. From taxes and payroll to payments and HR, business owners have embraced technology to improve their lives. We don’t need to do much convincing to demonstrate to our clients that our digital platform is simpler than other methods because they are able to see it for themselves.

CoverWallet focuses on small businesses. What unique insurance needs do they have? In the US alone, there are 30 million small businesses. It’s a large market, and oftentimes the insurance these businesses need is very simple. Smaller businesses historically were being treated the same as larger ones, and we saw there was an opportunity to drastically change that experience with technology, data science and UX design. We started with small businesses and continue to work with them, but today we also work with businesses up to $100 million in annual revenue. The insurance needs for small businesses when it comes to specific types of policies aren’t necessarily unique, but the risks of a small business like a coffee shop or a landscaping company are more plain vanilla than larger enterprises that require a more hands-on, consultative approach.

CoverWallet can also be used by agents to quote, bind and service their customers. What

Brokerslink, Swiss Re launch new platform

Brokerslink has launched Space B IPA, a dedicated international insurance program management platform designed to help Brokerslink brokers in more than 118 countries manage and deliver structured and compliant international and cross-border programs. Developed with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Space B IPA allows brokers to aggregate and consolidate all types of risk and insurance information, including policies, premiums, deductibles, and coverages, as well as risk assessment and management details.

are the advantages of doing business through insurance agents? At CoverWallet, we have a team of licensed agents who are able to work productively with the help of technology. While many customers go through the end-to-end experience online without ever speaking with someone, our team of agents also guides businesses through the process to answer any questions or assist along the way. In 2018, we started to hear from independent agents who were interested in accessing our platform. There are 30,000 insurance agencies in the US, and the majority of commercial insurance is distributed through agents. By providing them with our technology, they are able to efficiently work with smaller customers, and their customers also benefit from a faster and more efficient experience when it comes to commercial insurance.

Do you think the pandemic will ultimately convince the insurance industry to move business entirely online? The pandemic has accelerated the shift to online business. Out of necessity, more businesses are looking for digital ways to accomplish what they need. We were growing quickly pre-COVID, and we are moving even faster now. Insurance is very complex. While there are significant opportunities to enhance the industry with technology, data science, design, automation, etc., to say it will go entirely online might be overreaching.

Sapiens offers enhanced NAIC reporting

Sapiens Americas has released an enhanced feature for Sapiens StatementPro that allows for easier reporting on filings to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). With the new feature, notes on NAIC financial statements reporting can be completed inside the software, eliminating the need to enter data in a separate document. The feature also includes a hierarchical view of notes and sub-notes and allows more than one user to work on the notes component simultaneously.

Clearsurance partners with North Equity

Clearsurance has teamed up with venture equity firm North Equity to combine Clearsurance’s insurance decision marketplace with North Equity’s home- and auto owner-focused websites to provide access to affordable auto and home insurance policies. The partnership will allow visitors to any of North Equity’s websites – BobVila.com, CarBibles and TheDrive – to access Clearsurance’s ranking and recommendation engine, which is based entirely on customer insights and reviews.

www.ibamag.com

12-13_Tech update-SUBBED.indd 13

13

15/01/2021 3:15:53 am


PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

ONE OF A KIND Since the arrival of chairman and CEO Michael Sicard, USI Insurance Services has quadrupled in size and topped $2 billion in revenue. Sicard tells IBA about the value proposition that made it all happen

MICHAEL SICARD, chairman and CEO of USI Insurance Services, isn’t one of those insurance professionals with family connections to the industry, nor is he someone who learned about opportunities in the industry at a career fair and chose the insurance path. Nonetheless, Sicard’s journey to insurance did set him up to appreciate the value of the industry. “This world of business that I find myself in now is a far cry [from] the little single-wide trailer that I shared with my family when I was born,” says Sicard, whose father passed away suddenly when he was young, leaving his mom to take care of three kids. “I see now, looking back, that it gave me a firsthand perspective of what our industry can mean when we’re there for families and businesses that are going through tough times.” Sicard worked all the way through school, eventually attending Duke University and Harvard Law School. Upon graduating, he landed at McKinsey & Company, but because of a cross-country bicycle trip, he was the last new recruit to show up to the job, and everyone else had already picked their firstchoice industries. The leftover sector was insurance, but Sicard quickly found out how much he enjoyed it – so much so that after his time at McKinsey, he became COO for North America and a member of the Global Executive Council at Willis (now known as

14

Willis Towers Watson), which at the time was focused on combining different entities across geographies, post-mergers. Sicard followed up his five years at the global broker with a stint at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. In 2007, he was contacted about an opportunity at USI, which was going through similar challenges to Willis.

to build a company that was “truly different, better and special.” “It wasn’t without its challenges – organically, the firm was declining, had low profitability, cash problems and issues, and we were entering into the worst economy at that time since the Great Depression,” he says. As an acquirer of agencies, USI had many silos to break down that would transform the

“USI has brought a different and better set of ideas and solutions to an industry that has not historically been known for teamwork and innovation. The stakes couldn’t be higher” “USI was public and had done a series of transactions, and there was an opportunity to take the company private and bring the firm together,” Sicard says. “That held for me a lot of appeal and interest, so that’s when I joined USI as the chairman and CEO.”

Leading a transformation The next 13 years saw a massive overhaul of the brokerage. While some leaders might have seen roadblocks to success, Sicard saw a team that had the potential to be “extraordinary,” with the vision and resources

organization into a cohesive team, sharing expertise and solutions all the way across. To bring USI into a new era, Sicard and the leadership team developed a value proposition called the USI ONE Advantage®. He describes it like this: If a patient is facing a risky medical procedure, would they prefer to work with one individual doctor or “the entire medical community,” who are all laser-focused on the patient’s issues and related solutions? “When the risks are high, and you have a choice of a fine individual doctor or a doctor standing on the shoulders of the entire

www.ibamag.com

14-16_Industry Icon-SUBBED.indd 14

15/01/2021 3:39:49 am


PROFILE Name: Michael J. Sicard Title: Chairman and CEO Company: USI Insurance Services Based in: Valhalla, New York Career history: Before joining USI, Sicard specialized in insurance at McKinsey & Company and later was COO for North America and a member of the Global Executive Council at Willis (now known as Willis Towers Watson)

www.ibamag.com

14-16_Industry Icon-SUBBED.indd 15

15

15/01/2021 3:39:55 am


PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

medical community, I would always choose the latter,” Sicard says. “That’s what we do at USI – that’s the ONE Advantage.” The ‘O’ in ONE Advantage stands for Omni. USI’s size, scale and scope allows the firm to pull together all of its expertise to help clients navigate their unique risks, which is deployed via Omni, USI’s one-ofa-kind knowledge and solution platform. Sicard describes it as “the Google-ization of every risk management and employee health solution ever created, and deployed in a single 24/7, Apple-easy, AI-assisted knowledge engine.” The ‘N’ in ONE Advantage refers to the network of resources available across

its customer base by attracting new prospects who couldn’t find a comparable approach in the marketplace. As the company grew – eventually quadrupling in size – its workforce also expanded. Sicard learned at a young age the importance of paying it forward, and he established a workplace that has been recognized in the insurance industry as one where employees can thrive. Some of USI’s programs that go beyond standard benefits include USI Cares, which steps in when team members and their families are facing difficult times, offering help without any obligation of payback. There’s also the I’m With U diversity and inclusion program, which brings USI’s

“Just like we’ll never stop innovating for our clients, we’ll never stop striving to create a truly special place for our people” the organization, while the ‘E’ reflects the enterprise huddle process – where, just like the entire medical community, USI pulls together its Omni knowledge and network expertise to customize insurance and risk advice for each individual client. “Through the ONE Advantage, USI has brought a different and better set of ideas and solutions to an industry that has not historically been known for teamwork and innovation,” Sicard says, adding that the value proposition is especially important today, considering that the challenges clients face in this risk-laden landscape could mean life or death for both businesses and individuals. “The stakes couldn’t be higher, and relying on an individual’s solo expertise creates the risk of having gaps in knowledge, expertise, solutions and innovations.”

Putting people first Clients have seen the benefits of the ONE Advantage, as has USI, which has achieved higher client retention rates and has grown

16

teams together to understand each other, uncover individual biases and unify across the organization. “Just like we’ll never stop innovating for our clients, we’ll never stop striving to create a truly special place for our people,” Sicard says. This approach is supported by USI’s unique capital structure – it is the only employeeowned permanent capital firm among the large brokers. USI has more than 1,000 employee-owners, “and it’s personal for us,” Sicard says. “We invest in people, innovation and talent, not with a short-term mindset, but to be leading for our clients and people 10, 15, 20 years from now.” While USI has certainly achieved growth over the past 13 years, ‘big’ was never the game plan – instead, it became the byproduct of being great at each individual client and team member interaction. Looking ahead, Sicard says, “We are looking to not be a player in the marketplace, but the go-to firm for continuous innovation of different and better solutions for today, 2021 and decades beyond.”

USI BY THE NUMBERS

1994 Year USI was founded (some local offices date back to the late 1800s)

8,000+ Number of associates working for USI today

200 Number of USI offices across the country

$2 billion+ USI’s annual revenue

3 Consecutive years that USI has been named one of IBA’s Top Insurance Workplaces

www.ibamag.com

14-16_Industry Icon-SUBBED.indd 16

15/01/2021 3:40:00 am


UPFRONT

OPINION

GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email iba@keymedia.com

Data’s competitive advantage The adoption of data-based imaging technologies can give property insurers an edge, write Upendra Belhe and Guy Attar PROPERTY & CASUALTY insurance represents $1.6 trillion in annual premiums – about one-third of the insurance industry – according to industry reports, and the homeowner’s insurance segment alone was worth $105.7 billion in 2020. As the industry continues to evolve, P&C insurance now benefits from risk models that analyze huge and diverse data sets. New data source influencers are emerging in the insurance industry, with the hope of providing the most comprehensive and accurate assessment of a property. Many times, data is generated during the reinsurance process. One normal path for the data flow of a reinsurer begins with pricing. The goal is to analyze the risk and develop pricing estimates, so a complete understanding of the property risk exposure of a cedant portfolio is important for both reinsurers and primary carriers to adequately price and negotiate risk. With property imagery, insurers now have a virtual way to closely view personal or commercial property and can easily validate property characteristics without leaving their desks. For customers, this makes doing business easier, as they no longer have to answer a seemingly endless list of questions. For underwriters and agents, this means increased efficiency at point of sale. For instance, owners might optimistically overestimate the roof condition, or brokers might offer their best estimate for the total square

footage. Advanced imagery-based data producers are making it more efficient to determine the condition and characteristics of a roof and accurately state square footage and many other features to allow underwriters to accurately price the risk. Inspecting a roof is a time-consuming and potentially dangerous endeavor, so insurance adjusters are increasingly using imaging.

Innovation: Are they persistently investing in research and development to add new attributes that were never available in the industry? For example, can they provide the height of a nearby tree and its distance from the property? Confidence: How accurate are the attributes? Are they measured based on 2D or 3D images? Can they provide attributes like the number of floors and total volume? How accurate are they in stating square footage for a property? Relevance: Can they make accurate damage assessment data available to the claims team post-event? How frequently can they provide updates to the property attributes? Can the claims team assess any roof damage – in the form of missing shingles or the presence of tarp on the roof – based on the updates? Cost effectiveness: Can they provide data for thousands of properties for a reasonable cost? Personal and commercial property insurers are finding it increasingly important to use accurate, newly produced attributes for their property risks. They are rapidly making such data an essential part of their workflows and decision-making. The land-

“Insurers now have a virtual way to closely view personal or commercial property and can easily validate property characteristics without leaving their desks” When hail and wind events happen, image data can tell the insurance carrier which properties were impacted so they can deploy resources to the right areas and quickly estimate the cost of roof claims. In such instances, how quickly accurate data becomes affordably available post-event has a direct impact on the carrier’s bottom line. Insurers are increasingly competing based on internal and external sources of data. Thus, it is also important for carriers to stay up to date on known attributes and strive to obtain new attributes as they become available. In general, data producers should be evaluated based on four dimensions.

scape of property claims and underwriting is becoming a lot more data-driven and competitive, based on carriers’ ability to leverage newly available sources of accurate data. Only innovation-driven data producers that have advantages in multiple dimensions can create win-win scenarios for carriers. Dr. Upendra Belhe is president of Belhe Analytics Advisory, which helps businesses drive outcomes through data-driven insights. Guy Attar is co-founder and executive chairman of GEOX Innovations, a provider of property data for the insurance and real estate industries.

www.ibamag.com

17_Opinion-SUBBED.indd 17

17

15/01/2021 3:20:30 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

IBA spotlights 42 brokers who have mastered niche markets to deliver coverage for hard-to-place risks IN AN AGE of ongoing uncertainty, specialist brokers are vital. Whether it’s delivering communicable disease coverage and cyber policies for the COVID-19 era, flood and environmental insurance to counter the growing climate risk, or even terrorism protection to hedge against the unthinkable, these specialists play an important role in protecting insureds from unique risks.

18

The 42 standout specialist brokers on the following pages have been chosen by their agent partners and colleagues based on their insights and expertise, which they use to help retail agents and their clients acquire the coverage they need. Always staying one step ahead of the competition in their mastery of their niche markets, these brokers help ensure agents’ clients have the proper coverage for current and future risks.

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 18

15/01/2021 4:54:41 am


2021

JEFF SANDY

KEN LABELLE

Vice president of workers’ compensation brokerage

Broker BURNS & WILCOX BROKERAGE

RISK INNOVATIONS, A JENCAP COMPANY

Specialty: Cyber

Specialty: Workers’ compensation

After earning a degree in actuarial mathematics, Ken Labelle says insurance was “a natural progression … I joined Burns & Wilcox over 10 years ago and quickly found my way into professional liability, where I became a program leader for cyber and technology.” During his time at Burns & Wilcox, Labelle has worked on more than 20,000 cyber and professional liability accounts. Along with brokering deals, he is known for leading seminars as a keynote speaker and participating in numerous cyber-focused panels. He also teaches classes on cyber liability and errors & omissions as a licensed continuing education instructor in the US and Canada. “My extensive product knowledge is my differentiator,” he says. “With over a decade of studying market policy forms, I understand verbiage in the products I place and aim to be an educator and extension of clients’ teams. I never lose the desire to learn and share my knowledge with colleagues and clients.”

“We know workers’ compen­ sation inside and out because it’s the only commercial line of business we write,” Jeff Sandy says of his team at Risk Innovations. “Our team of experts boasts decades of experience in every facet of workers’ compensation – from multi-state risks and international exposures to USL&H and everything in between.” Risk Innovations combines customized insurance solutions with specialized expertise and vast market access. With offices from coast to coast, its brokers have in-depth marketplace knowledge in every territory nationwide. “I have worked every angle of the insurance industry – the carrier side, agency side and wholesale side,” Sandy says. “My entire career has been exclusively focused on workers’ compensation – I’m not a generalist. I’m an expert workers’ compensation broker who knows exactly how to partner with our carriers and our agents to place business for even the toughest risks out there.”

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS INDEX NAME

COMPANY

Chelsea Bergen

Risk Placement Services

Wayne E. Bernstein

Monarch E&S Insurance Services, a division of SPG Insurance Solutions

PAGE 29 20

NAME

COMPANY

Jeff Hubbard

Brown & Riding

PAGE 30

Jeffrey Jarboe

Brown & Riding

34

Dana Kelly

Worldwide Facilities

25

NAME

COMPANY

Matthew Romano

Monarch E&S Insurance Services, a division of SPG Insurance Solutions

PAGE 22

Keith Ross

Select Risk Services

21

Mary Roy

Quaker Special Risk, a Jencap company

22

Rachel Salter

Burns & Wilcox

23

Jeff Sandy

Risk Innovations, a Jencap company

19

Anamae Saavedra

RLA Insurance Intermediaries

30

Scott Shapiro

RT Specialty

32

Jeff Slivka

RT Specialty

27

Adrian Smith

Burns & Wilcox Brokerage

33

Greg Steinman

Synapse Services

29

Sebastian Swain

CRC Group

26

Peter R. Taffae

Executive Perils

28

Travis Blackford

Hull & Company

25

Rob Kenney

Risk Placement Services

Alicia Calhoun

XPT Specialty

33

Ken Labelle

Burns & Wilcox Brokerage

19

Craig Carpenter

RT Specialty

23

Brian C. Lynch

Ames & Gough

20

Matthew Carpenter

AmWINS Brokerage of the Midwest

32

Anthony Manna

NIF Group, a Jencap company

29

AmWINS Brokerage of New Jersey

Jennifer Mier

AmWINS Brokerage of Texas

26

John Cleary

20

Craig Mount

33

Canaan Crouch

Landmark E&S Insurance Brokers, a Jencap company

Guard Pro Insurance, a Venture Pacific Insurance Brand

30

Christa Nadler

Risk Placement Services

25

Chris Dockery

Brown & Riding

24

Paul Nowak

Brown & Riding

26

Elissa Doroff

NFP

35

Karl Olson

Burns & Wilcox Brokerage

28

Christiaan Durdaller

INSURETrust

22

Thomas Orabona

Synapse Services

34

Richard L. Flanagan II

RT Specialty

28

David Rees

Howden Specialty

23

John Wildfire

PMC Insurance Group

24

Dave Haverkamp

Synapse Services

24

Steve Robinson

Risk Placement Services

31

Lekha Zaveri

NIF Group, a Jencap company

32

34

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 19

19

15/01/2021 4:54:44 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

BRIAN C. LYNCH Assistant vice president and client executive AMES & GOUGH Specialty: Associations and nonprofits

Brian Lynch and Ames & Gough transcended expectations for their association and nonprofit clients last year. “COVID and event cancellation insurance was the biggest challenge in 2020,” says a company rep. “Most, if not all, clients

JOHN CLEARY Executive vice president AMWINS BROKERAGE OF NEW JERSEY Specialty: Real estate

20

purchased communicable disease coverage at our recommendation, and we had many clients call or email, thanking us a hundred times over for pushing them to include communicable disease coverage.” In more than 11 years in the industry, Lynch has developed an in-depth understanding of executive liability exposure, insurance placement, renewal planning, carrier negotiations and related client support services. After moving to Washington, DC, to join Ames & Gough, he set out to establish himself as a dedicated leader in the associations and nonprofits industry. “I thoroughly enjoy working with the people in the industry and have made many great relationships,” Lynch says. “Our clients see our dedication, expertise and commitment to them – and because of that, we’ve been able to grow our book of business more than we could have hoped.” Over the past four years, Lynch has retained 100% of his clients while growing his book of business by 10% to 15% year-over-year.

John Cleary has specialized in real estate casualty insurance for 15 years. He’s said to be the only specialist writing general liability and excess for owners and managers of multi-family properties in the US. What else sets Cleary and AmWINS apart from the competition? “A big differentiator with our general liability program is that we require every insured to take a deductible,” Cleary says. “We do not write first dollar general liability coverage. We want our insureds to be involved in the placement and in risk-taking. We believe this is a key factor in managing risk.” Cleary’s exclusive access and established carrier relationships have kept him a vital player in this space as some carriers have retreated. Clients are drawn to his proven track record, giving him a consistent flow of potential new business every day. He knows what’s trending in the real estate market, what could develop in the next few months and how to protect insureds.

WAYNE E. BERNSTEIN Director, professional lines MONARCH E&S INSURANCE SERVICES, A DIVISION OF SPG INSURANCE SOLUTIONS Specialty: Professional and executive liability

Wayne Bernstein started his career on the retail side of the industry, focusing on religious institutions, and was introduced to everything from nonprofit insurance to D&O coverage. In the late 1990s, he transitioned from retail to wholesale and established himself as a surplus lines broker specializing in placing all professional risks, including D&O, EPL, A&E and legal malpractice. In the mid-2000s, he transitioned from working at a boutique wholesale firm to set up the professional liability department at Monarch E&S Insurance Services. To maintain the competitiveness of his operations, Bernstein concentrates on communication and service. “I prioritize retail agents’ concerns by keeping them informed of developments and progress reports,” he says. “Every account is treated with equal importance. I help agents/ brokers explain and understand the coverage nuances and real-life coverage scenarios when coverage is difficult to understand. And I routinely provide coverage comparison and marketing materials to assist with closing the sale.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 20

15/01/2021 4:54:48 am


2021

KEITH ROSS CEO SELECT RISK SERVICES Specialty: Energy

In the mid-2000s, Keith Ross was focusing on retail producing, commercial P&C and wholesale surplus lines, eventually establishing himself as a casualty-driven broker specializing in oil and gas. “I got started focusing primarily on energy accounts through 1) being in Houston and 2) studying the coverage that was important for the exposures,” he says. “I also had great conversations with the established underwriters and picked their brains.” From 2010 to 2012, Ross juggled fulltime brokering while working toward his MBA. Ultimately, his persistence paid off in 2018 when he became the CEO of newly launched Select Risk Services. This past year, the company generated revenue in the seven figures and premium in the eight figures and is on pace to continue significant growth in 2021. “I think what differentiates me is my work ethic,” Ross says. “I make sure to respond to every email and phone call, no matter the importance; that one missed call or email could be the winning ticket on a new piece of business for our agents and underwriters.”

www.ibamag.com

21


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

MATTHEW ROMANO

President and CEO

Vice president, flood

INSURETRUST

MONARCH E&S INSURANCE SERVICES, A DIVISION OF SPG INSURANCE SOLUTIONS

Specialty: Cyber/privacy liability

Specialty: Flood

“What attracted me to cyber was the industry’s need for experts in a space that traditional specialists have viewed as of secondary importance,” says Christiaan Durdaller. “Cyber insurance has been

Matthew Romano began his career as a flood consultant in the real estate industry. He then delved into the wholesale side of the insurance business, where flood placements were mostly controlled by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which he found to be inefficient and costly. “I think the biggest challenge was in the beginning of my flood career, when the idea of private-market flood was so new and I needed to get the word out to the retailers and explain how this would work and why this type of placement could be better for their insureds,” Romano says. “I was able to do this by spending the time understanding all aspects of the private markets and what they had to offer. This gave me the ability to educate the field and help them provide their insureds coverage that filled in gaps left by the NFIP.” Romano regularly finds excess flood coverage to fill sublimit gaps and replaces NFIP coverage with private-market solutions that offer better coverage while limiting NFIP cost increases. He also helps his clients limit exposure by assisting with modifying building designs for high-hazard areas.

22

CHRISTIAAN DURDALLER

MARY ROY Vice president QUAKER SPECIAL RISK, A JENCAP COMPANY Specialty: Personal lines E&S

Mary Roy has specialized in securing high-value homeowner’s insurance for affluent individuals for 20 years. Her expertise lies in finding customized

around since the late 1990s and is still placed largely by those who are experts or specialists in other lines of coverage, such as D&O, E&O or property. Very seldom do you find folks out there who spend all day, every day focusing on cyber.” At INSURETrust, Durdaller leads the corporate solutions brokering team and concentrates on products and strategy, as well as national cyber and technology clients. As part of INSURETrust’s leadership team, he helps to ensure products, services and solutions stay ahead of the market. “One challenge our industry faces daily is educating clients accurately on what limits they should be purchasing,” Durdaller says. “Internally, we conquer this [by combining] capital modeling and quantification modeling for our clients, which very few other brokers have the ability to do.” Durdaller’s team was named Cyber Brokering Team of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2020 by Advisen, which also named Durdaller Cyber Risk Industry Person of the Year – USA in 2018.

solutions for the unique needs of celebrities and public figures, with a concentration on affluent coastal accounts. Roy currently oversees the personal lines and marketing departments for Quaker Special Risk’s Massachusetts office, and she boasts in-depth knowledge of the admitted and surplus lines marketplace for personal lines. “Very few personal lines brokers specialize in both high-net-worth and surplus lines insurance placements,” she says. “I genuinely enjoy finding customized insurance solutions for my clients’ unique needs and have spent my career exceeding the expectations of my retail agency partners.” Roy is also proficient in brokerage and binding authority risk assessment techniques, which she leverages to regularly exceed department production goals. Her leadership and example reflect her team’s approach of solving problems quickly and maintaining strong relationships with agency and carrier partners.

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 22

15/01/2021 4:54:54 am


2021

RACHEL SALTER Regional practice group leader, personal insurance BURNS & WILCOX Specialty: CAT-exposed property

Rachel Salter started her career in Louisiana in the catastrophe-exposed property market; for more than a decade, she has specialized in personal insurance with a concentration on coastal

DAVID REES Executive director HOWDEN SPECIALTY Specialty: Cyber/tech E&O

CAT-exposed property risks. As Burns & Wilcox’s regional practice group leader for the US South region, she partners with other practice group associates across North America to adopt and implement best practices and strategies to maximize business growth and revenue. With a coastal focus that includes Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, Salter contributes to each office through recruiting and hiring, developing sales and marketing strategies that best align with each area, and meeting carriers’ profitability and underwriting quality expectations by strategically monitoring market feedback and contract performance data. “As the property market tightens, obtaining aggregate in certain coastal areas has proved to be a challenge,” Salter says. “By guiding my teams to push the market to collect appropriate rates and adopt strategic underwriting techniques, we prove to carrier partners that we are successfully managing our programs and are marketplace leaders.”

At Howden Specialty, David Rees places cyber and tech E&O policies on a global basis and across a range of different industries and sectors. Rees started his insurance career in 2003, working on E&O; two years later, he began focusing on cyber and tech E&O. “It became apparent early on that, with the progression toward more and more technology-based solutions within businesses, there was a strong need to develop insurance products that catered for the risks associated with this evolving digital world,” Rees says. “I saw the opportunity to play a part in this new product area and help companies around the world deal with their ever-changing risk profiles.” In 2012, Rees started the cyber and technology solutions team at RKH Specialty, which later became Howden Specialty, part of the Hyperion Group. The group places $8 billion worth of premium into the market and is the world’s largest independent insurance group.

CRAIG CARPENTER Vice president, branch manager and broker RT SPECIALTY Specialty: Construction

After graduating from the insurance and risk management program at Olivet College, Craig Carpenter entered the insurance industry in 2007 with All Risks, which became part of Ryan Specialty Group in 2020. He soon developed a specialty in residential and commercial construction insurance placements, including annual, project-specific and wrap-up programs. “I started in this specialty during the economic collapse of 2007 to 2009,” he says. “In hindsight, it was a perfect opportunity to learn the coverages and study policies, as there wasn’t as much construction activity.”  Every day, Carpenter is challenged to place coverage on projects that could range from the construction of a $1 million commercial office to a $500 million residential condo. Each account has unique attributes and requires a substantial amount of technical expertise to recognize the exposures and protect the insured from potential loss.  “Project delays, construction defect laws and verdicts, and rising premium costs are a few of the issues I faced in 2020,” Carpenter says. “Relying on my expertise in the construction industry, as well as the strong relationships I have with carrier underwriters, I was able to deliver tailored solutions to my retail agents to meet the unique needs of their insureds.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 23

23

15/01/2021 4:54:57 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

JOHN WILDFIRE Vice president, head of healthcare programs PMC INSURANCE GROUP Specialty: Workers’ comp for healthcare businesses

John Wildfire joined PMC Insurance Group in 2016 and currently leads its healthcare business unit. As a national workers’ comp program administrator for the healthcare industry, PMC partners with retail agents to develop customized solutions that address clients’ individual needs.

DAVE HAVERKAMP Vice president, Mountain Central division SYNAPSE SERVICES Specialty: Professional and pollution liability

Although Dave Haverkamp entered insurance with a degree in business and risk management, “when starting in environmental insurance, I lacked the engineering/technical experience that

24

“I began focusing on workers’ compensation for healthcare as our agency responded to our clients’ need for expanded knowledge and in-depth execution for healthcare businesses,” Wildfire says. “My prior experience provided me with the ability to create programs and grow them successfully.” Wildfire and his team cover the entire spectrum of healthcare, including senior living, physical rehabilitation, hospitals, group homes, mental and behavioral help organizations, and medical temp staffing agencies. He attributes PMC Healthcare’s success to prioritizing response time and relationship development. “Our retail agents lean on us to help them simplify the purchasing process, offer complete risk management solutions and drive down workers’ comp costs for their clients,” Wildfire says. “As a complete program administrator for all size accounts in every state, PMC has an extensive healthcare-focused team, offers unique risk management services, has created an easy-to-use pay-as-you-go platform and is proactive in the claims handling process.”

is so critical to the business,” he says. “I immediately enrolled in environmental science and legal courses to gain the technical knowledge I didn’t bring with me when I started. I also made it my goal to visit as many remediation projects [as possible] to see firsthand how the engineering was being applied in real-world situations.” That was more than 22 years ago, when Haverkamp started his career at AIG and was quickly promoted to manager of the environmental division for the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions. In 2005, he moved to Denver to become the environmental practice leader at IMA Financial Group. Prior to joining Synapse in 2012, where he’s responsible for growing the Western region, Haverkamp served as VP of Aspen Specialty’s environmental division and as the national product line specialist for Aspen’s contractor’s professional and pollution product.

CHRIS DOCKERY Senior vice president, environmental broker BROWN & RIDING Specialty: Environmental

Chris Dockery began his insurance career in 2002 with Marsh, where he gained experience in manufacturing and life sciences on both national accounts and middle-market brokerage teams. In 2003, he received his Associate in Risk Management designation; two years later, he joined Brown & Riding as a casualty broker. Seeing the potential for rapid growth in the environmental sector, Dockery gravitated toward it, developing complex programs for construction, manufacturing and real estate clients. Today, he and his colleagues deliver comprehensive environmental exposure and coverage analysis. “I believe what differentiates our team from the competition is an elite customer service model, coupled with a commitment to the environmental specialization,” Dockery says. “Each member of our team works to complete detailed environmental exposure analyses and ultimately delivers timely, comprehensive coverage proposals for our valued clients. For a broker to succeed as a specialist, it is vital that their entire team is committed. I am very grateful to be surrounded by client-focused, dedicated environmental specialists.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 24

15/01/2021 4:55:01 am


2021

TRAVIS BLACKFORD EVP – West Coast wholesale division HULL & COMPANY Specialty: Construction

Travis Blackford started his career with Hull & Company; by 2010, he had been promoted to Denver profit center leader. In 2020, Blackford was tapped to oversee the West Coast region, specializing in construction, product and excess liability placements. Blackford and his team write $30 million in annualized revenue while serving clients in 13 Western states. “I am blessed to work with so many talented teammates daily,” Blackford says. “Given the global headwinds we are facing professionally and personally, it has been inspiring to see how our work family has come together to be a source of strength and execution for each other, our carrier partners and our retail partners. We recognize our challenges are not unique to Hull, so we focus on the ‘controllables’ – our attitude and effort. We challenge ourselves in this virtual environment to improve our processes by 1% daily, weekly and quarterly. We believe in the power of marginal gains and understand that achieving great success is a consistent series of small wins.”

CHRISTA NADLER DANA KELLY Vice president WORLDWIDE FACILITIES Specialty: Workers’ compensation

A workers’ compensation broker specializing in hard-to-place risks, Dana Kelly entered the industry in 2009, launching his career at a Massachusetts-based regional wholesaler. “My first position was an account manager before I became a broker, starting my own book of business in 2014,” he says. “Joining Worldwide Facilities almost three years ago has really given me and our group a better opportunity to work with a broader list of markets and agents throughout the country.” Kelly enjoys the challenge of keeping up with the alwayschanging workers’ comp marketplace – monitoring rate fluctuations and underwriting changes and, of course, the effects of COVID-19 on the sector. “I am more aggressive and put forth a better effort than my competitors,” Kelly says. “My responsibility as a broker is to support the agent and insured in getting them the coverage they need and at the price that gets the deal done. I try to strive to find a solution for every account that comes in the door.”

Area executive vice president, property RISK PLACEMENT SERVICES Specialty: Property

At Risk Placement Services (RPS), Christa Nadler specializes in commercial property coverages for large, complex and hard-to-place risks. In addition to placing all risk coverage, she concentrates on stand-alone flood coverage and terrorism and active shooter coverage. She has established herself in the industry as a trusted expert in these classes. Nadler has spent her entire career in the property brokerage department at RPS. In the beginning, she assisted with a book of business worth more than $30 million, which she helped to grow in each of the three years she was in training. In 2009, Nadler began to develop her own book of business, which she has grown to more than $60 million in written premium. Her book has grown in each of her 11 years at RPS, often by double-digit percentages. “What differentiates me in the industry is my passion for the business,” Nadler says. “I truly love what I do and am excited about continuing to learn and grow in the industry. I bring that passion to every deal that I work on, whether it’s a small account or a large national schedule. I strongly believe that in order to best serve my clients, I have to have an expertise in coverage, and I like helping to win an account on coverage, not just price.”

www.ibamag.com

25


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS PAUL NOWAK Executive vice president, national management and professional liability practice leader BROWN & RIDING Specialty: Healthcare management liability

With more than 25 years of experience as a wholesale broker, Paul Nowak works with clients throughout the US and Canada. Fifteen years ago, he discovered that the healthcare management liability sector was consistently searching for creative solutions and decided to dedicate himself to this area. Since then, Nowak has been very successful in delivering innovative solutions for complex placements. He has cultivated strong partnerships with leading

underwriters and is often able to alleviate carriers’ concerns by either writing new forms or negotiating terms that serve the needs of both the carrier and the insured. In doing so, he has earned a reputation among his clients as a forward-looking strategist who consistently challenges the underwriting community to create cutting-edge policies that meet evolving business needs. “I am an extension of my client’s team,” Nowak says. “The culture at Brown & Riding is incredibly collaborative. So when I work with my client, I am bringing the knowledge and experience of my team in Seattle, the management and professional liability practice group, as well as the entire company of B&R.”

SEBASTIAN SWAIN

JENNIFER MIER

Director

Executive vice president

CRC GROUP

AMWINS BROKERAGE OF TEXAS

Specialty: Cyber

Specialty: Energy

A director with CRC’s Professional Executive Services Group, Sebastian Swain is responsible for placing and managing D&O, EPL, fiduciary liability, crime, kidnap and ransom, cyber and data privacy liability, and E&O/professional liability for a wide variety of industry classes. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in accounting, Swain joined KPMG’s insurance and banking risk practice in Chicago in 2012. In 2015, he moved to Los Angeles to join Hiscox, then headed to Beazley two years later as a territory manager. Charged with leading Beazley’s private enterprise team in the West, Swain helped to drive revenue growth for the company’s cyber product through better broker education, cyber product innovation and the development of an online cyber quoting platform. Swain joined the CRC team in 2019 and currently leads the cyber practice for the Los Angeles executive professional team, bringing exceptional market access, service, risk analysis and coverage focus to retail insurance partners, empowering them with the confidence to outsource professional placements.

26

As a casualty team leader at AmWINS, Jennifer Mier manages and mentors a team of 12 that specializes in the energy sector. Well versed in the vocabulary and terminology of the industry, they communicate well with clients, underwriters and markets alike. Their relationships have resulted in responsiveness and flexible options that others can’t provide in this tight market. “We have a clear understanding of the sector and have forged deep relationships with the markets,” Mier says. “We continue to provide complete towers in this hard market, offering creative solutions to relieve premium pressure. We know what markets are able to write what business and at what rates and levels, enabling us to present the best coverage and pricing available.” With her keen understanding of the market, Mier is able to keep renewals well placed and has seen little to no turnover in her book of business. She fights for renewals with ample coverage and competitive pricing, working in sync with her clients and often knowing what coverage they need before they do.

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 26

15/01/2021 4:55:09 am


2021

JEFF SLIVKA President, RT Environmental & Construction Professional RT SPECIALTY Specialty: Environmental and constructionrelated professional liability

Jeff Slivka leads the production/broking operations at RT Environmental & Construction Professional, helping to establish the strategic direction and vision for the practice. His expertise includes construction-related professional liability insurance, environmental liability

insurance and the risk management services associated with each. Slivka has spent more than 30 years developing his skills at Aon, Gallagher and ECS/XL Environmental. He has assisted more than half of Engineering News-Record’s Top 400 Contractors with managing environmental and/ or professional liability. He has helped businesses address emerging concerns such as building information modeling, indoor air quality, and sustainable design and construction. And he conducts seminars on topics including integrated

project delivery, environmental risk management, project delivery systems, professional risk in construction, and construction-related professional and environmental liability insurance products. “It has been challenging getting traditional contractors to realize that they, too, like environmental contractors, have environmental risk on every project,” Slivka says. “Early on, many didn’t believe such risks existed for traditional contractors, but through years of education, communication and resilience, today the majority of contractors now agree.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 27

27

15/01/2021 4:55:17 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

PETER R. TAFFAE Managing director

KARL OLSON Professional and management liability practice leader

Specialty: Cyber

BURNS & WILCOX BROKERAGE

Peter Taffae is the founder of Executive Perils, which specializes in D&O, cyber/ privacy, intellectual property, crime, fiduciary liability, professional E&O, legal malpractice, and employment practices

Specialty: Professional and management liability

As head of the professional and management liability practice at Burns & Wilcox Brokerage, Karl Olson works with other practice group partners across the US to implement best practices and strategies to help drive the team’s business and revenue growth. Olson has two decades of industry experience and is known for being strategic and thoughtful in all he does. He demonstrates his expertise by building successful company brokering models, proactively identifying coverage improvement opportunities for clients, working closely with carriers to develop forms and proprietary amendatory endorsements for policies, and conducting in-depth market research to support counsel. “A challenge is simply a situation that has inherent difficulty,” Olson says. “My approach is to cultivate an understanding of issues and apply resources as necessary. Everyone has experienced various difficulties in their work; however, I believe a thoughtful approach to creating a win is the rewarding outcome.”

28

EXECUTIVE PERILS

RICHARD L. FLANAGAN II Managing director, Builder’s Risk Practice Group; president, RT Specialty – Orange County RT SPECIALTY Specialty: Builder’s risk

While Richard Flanagan admits that 2020 was “incredibly difficult on every level,” he adds that “I trust my teammates, my trading partners, and they trust me. We see the whole field and try to remain ahead of the curve, and with this, we have

liability insurance (EPLI) for financial institutions and corporate clients. The company made Inc. magazine’s 2011 list of the fastest-growing firms in the US and has garnered numerous other awards over the years. Prior to starting Executive Perils, Taffae was SVP and manager of the financial services department at Minet/Aon for four years. Before that, he spent eight years as SVP and manager of Marsh & McLennan’s FINPRO division and as Pacific South FINPRO regional coordinator. In each of these positions, Taffae focused exclusively on D&O, E&O, EPLI and kidnap & ransom cover. Prior to these positions, he spent five years at Chubb and wrote the original first- and third-party cyber policy in the industry in 1996. Taffae has lectured on D&O, EPLI and cyber topics in a variety of forums and is frequently quoted in industry publications. During his career, he has received numerous awards, including being named to IBA’s Hall of Fame in 2020.

risen to meet the challenges of 2020.” Flanagan is the creator and leader of RT’s national Builder’s Risk Practice Group. Specializing in construction and real estate accounts, including DIC insurance (wind and earthquake) placements, he leads a dedicated team to deliver superior, customized products for retailers nationwide, while creating multiple exclusive proprietary builder’s risk products and managing a book and offices that grow yearly. Flanagan believes his hands-on, personal approach is vitally important to creating lasting relationships. Outside of his work at RT Specialty, Flanagan serves alongside his wife on the board of the Visionary Circle for the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He also serves on the Rising Leaders Council at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Together, he and his wife contribute locally to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County and Second Harvest Food Bank.

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 28

15/01/2021 4:55:15 am


2021

ANTHONY MANNA Assistant vice president NIF GROUP, A JENCAP COMPANY Specialty: Professional lines

Anthony Manna has spent his entire career at NIP Pro, NIF Group’s professional lines division, starting in a training role and working his way up to his current role of assistant VP. Over the past 10 years, he’s dedicated himself to understanding every intricacy of the professional lines insurance life cycle and has used that expertise to expand NIF Pro’s national presence. “It was challenging to expand NIF Pro into regions where we had no existing footprint – primarily the West Coast and New England,” Manna says. “Fortunately, NIF Pro isn’t all things to all people – we are industry-leading professional lines experts, plain and simple. I relied on our company clout, broad market access, brokerage expertise and exceptional service to provide the competitive edge we needed to win over those new agency relationships.”

CHELSEA BERGEN Area assistant vice president – inland marine RISK PLACEMENT SERVICES Specialty: Inland marine

Chelsea Bergen entered the insurance industry on the underwriting side. After 10 years, she wanted to try something different while continuing to build her expertise in the inland marine space. Having developed a longstanding relationship with Risk Placement Services (RPS) as a trading partner, Bergen approached the firm. “It felt like the perfect fit,” she says. “They gave me the opportunity and support to see it through. Four years later, I continue to build out our inland marine and ocean marine book of business while adding members to our team and teaching them about the marine specialty. It has been extremely satisfying to work within the same discipline that I started with on the underwriting side, but now being on a different end of the negotiations.” Bergen believes her success as a broker lies in her ability “to truly understand the risk and anticipate concerns or questions from the underwriting side. Much of the hard-to-place business will be reviewed by several layers of management on the carrier side. If you can address major concerns from the beginning, you have a much better opportunity to start a dialogue around how we can place the risk versus the reasons why the markets want to decline.”

GREG STEINMAN Vice president SYNAPSE SERVICES Specialty: Construction/professional

More than 20 years ago, Greg Steinman began his career as an environmental scientist, performing remedial investigations to identify and eliminate sources of pollutants and hazards affecting the environment and overall health of the population. He used his field experience as a technical foundation to launch his career in environmental insurance at AIG Environmental, where he served as an underwriter and risk analyst. From there, he worked as a broker and then as a wholesale environmental insurance specialist. Currently, at Synapse Services, Steinman collaborates with retail brokers and their insureds to determine risk strategies for environmental, construction and professional risks. “I differentiate myself through my longstanding carrier relationships, extensive coverage knowledge and ability to utilize insurance and other risk management tools to manage environmental, construction and professional liabilities for many of Synapse’s largest and most complex risks,” he says. “I always like to tell my clients that the major difference when working with me is that ‘I broker the deal, not underwrite it.’ No one wants to hear what they can’t have, but rather what they can have.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 29

29

15/01/2021 4:55:19 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS CANAAN CROUCH Managing principal LANDMARK E&S INSURANCE BROKERS, A JENCAP COMPANY Specialty: Environmental

Canaan Crouch has more than 20 years of experience in the environmental consulting and insurance industries. He’s held positions as a hydrogeologist and a project manager for an environmental consulting firm in Southern California. In 2005, Crouch joined the insurance industry as an environmental underwriter in AIG’s Los Angeles office, where he specialized in underwriting complex site pollution risks for a variety of policyholders, including REITs, brownfield developers,

ANAMAE SAAVEDRA

www.ibamag.com

JEFFREY HUBBARD

Broker

Senior vice president, environmental practice leader

Specialty: Management and professional liability

BROWN & RIDING

Anamae Saavedra started out in the insurance industry as a D&O underwriter at the St. Paul Companies in San Francisco. “I worked at a medical clinic doing insurance billing while I was in college,” she says. “So, already having a bit of an insurance background, I interviewed with the St. Paul Companies at the job fair at Santa Clara University. The interviewer mentioned kidnap and ransom insurance, and I became quite fascinated with the specialty side of P&C.” After St. Paul, Saavedra worked as a broker at CRC for 12 years. In her current role as a professional and management liability wholesale broker, she considers herself a partner to her retail agents, always looking out for their interests. “Peace of mind and doing the right thing are the most important things for me, and I think it helps that my clients know that I am honest with them at all times,” she says. Saavedra holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Santa Clara University and is a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society and the International Society of Female Professionals.

30

public entities and corporate clients. Crouch left AIG to take a position at ACE (now Chubb) as a senior underwriter and was later promoted to regional manager, in charge of the environmental underwriting operations for the Western region. He moved to the broker side of the industry in 2012; three years later, he became a founding partner of Landmark E&S Insurance Brokers. “Landmark E&S is composed of former environmental consultants turned environmental insurance underwriters turned environmental insurance wholesalers,” Crouch explains. “We have worked in the industry that we now seek to insure, so we intimately understand the operations and needs of our insureds.”

Specialty: Environmental

With a wealth of experience in the environmental sector, Jeffrey Hubbard joined Brown & Riding in 2018 and leads a team of dedicated environmental specialists as head of the company’s environmental practice group. In addition to his experience in risk management with a building products firm, Hubbard has spent more than 25 years as an environmental underwriter, manager or broker, concentrating primarily on complex risk and high-hazard operations. “My first experience with environmental insurance was in risk management,” Hubbard says. “I worked for a firm that operated cast iron foundries, and one of my first tasks was to go through old general liability policies to catalog what, if any, pollution exclusion was on the policy so we could pursue coverage with our old carriers for some Superfund claims. It was great – a giant coverage jigsaw puzzle – and I was hooked. When AIG gave me the opportunity to learn the specialty as an underwriter, I jumped at the chance and have loved it ever since.” Hubbard’s experience includes residential and industrial contractors, as well as refining, transportation and production of petroleum products. He also has extensive experience with brownfield redevelopment, hospitality and real estate portfolios, and other heavy industries such as foundries, metal plating, and chemical manufacturing.


2021

STEVE ROBINSON National cyber practice leader RISK PLACEMENT SERVICES Specialty: Cyber liability

Steve Robinson has served as the national cyber practice leader at Risk Placement Services (RPS) since 2018, leading product development, marketing and educational efforts related to the placement of cyber risk insurance throughout the US. Since 2007, Robinson has been the area president of RPS Technology & Cyber, which is part of the company’s executive lines division, based out of Cambridge, Maryland. RPS was among the first wholesale brokerages to specialize in cyber risk insurance. In 2014, the firm revolutionized the cyber insurance procurement process with its award-winning RPSSmallBusiness. com platform. This innovation, coupled with the expertise of a large national cyber brokerage practice, has enabled RPS to

capture more than 14% of the US market share for stand-alone cyber insurance policy placements, according to A.M. Best. RPS’ command of the cyber risk insurance landscape has propelled the firm to the top of the wholesale insurance community in this rapidly developing area of risk. Still, it hasn’t been without its challenges. “With dozens of insurers offering cyber coverage, our retail agency partners became highly confused,” Robinson says. “Wording inconsistencies can lead to uncovered claims, unnecessary expense and E&O exposure. In 2020, we created RPS CyberCLICK, a proprietary digital tool that analyzes policies from a variety of markets. It’s been a game-changer.”

If you’re ssll using tradiional premium financing, the profits you SHOULD be earning are simply going up in smoke. Keep ALL of the the profit from the premium financing you arrange - with no addiional staff, workload, expensive sooware, or experrse in premium financing needed.

Unlock the hidden profit in premium financing No commission or rebate program offered by youfinance arrange. tradiional premium companies comes close to the revenue our turnkey soluuon has generated for our clients for over 30 years. Put the profit from premium financing back where it belongs - in YOUR pocket. Call Us Today to Get Started!

You earn all the profit, we do all the work. 800-844-2678

costfinancial.com

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 31

31

15/01/2021 4:55:29 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS

MATTHEW CARPENTER Executive vice president AMWINS BROKERAGE OF THE MIDWEST Specialty: Product recall

Matthew Carpenter has specialized in product recall insurance for the past nine years. It’s a tricky niche: New buyers are often reluctant to purchase it, and they often don’t understand that product

SCOTT SHAPIRO Vice president RT SPECIALTY Specialty: Professional lines – D&O

Scott Shapiro is a vice president on Team Reiner/Richmond within RT ProExec Chicago, where his focus is public and private D&O. Shapiro began his career at AIG in 2007, starting as an intern and

32

contamination and recalls are major risks or realize the valuable protection afforded by these policies. Carpenter and his team take frequent misunderstandings as an opportunity to educate prospective clients about the high severity of the risk and the financial benefits a product recall policy can provide. They also review current product recall placements to gain insight into coverage gaps and find opportunities for improvement. “We are the only wholesale brokerage team in the country that specializes exclusively in product recall coverage,” Carpenter says. “We spend every minute of our professional lives learning, advancing and practicing our craft. Others may have some product recall focus, but they are doing other things, too.” Carpenter constantly finds new ways to improve his knowledge and abilities, understanding that to offer true value and real specialization, you must read policy wordings, write every day, develop new systems, speak with industry experts, participate in industry events and brainstorm new ideas. 

finishing as a senior underwriting specialist when he left in June 2019. After more than a decade of service to AIG, Shapiro realized his favorite aspect of the insurance industry was making deals and working directly with clients, prompting him to move from underwriting to the brokering side. He has been able to use the knowledge he garnered from underwriting – including niche D&O placements for bankruptcies, multinational placements, IPOs, and all things D&O, EPL, fiduciary, crime, and K&R – and apply it to his current role as an RT broker. “The biggest differentiator from the competition is our team,” Shapiro says. “We are the hardest-working and most dedicated people in the wholesale insurance industry, and we do not stop until there is a solution for every deal – even if that means working around the clock. We are extremely collaborative and full of knowledge across all executive liability lines of coverage.”

LEKHA ZAVERI Assistant vice president NIF GROUP, A JENCAP COMPANY Specialty: Construction

“When most New York City businesses shut down this year due to COVID-19, we received hundreds of requests to cancel insurance policies,” Lekha Zaveri says. “New York State mandated that finance companies couldn’t cancel policies, but E&S carriers weren’t subject to the same rules. I had to leverage my relationships with the carriers, finance companies and agents to keep their policies active and in good standing.” This is just the latest example in Zaveri’s long history of keeping clients happy. She began her career as a standard lines underwriter nearly 40 years ago; while working for AIG and CNA, she racked up experience in admitted package markets and monoline casualty insurance. After transitioning to a large multiline wholesaler as a marketing representative, Zaveri wanted to make a bigger impact with agency partners. She worked with top producers in construction, hospitality and real estate to learn the ropes and became a producer in 2012. Over the past nine years, Zaveri has been a fast-paced, hard-working, expert broker, and the book of business she’s accumulated is a reflection of that. She works with her retail agents in a true partnership by examining the coverage needs of the insured’s operations and reviewing their existing program to try to market their accounts competitively.

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 32

15/01/2021 4:55:31 am


2021

CRAIG MOUNT National program director GUARD PRO INSURANCE, A VENTURE PACIFIC INSURANCE BRAND Specialty: Security guard industry

Technology gave Craig Mount an advantage during COVID-19 – in 2020, he achieved a 20% organic growth rate by leveraging a proprietary marketing and online quoting system based on the on-demand insurance platform brokkrr to facilitate “frictionless” customer experiences. “Integrating his technology platform to solve for quoting, comparing and binding coverage allows clients to ensure they contain their costs, without sacrificing coverage, from the convenience of their homes,” a colleague says. “He also has developed a system to contain runaway claims cost by deploying triage at point of the claim.” Mount is considered one of the top three brokers in the security guard space; his technical insight and expertise comes from more than two decades spent specializing in the security industry for Guard Pro. During that time, he has expanded the program into all 50 US states and has added offerings such as benefits, surety, 401(k) and personal lines.

ALICIA CALHOUN

ADRIAN SMITH

Senior vice president

Managing director

XPT SPECIALTY

BURNS & WILCOX BROKERAGE

Specialty: Energy, oil and gas

Specialty: E&S casualty

At Burns & Wilcox Brokerage, Adrian Smith’s main area of expertise is excess & surplus casualty brokerage. He oversees the Burns & Wilcox Brokerage Chicago team and collaborates with other brokerage specialists across the US to strategize business growth. In the four years Smith has been with the company, both his business portfolio and the Chicago office have grown exponentially. Overall, Smith has more than 25 years of brokerage experience. His business portfolio has a casualty emphasis on construction, real estate, heavy wheels and product liability. And he is passionate about delivering a superior customer experience to his clients through a team-based approach. “I believe both a strong work ethic and the drive to win are paramount as a transactional wholesale broker,” Smith says. “Continuing to develop and focus on industry specialization and deep underwriting relationships is also key to success within these business sectors.”

Alicia Calhoun has been a stalwart in the insurance industry for more than 22 years, with experience divided equally between independent retail and wholesale insurance. Calhoun began her insurance career in 1999 with an independent agent in Manchester, New Hampshire. She became a student of insurance, earning multiple designations (CIC, CRM, CRIS and MLIS), and she continues to improve her craft. Now a senior vice president and broker at XPT Specialty, she is tasked with growing a new book of business in the oil and gas arena. Despite a new and difficult landscape, Calhoun is well on her way to repeating her past successes. “One of many challenges I have faced is working in an industry where others claim to have a specialty,” she says. “My approach has always been with the insured’s interest in mind. My programs are put together with passion and understanding for not only the insured’s exposures, but also their appetite for risk. Not every quote is created equal. I’ve conquered my approach by mentoring, teaching and being transparent. It has yielded credibility, trust and, most importantly, integrity with my industry partners and peers.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 33

33

15/01/2021 4:55:34 am


SPECIAL REPORT

TOP SPECIALIST BROKERS JEFFREY JARBOE Senior vice president, broker BROWN & RIDING Specialty: Healthcare medical malpractice

Jeffrey Jarboe is a seasoned specialist within the healthcare sector who has been crafting custom solutions for unique and complex accounts for more than two decades. For the past 14 years, he has been the practice area leader of Brown & Riding’s healthcare specialty. Jarboe has developed a reputation for exceptional client service and is consistently acknowledged as one of the top producers of healthcare medical malpractice business by the leading medical malpractice carriers in the country. He excels at crafting high-quality submissions that are thorough and comprehensive, and his extensive product knowledge and expertise continue to help retailers secure the best possible coverage for insureds. “I have a ‘no surprises’ philosophy and am very proactive about keeping clients informed about their specific accounts and the marketplace,” Jarboe says. “For the past three years running, I have been sending clients end-of-year market updates, and I don’t shy away from preparing them for potential bad news.”

ROB KENNEY

THOMAS ORABONA

Area senior vice president

Vice president

RISK PLACEMENT SERVICES

SYNAPSE SERVICES

Specialty: Architects and engineers E&O

Specialty: Environmental

Rob Kenney started his career as a D&O underwriter with Executive Risk and AIG. He later joined a wholesale brokerage firm, where he helped build a diversified book of professional and management liability business. Kenney and his partners merged their firm with Risk Placement Services (RPS) in 2016. Since then, he has been a member of the RPS Bar Club for top producers each year and prides himself on “combining the experience of an entrepreneur with the advantages and buying power of RPS.” Kenney’s current team has been together for eight years; he and the most senior member of the team have worked together for the last 16 years. They have grown their book every year they have been together, and 2020 will be one of their most successful years ever. “In the age of COVID, face-to-face meetings are obviously not possible; however, Rob maintains close contact – via phone, Webex, etc. – with his key underwriting contacts,” a company representative says.

34

One of the most experienced and knowledgeable environmental specialists in the industry, Thomas Orabona joined Synapse Services in 2016. He started his career more than two decades ago at AIG Environmental, where he was eventually responsible for the EAGLE (Environmental and General Liability Exposures) product, along with 15 regional underwriting offices focusing on environmental casualty, excess, and auto for corporate, middlemarket, and national accounts. Orabona underwrote accounts, supervised underwriters and was “in the weeds” on every claim. “My role at AIG gave me an unmatched viewpoint on the appetite and internal underwriting deliberations with the largest book of combined-form casualty business in the industry,” he says. “From this experience, I gained the technical knowledge to negotiate important coverage enhancements that other brokers just don’t know about or understand. Over 25 years, I’ve customized coverage for a wide array of manufacturers, distributors and process operations.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 34

15/01/2021 4:55:39 am


2021

ELISSA DOROFF Managing director, cyber technical leader NFP Specialty: Cyber liability

For some, working remotely during COVID-19 means taking Zoom meetings in their living rooms. For cyber liability specialist Elissa Doroff, it means managing increased exposure to privacy concerns, business continuity risks and even ransomware attacks. Fortunately, Doroff has nearly two decades of experience in the field. After getting a law degree and briefly pursing tax and estate planning, she transitioned to claims counsel at AIG. There, she focused on media and technology liability and then data security and privacy – essentially working to resolve large data breaches. “Having had no prior experience in insurance or as a litigator, I realized early on that I needed to advocate for my own career advancement,” she says. Doroff went on to become a broker at Marsh & McLennan and then an underwriting and product manager at AXA XL. In her current role at NFP, she’s a claims advocate and consultant for technology, privacy and cyber. “I have been fortunate to have worked on all sides of cyber liability insurance – claims, broking, underwriting and product management,” Doroff says. “Having extensive experience in all of these areas has uniquely positioned me to understand companies’ exposure and help create tailored solutions via insurance and risk management resources to prepare for, respond to and mitigate damages caused by an incident.”

www.ibamag.com

18-35_Specialist Brokers 2021-SUBBED.indd 35

35

15/01/2021 4:55:42 am


FEATURES

SECTOR FOCUS: CANNABIS

MORE Act, more action IBA talked to experts in the cannabis sector about how the MORE Act of 2019 could decriminalize the drug on the federal level and persuade more insurers to enter the market THE CANNABIS insurance sector could be headed for greener pastures in 2021, thanks to recent legislative shifts that have paved a path toward decriminalizing the drug at the federal level. In November’s election, five new states legalized cannabis consumption, making recreational use legal in 15 states (plus the District of Columbia) and medical use legal in 35. In December, the United Nations removed cannabis from its Schedule IV list of highly addictive and destructive drugs. And, in a historic move, the US House of Representatives voted to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, a social justiceoriented bill that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. With the Senate now in Democratic hands, the MORE Act could be signed into law in the first 100 days of the new Biden-Harris administration. (Vice President-elect Harris was a sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.) Why all the legislative leaps? Over the past 10 years, there’s been a sea change in public perception of marijuana. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, most Americans now believe that marijuana should be fully legalized, and a 2019 Pew poll found that a whopping 91% believe in legalizing medical marijuana. “Ninety-one percent – I don’t know if the

36

pope polls at 91%,” says Doug Banfelder, an executive producer with Nine Point Strategies, which provides risk management services to the cannabis industry. “That’s about the highest rate of public approval that you’re going to see. So the reputational risk is now really practically nil for most.”

Lingering issues in cannabis insurance Banfelder, a veteran of the Arizona and West Coast cannabis insurance markets for more than a decade, has seen public perception change during that time, and he’s been an advocate for essentially using state law to protest federal law. (His motto: “It’s my honor to enable your civil disobedience.”)

In terms of the current insurance market, he says he’s mainly concerned with coverages like D&O and auto insurance, which he sees as challenging due to ongoing legal issues and stigmas. With so many cannabis companies going public right now, D&O remains difficult to acquire and expensive. And stigma still taints the cannabis delivery space – public perception is that cannabis workers probably use their own product and could therefore present a danger on the roads. “The cannabis industry needs to prove to the public that having drivers delivering cannabis doesn’t impose an unreasonable risk on society,” Banfelder says. Still, he believes that as more time passes,

FAST FACTS: THE MORE ACT Decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level

Provides funding for small cannabis businesses

Gives states the power to set their own cannabis policies

Prevents deportations for marijuana convictions

Requires federal courts to expunge previous marijuana convictions

Prohibits denial of federal housing benefits based on marijuana offense or use

Authorizes a 5% tax to fund programs in communities most affected by the War on Drugs

Source: Medical Marijuana Inc.

www.ibamag.com

36-39_Sector Focus_Cannabis-SUBBED.indd 36

15/01/2021 4:25:53 am


NEW STATES WHERE CANNABIS IS LEGAL In the November 2020 general election, voters in five states approved the legalization of recreational and/or medical marijuana. Arizona Legalized recreational marijuana (medical marijuana was already legal) Mississippi Legalized medical marijuana only Montana Legalized recreational marijuana (medical marijuana was already legal) New Jersey Legalized recreational marijuana (medical marijuana was already legal) South Dakota Legalized both recreational and medical marijuana Source: Business Insider

“The more legal this industry is – the more research, the more science, the more insurance – the safer this industry is going to be” Marc Goldenberg, Aspen Cannabis Insurance the market is getting more realistic in its reflection of actual risk. “One thing I’m not seeing as much of as I used to with leases is lessors requiring $3 million or $5 million in excess coverage,” he says. “I never understood why they thought that was necessary.” Marc Goldenberg, the owner of Aspen Cannabis Insurance, concurs with Banfelder’s assessment of D&O and is also worried about the dearth of agricultural coverage. But one of

his chief concerns is product liability insurance, which he says is very expensive because no one knows how to rate the risk. “If you go to a neighborhood dispensary and you get a product, you’re assuming that product is safe,” he says. “We see product recalls all the time: turkeys, meats, chicken, salmon. If it happens with cannabis and you get sick, who do you think you’re suing? Well, if John Doe the cannabis business owner

doesn’t have product liability insurance, your kid, your grandma, your wife, your husband is [out of luck].” Overall, Goldenberg sees similarities between insurance and the banking sector, which also struggles to provide products and services to the cannabis industry due to legal roadblocks. “The carriers are not going to do things, just like the banks, because it’s not worth the risk and all up to state and federal laws,” he says. “It’s the same with banking – insurance is its brother, and it has the same problems.” Because banks have been unwilling to provide accounts, says Matt Engle, a risk strategist and insurance broker at Insurance Office of America (IOA), it’s often forced owners to store cash on the premises. According to the Center for Insurance Policy and Research, approximately 70% of cannabis businesses

www.ibamag.com

36-39_Sector Focus_Cannabis-SUBBED.indd 37

37

15/01/2021 4:25:58 am


FEATURES

SECTOR FOCUS: CANNABIS

“More competition is probably going to drive down prices and bring in better coverage because you’ve got more people trying to outdo one another” Matt Engle, Insurance Office of America operate on a cash-only basis and have no formal banking relationship. Moreover, insurance products are limited as carriers wait for legal issues to be resolved to double down on the market. “The insurance for the cannabis industry – it’s challenging, very challenging,” Engle says. “You have to know what you’re doing and where to go to help an operator structure the right program. There’s not a lot of off-the-shelf type insurance programs out there.”

What happens next If the MORE Act passes, decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, the cost of coverage will inevitably drop, prompting greater activity in the cannabis space. “More carriers will enter the marketplace,” Engle predicts. “They will begin offering

38

property coverage, general liability, product liability – in the states that are legal – because it’s going to remove it from the Controlled Substances Act and leave cannabis policy up to the states.” Engle also anticipates a decrease in risks, as cannabis producers and dispensaries will have to jump through fewer hoops for daily operations. He predicts that there will be less cash inside the premises, as money will be able to be funneled through banks. He also believes there will be an increase in trade: As coverage becomes significantly more beneficial for operators, more players will be seeking coverage, which will lead to an increase in revenue for insurance carriers. Finally, he believes product liability will see a spike, making delivery insurance and logistics more valuable for operators.

“Then you’ve got competition and economics 101,” Engle says. “More competition is probably going to drive down prices and bring in better coverage because you’ve got more people trying to outdo one another.” Banfelder likewise foresees a shakeup in the industry. “We’re going to see a large number of people and enterprises open up and maybe get absorbed or fail or go out of business,” he says. “So it’s kind of the creative destruction we talk about with capitalism.” As the market opens up and reputational risk continues to decline, Banfelder also anticipates greater access to D&O and a mitigation of lingering concerns regarding auto and delivery coverage. Meanwhile, Goldenberg sees the benefits in policy details. “From an insurance standpoint, it’s 70 pages of legal jargon to not cover you – that’s what insurance is,” he says. “Cannabis and weed and things that are illegal are part of those exclusions, so when cannabis, marijuana, CBD, all of these terms get pulled out of these insurance policies, that’s going to make products cheaper. That’s going to make clients more available to get products. That’s going to make employers have correct employer liability insurance and product insurance.” That, in turn, should help to resolve the current problems with product liability insurance. “Every consumer wants to consume good products, and every business owner wants to sell good products – whether it’s at Whole Foods or it’s cannabis,” he says. While political and legislative hurdles remain for the ultimate passage of the MORE Act, the headwinds appear to be limited, and it seems to be just a matter of time before the lingering legal issues are smoothed out and the industry can continue to develop in a more mature manner. “The more legal this industry is – the more research, the more science, the more insurance – the safer this industry is going to be,” Goldenberg says.

www.ibamag.com

36-39_Sector Focus_Cannabis-SUBBED.indd 38

15/01/2021 4:26:02 am

IBA K


PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE BUSINESS PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

PRINT Examining safety professionals’ mental health • Safety in a gig economy • Terminations for OHS infractions

Q4

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 • WWW.THESAFETYMAG.COM

NOVEMBER 2019 | LEXPERT.CA | $16.95

THE BUSINESS QUARTERLY FOR LAWYERS

WWW.CANADIANLAWYERMAG.COM ISSUE 43.10 | $11.95

WWW.CANADIANLAWYERMAG.COM/INHOUSE ISSUE 14.06

SAFETY LEADER YEAR

?

THE END OF AN

Companies and products that prevailed among their competitors

CROSS EXAMINED

Kirsten Thompson on going from technical to creative in advising on data strategies

IP IN M&A

KEEP BLOGGING

Times have changed and blogs must change with them, writes Steve Szentesi

1

01_Cover-SUBBED3.indd 2

PM#41261516

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019

RISING STARS

negotiations with multi-jurisdictional parties

READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS

PM#41261516

PM# 41261516

Mike Doyle excels at promoting safety both at work and in his community

LEADING LAWYERS UNDER 40

FOREIGN INVESTORS HEAD TO CANADA How general counsel are leading strategic

The customs of the legal profession are feeling the weight of 21st-century stresses

OF THE

Due diligence is key when acquiring intellectual property and there are pitfalls to avoid

TOP 10 BOUTIQUES Corporate and Immigration boutiques offer personalized service

ADDING VALUE

Two systems and languages leads to better problemsolving tools, write lawyers at CMHC PM# 41261516

29/10/2019 3:17:55 AM

DIGITAL

EVENTS 2020

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT US AT WWW.KEYMEDIA.COM

MPAS

PUBLISH AWARDS

TABBIES

AZBEES

THE BIG 95

COPA

APEX

MAGGIES

EXCELLENCE AWARDS

BELL AWARDS

NMA: B2B

SYDNEY | AUCKLAND | DENVER | LONDON | MANILA | SINGAPORE | TORONTO

36-39_Sector Focus_Cannabis-SUBBED.indd 39 IBA KM Brand.indd 1

15/01/2021 11:32:05 4:26:05 am 27/10/2020


FEATURES

BROKERAGE INSIGHT

Creating value amid turmoil Susan Ogrodnik-Smith of HUB International New England tells IBA how the pandemic has impacted both the private client business and the work of insurance advisors IBA: How have you helped to grow the private client group at HUB New England in your current role as president of the practice? Susan Ogrodnik-Smith: I’ve been in the marketplace, focused exclusively on affluent families and families that have more complex risk management needs, [for about 30 years]. I started out at Chubb Insurance – that was my training ground, and you could get no better experience than working there. I had the chance to travel across the country and meet with a number of families, and I had my finger on the pulse in terms of learning what was really important to them. I loved working with the families so much that I moved over to HUB International, and I’ve been here for about 15 years, working directly with families and representing families all over the world, focusing on their unique personal insurance needs.

IBA: What unique exposures have private clients faced this year? SOS: Our role, more than ever, is to help our families become more resilient and able to deal with some of the curve balls that our increasingly complex world has presented. One of the things that we’ve seen in the COVID environment is people who are creating pandemic learning pods. For many,

40

the role of educating their families is falling on them, and where there’s not a high degree of trust in local school systems, a lot of people are hiring teachers on their own and banding together with other families. We’ve seen some of our families have learning groups of between five and 15 children in their homes, so we’re seeing our families open themselves up to some unique risk, in terms of making sure that the teacher has professional liability coverage and general liability coverage. Many of our clients are hiring employees, such as nannies, elder care services for their parents, or cooks – and again, opening themselves up to some additional risk, whether it’s potential theft in the home or injury on the resident’s premises, so there’s a need for employment practices liability for any alleged harassment and wrongful termination or failure to promote. As more people are using smartphones

and personal computers, we’re [also] seeing a need for cyber coverage. People are opening themselves up to potential financial damages, but more importantly reputational damage, which is sometimes harder to put a financial number on. It can be instantaneous and very difficult to roll back if a cybercriminal obtains personal data on a high-profile business individual, local CEO or C-suite executive. Our role is to prevent that from happening by educating our families and the advisors who serve them about ways that families can better protect themselves against these issues.

IBA: How has the private client group at HUB helped insureds navigate this complex risk landscape? SOS: What makes the job interesting and how I think we’re different from other brokers out there is that if you would talk to any of my 20 team members about this role of dealing

ABOUT HUB INTERNATIONAL NEW ENGLAND HUB International’s office in Wilmington, Massachusetts, provides regional insurance services, products and expertise, backed by the resources of a global brokerage. HUB New England joined the group in 2000 and has since acquired key partners in the region to expand its programs, specialties and capabilities. HUB New England encompasses some of the most well-known and successful insurance agencies in the area, and its business model gives clients access to the benefits of a national network at a local level.

www.ibamag.com

40-41_Agency Insight-SUBBED.indd 40

15/01/2021 3:53:56 am


WHAT HUB’S PRIVATE CLIENT GROUP PROVIDES Homeowner’s insurance for high-value homes, multiple properties and coastal properties Personal excess liability Coverage of valuable articles Obligations for employers of domestic staff Auto insurance for vehicles, including antique, collector and recreational cars, motorcycles, and motor homes Watercraft insurance for all types and sizes of watercraft Professional liability insurance

“Our role, more than ever, is to help families become more resilient and able to deal with some of the curve balls that our increasingly complex world has presented” with more sophisticated families, and especially in this COVID environment, [they would say that they’re] part prognosticator, protector and psychiatrist to ensure that our clients are properly taken care of. We built our practice out very slowly. When I came here, there were three of us; now there are 20 of us, and I think our clients really value our approach. We take a very practical approach in evaluating risk, but we’re also creative and we think outside the box for our clients who have some more

unique exposures. In building out our team, I’ve looked to have people who have experience in working with this client segment – they have a client service orientation, they like to help people, and they care about our clients and their families.

IBA: How has COVID-19 impacted the work of HUB advisors? SOS: We value education and making sure that in this rapidly evolving, complex world, we’re educated on all the different areas of

Life insurance for high-net-worth individuals risk. Watching the pandemic, a lot of our families have different priorities now, so the role of the advisor is a lot more prominent than it has been. We’re seeing a lot of our clients buy real estate in the pandemic, and we’ve had an incredibly busy year. A lot of our clients have had money on the sidelines, and they’re buying a place for their families to safely go, [and] people are calling us [with] the property & casualty spend on their minds. They’re always price-conscious to some degree, but our families tend to be value buyers, and they’re looking to us for our assistance, in terms of “Do I buy this house or that house?” Or “Am I going to need earthquake coverage?” “Tell me about brushfire – is that going to be covered?” “Do I need flood coverage?” So we’re having more granular discussions.

www.ibamag.com

40-41_Agency Insight-SUBBED.indd 41

41

15/01/2021 3:54:02 am


FEATURES

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS: WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Brokers reveal the best workers’ compensation policies (and carriers) in the industry 42

www.ibamag.com


DESPITE THE COVID-19 pandemic’s huge impact on the economy, workers’ compensation insurance providers are emerging from a very profitable 2020, as the drop in claims substantially outpaced the drop in premium revenue. (COVID-19-related claims have amounted to 7.4% of all paid workers’ comp claims as of November.) According to Fitch, workers’ compensation has been the most profitable commercial line for carriers over the last five years. The workers’ comp market in the US is currently worth $56.4 billion, up from $42 billion in 2010. The current surge in profitability is now leading to price competition among insurers, causing the market to soften as businesses stop buying insurance for laid-off workers. “There are several companies still offering commission incentives on smaller or lighter office-type risks to get that business in the door,” one broker told IBA’s research team.

What’s important when choosing a workers’ comp policy Workers’ compensation is an essential cover for businesses, but when choosing a policy, what are the most important features for brokers? Claims. IBA’s research revealed that claims processing is the most vital consideration for brokers: 91.5% of those surveyed rated the claims experience as either important or very important when considering a policy. Carriers like Safety National were recognized several times for speed of processing and reimbursement, while Canadian-owned

Zenith Insurance’s claims team was also referred to in glowing terms. Expertise. If claims handling is number one in importance, underwriting expertise is a very close second – 87.7% of brokers rated it as important or very important. Price. Despite the focus on price in so many types of insurance, competitive pricing was only the third most important factor for brokers when choosing a workers’ comp insurer – 85.4% of brokers said it is important or very important. Ease of doing business. One of the most critical factors that our researchers heard about over and over from brokers was how easy a workers’ compensation insurance provider was to deal with. When respondents expounded on why they gave specific insurers high marks, customer service and ease of doing business shone through. “The QBE team have helped my clients time and time again. They are experienced, trusted and provide great service,” said one broker. “I put our preference with carriers who are easy to work with and [have] strong communication, customer focus and responsiveness,” said another. That key connection between insurer and broker can make or break the experience for a client. A strong connection means brokers can get the information they need for their clients and handle requests and claims efficiently. When asked why a certain carrier provides the best customer service, one broker simply responded, “They’re just easy to do business with.”

WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO BROKERS WHEN CHOOSING A WORKERS’ COMP POLICY? Very important

Important

Neutral

Unimportant

Very unimportant

Claims processing

Underwriting expertise

Competitive rates

Access to risk management partners

Available technology

Range of products

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

www.ibamag.com

43


FEATURES

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS THE BEST WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CARRIERS IBA’s inaugural 5-Star Excellence Awards in Workers’ Compensation celebrates companies with outstanding product offerings, as well as firstclass broker support and industry knowledge. The awards give brokers insight into the partners their peers choose to work with, offering invaluable inside information to aid in selecting an insurer.

HOW WE CHOOSE THE BEST ‘Market-leading’ is a phrase many insurance companies like to use when describing their products. Now 25 companies can claim that title on the back of hard market research from the people who matter most: insurance brokers. To select the best workers’ compensation insurance carriers for 2021, IBA enlisted some of the industry’s top experts. Throughout a 15-week process, our research team conducted one-on-one interviews with specialist brokers and surveyed thousands more within IBA’s network to gain a keen understanding of what insurance professionals think of current market offerings. Brokers were first quizzed on what features they thought were most important in workers’ compensation policies and then asked how the insurance providers they dealt with rated on those attributes. Carriers were measured on the strength of their relationships with brokers, ability to handle claims, underwriting expertise and, most importantly, the strength of the individual products they provide.

NUMBER OF AWARD WINNERS BY CATEGORY Best standard cover

Workers’ comp for manufacturing 13

Best excess & surplus cover

13

Workers’ comp for tech companies 5

Loss-sensitive programs

13

Claims processing 14

Loss control services

14

Customer service 9

11

Workers’ comp for construction

Competitive premiums 17

Workers’ comp for hospitality

Most flexible 14

44

www.ibamag.com

13

11


BEST STANDARD COVER Workers’ compensation policies are, by their very design, standard. There are very few options to broaden coverage on standard workers’ comp policies. “This is by design,” one broker told IBA. “The National Council on Compensation Insurance and the other rating bureaus have standardized this form. The limit on the policy is not meant for a claim for an employee – it’s meant to pay lawsuits or third parties. This is one policy that rarely has any changes because most cases are settled in court and rely on precedents.”

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

LOSS-SENSITIVE PROGRAMS Loss-sensitive programs, in which premiums can vary depending on any claims that occur during the insured period, are best suited to companies with a higher risk tolerance. These programs can provide an added incentive to emphasize safety by rewarding businesses with low claims activity. However, they can sometimes cost businesses more than a guaranteed plan, so it’s important that companies understand their risk tolerance when selecting this type of plan.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

AIG

QBE Insurance Group

AIG

QBE Insurance Group

Applied Underwriters

The Hartford

AmTrust Financial

Safety National

Chubb

Travelers

Berkshire Hathaway

The Hartford

CNA Insurance

Zenith Insurance

Chubb

Travelers

Everest Insurance

Everest Insurance

Zenith Insurance

ICW Group

ICW Group

Zurich Insurance Group

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Method Insurance Services

Method Insurance Services

Midwestern Insurance Alliance

LOSS CONTROL SERVICES BEST EXCESS & SURPLUS COVER Excess & surplus cover is designed to minimize the risk for self-insured employers in the event of a claim. There are generally two categories of E&S cover available: aggregate, which will provide coverage once a cumulative figure from losses is reached, or specific, which will provide a cap on any single claim. While this type of cover is very specialized, the handful of 5-Star winners in this category have shown they are able to go above and beyond with both product and service.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AIG

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Berkshire Hathaway

Safety National

Chubb

While carriers’ loss control and risk mitigation offerings weren’t among the most important factors identified by brokers when choosing a workers’ comp policy, the ultimate effect of loss control services – lower premiums – was among their top concerns. “Loss control is pretty standard across the board,” one broker told IBA. “Most places offer a nurse hotline now and a website where insureds can download safety info and toolbox talks, but there aren’t a ton of standout offerings.”

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AIG Applied Underwriters Chubb Everest Insurance ICW Group Key Risk, a Berkley Company

Midwestern Insurance Alliance QBE Insurance Group Travelers Zenith Insurance Zurich Insurance Group

www.ibamag.com

45


FEATURES

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS WORKERS’ COMP FOR CONSTRUCTION

WORKERS’ COMP FOR MANUFACTURING

The construction industry is a major consumer of workers’ compensation insurance, and the sector is home to many specialized niches, each with its own market appetite. Although COVID-19 hit many industries hard, construction wasn’t one of them. “Construction never really stopped, especially in the Southern states,” says Kevin Clary, VP of risk management at Amerisure.

Manufacturers account for more than 11% of the country’s output, employing 8.5% of the total US workforce. It’s a substantial market to provide insurance for and one that carriers have a good appetite for. “Most carriers really like this industry and will go to bat for it, but it’s heavily dependent on the whole account,” one broker said. “These accounts tend not to switch agents or carriers often, so while it’s desirable, unless you specialize in it, you’re probably not seeing a lot of it.”

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AF Group

Method Insurance Services

AIG

Midwestern Insurance Alliance

AmTrust Financial Applied Underwriters Chubb CNA Insurance Everest Insurance Key Risk, a Berkley Company

AIG

Liberty Mutual Insurance

AmTrust Financial

Method Insurance Services

Nationwide

Applied Underwriters

QBE Insurance Group

QBE Insurance Group

Chubb

The Hartford

The Hartford

Hanover

Travelers

Travelers

Key Risk, a Berkley Company

Zenith Insurance

Zenith Insurance

WORKERS’ COMP FOR HOSPITALITY The hospitality industry has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so has its workers’ comp market. “There are still a few carriers either limiting or blocking access for writing these policies, though most are renewing what is on their books,” one broker told IBA. When business picks up again, it’s all the more important that brokers choose carriers that can provide hospitality clients with great service.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

AIG AmTrust Financial Applied Underwriters Berkshire Hathaway Chubb Hanover

46

www.ibamag.com

Zurich Insurance Group

Zurich Insurance Group

Liberty Mutual Insurance

AF Group

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

WORKERS’ COMP FOR TECH COMPANIES Tech is booming, and insurance carriers are fighting to win workers’ comp business in this industry. “They want as much of this on the books as possible,” one broker told IBA. There are multiple reasons for this. One is that workers’ comp, especially for office classifications, is generally desirable. Another is that there “aren’t a ton of tech-specific codes,” so in many cases, tech employees are classified in cheaper clerical roles. “Duties are simply sitting at a computer – our best-case scenario,” the broker said.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AIG

Method Insurance Services

AmTrust Financial

QBE Insurance Group

Chubb

The Hartford

Everest Insurance

Travelers

Hanover

Zenith Insurance

Key Risk, a Berkley Company

Zurich Insurance Group

Travelers Zenith Insurance

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Key Risk, a Berkley Company Liberty Mutual Insurance Method Insurance Services QBE Insurance Group The Hartford


Pam Beaulieu

Chris Foy

Matt Zender

AMTRUST FINANCIAL SERVICES Headquarters: New York, NY Year founded: 1998 Number of employees: 5,250 Number of offices: 100+ Leadership: Chris Foy, EVP, Head of North American Commercial P&C; Pam Beaulieu, EVP, Workers’ Compensation Underwriting; Matt Zender, SVP, Workers’ Compensation Strategy AMTRUST FINANCIAL SERVICES is a niche specialty

property & casualty insurance company with more than 5,200 employees worldwide. AmTrust is a top writer of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States and the leading carrier in the small business workers’ comp market. Since the beginning, the company’s mission has remained the same: to deliver outstanding insurance and risk solutions to clients and partners around the world through innovation, niche expertise and unparalleled service. AmTrust has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) with

a stable outlook and a financial size of XV from A.M. Best. AmTrust invests in providing agents with the tools they need to succeed, allowing them to offer their clients the best coverage and customer service, including customized, affordable coverage options; superior loss control services; and responsive claims handling. AmTrust’s extensive network, unparalleled experience and strong reputation for serving small businesses give agents a competitive advantage in providing workers’ compensation and complementary coverages for small business owners.

www.ibamag.com

47


FEATURES

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS CLAIMS PROCESSING

COMPETITIVE PREMIUMS

Brokers want to know that carriers will be there for their clients in the event of a claim – brokers told IBA that carriers’ claims handling abilities were the most important factor when selecting a workers’ comp insurer. “Claims handling and customer service are extremely important to me and my clients,” said one broker, while another highlighted the importance of selecting an insurer that is “reliable and high-touch and has a true interest in claimant care.”

Despite not being at the top of their list of priorities, competitive pricing is still valued by brokers – and they awarded 13 carriers top marks in this area. However, brokers also made it clear that pricing alone won’t win business; it has to be backed up with excellent service. As one broker put it: “Great customer service + competitive rates = success.”

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AF Group

QBE Insurance Group

AmTrust Financial

The Hartford

Midwestern Insurance Alliance

Applied Underwriters

Travelers

QBE Insurance Group

Berkshire Hathaway

Zenith Insurance

Texas Mutual Insurance Company

EMPLOYERS

Hanover ICW Group

The Hartford

Markel Insurance

Key Risk, a Berkley Company

Travelers

Method Insurance Services

Zenith Insurance

Midwestern Insurance Alliance

AIG AmTrust Financial Applied Underwriters

Liberty Mutual Insurance

ICW Group

Method Insurance Services

MOST FLEXIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE Receiving top-notch customer service from carriers is also extremely important to brokers, but only nine carriers were singled out as 5-Star winners in this category – an elite but impressive group. Among the winners, both QBE and Method were repeatedly praised for their service standards. “QBE has made the customer the focus of their vision and strategy, and it shows,” one broker said. “Customer service with Method is, hands down, the best I have ever experienced,” another broker said.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS Applied Underwriters

The Hartford

ICW Group

Travelers

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Zenith Insurance

Method Insurance Services Midwestern Insurance Alliance QBE Insurance Group

48

www.ibamag.com

A carrier’s willingness to find solutions to meet clients’ unique needs goes a long way with brokers. Time and again, brokers mentioned flexibility when asked what their top carriers are doing to set themselves apart. Eleven carriers were rewarded by brokers for their flexible approach.

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS AIG Applied Underwriters Chubb Everest Insurance Liberty Mutual Insurance Method Insurance Services QBE Insurance Group The Hartford Travelers Zenith Insurance Zurich Insurance Group


QBE US headquarters: New York, NY Year founded: 1886 Employees: 11,000+ Number of offices: 90 Leadership: John Beckman, chief underwriting officer; Kris Hill, president, alternative markets; Tom Fitzgerald, president, specialty and commercial “WITH COVID-19, there have been some

interesting challenges,” says John Beckman, chief underwriting officer at QBE North America. Meeting and overcoming those challenges has earned QBE an IBA 5-Star Excellence Award for workers’ compensation. At QBE, flexibility is crucial during tough economic times. In 2020, that meant being flexible with employers who were forced into layoffs, which lowers a company’s payroll and its workers’ compensation premium. Typically, employers must wait three months after their policy expires to get their return, but QBE worked with individual clients hit hard by the pandemic to adjust their payment schedules, John Beckman Beckman explains. “Caring for our customers is at the core of who we are,” he with the customer in mind. says. “We work with customers where we can to reduce cost Beckman says it’s also a part of an industry trend toward and help them stay in business. In the long run, it’s a much lower claim frequency (the number of claims per $100 of better model, and it helps us win long-term, loyal clients. In payroll). “[By] adopting technology, the insurance industry is challenging times, companies want – and deserve – having a positive impact on operations of companies.” reassurance that they are partnering with carriers that truly QBE North America offers workers’ compensation in four care. That’s QBE.” ways: to small businesses for accounts under $100,000 But QBE isn’t just adapting to the consequences of premium, to middle-market businesses with premium over COVID-19 – the company is also continuing to innovate. $100,000, workers’ compensation specifically tailored to the Beckman points to a new technology rolling out in 2021 that aviation industry, and through MGA partners. will expedite workers’ compensation policies and processing. “Those MGA partners are typically very specialized in a “It will be faster, more accurate and more efficient, so it very specific kind of employer, and they bring knowledge of should be good for our employees, and our customers should exactly how that business works to us,” Beckman says, adding see better service, too,” he says. that this kind of expertise is of the utmost importance when Another technology QBE is using to improve workers’ selecting coverage. compensation is HumanTech, an app that employers can “If I was an employer looking to buy workers’ compen­ download to record employees while they’re working to sation coverage, I’d be looking for the knowledge of the identify where workers are putting stress on their bodies. partner I was going to work with, and I’d look for the services,” This insurtech app’s aim is to prevent injuries and he says. “Technical expertise, agility, service and caring – demonstrates QBE’s ongoing commitment to innovating that’s what we aim to bring to the table.”

www.ibamag.com

49


FEATURES

5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARDS 5-STAR EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS BY CATEGORY Carrier

AF Group AIG AmeriSafe AmTrust Financial Applied Underwriters Berkshire Hathaway Chubb CNA Insurance EMPLOYERS Everest Insurance Hanover ICW Group Key Risk, a Berkley Company Liberty Mutual Insurance Markel Insurance Method Insurance Services Midwestern Insurance Alliance Nationwide QBE Insurance Group Safety National Texas Mutual Insurance Company The Hartford Travelers Zenith Insurance Zurich Insurance Group

50

www.ibamag.com

Best standard cover

Best excess & surplus cover

Loss-sensitive programs

Loss control services

Workers' comp for construction


Workers' comp for hospitality

Workers' comp for manufacturing

Workers' comp for tech companies

Claims processing

Customer service

Competitive premiums

Most flexible

www.ibamag.com

51


FEATURES

RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING

Cultivating strong relationships in the digital age As online meetings have become the norm, one of the biggest challenges has been how to forge and maintain relationships. Mark Carter outlines four ways to do this with technology

THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, currently on Netflix, is the latest in a string of researched documentaries or studies adding credence to going ‘back to basics’ when it comes to human connection in this digital age. So many industry leaders, co-founders, executives and ethical designers are adding to the numbers voicing concerns over addictions to technology. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, notably expressed personal concern about the platform helping to create “tools that are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works”. It’s a telling sign that so many innovators or digital execs minimize their own offspring’s access to tools they have helped create. The digital age is here to stay as we continue racing into the future. It’s the manner in which we choose to use the technology in our hands that helps maintain strong relationships in a hyper-connected, tech-addicted digital age. The following are four ways to do this.

52

www.ibamag.com

52-53_BIZSTRAT - Digital-SUBBED.indd 52

15/01/2021 3:22:50 am


1

Take off the masks

The first lesson can be learned powerfully from the words of a teenage girl during a seminar I delivered on human behavior and human connection. “Oh, this explains so much! I get it. I was pretending to be really [emotional] to land the hot guy. Which I did! But then after a while it didn’t work because, you know, we’re just not that alike.” Authenticity is a powerful way of inviting or adding value into our lives and the lives of

biggest dirty little secret in business”. A lack of candour costs a business so much: trust, productivity, innovation, time, everything. The same is true for our personal relationships. They suffer when transparency is sabotaged or subterranean. If someone you truly value has upset you, tell them. Few people have developed the psychic ability to accurately or fully read minds! The digital age seems to breed the anti­ thesis of candour, with phenomena like ‘ghosting’ or ‘cancel culture’ taking off.

Authenticity is a powerful way of inviting or adding value into our lives and the lives of others. Pretending for the sake of connection often fuels more heartache or disconnection others. Pretending for the sake of connection often fuels more heartache or disconnection. Authenticity allows for a healthy stickiness over neediness. Our historical predecessors thousands of years ago might have been lucky to interact with 150 mainstay connections in a lifetime. These days, people invest so much time in filtering highlights for highlights, seeking to gain a far greater number from a single social post in the duration of a coffee break. Yet the price is significant. A short-term dopamine fix of surface, shallow or even fake loveliness from a digital collection of every Tom, Dick or Harriet bundled into one happy bucket labelled ‘friends’ often only serves to pull us away from the gems in this world.

2

Embrace candour

Jack Welch, the late former CEO of GE, described a common trait seen in the digital age – regardless of whether applied personally or professionally – as “the

A conversation culture, rather than a cut-off one, is better for relationships and the social fabric of community.

3

Speak a common language

We live in a world of 196 recognized countries and more than 7,000 known languages. More than half of the world’s population speaks the top 10 of these. Yet there remain two common languages we all understand that transcend differences, divisions and geographical boundaries. What’s more, neither of these requires the utterance of words. (And no, they’re not the languages of SMS or emojis! How often do you have to ask friends to help you translate these?) Kindness and love are languages the deaf can hear, the blind can see and that can bring light to the darkest of spaces. In fact, Robert Waldinger, the current director of perhaps the world’s longest study of adult life and development, shares in his “What Makes a

Good Life” TED Talk that the secret to a happy life turns out, after all, to be feeling loved and supported.

4

Prioritize quality over quantity

The importance of human connec­ tion minus technology is rooted in scientific reasoning. British anthropologist and psychologist Robin Dunbar stumbled upon a magic number while studying the behaviors of primate groups. Applying the same modelling to our own primate group, the predictions about the size of social circles or the number of relationships that people can realistically maintain turns out to be surprisingly accurate: 150. This number has been prevalent through­ out history and is still typical of modern-day social circles, from the average size of the populations of English villages around the 16th century (160) to the number of guests typically invited to weddings today (148, from a study of 18,000 brides) or even the average number of Facebook friends (150 to 200). Among all your connections, consider how many relationships are truly meaningful or present in your world. Perhaps take note of who your 150 are and invest more in them than in strangers. Our humanity and the quality time we invest in relationships nourishes their longevity. Embrace and use technology as a great enabler and connector. Be less concerned about the rush for vanity metrics or popularity. And don’t be so busy rummaging in the digital rocks and stones that you miss the reallife diamonds. Mark Carter is an international keynote speaker, trainer and coach. He has more than 20 years of experience as a global learning and development professional.

www.ibamag.com

52-53_BIZSTRAT - Digital-SUBBED.indd 53

53

15/01/2021 3:22:53 am


FEATURES

CUSTOMER SERVICE

How to be proactive, not reactive Growing your business means evolving beyond merely reacting to what your competition is doing, writes Darrell Hardidge

IF YOU LOOK at high-performing businesses, you’ll notice that they actively plan into the future. They’re always clear on what they want. And their strategic plan is clearly documented. Every successful company is proactive in their thinking, and they don’t leave anything to chance. Most importantly, they don’t assume they know; they seek assurance from their customers to ensure they are on track. They can assess how accurately they are predicting the future, and this is always linked to their current business metrics. However, many businesses fail to develop a strategic plan. They are mostly reactive to what’s happening today, this week, etc., and focus more on their competition. Number-one companies follow the mantra “obsess over your customers, not over your competitors.” They proactively look at how to keep adding value to their customers and how to ensure they give their customers a brilliant service experience. They focus on team training and mentoring to ensure their team always can deliver high standards of customer service. By contrast, most companies in reac-

54

tive mode continually focus on what their competitors are doing an end up in a price war, trying to outdo each other to win customers. The problem with this reactive approach is that it’s challenging to stay focused on your own game because you keep getting trapped in someone else’s. The only thing you can control in a

rather than being strategic on what they’re doing themselves. One key reason is that they don’t have any quality data to know what’s going on. At best, they have a vague opinion. As W. Edwards Deming said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion,” and we all know what that’s worth.

The only thing you can control in a competitive market is what you do internally to ensure you deliver service excellence competitive market is what you do internally to ensure you deliver service excellence. Trying to control and outwit your competitors is a risky and expensive game.

Lead your market If you focus on doing everything you can to be proactive in the way you deliver service excellence, you will automatically be ahead of your competition. Most are too busy focusing on what everyone else is doing,

Knowledge is power Being strategically proactive ensures that you have a game plan and measurement to know if you’re on track. With the correct KPIs, you can measure how well you’re fulfilling your prediction. There’s a metric that we call the ‘one number theory.’ It’s at the center of measuring everything that’s going on in your business. A very accurate customer experience measurement provides a clear reflec-

www.ibamag.com

54-55_BizStrat_Proactive-SUBBED.indd 54

15/01/2021 3:23:14 am


tion from an independent market perspective – that is, the true voice of your customer. When you can measure critical areas such as the sales process, the implementation and onboarding process, account management, delivery processes, operations (including things like accounts receivable), companywide communication, and knowledge from the independent perspective of your market, you’ll have a very accurate assessment of how well you’re performing. When you have this information and you keep driving it towards the optimal 10/10 result, you can keep designing in a proactive manner that ensures you’re staying ahead of the game and fulfilling and exceeding customer expectations. If you don’t, then you’ll keep chasing

everybody else. It’s like driving with the rearview mirror. You can only see where you’ve been, and you don’t know where you’re going. It’s extraordinary to think that most companies operate this way. Business growth is directly linked to the customer experience.

Proactivity pays off The proactivity of customer experience ensures there is a plan and a commitment to growing revenue, based on increasing the value you offer to your customers. The more value you provide, the more they’ll spend, and the higher margin you’ll receive because they’re happy to pay for quality – but most importantly, they’ ll refer their friends and colleagues.

If you obsess over your customers and not your competitors and put in place very accu­ rate KPIs to understand what your customers value about doing business with you, you’ll be in a powerful position. If you don’t do this, and instead you just wait and see what happens in the challenging economy ahead, it’s potentially a recipe for disaster. Darrell Hardidge is a customer experience strategy expert and the CEO of customer research company Saguity, which specializes in driving revenue growth from customer appreciation. He is also the author of The Client Revolution and The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation. To find out more, visit saguity.com.

www.ibamag.com

54-55_BizStrat_Proactive-SUBBED.indd 55

55  

15/01/2021 3:23:30 am


PEOPLE

OTHER LIFE

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email iba@keymedia.com

Alvarez was drafted by the Chicago White Sox after college

20

Years Alvarez played baseball, from Little League to the pros

13

Home runs Alvarez hit as a college freshman

3

High-level teams he has played for (two in college, one professionally)

A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME Insurance executive and former pro baseball player Fernando Alvarez helps guide fellow athletes as they transition to life after sports BASEBALL WAS Fernando Alvarez’s life for a long time – the current principal at JAG Insurance Group first picked up a bat at age 5 and continued playing throughout high school and college, eventually being drafted by the Chicago White Sox and playing for their minor league team for two years. Alvarez admits that after sports, he struggled to figure out his next move. “You work at something for 20 years, and all of

56

a sudden, you’re expected to pivot and redefine your identity,” he says. “When I was in baseball, the structure was created for me. Once I was done, I had a lot to figure out.” Alvarez decided to chronicle his journey from baseball to business in a podcast called The Transition: Life After Sports. “During this time, I realized that applying an athlete’s passion for the game to business strategy is essential,” he

says. “To help others decide what to do next, I started the podcast, where I interview former athletes on re-envisioning their future. “The diamond taught me valuable lessons such as discipline, work ethic and flexibility,” Alvarez adds. “The dedication to becoming one of the best athletes demonstrates a unique level of commitment that becomes a defining pillar for entrepreneurs and business executives.”

www.ibamag.com

56-IBC_Other Life-SUBBED.indd 56

15/01/2021 4:27:21 am

IBA20


UNITED

STATES

Despite the challenging climate of 2020, Insurance Business is proud to have been the voice of a community that has continued to prosper, innovate and showcase its dedication to keeping the insurance sector thriving. We’re more determined than ever to keep the insurance industry connected and informed into 2021 and beyond – which is why we’ve lined up an unmissable series of virtual Insurance Business events covering the topics that matter to you. Be sure to join us at:

APR

13

SEP A T L A N T A

MAY

25

NEW

YORK

OCT B O S T O N

AUG

31

16

14

C A L I F O R N I A

OCT C H I C A G O

26

T E X A S

insurancebusinessmag.com/us InsuranceBusinessUS

IBA2021 - FP Ad.indd 2 56-IBC_Other Life-SUBBED.indd 57

InsuranceBizUS

1/6/2021 11:49:41 PM 15/01/2021 4:27:24 am


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 auw.com. Follow us at bigdoghq.com.

©2021 Applied Underwriters, Inc. Rated A (Excellent) by AM Best. Insurance plans protected U.S. Patent No. 7,908,157.

00_OFC_OBC_SPINE-SUBBED.indd 3

15/01/2021 3:12:40 am

Profile for Key Media

Insurance Business America 9.01  

Insurance Business America 9.01  

Profile for keymedia