Insurance Business America 9.06

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IBA celebrates 64 of the industry’s biggest trailblazers and change-makers 5-STAR AWARDS: CONSTRUCTION

Brokers name the go-to insurance partners in the construction sector

EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS: WORKERS’ COMP Experts offer guidance on what to expect from the workers’ comp market


What the Colonial Pipeline attack reveals about cybercriminals’ methods

“Nautilus is a true partner and has earned my trust. There are many E&S carriers, but it’s rare to find one with the same charisma and drive that keeps service and relationships its central focus. What other companies can’t do, Nautilus has.” “Nautilus is a true partner and has earned my trust. There are many E&S carriers, but it’s rare to find one with the same charisma and drive that keeps service and relationships its central focus. What other companies can’t do, Nautilus has.” Danielle S. Wade, CPCU, CIC President & CEO Jackson Sumner & Associates

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Nautilus Insurance Group products and services are provided through various Surplus Lines insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation and offered through licensed Surplus Lines brokers. Not all products and services may be available in all jurisdictions, and the coverage provided by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies issued. Surplus Lines insurance carriers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds. ©2021 Nautilus Insurance Group. All rights reserved. 05 | 21

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ISSUE 9.06

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


UPFRONT 02 Editorial



5-STAR AWARDS: CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE In a sector where expertise is paramount, these insurers and MGAs are delivering the goods



19 47

The insurance industry still suffers from a lack of female leadership – but these 64 trailblazers are working hard to change that



Hagerty COO Coco Champagne tells IBA how the company has gone beyond insurance to create a true community for classic car enthusiasts




COVID-19 has hit the E&O insurance market hard – but is relief on the horizon?

Should insurers support the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics?

04 Statistics

Key data that should be on your radar this month

06 News analysis

The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack holds some critical lessons for the insurance industry

08 Intelligence

This month’s big movers, shakers and new products

10 Workers’ comp update

COVID-19 presumption laws could cause challenges for workers’ comp insurers down the line

12 Technology update

How can companies mitigate the cyber risks of a remote workforce?

18 Opinion

As SPACs gain popularity as an alternative way to go public, new D&O risks are emerging

PEOPLE 56 Other life

Making fresh tracks with insurance exec and avid skier David Levitz







RPS’ Wes Robinson discusses how the race for a pandemic insurance solution mirrors the development of terrorism coverage post-9/11





Too high a price?


s of early June, Japan remains adamant that the Tokyo Summer Olympics will kick off as planned on July 23. In normal times, most sports nuts would rejoice. There’s nothing better than watching the best of the best battle it out on the global stage for the highest of sporting honors. But this year, the excitement is shrouded by a COVID-shaped cloud. There’s a vast chorus of experts asking how the Summer Olympics can go ahead when much of Japan remains under a state of emergency due to COVID-19. How can Japan proceed with confidence, knowing that the sports extravaganza could turn into a COVID-19 superspreader event? And what will the cost of the Games be? Will it be calculated in Japanese yen or in the number of lives lost? Sports, culture, music and art all play integral roles in healing communities after catastrophic events. Also understandable is the need to kickstart economies by reopening businesses, encouraging travel and getting back to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. But we’re not in any position to rush. At a time when much of the world remains gripped in serious outbreaks of COVID-19, is the risk of running the Summer Olympics too great?

If the Tokyo Olympics are canceled, it would be the largest ever loss for the global event cancellation market, which has already taken a huge hit from the COVID-19 pandemic As a stakeholder in this huge event, is the insurance industry irresponsible in providing coverage and enabling the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead, with the knowledge that the pandemic is not yet under control in Japan or elsewhere around the world? With an ever-focused eye on environmental, social and governance issues, would it be more socially responsible to support cancellation of the Games? Of course, there’s a lot of money at stake. Reuters reported in January that the event cancellation insurance market could face losses of $2 billion to $3 billion if the Tokyo Olympics are canceled. This would be the largest ever loss for the global event cancellation market, which has already taken a huge hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. But again, this isn’t just about money. As things currently stand, the gamble with the Tokyo Olympics could be played out in human lives. Is that a risk anyone can put a price on? MAY 2017 EDITORIAL Managing Editor Paul Lucas Senior Editor Bethan Moorcraft Journalists Mitchell Scrimgeour-Brown, Ksenia Stepanova, Mia Wallace News Writers Lyle Adriano, Terry Gangcuangco, Roxanne Libatique, Gabriel Olano Staff Writers Pete Miller, Jonathan Russell, Ryan Smith Copy Editor Clare Alexander


ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador Production Coordinators Loiza Razon, Kat Guzman Customer Success Coordinator Bernz Jalandoni

SALES & MARKETING Head of Insurance – Sales & Marketing 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

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We Are Client Centric, Not Policy Centric “Listening to the voice of our customer has been, and always will be, Safety National’s focus. We provide a dedicated service team and value-added services, so from day one through the renewal cycle, we are always looking at how we can optimize that customer journey. Everything we do is geared towards adding value to the customer experience.”

– Cyndee Morton, EVP – Operations and Chief Innovation Officer

Cyndee Morton with Valued Customer Experience Team

Proceed with Safety® Workers’ Compensation: Excess • Large Deductible • Large Guaranteed Cost • Defense Base Act • TEXcess® Commercial Auto • Commercial General Liability • Umbrella / Excess Liability Public Entity Liability • Cyber Risk • Loss Portfolio Transfers • Self-Insurance Bonds

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PROPERTY RATES CONTINUE TO RISE The US property market has been hardening for 13 consecutive quarters, according to Aon – the longest period of hardening since the company began tracking data in 2001. The fourth quarter of 2020 showed signs of a slight moderation, but whether that’s the start of a new trend in the property insurance sector will depend on what happens in the rest of 2021 and whether the market can avoid extreme levels of natural catastrophe activity. Given that Winter Storm Uri, which affected Texas and other Southern states, has already caused more than $10 billion in insured losses, 2021 is already off to a rough start.


Number of days Uri’s polar vortex affected various Plains, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northwest states


Lowest temperature recorded during the storm (in Bottineau, North Dakota, on February 13)



33% 30%


27% 24%

21.4% 21%




15% 12% 9%

7.9% 5.2%

6% 3% 0%

Q1 2019

Q2 2019

Q3 2019



Consecutive hours the city of Dallas, Texas, spent below freezing temperatures

The hardening of the employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) market is due in large part to an increase in claims, particularly those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gallagher’s latest report on the sector. As of the end of April, US employers have seen a total of 2,184 employment complaints related to COVID-19.


Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

70 60 50 40

$10 billion+

Insured losses caused by the storm Source: Global Catastrophe Recap, Aon


30 20 10 0

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

April 2021

Sources: COVID-19 Employment LitWatch, Jackson Lewis; 2021 Market Condition Report: Employment Practices Liability, Gallagher

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Close to half of US companies have an intermediate level of cyber maturity, according to a recent survey by Hiscox. However, more than a quarter remain at the ‘novice’ level, with troubling weaknesses in people, processes and/or technology.



23.7% 21.1%

20.2% 16.2%









48% Q4 2019

Q1 2020

Q2 2020

Q3 2020

Q4 2020 Source: Property Market Dynamics Q1 2021 Update, Aon

AEROSPACE MARKET TO REMAIN CHALLENGING As the pandemic winds down, the US aviation industry is gunning for a comeback – but the aerospace insurance market remains hard. Willis Towers Watson’s latest update on the sector predicted that the repercussions of market unprofitability will persist, with underwriters pushing for rate increases and striving to cut risk limits.


20% 10% 0%

CONSTRUCTION FIRMS’ TRUST IN AGENTS IS HIGH The majority of construction firm owners have a high level of trust in their insurance agents, according to a recent study by Nationwide. This puts agents in an ideal position to guide clients through challenging market conditions and an expected uptick in business over the next year.





of construction firms say they trust their insurance agent’s guidance



Aircraft lessors/ Manufacturers and banks service providers


General aviation

Source: Insurance Marketplace Realities 2021 Spring Update – Aerospace, Willis Towers Watson

Source: Cyber Readiness Report 2021, Hiscox

say their agent regularly checks up on them to make sure their coverage is adequate

have engaged their agent to discuss coverage over the past 12 months

have engaged their agent to create a business plan to address COVID-19’s economic impact Source: Agent Authority Survey 2021, Nationwide

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Beyond the Colonial crisis A month after the largest fuel pipeline in the US was shut down by a ransomware attack, what can the insurance industry learn from this crippling breach?

ON MAY 7, Colonial Pipeline, the United States’ largest fuel pipeline, was forced to temporarily shut down its operations after falling victim to a cyberattack. After learning of the ransomware attack, the company immediately took its pipeline system offline and did everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely while also making the decision to pay the ransom to the group of hackers known as DarkSide, which is believed to operate from Russia. The pipeline stretches 5,500 miles from Gulf Coast refineries to consumers in MidAtlantic and Southeast states, and its shut-

hackers $4.4 million in ransom, telling The Wall Street Journal that he authorized the payment because executives weren’t sure how badly the attack had breached Colonial’s systems or how long it would take to get the pipeline back up and running. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount told the newspaper. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this. But it was the right thing to do for the country.” Cyberattacks of this nature are not unique, nor is this likely to be the last large-scale

“Entities that are involved with critical infrastructure have a higher standard of care around cybersecurity and cyber risk management” Shawn Ram, Coalition down last month halted 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline shipments, triggering higher gas prices, fuel shortages and panic buying throughout the Southeast and the Eastern Seaboard. Even after operations resumed, it still took several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal. On May 19, Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount confirmed that the company paid


attack. “Unfortunately, it’s very normal for these types of things to happen,” says Shawn Ram, head of insurance at Coalition. “The manner in which the adversaries accessed the company, or the nature of the ransomware attack, is not particularly unique.” However, the attack was headline-worthy because of the pipeline’s status as a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure.

“There’s a belief in the cyber insurance and cybersecurity community that entities that are involved with critical infrastructure have, for lack of a better term, a higher standard of care around cybersecurity and cyber risk management,” Ram says. “We would expect critical infrastructure to apply and execute strong security procedures – to have a strong operating discipline around the manner in which they protect their entity because of the impact [an attack] would have on the economy.” Steve Robinson, national cyber practice leader at Risk Placement Services, authored a white paper earlier this year that supports Ram’s belief that ransomware attacks are becoming more commonplace and that perpetrators are targeting larger entities. “Ransomware has evolved from the early days of ‘spray and pray’ email designed to distribute malware indiscriminately to thousands of would-be victims, hoping that a few would click the link and pay hundreds of dollars each,” he says, citing studies that showed a 200% increase in the size of ransom demands and payments in the first half of

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May 6 Hackers launch their attack against Colonial Pipeline, stealing nearly 100 GB of data before locking computers and demanding a ransom

May 7 Colonial Pipeline pays the ransom, shuts down the pipeline as a precautionary measure and announces the attack (though not the ransom payment) to the public

May 10 The FBI blames the attack on hacker group DarkSide, which is believed to be based in Russia

May 12

2020 compared to the first half of 2019. In addition to becoming more frequent and involving higher stakes, ransomware attacks have evolved beyond the exchange of Bitcoin for decryption keys, Robinson says, “to

affect many end users. “Colonial is a taste of what is to come,” says William Altman, a cybersecurity consultant at CyberCube. “Both criminal ransomware operators and nation-state-sponsored

“Ransomware has evolved from the early days of ‘spray and pray’ email designed to distribute malware indiscriminately to thousands of would-be victims” Steve Robinson, Risk Placement Services include more traditional extortion methods to prevent the release of private information, corporate secrets or incriminating evidence.” According to cyber risk analytics platform CyberCube, the Colonial attack demonstrated the vulnerability of so-called single points of failure (SPOFs) to cybercriminals. SPOFs are components or entire companies whose failure can shut down an entire system and

threat actors are increasingly turning their attention toward attacking SPOFs. By going after a SPOF, criminal attackers will create maximum leverage to convince their victims to pay a ransom, and nation-state actors will use a SPOF as a jump-off point into adjacent systems for conducting espionage and other information operations. While we have yet to see a true accumulation catastrophe event

Colonial Pipeline restarts pipeline operations, warning that it would take some time for the supply chain to return to normal

May 19 Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount confirms in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the company paid the hackers a $4.4 million ransom Sources: Bloomberg, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

in cybersecurity, the writing is on the wall. Recent attacks on SPOFs like SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange and Colonial Pipeline indicate clearly the direction the industry is headed.” However, Ram believes there’s at least one silver lining in all of this: heightened public awareness about what might be at stake when the next cyberattack strikes. “My hope is that people will say, ‘Hey, this is real, and cybersecurity matters.’ More importantly, cyber risk management matters,” he says. “There’s a greater propensity for improving cybersecurity and cyber risk management as a result of breaches such as this.”

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Alera Group

Duryea Agency

The purchase of New Jersey-based Duryea Agency adds two locations and strengthens Alera’s P&C market position

Amwins Group


Amwins’ acquisition of the equine insurer further diversifies its specialty distribution portfolio


Willis Towers Watson

The deal includes Willis Re’s treaty and facultative reinsurance business, along with some UK specialty, European and North American brokerage operations

High Street Insurance Partners

Paladin Insurance Agency; Richardi-Demola Insurance Agency

Both agencies are based in New Jersey and offer business and personal insurance products

The Hilb Group

Benefit Foundations

The New Jersey-based benefits specialist will strengthen THG’s employee benefits capabilities in the Tri-State area

HUB International

Conover Insurance Services; Ion Insurance

HUB’s latest acquisitions include one of the largest insurance brokerages in the Pacific Northwest (Conover) and a Connecticut-based independent agency (Ion)

IMA Financial Group

Bolton & Company

The deal launches IMA into the top 20 insurance brokers in the US, based on 2020 figures

Sun Life

PinnacleCare International

The Canadian insurer has acquired US-based healthcare firm PinnacleCare for $85 million in a deal expected to close in mid-2021

CFC launches solution for transatlantic M&A deals

CFC Underwriting has expanded its suite of transaction liability products with a new solution designed to support North American companies purchasing a business in the UK or Europe. The new solution aims to fill a gap in the transatlantic M&A space by offering North American buyers the representations and warranties (R&W) coverage and processes they are familiar with. According to Adam Martin, transaction liability team leader at CFC, this solution can accommodate the “complexities and asymmetries” that often arise in transatlantic M&A processes.

Gallagher to acquire certain WTW assets

As part of a proposed regulatory remedy for the pending mega-merger between Aon and Willis Towers Watson, Gallagher has made a $3.57 billion deal to acquire some of WTW’s reinsurance, specialty and retail brokerage operations. The acquired operations include certain Willis Re treaty and facultative reinsurance brokerage operations, as well as some UK specialty, European and North American brokerage operations. Combined, the operations generated $1.3 billion of estimated pro forma revenue in 2020. “This acquisition will accelerate our long-term strategy by significantly expanding our global value proposition in reinsurance, broadening our retail brokerage footprint, and strengthening key niches and specialty brokerage offerings,” said Gallagher chairman, president and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher Jr.


First Indemnity unveils new product for law firms

First Indemnity Insurance Group, a specialty insurance agency catering to lawyers and law firms, has launched Excess Protect, a new professional liability product designed to help law firms that might be carrying inadequate coverage or are seeking higher limits. Designed for law firms with up to 750 attorneys, Excess Protect was created in response to shrinking capacity and higher rates in the professional liability market. The minimum attachment point for the product is $100,000, and limits of up to $10 million are available.

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PEOPLE ISC, Markel team up to offer general liability to gig contractors

Multi-line program administrator Integrated Specialty Coverages (ISC) has partnered with Markel Specialty on a new general liability policy program geared toward gig economy contractors. The program is compatible with 30 different construction trades for a variety of classes, including carpentry, electrical, painting, concrete and janitorial work. Options include liability limits up to $1 million for one to 121 days. Tailored specifically for contractors in the gig economy, the on-demand policies can be bound in minutes using ISC’s proprietary online platform.

Everest rebrands sports and entertainment division

Everest Insurance has announced a rebrand of its sports, leisure and entertainment division from Specialty Insurance Group (SIG) to EverSports & Entertainment Insurance. The rebranded operation will continue to offer primary and excess liability, commercial auto, workers’ compensation, property, contingency, and participant accident coverage to clients in the sports, leisure and entertainment space. Parent company Everest Re Group said the new brand aligns EverSports & Entertainment Insurance’s corporate identity with its insurance appetite and market position.

Automaker Rivian debuts in-house coverage

Electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian has announced plans to launch its own in-house auto coverage, underwritten by Nationwide. Rivian Insurance will initially be available to customers in 40 states, who will receive rate reductions for using Rivian’s Driver+ system, which helps drivers steer and automatically adjusts speeds on the highway. Rivian said the system allows it to quickly diagnose any issues for the purposes of filing a claim. The automaker also offers an end-to-end approach to repairs via its own collision and service centers.





Aashish Chauhan


Risk Placement Services

Executive vice president of casualty

Bob Yates

CNO Financial Group

AmeriLife Group

Vice president of distribution, analytics and data

Brad Dame

Willis Towers Watson


Chief commercial officer, North America

Christian Phillips


Paragon Insurance Holdings

President, Paragon Contingency Practices

Jamie Yoder



President, North America

Ken Kirk


BroadStreet Partners


Kevin Kerridge


Hiscox USA


Kimberly Jenkins

Willis Towers Watson


Chief M&A officer, North America

Kris Finsel



Chief financial officer, North America

Maria Grace

Everest Insurance

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Global head of property

Michelle Jarrard


Crawford & Company

Non-executive board chair

Stephanie Brewer

Midwest Underground Technology

Insurance Office of America

Director of telecommunications, safety and compliance

Timothy Callahan


Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company

Board chair

Tina Zink Pernie

CLM Alliance

North American Risk Services

Head of strategic partnerships

Torben Ostergaard


Spinnaker Insurance


Crawford & Co. names first female board chair

Claims management firm Crawford & Company has appointed board member Michelle Jarrard as non-executive chair, making her the first woman to hold the post. She succeeds Charles H. Ogburn, who will remain on the board and will chair the compensation committee. A former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, Jarrard has been on Crawford & Co. board since August 2018. “[Michelle’s] expertise has been and will continue to be pivotal as we navigate the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic and strive to achieve our envisioned future and purpose to restore and enhance lives, businesses, and communities,” said Crawford & Co. CEO Rohit Verma.

Hiscox USA promotes company vet to CEO

Global specialist insurer Hiscox has appointed Kevin Kerridge as CEO of Hiscox USA, succeeding Steve Langan, who is returning to the UK after three years at the helm. Kerridge joined Hiscox in 1996 and helped create the insurer’s first direct online business in the UK. He relocated to New York in 2009 to oversee the launch of Hiscox’s US digital small business operation, which now serves more than 460,000 customers. “The last year has been a challenging time for small businesses,” Kerridge said, “but I want to ensure that Hiscox continues to be a dynamic and collaborative partner for our customers and distribution channels.”

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WORKERS’ COMP UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Zywave acquires workers’ comp software provider Modgic

Insurance technology provider Zywave has acquired Modgic, an Oregon-based provider of workers’ comp and mod analysis software for the commercial insurance industry. Zywave said it plans to integrate Modgic’s streamlined and sophisticated reporting and analysis features into its Analytics Cloud and existing ModMaster mod analysis tool. “The acquisition of Modgic is an exciting step as Zywave continues to consolidate the insurtech marketplace,” said Zywave CEO Jason Liu. “By combining the best aspects of the two solutions together, we look forward to bringing a superior product to our shared customers.”

Origami Risk expands online risk management tools

Origami Risk has expanded its suite of solutions with the addition of four new online safety and risk management tools for environment, health and safety (EHS) professionals. The new tools are designed to support EHS professionals in the areas of job safety analysis, chemical management, lockout/tagout and safety meetings. Available via the web and mobile devices, the four new tools build on Origami’s existing suite of EHS solutions, which aim to help EHS and risk professionals in various industries expedite enterprise-wide implementation of safety initiatives.

Texas Mutual lauds victory in air ambulance billing case

The US Supreme Court has let stand a 2020 decision by the Supreme Court of Texas that limits workers’ compensation air ambulance payments to what is “fair and reasonable.” Workers’ comp insurer Texas Mutual has been working for years


to fight a massive spike in air ambulance prices, driven by large private equity companies that acquired air ambulance operations. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that one such company, PHI Air Medical, could only receive fair and reasonable payments, not whatever price it chose to charge, which Texas Mutual said exceeded $50,000 for a single transport.

NSC encourages employers to support vaccine promotion

The National Safety Council (NSC) has called on employers to lead vaccination efforts in the US, calling vaccination “the best route to a safe, collaborative and productive work environment, free from masks and social distancing.” The NSC has also released guidelines on topics such as paid time off for immunization and recovery, on-site vaccination clinics, help with scheduling and transportation, and support of peer-to-peer vaccination promotion efforts. “Ultimately, following this guidance will allow in-person workplaces to collaborate safely again, benefiting workers, businesses and the entire American economy,” said NSC president and CEO Lorraine Martin.

Sedgwick names new leader for managed care division

Sedgwick has expanded its managed care division with the appointment of Josephine Copeland as the division’s senior vice president of product design and strategy. Copeland has more than 20 years of industry experience and most recently served as vice president of managed care for PMA Companies. In her new role, she will be charged with leading Sedgwick’s efforts to develop innovative, state-of-the-art managed care and medical cost containment solutions to drive optimal outcomes for both clients and claimants.

Have presumption laws gone too far? One workers’ comp executive believes legislation introduced during COVID-19 was unnecessary – and potentially damaging At the height of the pandemic, 17 states passed presumption laws to include COVID-19 as a covered disease for certain workers under workers’ compensation policies. But according to Mark Walls, vice president of communications and strategic analysis at Safety National, these presumption laws were based on misinformation regarding the denial of COVID-19 claims under workers’ comp policies. “In the first few months of the pandemic, healthcare workers and first responders had inadequate PPE. They were exposed to people with the virus, and as a result, their workers’ compensation claims were paid,” Walls explains. “However, what drove the creation of these presumption laws was misinformation that was spread, often by union groups, which said these workers’ claims weren’t being paid and presumptions were needed to ensure they were covered under workers’ compensation.” Walls notes that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 claims were already paid across the US before the presumption laws took effect. “The presumptions weren’t needed to ensure these people had access to workers’ compensation coverage,” he says. The issue with presumption laws, he explains, is that they change a fundamental rule of workers’ compensation: the burden of proof. Rather than putting the burden on an

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injured worker to show that they contracted the virus in the workplace, presumption laws presume that the worker contracted the virus at work, and the burden is on the employer and insurer to disprove it – which can be difficult due to the poor quality of contract tracing systems.

“The presumptions weren’t needed to ensure these people had access to workers’ compensation coverage” “What’s interesting is that the people who argued in favor of presumptions pointed to the fact that denial rates on COVID claims were higher than others,” Walls says, “but when you look into the data and start digging into those denials, multiple trends become clear. First of all, a lot of claimants didn’t actually have COVID. They were exposed to COVID and they had to quarantine, but they never actually had a COVID diagnosis. How is that eligible for workers’ compensation if the worker didn’t actually contract a disease in the workplace? It begs the question: If most of the denied claims involved workers who didn’t actually have COVID, was there really a problem?” The COVID-19 presumption laws have caused employers and the insurance community to worry about how future disease outbreaks will be handled in the workplace. “There’s a lot of concern that we’ve really opened the door to future communicable disease outbreaks being covered under workers’ compensation,” Walls says, “and it was really never designed for that.”


Rick Fineman Vice president, risk management ICW GROUP

Years in the industry 25+ Fast fact Earlier in his career, Fineman supervised the department that completed all the air monitoring (industrial hygiene) for the workers who cleaned up after the World Trade Center attack

The challenges of safety culture Last year, ICW Group launched Safety OnDemand, an online safety and learning management system. How has the application helped your clients over the past year? ICW Group is committed to advancing our digital delivery of services, and our most recent example of this is Safety OnDemand. This service ensures our policyholders maintain access to highquality safety materials even when our consultants are unable to deliver them on-site, as was the case during the pandemic. Safety OnDemand went live in the summer of 2020 as a part of an effort to integrate our on-site offerings with remote and selfled services. This helped us continue to deliver risk management consulting seamlessly when in-person visits were interrupted.

How can companies get their employees to take safety education seriously? Providing different modalities for training delivery can help employees access and receive training. If an employer wants their staff to internalize and benefit from the training, we recommend the following. First, ensure you mention the importance of safety during the interview and selection process to set the right tone from the beginning. Next, incorporate the training into the onboarding and job training process. Instead of only talking about the dangers of a chemical during hazcom training, for example, bring it up when training the employee on how to do the job. Follow up on training through pop quizzes, fun activities and spot checks. Reinforce the good behaviors and correct the bad. The better you do this, the more your staff will pay attention during training. Finally, treat training as it is intended: a platform to communicate key information so behaviors can be modified. Make sure it is designed to do so – do not simply ‘check the box.’

The pandemic aside, which emerging employee risk trends should organizations be keeping a close eye on? Reinforcing safety will remain a challenge if remote work continues or grows. The risks associated with working from home were brought into mainstream attention during the pandemic and should continue to be addressed. Whether it be safety/ergonomics, workers’ comp, or quality or production risks, the fact that more individuals and roles may become home-based is a risk worth monitoring.

What should safety culture look like post-pandemic? Re-establishing a safety culture will face similar challenges to re-establishing corporate culture as employees return to their workplaces. Habits must be recreated, priorities reestablished, and new controls must be incorporated into the efforts. This is an opportunity for companies to redefine their safety culture and advance it from where it was. With consistency and commitment, reactive cultures can become compliance cultures, compliance cultures can move to management-led cultures, and managementled cultures can move to an employee-led safety culture.

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The many risks of remote work To safeguard computer systems outside the office, businesses need more than just the right hardware

internal network segmentation. The second issue is the employees themselves. “People are the weakest link in most cyberattacks,” Golan points out. “They open phishing emails, download malicious apps and software, use weak credentials, and share confidential information with unauthorized parties. Investing in cybersecurity education can go a long way towards mitigating enterprise cyber risk.”

“Investing in cybersecurity education can go a long way towards mitigating enterprise cyber risk”

The threat of cyberattacks is hardly new, but the transition to remote work during the pandemic has led to a surge in cyber risks. “The shift to remote work created new threats for enterprises, starting with employees using their personal – and typically less protected – devices for work,” says Yakir Golan, co-founder and CEO of cyber risk modeling company Kovrr. “Remote work environments broadened the attack surface and provided new opportunities for various malicious actors. The most pressing


matter is the use of insecure services and applications, as well as sophisticated spear phishing campaigns that – despite being a constant threat in any work environment – became more targeted and convincing when the lines between work and private [life] started to blur.” There are two pressing cyber issues businesses need to tackle, Golan says. One involves network and security measures: establishing protocols around things like password expiration, the use of VPNs and

LexisNexis unveils new driver scoring model

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has launched a new telematics-based scoring model for the auto insurance industry. The new LexisNexis Drive Metrics scoring model, available for testing through LexisNexis Telematics OnDemand, is designed to flow seamlessly into insurers’ existing auto insurance ratings programs to improve segmentation, pricing risk and profitability. According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the new scoring model is compatible with carrier-specific ratings plans and delivers a 79% lift above standard rating factors.


When selecting cyber insurance, Golan advises companies to consider what cyber events might impact the business and their potential severity. “By understanding the impact of the various risks, enterprises can become adept in balancing the acceptance of certain risk against the budget and resources required to resolve them,” he says. “Additionally, the severity of events can also be compared to the coverage limits and the existence of the relevant coverages within policies. Armed with this knowledge, enterprises can ensure they are receiving the appropriate amount of coverage for high-probability cyber risks and less coverage in areas unlikely to cause losses.”

Sapiens launches AI-powered chatbot

Insurance software provider Sapiens International has rolled out Sapiens BotConnect, an AI-powered chatbot module, and Sapiens LiveConnect, which enables bot conversations to be escalated to humans. BotConnect can be implemented on a variety of channels, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, improving resolution time for internal customer service teams. BotConnect can resolve questions, provide quotes and service claims; if necessary, LiveConnect enables a frictionless handoff to a live representative.

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Years in the industry 12 Fast fact Prior to joining IMS, Tarantino helped launch Octo Telematics North America and guide it to $50 million in sales and more than 1.5 million connected users in four years

Fueling the growth of telematics How does IMS’ Vehicle Data Exchange benefit insurers? Insurance companies need insights about existing and potential policyholders. Data solutions like the sensoragnostic IMS Vehicle Data Exchange can provide those insights with real-time data points like mileage and location, stand-alone or in combination with additional data collected from aftermarket sensors.

Why is it important to create a data exchange that can gather data regardless of vehicle brand, model and/or telematics hardware? Would it be more practical in the long run to establish a data standard for telematics? IMS supports universal and open standards for telematics and other data related to vehicle and driving behavior, but unfortunately, there are no viable standards that meet the needs of all insurance without sacrificing fidelity, quality or the unique strengths of specific vehicles. IMS is investing to continuously improve the data, and its quality, included in the Vehicle Data Exchange. IMS provides a common set of interfaces for insurers to consume while preserving the lineage, fidelity, and breadth of all available data from diverse brands, models, and embedded or aftermarket telematics hardware. While there are many standards, with some proposed and some adopted for specific use cases – i.e. remote diagnostics – none are in widespread use by OEMs or available yet. In the absence of a universally available and adopted standard for insurance-related

Willis Towers Watson updates DataValidator

Willis Towers Watson has updated its DataValidator software, which helps P&C and life insurers use data more efficiently by validating, cleansing, and transforming it for use in financial modeling and reporting processes. Features of DataValidator 2.2 include faster processing speed and deep integration with WTW’s Unify platform. According to WTW, the updated software ensures a consistent approach to data validation while also providing comprehensive data quality assessments and thorough audit trails.

telematics data, IMS continues to manage the complexities of rapidly evolving APIs and interfaces to proprietary telematics systems while delivering a practical universal integration interface today for the benefit of the insurer. It is best to think of connected vehicle data as a rich source of additional insight that can be combined with other data sources to deliver unique value. The IMS Vehicle Data Exchange is future-proofed to enable valuable insight today and to harness oncoming advancements in automotive technology.

How does this technology intersect with self-driving cars? While we still have a long road ahead with drivers behind the wheel, understanding the behavior of vehicles is important with or without a driver. For example, understanding vehicle dynamics, distance traveled, vehicle use patterns, garaging location and risks associated with vehicle activity related to the context around the vehicle are important today, and they will continue to be important with or without the driver. The intersection between embedded telematics data and self-driving vehicles is captured by the drive to achieve even higher-fidelity information to both inform and characterize driving decisions. In the same way that the Vehicle Data Exchange provides a universal interface to enable services based on aftermarket and embedded telematics sensors, the same services can be enabled whether the vehicle does or does not have a driver behind the wheel.

EZLynx partners with FIRST Insurance Funding

Insurance software provider EZLynx has teamed up with premium finance company FIRST Insurance Funding to provide a streamlined premium financing service within EZLynx Management System. The integration allows users to retrieve a financing quote in real time, write the financing option into the proposal and create a premium financing agreement ready for signature. EZLynx’s Michael Rabinowitz said the partnership lets agents “experience premium financing options for their clients as a natural part of the submission process.”

Crypto insurtech raises $2.5 million in seed funding

Breach, an insurtech startup that provides insurance technology and products for the cryptocurrency market, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding in an oversubscribed funding round. With a mission to develop, underwrite and distribute innovative crypto insurance products, Breach plans to launch its proprietary crypto policy issuance and administration platform, as well as an industry-first regulated product to insure retail users of popular cryptocurrency exchanges, in the coming months.

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THE POWER OF THE BRAND Coco Champagne, COO of Hagerty, tells IBA how the company has gone from insuring classic cars to creating a multifaceted experience for auto enthusiasts NOTHING SAYS ‘labor of love’ quite like classic car collection and restoration. For true classic car enthusiasts, every vehicle has a story; every piece of chrome and drop of oil at a swap meet has sentimental value; and every drive with the windows down, the wind blowing and the engine roaring makes the heart race. It’s this passion that drew Collette (Coco) Champagne to specialist insurer and automotive lifestyle brand Hagerty 22 years ago. While she’s not exactly an auto enthusiast herself – although she does appreciate the hobby and has a classic Chevy pickup truck that she inherited from her father – Champagne was captured by the all-round enthusiasm of Hagerty’s members. “I just love hearing our members’ stories,” she says. “There’s so much history, nostalgia and emotion in every car, and it’s amazing to be able to deliver a service at Hagerty that enables people to follow their passion.”

All about the people Champagne has always been a people person. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Human Resources program and a member of the Society of Human Resource Managers, she began her career as an officer of a national bank focused on retail consumer lending, where she led a region in generating government-guaranteed mortgages. In 1999, Champagne joined Hagerty as leader of its sales and service operation. She was promoted to vice president of human


resources in 2002 and later to senior vice president and chief people officer. In that role, she was responsible for setting strategic direction and ensuring that Hagerty’s workforce was prepared to meet business growth initiatives through recruitment, corporate development and by maintaining employee touchpoints reflective of the company’s unique corporate culture.

fantastic place to work. That continues to be a major focus of mine as COO.”

Creating a community During Champagne’s tenure with Hagerty, the firm has shifted gears from operating under an insurance-based model to a membership model, with the vision of nurturing one of the world’s largest communities of classic car

“I just love hearing our members’ stories. There’s so much history, nostalgia and emotion in every car, and it’s amazing to be able to deliver a service at Hagerty that enables people to follow their passion” In 2018, Champagne became the second woman in Hagerty’s history to be named chief operating officer. Today, she works with Hagerty’s executive team to oversee the firm’s member sales and service, strategic planning, human resources, employee engagement, growth culture, and more. “Hagerty has become a market leader and an automotive brand recognized for excellence worldwide precisely because we have such great people,” Champagne says. “My passion since I joined Hagerty has been helping employees develop to their full potential so they, in turn, can continue to help us make Hagerty a stronger company and a

enthusiasts. Hagerty still delivers marketleading insurance products for classic cars, including specialized offerings like cherished salvage coverage, instant new purchase coverage and auto show medical reimbursement coverage. It also runs the Hagerty Drivers Club, which gives members access to white-glove roadside assistance, including guaranteed flatbed towing, real-time truck tracking and an unlimited number of service calls annually. Members also receive daily updates on the classic car market and can sign up for monthly newsletters or the bimonthly Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. They also get exclusive event access, as well as discounts

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PROFILE Name: Collette (Coco) Champagne Title: Chief operating officer Company: Hagerty Based in: Traverse City, Michigan Years in the industry: 22

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INDUSTRY ICON from automotive suppliers. “We’re successful because of the strength of our brand,” Champagne says. “We have an amazing brand team who work incredibly hard to create and sustain this wonderful

20,000 Twitter followers, not to mention 1.6 million YouTube subscribers – and they’re all engaging with the Hagerty brand and their fellow car enthusiasts on a regular basis.” Hagerty Drivers Club members don’t

“We have an amazing brand team who work incredibly hard to create and sustain this wonderful client experience, and that’s really played into our incredible growth journey” client experience, and that’s really played into our incredible growth journey. We now have more than 650,000 members in the Hagerty Drivers Club, 3.1 million followers on Facebook, 287,000 Instagram fans and

have to purchase insurance to gain membership. Many join initially to become part of the community, Champagne explains, and as they engage with Hagerty’s ever-expanding range of services, they naturally turn to the

company for their classic car insurance needs. This has led to growth in Hagerty’s direct-toconsumer offering, which makes up 46% of its distribution, alongside its agency partner distribution (54%). “One thing I’m really passionate about is attracting and retaining top talent,” Champagne says. “We’re lucky, in a way, because a lot of people who come to work for Hagerty bring with them a passion for vintage cars or motorsports, and they’re excited about engaging with our members and finding new ways to connect with the community. But it’s always been my policy to attract the best possible talent for the job, regardless of their background or their interests. Insurance is a people business; it’s about relationships, and we’re looking for talent that can meet the unique needs of our very passionate membership.” Hagerty’s support for its members also

Congratulations to the Elite Women in Insurance 16

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extends into community grants. In April 2020, the firm launched a Restore the Roar grant initiative to help enthusiast vehicle restoration shops, specialty parts manufacturers and other related businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. Hagerty redeployed its entire budget for partnerships and events (which were canceled due to the pandemic) to support small businesses with grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. “That’s another example of how we are supporting our member’s passions, even through these unprecedented times,” Champagne says. “We’re all in this together.” It’s often said that the best cars are the ones with great stories; perhaps the best insurers are the ones with great brands. That’s certainly the road Champagne has been cruising down – and she’s had a pretty smooth drive.



HAGERTY DRIVERS CLUB A members-only community that offers auto enthusiasts white-glove roadside assistance, daily updates on the classic car market, supplier discounts, exclusive event access and more HAGERTY VALUATION TOOL Gives Drivers Club members access to unlimited value lookups, full historical pricing data, historic auction sales and more HAGERTY DRIVESHARE A peer-to-peer rental platform that connects classic car owners to renters

HAGERTY MEDIA Publishes a website, videos and a magazine all about classic cars MOTORSPORTREG North America’s largest motorsport membership, licensing and event online management system, which Hagerty acquired in 2019 HAGERTY GARAGE + SOCIAL A bricks-and-mortar hub (currently available in three locations) offering storage, work space and social events for classic car enthusiasts


This has been a year of recovery – but the process is far from over. Insurance Business is proud to have been the voice of an industry that has refused to stagnate during such challenging times, keeping the focus on a brighter future of equality and diversity. As we enter fall 2021, we’re more determined than ever to shape a more inclusive, forward-thinking industry, where leadership opportunities are available to everyone. Our Women in Insurance series is returning for a number of virtual events, covering the topics that matter to you. Be sure to join us at: AUG











I took several pages of notes and will be bringing the ideas back to

These sessions brought many takeaways. Keynotes really made

my team. I felt it was a very positive and fulfilling conference that

me self-assess and look beyond what is in front of me. Panelists for

promoted some forward-thinking ideas.

Tasking a Risk, Beyond Mentorship, and Making your Brand gave me

- Lisa Strader, Medical Manager, Safety National

so much energy and inspiration! This was a GREAT event! Thank you! - Beth Foy, Project Manager, Vermont Mutual Insurance

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6/3/2021 9:23:11 PM

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The D&O risks of SPACs The growing popularity of this novel stock market listing method brings new risks and exposures in the D&O space, writes Wil Hamory ALTHOUGH SPECIAL purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) first entered the market in 1993, they really exploded on the scene in 2020. This revolution is due to the combination of recent market volatility, abundant investment funds and experienced investors with a stout appetite for risk. A growing list of companies has embraced this alternative route to going public – in 2020, roughly 200 SPACs raised close to $70 billion in total funding. But what does it all mean? Now that SPACs are propelling into the mainstream market, it’s worth examining the differences between them and traditional initial public offerings (IPOs). An IPO has long been the traditional route for a private company to offer its shares in a new stock issuance. On Wall Street, IPO has been a buzzword for decades, with the dot-com boom propelling shares in several industries. However, the IPO process isn’t effortless to navigate. Companies must comply with the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s requirements to go public via an IPO and are subject to oversight and strict disclosure after the IPO. Although the results are often advantageous, including substantial profit margins, the IPO process is notoriously costly, complicated and time-consuming. Companies must hire investment bankers, lawyers, consultants, financial advisors and accountants, among others. As a result, IPO preparation alone can take a year or more. Conversely, SPACs enjoy a much less stringent process. SPACs are shell compa-


nies, also known as ‘blank check companies,’ that intentionally raise capital through an IPO for the sole purpose of acquiring another company. Don Butler, managing director at Thomvest Ventures, summed up the contrast between IPOs and SPACs best when he said, “An IPO is basically a company looking for money, while a SPAC is money looking for a company.”

tions for them. This boom means new threats and abundant liability risks for SPACs, making a reliable risk management framework crucial for success. Typically, seasoned executives or elite former CEOs pilot SPACs – one of their unique intricacies. Naturally, directors and officers of SPACs and soon-to-be-public companies face mass amounts of scrutiny from the open market. Securities class action lawsuits have been hitting a record high, and settlements are also astronomical. What’s more, even when facing a hardening D&O insurance market, very few insurance carriers will cover SPACs. A SPAC’s timeline and organic life cycle cause many challenges. Acquisitions can muddy up coverage details quickly, causing policies to expire or lapse. Tail coverage is critical for SPACs – even more so than traditional companies – to ensure an extended reporting period (ERP) of up to six years. Directors and officers of SPACs and conventional companies put their personal

“Naturally, directors and officers of SPACs and soon-to-be-public companies face mass amounts of scrutiny from the open market” However, it’s not effortless to bypass a traditional IPO and opt for the SPAC route. While SPACs aren’t required to withstand the same exhausting rules and regulations during the IPO process as conventional companies, they must weather other formalities. For example, SPACs usually have between 18 and 24 months to acquire a target company or face expiration. Plus, SPACs risk their shareholders rejecting a target company’s acquisition. Unfortunately, this guideline sometimes equates to settling for a workable deal rather than the best possible deal. Additionally, amid a highly competitive environment, SPACs are poised to outperform their 2020 benchmark, raising $26 billion in January. With new SPAC structures surfacing regularly, the SEC is continually adjusting its rules and regula-

assets at stake during an IPO. Shareholders, investors and competitors can sue, accusing leaders of wrongful acts in managing the business. With seasoned executives leading the charge, proper coverage is critical as they navigate an ever-changing regulatory environment and heightened headline risk. With the powerful rise of SPACs, we’re all adjusting to new trends, exposures and challenges. Although traditional IPOs are far from obsolete, SPACs could be around for a while longer. We’ll likely experience plenty of ups and downs as the insurance industry responds to the fresh faces. Wil Hamory is vice president of sales at Founder Shield, which specializes in creating tailored insurance solutions for innovative clients, with a focus on emerging and difficult-to-place risks.

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WOMEN IBA recognizes 64 women who are paving the way for a new era of female leadership in the insurance industry



Feature article .............................................. 20 Methodology ................................................ 20 Elite Women 2021 ........................................ 24 Profiles .......................................................... 26




THE SKY IS THE LIMIT THIS YEAR’S IBA Elite Women are on top of the world. Whether setting sales records, landing seats in the C suite or mentoring other women to excel, they have distinguished themselves in a business long regarded as employing an abundance of old men. In 2021, after a whirlwind of a year, things are still changing. Over the next few years,

their jobs during the pandemic. If they don’t return, McKinsey & Company estimates it could set women’s equality back by six years.

From ‘the only’ to one of many Despite the current ebb in the labor market, the past year’s social justice protests have brought the importance of diversity, equity

“Women in the industry need to be more intentional about building together and focus on empowering the next generation. Ally is a noun in the dictionary, but when put into practice, ally is a verb” Rebekah Ratliff, Capital City Mediations approximately 400,000 employees are set to retire from the insurance industry, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, freeing up opportunities for young women to take on leadership positions. But at the same time, the pandemic has forced 2.3 million women from the general workforce, according to the National Women’s Law Center, pushing women’s labor participation rate to a low not seen since the late ’80s. Due in large part to a lack of childcare options, women have been forced to leave the workforce – according to Accenture, nearly a third of women in the insurance industry left


and inclusion (DE&I) to the forefront of the corporate zeitgeist. “Recent events have caused an awakening around the industry,” says Rebekah Ratliff, founder and president of Capital City Mediations and one of this year’s Elite Women. “Companies are actively deploying DE&I initiatives to break down some of the infrastructure that has enabled inequity practices, making a positive impact on the increase of diverse talent in the industry.” When Ratliff began her career in insurance claims, she was the only African American woman in the office. Very few people

METHODOLOGY In February, IBA put out a call for nominations for this year’s Elite Women list. Nominators were asked to provide details of their nominee’s achievements and initiatives over the past 12 months, including specific examples of their professional accomplishments and contributions to the industry as a whole. To select the winners, the IBA team relied on the help of an independent and esteemed panel of judges that included Myrna Chao, Willis Towers Watson; Rebekah Ratliff, Capital City Mediations/ JAMS; Whitnee Dillard, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; Lauren C. Young, Travelers; and Pam Humphrey, Chubb. The judges and the IBA team reviewed all nominations, examining how each individual had made a meaningful contribution to the industry, to whittle down the list to the final 64 Elite Women. To avoid conflicts of interest, self-voting and voting for relatives was prohibited.

8th Year of IBA’s Elite Women list

360+ Total nominations received

200 Companies submitted nominations

FROM THE SPONSOR Congratulations to the Elite Women in Insurance! My roots in the industry start with my father, John Nichols, who started his own aviation insurance agency in the 1970s, which he sold to Falcon Leslie McLerran Executive vice Insurance in 1991. Falcon remains a leader in aviation president insurance as part of Acrisure, the presenting sponsor Falcon Insurance Agency of of this year’s Elite Women list. Each day, I work with Houston, talented women leaders who are trailblazing in techan Acrisure Agency Partner nology, customer experience and product innovation. I’m truly proud to see how far women have come in this industry.

looked like her, she says – let alone those in leadership positions. “I learned to stay out of my comfort zone, to do my work and never stop learning,” Ratliff says. “I moved through my 25-year career, never turning down the opportunity to learn more. Now that the pieces of my career puzzle have come together, I see that my intentionality paid off, literally.” Today, the lack of diversity in the insurance industry mirrors other industries due to systemic racism and majority privilege, Ratliff says, noting that structural racism and gender bias have delayed the advancement of

And while recent momentum fueled by organizations and markets is encouraging, it is just the start of where we can go as an industry. To all the women reading this: Trust in your ability to surpass the achievements of yesterday. I believe that my outstanding colleagues will exceed my contributions one day. As members of the insurance industry, this attitude – one of mentoring, support and knowledgesharing – is crucial toward advancing diversity in our industry. With hard work, integrity and long-lasting relationships with clients, the sky is the limit.

women and people of color in the industry. For young women just beginning their insurance careers, Ratliff encourages them to seek out mentors and work with integrity to build mutually beneficial relationships inside and outside the industry. To create a more inclusive industry for women, Ratliff says it’s important to embrace, implement and execute on what she refers to as “the three ships”: mentorship, sponsorship and allyship. “Women in the industry need to be more intentional about building together and focus on empowering the next generation,”

COVID-19’S IMPACT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE Female workforce participation fell to around 56% during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing it to its lowest level since 1988

During back-to-school time in 2020, 80% of the 1.1 million workers who exited workforce were women

Men are expected to return to full pre-pandemic employment by 2022

Women likely won’t reach full pre-pandemic employment until 2024

she says. “Ally is a noun in the dictionary, but when put into practice, ally is a verb.”

Let us all rise That sentiment resonates with Brigitte Egbert, the executive vice president and co-managing partner of Monarch Insurance Services, an Acrisure Agency Partner, and a 2021 IBA Top Producer. “Over the course of the last year, I, in collaboration with the Monarch leadership team, helped the agency grow top-line revenue by over 10% while simultaneously expanding profit margin by 5%, increasing earnings of nearly 30%,” Egbert says. She did this while managing a portfolio of Hawaii’s top financial and educational institutions, real estate owners/developers, social service agencies, auto dealerships, professional employer organizations, condo associations, restaurant owners, and other businesses. Along the way, Egbert has realized the importance of setting and, where possible, surpassing goals. “I encourage those around me to set goals without a ceiling, ask confidants to hold them accountable, seek constructive feedback, continue asking questions and to share ideas often,” she says. “I learned the value of team play as a child when my mother pushed me into competitive sports at age 8. I quickly developed a love of pushing myself to be my very best and being a strong, integral member of the team, both professionally

Sources: Fortune; US Bureau of Labor Statistics






of the total insurance industry workforce is female



of claims and policy processing clerks are women


of sales agents are women

of C-suite officers are women

“To paraphrase a familiar quote, when a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic, and her sense of possibility is contagious. Let us all rise!” Brigitte Egbert, Monarch Insurance Services


of claims adjusters are women


of board seats are held by women

Sources: Insure National; Spencer Stuart

and personally. I strive to perform at a level of excellence consistently, with particular focus in difficult/stressful scenarios. I believe I am at my best when I’m at the crux of any challenge. That said, I believe in constantly developing and challenging myself through learning and mentorship and credit much of my success to the formidable mentors I have had the privilege of working with along the way.” Egbert acknowledges that today’s insurance professionals – both women and men – have many challenges to confront, from the pandemic to the hard market. “Another critical challenge facing the insurance industry today is the age within our industry,” she says. “We have a massive opportunity to engage the next generations


and transition our intellectual and institutional capital over the next several years.” In the meantime, Egbert believes there are some things the industry could do to make it more inclusive for women, including clarifying people’s perceptions of one another, encouraging collaboration among men and women, and encouraging women to support other women. She also believes the industry needs to do more to get the media, markets and brokers to recognize the issues facing women and seek ways to sponsor and recognize talent. On that note, Egbert says she trusts in the power of vulnerability to endear people to one another and empower them so they don’t feel alone. Women should share their knowledge and experience with others, she says, and women, especially young ones, should ask other women for help. “Women can do so much for each other by mentoring and sharing their knowledge as we advance together to a brighter future,” she says. “To paraphrase a familiar quote, when a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic, and her sense of possibility is contagious. Let us all rise!”


Acrisure’s Top Women Producers! Already the fastest growing, most profitable insurance distribution platform, Acrisure is deploying technology at unprecedented scale. As the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Elite Women in Insurance report, we’re recognizing three award-winning Agency Partners who are among the entrepreneurs propelling us forward. To learn more, visit




Partner, Bozzuto & Associates Insurance Services, an Acrisure Agency Partner

Co-Managing Partner, Executive Vice President, Monarch Insurance Services, an Acrisure Agency Partner

Executive Vice President, Falcon Insurance Agency, an Acrisure Agency Partner

Acrisure Top Producer, 2021

Acrisure Top Producer, 2021

Insurance Business America Top Producer, 2021

Insurance Business America Top Producer, 2021




WOMEN Adrianna Rivera Personal lines underwriting manager Risk Placement Services Email: Website: Angela Noble Vice president of innovation EMC Insurance Companies Email: Website: Charlotte Stone Area executive vice president, property Risk Placement Services Email: Website: Eleni Carras Vice president Alliant Insurance Services Phone: 206-204-9185 Email: Website:

Bain Head Executive vice president CAC Specialty Bonnie Boone Executive vice president Gallagher Brigitte Spencer Director, customer service center (sales) and personal lines operations The Hanover Insurance Group Candace Rhea Executive team lead The Hartford Celia Santana President Personal Risk Management Solutions Chaya Cooperberg EVP, chief people & communications officer AmTrust Financial Cheri Amaro Chief operating officer The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers


Gilliane Isabelle Chief distribution officer AIG Retirement Services Phone: 443-690-6763 Email: Website: Gina Hardy General manager/CEO North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association and North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association Phone: 919-744-2680 Email: Website: Grace Grant Executive director Gamma Iota Sigma Email: Website: Heather Fox General counsel and chief brokerage officer ARC Excess & Surplus Phone: 917-445-1814 Email: Website: Christine Chandler Tillett Risk management and human resources manager Charles Dunn Company Christy Kaufman Head of strategy, governance and compliance American Family Ventures Cyndi Doragh Senior executive Iron Ridge Insurance Services Dale Sharpe Jenkins Agency principal and founder The Jenkins Agency Denise Perlman Executive vice president, business insurance & national partnerships Marsh & McLennan Agency Heather McMahon Vice president and claims manager II Erie Insurance

Janet Lindstrom Executive vice president, chief transformation officer Arch Insurance Phone: 646-734-9182 Email: Website: business/north-america/united-states Jen Tadin Chief growth officer Bold Penguin LinkedIn: Website: Katy Bradica Chief pricing actuary AXA XL Email: Website:

Jane Hahn Managing director Beecher Carlson Jennifer Guidry Small commercial book consolidation underwriting director The Hartford Julia Sauceda Senior vice president RT Specialty Kari Dybdahl Kohal President American Risk Management Resources Network Karin Venegas Managing director – business insurance Higginbotham Katherine Richardson EVP, chief human resources officer PURE Insurance Kerri Hamm Executive vice president, client executive Munich Reinsurance America Kim Beach Founder and CEO InsureWomen

Keti Mehta Senior vice president, NYC commercial middle market Gallagher

Lilian Vanvieldt Executive vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer Alliant Insurance Services

Phone: 212-530-7964 Mobile: 201-803-1313 Email: Website:

Phone: 310-383-4453 Email: Website:

Kris L. Hill President, alternative markets QBE North America Email: Website:

Kristin Downey Chief administrative officer Amwins Group

Lorrie V. Leonard Vice president, dispute resolution strategy & corporate litigation counsel Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Phone: 773-339-0678 Email: Website: Mandy Reed Agency owner The Reed Agency

Michelle Foster Earle Founder and CEO OmniSure Consulting Group Phone: 512-426-8201 Email: Website: Sonji K. Grandy Assistant vice president and account executive Alliant Insurance Services Phone: 551-260-8225 Email: Website: Sue Srinivasan Executive vice president, retail strategy and distribution Arch Insurance

Email: Website:

Phone: 719-275-8619 Email: Website:

Phone: 646-581-8767 Email: Website: business/north-america/united-states

Kimi Barnes Managing director – excess casualty Travelers

Meg McKeen Founder and chief confidence builder Adjunct Advisors

Shannon Groeber Executive vice president CFC Underwriting

Montrae Williams Head of P&C claims sales and service The Hartford

Susan Comparato Senior vice president of US operations Argo Group

Ngozi Nnaji Founder Ako Brokerage Services

Sylvia Ornelas Associate vice president; director, personal insurance Burns & Wilcox

Kristin Kraeger Managing director Aon Laura Foggan Partner Crowell & Moring Lianna Kinard Vice president of marketing The Buckner Company Lorrie Baldevia Agency COO AssuredPartners Madelyn Flannagan Vice president of agent development, research and education Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Margaret N. Redd Executive director National African American Insurance Association

Nicole Gunderson Managing director Global Insurance Accelerator Pamela Humphrey Senior vice president Chubb

Teresa Cazares Managing director Beecher Carlson Terry-Dawn Thomas Managing attorney Zurich

Ranjini Pillay Vice president, credit & structured products group Crum & Forster

Tiara Morris Executive underwriter Chubb

Rebekah Ratliff Founder/president Capital City Mediations

Tina Anderson Market head of community activation Aetna, a CVS Company

Sha’Ron James Partner – government and regulatory team Berger Singerman

Valorie Owens Vice president of business development Sayata Labs






race Grant is forging a path for the future of insurance talent as executive director of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), an international professional collegiate organization serving a mission of promoting and sustaining student interest in careers across the insurance industry. Over the past eight years, Grant has led GIS’ robust growth, expanding the number of collegiate chapters from 57 to 95 and tripling the student membership base from 2,000 to 6,000. Grant spearheaded the launch of GIS’ inclusive membership initiative to engage students of all majors and backgrounds to pursue insurance careers. She has also championed a significant expansion of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, introducing groundbreaking diversity events and initiatives to equip students from historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic students, women, LGBTQ+ students, and a variety of other underrepresented groups for


Executive Director GAMMA IOTA SIGMA

success in the insurance industry. All that has made Grant proficient at juggling work-life challenges. “As a working mother of five children under the age of 9, I’ve had to meticulously manage my time and focus my priorities time and time again,” she says. “Being able to determine efficient and effective ways to get the job done, while staying focused on the vision and bigger picture, is critical.” Grant counts her work ethic and drive among her greatest strengths, but what she values most is building authentic relationships with people. “While the quality of my work and achievement are critically important to me, it’s even more important that I bring others alongside me to share in the success,” she says. “My successes are not possible without the remarkable team at Gamma Iota Sigma and those surrounding the organization in its board of trustees, industry partners, faculty advisors and student leaders. Being

able to support my colleagues and encourage their success has allowed me to advance in my own career while both learning from and motivating those around me.” Going forward, Grant is set on pushing herself out of her comfort zone to continue to learn new skills, meet new people and further her own development while simultaneously advancing GIS’ mission. “By continually learning, problem-solving, experimenting and considering other perspectives, we have the opportunity to truly move forward personally and professionally,” she says. “If we stick to what we know we can do, do what is expected of us and stay comfortable, we’re missing out on some of life’s greatest opportunities, especially the opportunity to inspire those around us. It’s a privilege to lead Gamma Iota Sigma in its values of teamwork, integrity, excellence, diversity and service as we serve the insurance industry and its talent pipeline.”



President, Alternative Markets QBE NORTH AMERICA

ris Hill believes that we have a choice to start every day as either Tigger or Eeyore, and every day she chooses to be Tigger. Hill leverages this high level of energy and ambition as president of QBE North America’s alternative markets business, the largest of the insurer’s four business groups in the US. A 25-plus-year veteran of the insurance industry, Hill is an accomplished leader with strong financial acumen, a global perspective and a knack for effectively using QBE talent and resources. “I feel good about setting a vision for alternative markets at QBE and focusing on how to be a trusted advisor to our partners, customers and colleagues,” Hill says. “Our industry is rooted in three things: relationships, responsiveness and smarts. A trusted advisor is the pinnacle of a relationship. Relationships evolve from providing support when asked, anticipating needs, and sharing

personal issues and stories together – being authentic. I am proud of the focus our people put on our mindset and flexing different muscles to earn trust.” Hill joined QBE in 2017 as chief financial officer of the insurer’s North American operations. Prior to joining QBE, she served in a customer-facing role as executive vice president of field operations at Liberty Mutual Surety after spending nearly four years as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Liberty Mutual Surety and three years as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Liberty Mutual Safeco Insurance. Before that, she held several positions of increasing responsibility in accounting, finance, and operations at Safeco Corporation, Northstar Communications, and Aetna Life & Casualty. Throughout her career, Hill has been an enthusiastic supporter of women. “We all have

the opportunity to make a difference for women in the insurance industry through our own personal actions,” she says. “I hire women; provide as much individual sponsorship and mentorship to them as I can; establish informal networking sessions – virtual wine tasting has been a hit! – and provide leadership to our external partners, encouraging them to hire more women. Highlighting the strength that women offer our industry by celebrating successes in a public setting helps insurance as an industry evolve, showing it needs both women and men to be most successful.” Passionate about living every moment to the fullest, Hill juggles work and family responsibilities with three children, including a nonverbal son with autism who is in high school, a daughter who is a school psychologist with emphasis on special needs education and another daughter who has a promising career as an actuary.






onji K. Grandy believes in service, advocacy and heart. She adds value in every facet of her career with excellent client service, provides advocacy to help colleagues of color feel heard and represented, and offers a heart to serve those in need. As an assistant vice president and account executive in Alliant’s private client division, Grandy designs creative insurance programs for high-net-worth clients. She has more than 30 years of industry experience, including 14 years spent crafting insurance solutions to help successful individuals protect themselves, their families, and their valuable assets, including homes, yachts, fine art, jewelry, aircraft, automobiles, and more. Since joining Alliant in 2017, Grandy has grown revenues for her book of business by 30%. As an example of the exceptional service she provides to her clients, Grandy traveled


Assistant Vice President and Account Executive ALLIANT INSURANCE SERVICES

from New York to a client’s compound in Virginia to tour the property so she could better understand the operation and ensure there were no gaps in coverage. Additionally, she pursued and now manages the client’s extensive fine art collection, thereby reducing the premium by $40,000. Her attention to detail and customer service have helped her maintain a loyal customer base. Grandy exudes professionalism and has a keen sense of emotional intelligence. These strengths overflow and benefit the rest of her team significantly. For example, she has coached, trained and mentored her supporting account manager to enable her to flourish in her own career. Based on her mentoring success, Grandy was asked to mentor other account managers within the division. She is also a key contributor to Alliant’s diversity and inclusion initiative and is the co-founder and co-chair of the Blacks@

Alliant employee resource group, which creates a place within Alliant for colleagues to form relationships, access resources and participate in a supportive community, all of which are imperative for employees’ overall well-being. Grandy empowers, engages and educates people of color and their allies by creating an environment where transparent discussions can take place. Her positive contributions are also felt outside of her professional work. As vice president of the Generation X Community Association, Grandy has helped provide care packages to more than 2,000 families in need. She is also active in her church, serving with Micah 7 Ministries. One major highlight in her service is the work she does with formerly incarcerated women to help improve their quality of life. Grandy is also a member of the National African American Insurance Association’s New York chapter.



Agency Owner

General Counsel and Chief Brokerage Officer

The Reed Agency

ARC Excess & Surplus


sense of community is at the heart of The Reed Agency’s success. “As a business owner myself, I understand the sacrifice and fears of other small business owners, and I care deeply not only about their success, but also about our connections and how we can partner together to protect everything they have worked so hard to achieve,” says Mandy Reed, owner of The Reed Agency. Reed founded The Reed Agency with her husband, Josh, who serves as vice president, in Cañon City, Colorado, in 2017. Since then, the full-service agency has grown from two agents to 13. In addition to the typical commercial, home, auto and life lines of business, The Reed Agency also has a strong Medicare Supplement team and group health benefits. “We are focusing heavily on having strong carriers to support the tech industry, as well as historic commercial real estate,” Reed says. “Living in a rural community, I have learned that so many entrepreneurs have been told that their risk is impossible to find coverage for. I have taken that as an invitation to separate myself by finding carriers that are able to meet their needs.”


eather Fox knows how to navigate a career in insurance. “We’re in a relationship business, so continuing to network throughout your career is critical to keeping you at the top of your game and continuing to learn,” she says. Fox enjoys the diversity of her current roles. In addition to serving as general counsel for ARC Excess & Surplus, she is also a national resource for all ARC brokers and manages the claims advocacy practice. Before joining ARC, Fox was senior vice president and chief underwriting officer of AIG’s executive liability division, where she also served as general counsel. She is a past president and trustee of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, a 7,000-plus-member association that provides thought leadership and networking in the professional liability insurance industry. Now Fox is using her personal career experience to help other women navigate the industry. She is a co-founder and vice president of The Bridge Transcends, an inclusive nonprofit networking organization that offers valued programs to support the development of female talent in financial lines insurance.






30-plus-year insurance industry veteran and longtime community activist, Lilian Vanvieldt uses her experience, influence and passion to bring about positive change. In April 2021, she was named executive vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer (CDIO) for Alliant Insurance Services. As the head of Alliant’s diversity & inclusion (D&I) initiative, Vanvieldt leads a company-wide effort to promote D&I within Alliant and throughout the broader insurance industry with a focus on awareness, training and mentoring. At the heart of this effort is Vanvieldt’s longstanding commitment to expanding opportunities for career growth and advancement for individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Vanvieldt also works to support and grow Alliant’s employee resource groups (ERGs), including Women at Alliant, Blacks@Alliant, ALL-In (LGBTQ), AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) and ARMS (Awareness,


Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer ALLIANT INSURANCE SERVICES

Resources, Mentorship and Support) for those impacted by cancer. These ERGs create a strong sense of community and provide resources, relationships, and alliances that are essential to the health and productivity of Alliant’s workforce. Vanvieldt’s mentorship reaches beyond Alliant to include members of the broader insurance community and those seeking to enter it. Through her work as a corporate mentor for the Jacobs Center in San Diego, she helps empower women, inner-city residents and those from disadvantaged communities to start their own businesses, agencies and careers in insurance. In addition to her role as CDIO, Vanvieldt continues to shine as one of the nation’s leading brokers in the education space. She leads the Alliant Kindergarten to Community College (K-14) Public Entity program and plays an influential role in setting the program’s national business strategy. She is

highly regarded for her personal touch, which was crucial in guiding her clients through a difficult year in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanvieldt worked directly with her clients to help them navigate the unpredictable risk climate. She created tailored programs for national student accident and laptop coverages to ensure schools had a strong layer of protection during remote learning and upon reopening. Vanvieldt is highly adept at helping clients and colleagues overcome obstacles because she has firsthand experience meeting adversity head-on. A survivor of stage III breast cancer, she currently serves as director of the Susan G. Komen Leadership Foundation in San Diego and was the organization’s Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor of the Year in 2018. Vanvieldt uses her voice and influence to advocate for equality in access to health services for women of color and is an active spokesperson for breast cancer education and prevention.

ANGELA NOBLE Vice President of Innovation EMC Insurance Companies


or Angela Noble, success means continuously having opportunities to listen and learn. “I often use the words ‘evolve and grow’ when I’m speaking with my team about professional development,” she says. “You grow the most in times of challenge.” Noble has more than 20 years of professional experience and is a respected leader with expertise in strategic communications, organizational change management, program management, marketing, claims, underwriting and innovation. In 2017, she was named to Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 list in recognition of her professional and community impact. She serves as a trusted mentor and advisor to many young professionals, including as mentor for the national RISE organization. She also sits on the advisory councils for Plug & Play Tech Center and the InsurTech Alliance and on the board of the Global Insurance Accelerator. From mentoring rising stars in the industry to implementing enhanced innovation strategies at EMC Insurance Companies, Noble sees a bright future ahead. “Our industry is changing at a rapid pace, from many different angles,” she says. “Consumer preferences, agency and broker preferences, technology trends, new products, and societal trends are shaping the way we do business. It’s an exciting time to be in the insurance industry.”

ADRIANNA RIVERA Personal Lines Underwriting Manager Risk Placement Services


drianna Rivera knows the importance of having “that fire in your belly” to reach the next level. “It’s definitely that fire that drove me and continues to drive me to attain all the goals I set for myself,” she says. With more than 25 years of wholesale experience, Rivera joined Risk Placement Services (RPS) in 2011. She is a perennial top performer and, for five years running, has earned a spot in the annual RPS Bar Club, which recognizes top producers. Prior to joining RPS, Rivera was a personal lines producer at Hull & Company, where she earned the Top Gun Award for writing the most new business in the Fort Lauderdale office. In addition to her role as a managing producer, Rivera also leads one of the most diverse and successful branches in RPS. With respect to women in leadership roles, she says it’s empowering to see how far women have come in the industry. “It is even more exciting to see what the next 10 years will hold for us,” she says. “There’s always work to be done, but we are on the right path, and RPS is a true example with so many women in leadership roles. I am proud to be part of the change!”






leni Carras is a conscientious employee benefits consultant and a dedicated mentor who strives to drive exceptional results for her clients and colleagues. As vice president and benefits consultant lead at Alliant Insurance Services, Carras provides strategic advice and tactical planning tools to clients in a broad range of industries. She listens intently to her clients while being mindful of their goals, finances and culture. To encourage clients to challenge their own assumptions, the question she asks most frequently is, “What’s the problem you’re trying to solve, and how do you know it is?” On a day-to-day basis, Carras’ goal is to derive quantifiable and meaningful outcomes through well-crafted designs that enhance her clients’ benefits programs. For example,


Vice President & Benefits Consultant Lead ALLIANT INSURANCE SERVICES

she recently negotiated more than $5 million in fixed cost savings on a $50 million plan without changing features, structures, employee contributions or services offered. In addition to stewarding her clients, Carras champions all voices and promotes a culture of inclusivity at Alliant. She believes her success is a byproduct of her team’s effectiveness, so she makes time for anyone who needs help solving a problem or working through a challenge. Reminding colleagues to show grace and compassion to one another, she readily helps women identify and remove obstacles to career growth so they can thrive. As a result, she has made a profound contribution to her team members’ career growth and serves as a shining example of the spirit of mentorship at Alliant. In her first five years at Alliant, Carras has

achieved measurable success, winning awards for innovation in 2020, leadership in 2016 and 2018, and Employee of the Year in 2017. She also represents Alliant’s Pacific Northwest office in a national panel set up to question existing notions of best client service practices. And in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she kept a positive mindset and quickly helped clients pivot their strategies to boost value to employees and their families. Outside the office, Carras is active in her community, serving on the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Board of Ambassadors and as a member of its Innovators Network. Prior to that, she served on Seattle CityClub’s board of directors for 10 years and hosted her church’s charity auction for nearly a decade.



Area Executive Vice President, Property

Chief Pricing Actuary

Risk Placement Services



mbracing her creative side has helped Charlotte Stone achieve success, both personally and professionally. “In addition to having strong analytical skills, there is also a need for creativity when structuring insurance placements using a multitude of carriers,” she says. As area executive vice president of property at Risk Placement Services (RPS), Stone specializes in the brokerage and placement of catastrophe-driven programs, including the perils of earthquake, flood, windstorm and hail, and wildfire. She currently manages a book of more than $44 million in premium and has extensive expertise in placing shared and layered programs and alternative program structures for clients in the real estate, scholastic, religious, healthcare and nonprofit sectors. Stone has been recognized as an RPS top performer every year and was ranked in the top five for production in 2015. She says it’s exciting to see how quickly RPS has grown from a handful of employees to more than 3,000 today. “We have accomplished a great deal since our inception only 24 years ago,” Stone says. “Clients want to work with knowledgeable professionals who can really make a difference and provide solutions when needed. During difficult markets, like the one we are currently in, our clients truly rely on our technical knowledge and expertise.”


s a leader, I have learned that surrounding myself with the best talent in the industry has been critical to my success,” says Katy Bradica, AXA XL’s chief pricing actuary. “Despite my 20 years in the industry, I never stop learning.” With actuarial experience in casualty, property, and professional lines pricing and reserving, Bradica currently leads a team of actuaries and data scientists dedicated to improving risk selection and pricing. She is responsible for developing and delivering technical pricing and portfolio management capabilities for AXA XL’s global insurance business. “The future of the industry will be a continuous evolution to respond to the changing needs of our customers while facing new forms of risk,” Bradica says. “Innovation in technology, data and analytics will continue to be at the forefront for the foreseeable future to help in this transformation.” In addition to her pricing and actuarial responsibilities, Bradica also plays an active role in diversity and inclusion initiatives, including launching a chapter of AXA XL’s women’s network in her local office. “Within my own leadership team, we have reached gender parity,” she says. “I am encouraged that the industry is raising awareness of the business benefits to improving diversity at all levels of the organization, but we still have tremendous work to do.”







ina Hardy began her career at Great American Insurance Group and Ohio Casualty, where she held roles as an underwriter, underwriting manager, business center manager, national umbrella product manager and assistant vice president. Her responsibilities included managing operations in ten US states, coordinating a corporate reorganization and participating in strategic planning projects. In 2006, Hardy accepted the position of assistant vice president at Builders Mutual, where she was responsible for establishing and managing underwriting policies, practices, and procedures. During her tenure, the company expanded operations from four to nine states and went from writing primarily residential construction to writing risks in all areas of construction. In 2011, Hardy was appointed CEO of the North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association (NCJUA) and the North Carolina Insurance


Underwriting Association (NCIUA). The associations collectively insure $100 billion in property exposures for more than 400,000 policyholders and are recognized as leaders in promoting resilient construction. “I have a passion for helping our coastal communities become more resilient to severe weather,” Hardy says. “Eliminating or minimizing damage allows our policyholders to return home after a hurricane and quickly restore their lives. The NCIUA has implemented a comprehensive resilience and mitigation program to encourage FORTIFIED roof construction, developed by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. In 2021, our program will provide resiliency roof grants for vulnerable coastal properties in the Outer Banks and barrier islands of North Carolina and a proprietary enhancement endorsement to 164,000 policyholders in the coastal region to upgrade their homes to resilient construction after a loss.”

Hardy also serves as board chair of PIPSO (Property Insurance Plans Services Office), is a member of the business school board of advisors at Meredith College, contributes to the diversity and inclusion committee and board of advisors at the Brantley Risk Insurance Center at Appalachian State University, and sits on the RMI Advisory Board of East Carolina University and the board of directors for the CPCU Eastern North Carolina chapter. Hardy is also part of the Director Diversity Initiative at the UNC School of Law, which seeks to assist companies in building a diverse board of directors. “I have been involved with recruiting talented, diverse individuals to join the initiative, networking with other active members and attending educational opportunities,” she says. “Corporate governance, which begins with director diversity, is an important key to creating diverse and inclusive workplaces.”



ichelle Foster Earle is the president, CEO and majority owner of OmniSure Consulting Group, a risk control firm she founded in 2000. Having been through hard and soft market cycles, Earle knows the survival of any insurance business depends on having the right partners. As an independently owned third-party risk services partner to Lloyd’s of London, many well-known domestic carriers, MGAs, program managers and alternative risk markets, OmniSure has a solid reputation for helping insurers develop and improve their books of business. That benefit extends beyond business – OmniSure improves care and saves lives, which is the mission that fuels Earle’s passion and drives the company’s success. She is especially proud of how the company has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. “The number of helpline calls we received from our partners’ policyholders, seeking risk-


related guidance, has more than tripled since the beginning of the pandemic,” she says. “I’m quite certain we saved our partners more than 10 times their investment by handling highrisk, urgent calls alone. We also provided TeleRisk and OffSight Risk Assessments, created and distributed COVID-19 tools and resources, and held weekly risk management support meetings with the most vulnerable clients.” Earle has surrounded herself with an incredible team of experts from healthcare, senior care, human services, risk management and other professions in order to guide underwriters, brokers and policyholders to success. “Most women don’t want their success to come at the sacrifice of those who love and need them most,” she says. “Statistics show women are the ones whose careers take a hit when families are challenged. According to Fortune magazine, ‘In September, when

schools resumed, many with remote learning, 80% of the 1.1 million people who exited the workforce were women.’ I work with women in insurance and other fields to see that exiting the workforce is not their only option. Businesses need women in leadership, and there is more than enough room in the C suite for women with full lives.” Before founding OmniSure, Earle was a healthcare executive herself. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston, completed her care management studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a former licensed nursing facility administrator, an Associate in Risk Management, a licensed property & casualty agent in Texas, and holds several other state-specific insurance and risk management licenses and certifications. She is also a frequent speaker for both healthcare and insurance trade associations.






he Chicago-based vice president of dispute resolution strategy and corporate litigation counsel at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), Lorrie Leonard has extensive experience working in the P&C insurance industry. She is a respected and industry-recognized leader known for her solution-oriented approach, which has earned her team a reputation as problem solvers. “In 2020, as COVID-19 forced companies worldwide to rapidly adjust to remote work, Lorrie and her team responded quickly by developing systems to handle essential work virtually,” says a colleague. “Because of her foresight and responsiveness, Allianz was able to keep business running smoothly and reduce


Vice President, Dispute Resolution Strategy & Corporate Litigation Counsel ALLIANZ GLOBAL CORPORATE & SPECIALTY

interruptions to important client projects during a very stressful period.” Leonard is also a frequent and respected speaker at both insurance and legal conferences, where she encourages women to pursue careers in insurance. In 2018, she served as the moderator for the panel “Leadership for Women in Insurance: Who Do We Need to Be?” at IBA’s Women in Insurance conference. As an active member of AGCS’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, Leonard identifies interactive and engaging courses, reading materials, and workshops that will support the company’s inclusion initiative. She strives to create a culture where every employee is excited to learn about and embrace a

supportive climate at AGCS. “As a leader, Lorrie believes one of her top responsibilities is to prepare individuals for the next stage of their career,” her colleague says. “She actively works with her female colleagues to identify what they want to do next and then helps them achieve their goals. She has worked with her peers to establish opportunities for them to shadow other members of the legal and compliance group to expose them to other areas of interest in the industry.” Before joining AGCS in 2006, Leonard held positions at Kemper, CNA, Fireman’s Fund and Coregis Insurance. Prior to focusing her career on insurance, she spent seven years as a practicing litigation attorney.

JEN TADIN Chief Growth Officer Bold Penguin


y mission in my career is to revolutionize small business insurance by making it easier and less confusing for small business owners to protect their life’s work and their livelihood,” says Jen Tadin. “In the small commercial space, innovation is an imperative. Small business owners are what I like to refer to as ‘prosumers.’ They make buying decisions and have expectations like consumers, but they are more sophisticated in their decision-making because there is more at stake.” Tadin recently joined Bold Penguin as chief growth officer, responsible for accelerating the company’s momentum as the insurance industry’s largest small commercial marketplace. Prior to joining Bold Penguin, Tadin served as president of small business and US retail property & casualty at Gallagher, where she led a $60 million revenue operation that insures more than 50,000 small businesses. Tadin is also a D&I ambassador and public speaker; the founder of a Chicagobased networking group for women in financial services; and a board member for Female Strong, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower young girls in grades 6 through 12 with entrepreneurial and leadership skills. “I wake up every day with a passion and an inherent duty to create opportunities for all underrepresented professionals in the insurance industry,” Tadin says. “D&I work isn’t a ‘nice to do,’ it is a ‘must do.’ In order for our companies to continue to thrive, innovate and evolve, we must have more diverse representation.”

KRISTIN DOWNEY Chief Administrative Officer Amwins Group


uilding professional relationships has been crucial to Kristin Downey’s success. “We work collaboratively,” she says. “The success of our firm is due to the fact that we actually like one another and truly enjoy working together.” Downey joined Amwins as director of human resources in 2002. Today, as chief administrative officer, she directs the management and operations for compensation and benefits, employee relations and assistance, talent management, and training and development – among her many responsibilities. She also leads the company’s philanthropic efforts via the recently formed Amwins Foundation, which focuses on supporting the children of Amwins employees, offering educational scholarships for dependents enrolled in two- and four-year undergraduate programs. Since launching the program in 2019, Amwins has awarded 48 scholarships. “We often say giving back is in our DNA,” Downey says. “It’s our firm’s focus on employees that really resonates with me.” Downey is also the executive leader of Amwins’ D&I Council, where she helps ensure diversity in recruiting and partners with associations that support diversity. “I encourage women entering the industry to take control of their career and make things happen,” she says. “Be ready to take a chance and learn something new – ask for more responsibility, take control of a project, get involved!”






anet Lindstrom is an industry influencer and change-maker with more than 30 years of insurance experience. As executive vice president and chief transformation officer for Arch Insurance North America, her responsibilities include oversight of the business process management (BPM), digital product management (DPM) and Arch management system (AMS) teams. A fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society,


Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer ARCH INSURANCE

Lindstrom first joined Arch Insurance’s actuarial department in 2002 after holding actuarial roles with St. Paul Travelers and Country Financial. She has served as EVP of BPM and DPM at Arch since 2019, after being promoted from the SVP and deputy chief actuary role she had held since 2008. In addition to actively participating in Arch’s Women’s Network, Lindstrom is passionate about mentorship. She has served

as a mentor through Menttium 100 and is the executive sponsor for Arch Insurance’s mentoring program. “I was recently able to promote two employees to leadership positions for areas I had previously directly managed,” Lindstrom says. “This is incredibly satisfying to work with them leading up to and after this significant change, and to see them taking the reins and leading their new teams so capably.”



ue Srinivasan is a creative, solutionoriented insurance executive with more than 20 years of industry experience – and also new mom-to-be. “My husband and I are expecting our first child later this summer,” she says. “We both settled down later in our careers, so our bundle of joy is a true blessing. I’m looking forward to the challenges of raising a little one while balancing a rewarding career.” In 2020, Srinivasan was named executive vice president of retail strategy and distribu-

Executive Vice President of Retail Strategy and Distribution ARCH INSURANCE

tion at Arch Insurance. In this role, she leads Arch’s retail distribution strategy and directly manages the regional and national distribution teams, who are responsible for developing and managing broker relationships, aligning corporate strategy, developing initiatives to support business units, and supporting relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Prior to joining Arch in 2019, Srinivasan spent nearly 15 years in a number of different roles at Marsh USA Inc. In her spare time,

she enjoys mentoring and developing young talent in the insurance industry. “In many ways, I look a bit different than the typical insurance executive, so I enjoy being a role model for women in our industry,” Srinivasan says. “Additionally, I’m passionate about mentoring and supporting career development. It is critical that women understand how important sponsorship is for career advancement. I am focused on helping women identify sponsors who are willing to advocate for them.”






Chief Distribution Officer

Senior Vice President, NYC Commercial Middle Market

AIG Retirement Services



hen it comes to working with clients, I have an incredible passion for listening, learning and understanding,” says Gilliane Isabelle. “If a client is experiencing an obstacle, being a part of the solution is extremely rewarding to me.” In her current role as chief distribution officer for AIG Retirement Services, Isabelle oversees relationships and engagements with retirement plan sponsors, consultants, participants and individual clients across the US. She also sits on the advisory board of Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate that delivers transformative healthcare solutions to women and their families around the world. Isabelle is passionate about mentoring and coaching employees at AIG Retirement Services and encouraging them as they develop in their careers. “People believing in me has been absolutely critical to my success,” she says. “I have a passion for continuously engaging with and inspiring young professionals and a desire to give back to them and believe in them, as was done for me.” With more than 30 years of experience, Isabelle understands how persistence and resilience can turn moments of challenge into opportunities for growth. “Never give up, always shine and show up for others with each new day,” she says.



or Keti Mehta, navigating today’s market means decoding dynamics and learning to thrive on change. “Success comes when you connect authentically with clients and see beneath surface-level challenges,” she says. “Diagnosing and treating real-time issues calls for real-time solutions.” Recognized for being a skilled growth accelerator and an evangelist of the customer experience, Mehta brings more than 25 years of experience. “Building trust with clients means sharing the roadmap and co-charting the flight path with clear vision, endless passion and selfless leadership,” she says. As SVP of the middle-market business in Gallagher’s New York office, Mehta manages the firm’s growth initiatives. Her team says, “Keti sees and develops the growth potential within us. She hires talent on drive, energy and capability, not just on prior success.” “Diversity of thought, experience, style and choice means appreciating and leveraging differences,” says Mehta, who also serves as an advisor to RIMS DEI Committee and has been a board member of the Tri-State Diversity Council for seven years. “To be successful, commit fully to your development plan,” Mehta advises. “Take learning risks often and get out of your comfort zone. Stretch, flex, develop and pivot. Then make room for your growth mindset and opportunity to move in!”



CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE Brokers tell IBA which insurers and MGAs are providing the most comprehensive products and best service for construction clients

CONTENTS PAGE Feature article.......................................... 42 Methodology............................................ 43 5-Star Award winners ..............................45 Profiles.......................................................46

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COVERING A TOUGH MARKET THE CONSTRUCTION industry contributes greatly to the US economy. Encompassing more than 680,000 employers and over 7 million employees, the US construction industry builds roughly $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year, according to the Asso-

ciated General Contractors. Protecting those operations falls to the construction insurance sector, which provides contractors with everything from professional liability and builder’s risk to wrap-up and pollution insurance policies.

WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO BROKERS WHEN CHOOSING A CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE POLICY? Coverage 97% Ease of doing business 73% Underwriting expertise 68% Service to the broker

“For my team, every conversation begins with setting expectations around the breadth of coverage, carrier quality and claims behind the policy” Evan Aldrich, CRC Insurance Services

60% Claims payment/processing speed 46% Ability to create bespoke policies 43% Value for money 32% Online platform 19% Access to risk mitigation partners 16%


To find out which insurers and MGAs provide the best products and service in the construction segment, IBA surveyed hundreds of brokers across the country, asking them what ranks highest among their priorities when selecting a construction insurer. An overwhelming 97% said coverage is the most important quality, followed by ease of doing business (73%), underwriting expertise (68%) and service to brokers (60%). “Brokers want ease of doing business by far,” says Gary Kaplan, president of construction at AXA XL, one of this year’s

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5-Star Award winners in construction insurance. “Our contractor customers also want long-term relationships driven by stability in pricing, terms and conditions. The cost of insurance is often about the same as the margin they make on a project. If they can do well at managing risk, they can additionally benefit from sharing in the insuring of the risk.” Evan Aldrich, a broker and president of the Redondo Beach, California, office of CRC Insurance Services, another of this year’s 5-Star Award winners in construction insurance, says each category brokers rated as important is a key element of doing business. He also emphasizes the importance of having a starting point for each negotiation. “For my team, every conversation begins with setting expectations around the breadth of coverage, carrier quality and claims behind the policy,” he says. “We can always scale back or adjust our emphasis if a particular insured has different priorities, but it is essential to start with a strategic perspective and utilize niche expertise that will protect our buyer in the event of a claim.”

Current market conditions Each of this year’s 28 5-Star Award winners in construction insurance managed to excel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – no small feat. Just over half of the brokers IBA surveyed felt the pandemic had only a moderate effect on insurance business in the construction sector. However, 70% of construction business owners reported having been negatively affected by COVID-19 in Nationwide’s latest Agent Authority Survey. “COVID-19’s impacts have brought new and existing challenges to the forefront for many construction business owners,” Linda Stueber, senior vice president of middlemarket commercial lines at Nationwide, said in a statement accompanying the survey findings. “As the industry recovers, agents

can grow their influence by not only counseling clients on their protection needs for changing operations, but also by sharing expertise to help them run their businesses more effectively.” The pandemic isn’t the only challenge facing insurers in the construction sector. Before COVID-19 hit, in the fourth quarter of 2019 and first quarter of 2020, AXL XL was already seeing losses in its excess book attributable to social inflation and nuclear verdicts, Kaplan says. “The market hardened quickly as other companies had the same loss experience, and as a result, we see higher rates, lower limits, and really tighter terms and conditions,” he says. “To protect profitability and our long-term commitment to the market, we’re exercising underwriting discipline while maintaining strong relationships with our contractors.” These actions have led to improved underwriting results for AXA XL, Kaplan says, but he expects the hard market to continue through 2021. “This year gave us the opportunity to show how we provide more than insurance and how we partner with clients on the risk management issues they are facing,” he says. “Construction is considered essential, so contractors really never stopped working, but they certainly had to make some changes during the pandemic. We worked with our customers to understand what changes were required and helped them adapt.” As for the construction industry as a whole, Aldrich believes it will remain somewhat inconsistent for the time being. “The past year was filled with unprecedented challenges as our world battled the COVID-19 pandemic,” he says. “Absent a national – or global – strategy or direction, further outbreaks have been localized. The construction industry has mirrored this pattern in many ways. Some pockets

METHODOLOGY To select the best construction insurance providers for 2021, Insurance Business America sourced feedback from insurance brokers over a period of 15 weeks. IBA’s research team began by conducting a survey with a wide range of brokerages to determine what brokers value in a construction insurer. The team also spoke to hundreds of top brokers across the country by phone, asking them to rate the construction insurers they had worked with over the previous 12 months. The in-depth information gathered enabled the research team to assign weighted values to each criteria being rated by brokers. At the end of the research period, the insurance providers that received the highest rankings in terms of work quality, specialist expertise and client service were named 5-Star Award winners in construction insurance.

53% of brokers said COVID-19 has moderately affected their construction insurance business

18% said it has considerably affected business

29% said it hasn’t affected business at all

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BROKERS’ VOLUME PREDICTIONS FOR THE YEAR Do you think your construction insurance volume will increase or decrease in 2021?


Stay the same

68% Increase



“This year gave us the opportunity to show how we provide more than insurance and how we partner with clients on the risk management issues they are facing” Gary Kaplan, AXA XL have stalled investment with a wait-andsee approach, while others are charging ahead. Coupled with macroeconomic conditions that are negatively impacting the cost of materials and human capital, I believe we are likely to see inconsistent growth throughout the next year, with a few demographics vastly outperforming.”

The tech effect One area where the pandemic hasn’t had much of an impact on the construction insurance sector is in claims – Kaplan says the types of claims coming through


are mostly the same as they were before COVID-19 hit. “Courts have been on hold for over a year and will be backed up for the next few years, so we’re watching to see if what we were experiencing before the pandemic with social inflation will continue,” he says. “For the construction industry, water damage claims frequency has been up over the past few years. We have been driving new tech adoption to help our clients mitigate this exposure, as well as best practices using wet work processes. New technology available gives contractors early warnings of water leaks.” Another major source of construction claims is auto accidents due to distracted drivers, Kaplan says, pointing out that this is another area where technology has the potential to help mitigate risk. “Again, driving adoption of new tech, such as telematics, and employee training [will] reduce this exposure,” he says. “Our construction risk engineering team is always looking for ways to help our clients minimize their risks and avoid costly claims.” Aldrich adds that “as construction brokers, we’re trained to focus on products for completed operations because the exposure to extended-state statutes is a risk that can impact carrier balance sheets for years beyond the anticipated project completion date. Such exposure emphasizes the need for quality work. “While these claims will always exist, the changing narrative has caught me offguard in recent years,” he continues. “We’ve seen an acceleration of ongoing operations claims, including crane losses, employee injury and action-over losses, or adjacent property damage losses. The development of these claims and verdicts, coupled with the minimal impact they have on account rates, has resulted in much of the rate and deductible pressure we are currently seeing in the construction market.”

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INSURERS Westfield Phone: 800-243-0210 Email: Website:

Ambridge Partners Argo Group AXA XL Berkley

CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE Markel Navigator RLI Selective Sompo Pro Travelers United Fire Group Zurich

Chubb CNA Everest Re Great American Insurance Group The Hanover Insurance Group

MGAs Amwins Burns & Wilcox

The Hartford

CRC Insurance Services


DUAL Group

James River Insurance Company

RT Specialty

Liberty Mutual

Venture Underwriters

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From left: Gary Stumper, national surety leader; Mark Kidd, middle market underwriting & sales leader; Robyn Hahn, president of commercial lines



estfield was founded in 1848 by a small group of hard-working farmers in Westfield Center, Ohio, who believed in the promise of the future and the power of the individual. They realized that no one cared about their community more than they did, so they started their own insurance company to protect the people and things that mattered most to them. That integrity, trust, promise and care for the community are still evident in Westfield today. “We have the scale of a large carrier with the flexibility, nimbleness and personalization of a regional carrier,” says Robyn Hahn, Westfield’s president of commercial lines. “The strength of our financial position enables us to make investments in people and technology to continuously transform our businesses to ensure we’re meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers. At the same time, we stay change-ready so we can quickly pivot to reflect changes in the marketplace. Our company vision inspires us to be a caring company, and when you combine that with our highly engaged workforce, you have a team determined to be the best it can be for agents and customers.”


Phone: 800-243-0210 Email: Website:

Westfield is a regional P&C insurance company with $1.9 billion in revenue and more than $6.3 billion in total assets. It offers personal insurance in 10 states, commercial insurance in 21 states and surety services in 50 states through a network of more than a thousand independent agencies. For more than 80 years, Westfield has been rated A (Excellent) or higher for financial strength by A.M. Best. Westfield puts customers at the center of everything it does. “One of our construction customers had a claim, and we provided a tailored, low-effort experience that met the unique needs of the company,” says Mark Kidd, middle market underwriting & sales leader. “We recognize construction workers are often on the road helping customers, so when this particular customer needed to recover from a theft incident, we provided customer service with an easy online process and also through the convenience of text messages. The customer commented, ‘Thank you for all your support through this rough time. You made it very easy to overcome and get back on track.’” Construction is the largest segment of

business Westfield provides, through insurance and commercial surety bonds, so it has a deep appreciation for the dedication of contractors. “These folks have a strong sense of what it means to put in a full day’s work,” says Gary Stumper, national surety leader. “They roll up their sleeves at the crack of dawn and keep grinding until the evening whistle sounds. This commitment is what it takes to build something from scratch, upward from the earth’s tilled soil, whether it’s a single-room addition to a suburban home or installing new heating and airconditioning in a large commercial building.”


1848 Year founded

24 Number of offices

2,600 Number of employees

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A period of transition IBA takes a closer look at how the hard market and the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted errors & omissions insurance

WHO NEEDS E&O INSURANCE? Accountants Architects Engineers Graphic designers IT consultants Insurance professionals Investment advisors

MISTAKES HAPPEN – especially in a world swirling with risks that include natural disasters, a global pandemic and myriad cyber threats. Errors & omissions insurance protects professionals from legal defense costs and settlements resulting from an oversight or mistake while performing their jobs. This gives professionals like insurance agents, real estate agents, tech professionals, business consultants, advertising execs and accountants the peace of mind that if they do slip up, it won’t be the end of the world. According to Danielle Librizzi, head of professional liability at QBE North America, the E&O market has been in a state of transition over the past year. “Certain segments have seen double-digit rate increases for a while; others have moved slowly and have only started seeing rate increases this year,” she says. “The broad range of products encompassed by E&O makes it difficult to measure rate or market trends as easily as other, more homogenous lines like D&O. The rate environment will likely stay favorable for the near future for E&O overall, but certain segments that have experienced increases for more than 18 months may begin to see a downswing starting soon. “Intertwining factors such as cyber risk and economic-related uncertainty; regulatory expansion; and environmental, social

and governance concerns are demanding higher levels of expertise to understand, solve and price in the E&O segment,” she adds. “Also, new capacity has been entering the market due to the favorable rate environment. They often have a top-line mentality that can push the market to a new cycle. Especially in the cyber space, insurtechs are emerging rapidly and pushing limits on rates and coverage.” Thomas Iorio, a senior vice president at Nationwide Management Liability & Specialty Brokerage who specializes in D&O and E&O in the financial space, says E&O for insurance professionals is fairly stable at the moment, although he notes that it could ramp up with COVID-19 claims handling. The investment-related market, meanwhile, is firming due to investment volatility.

Management consultants Real estate agents and brokers Software developers Source: Insurance Information Institute

“The E&O market has been volatile in the last few years for financial lines business, given the ups and downs of the stock market and the heightened litigation environment,” Iorio says. “The current market is similar. As a claims-made and reported policy, we cover the acts that have occurred from past to present, unless specifically excluded, so we have a broad timeframe to cover claims. I would expect the market to remain much the same, with a slightly firming market for pricing and terms.”

“Certain segments [of professional liability] have seen double-digit rate increases for a while; others have moved slowly and have only started seeing rate increases this year” Danielle Librizzi, QBE North America

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Beyond the pandemic Risk Placement Services’ 2021 Management and Professional Liability Market Outlook report, published in May, took a rather bleak view on the current state of the E&O market. “Although most lines of coverage for management and professional liability exposures were already firming pre-COVID-19, this specialized segment of the casualty insurance market hasn’t experienced the level of turmoil it is currently seeing since the early 2000s,” RPS said in the report. “Premiums are spiking, coverage limits are contracting, and client retentions are growing. The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a deluge of new challenges for management and professional liability underwriters, including COVID-19related insolvencies, layoff-related discrimination and wrongful termination claims, and cyber breaches.” However, Rodney Choo, senior vice president of executive lines at RPS, noted that “there


“The E&O market has been volatile in the last few years for financial lines business, given the ups and downs of the stock market and the heightened litigation environment” Thomas Iorio, Nationwide Management Liability & Specialty Brokerage is light at the end of the tunnel,” predicting that “2021 will be better than 2020, barring another collapse with COVID and the economy.” Manny Cho, an executive vice president at RPS and the lead contributor to the report, underscores the impact COVID-19 has had on insurers’ revenues but is similarly optimistic about the road ahead. “In many cases, it’s been a good thing from a loss perspective for many carriers, because

there hasn’t been as much business transacted,” he says. “Overall, the market definitely was impacted by COVID, but it’s definitely trending more to the positive right now in terms of revenue increases and projections, now that we’re starting to see a reopening of the country.” To better gauge the trajectory of the E&O market and the economy in general, Cho says, RPS is watching indicators such as the

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temporary staffing, construction and technology industries. “Technology companies actually saw a pretty big increase during COVID because more people were looking at ways to work remotely,” Cho says. “So, security and connectivity were pretty important, and now I know sector consultants providing services to help in all those areas.”





Claims trends On the claims side, Librizzi says she’s seeing a wide variety of claims in the E&O segment these days. “Like everyone else, we’re seeing ransomware claims due to the overall step up in threat activity over the past three years,” she says. “Bad actors have also found increasingly sophisticated ways to impersonate key vendors or top executives within a company to coax out large payments to fraudulent bank accounts. We’re seeing more of those claims. Finally, as privacy continues to grow as an issue and regulations grow stricter, we’re seeing an increase in privacy class actions.” Iorio has also observed a mix of claims. “We have seen notices of claims related to COVID-19, to unsuitability, to normal errors, to miscalculations, to violation of guidelines, to insurance bad faith, to regulatory and SEC actions,” he says. Another area where the E&O market has seen an increase in claims is from insurance agents and brokers themselves. “The recent surge in natural disasters — hurricanes, tornadoes, excessive heat and floods — that has negatively impacted the loss ratios of carriers in the property and personal lines markets also has led to numerous underinsured or uncovered claims, prompting an increase in errors & omissions claims against insurance agents and brokers (IABs),” the RPS report said. “Smaller IABs (under $250,000 in revenue) have traditionally had a harder time finding coverage, as their loss ratios have always been close to break-even. The onset of these new claims – particularly claims that might allege a failure


$845 $730




$550 $400

$300 $0

Building design

Media and advertising


Real estate


Insurance professionals

Finance and accounting Source: Insureon

“There was a lot of litigation around COVID, the placement of insurance and whether or not the policies covered the shutdowns. Those have all impacted the industry to a big degree” Manny Cho, Risk Placement Services to cover COVID-19-related matters – have led to many carriers exiting this market segment, which has definitely led to harder market conditions, as supply is limited.” On that note, Cho says COVID-19 has also made it more complicated for insurance agents to be able to gauge the landscape and place the right coverage. “There was a lot of litigation around COVID, the placement of insurance and whether or not the policies covered the shutdowns,” he says. “Those have all impacted the industry to a big degree.”

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Problem solvers Risk Placement Services’ Wes Robinson tells IBA how the E&S industry’s ability to innovate positions it well to tackle the challenge of insuring future pandemics

WES ROBINSON entered the excess & surplus lines property insurance market at a pivotal moment in history. It was May 2002, just eight months after 9/11, and the United States was still trying to recover from the impact the attacks had on the capital markets. “The timing was interesting because it was right after 9/11, and a lot of business was starting to surge toward the E&S market,” Robinson says. “I took what I saw as a very unique opportunity in a field that I was not overly familiar with.” When Robinson joined the property practice at E&S wholesale broker and MGA Risk Placement Services (RPS) in 2002, he was fresh off a four-year stint as an underwriter at Travelers. “As an underwriter, prior to joining RPS, I had to say no a lot – and I don’t enjoy saying no,” he says. “I knew that in the E&S market, no was not an option; we had to find solutions. Everything we work on in the E&S market is difficult for any number of reasons. If it has landed on our desks, that means it’s complicated. Our job is to provide solutions for these risks. Every deal is like a puzzle that we need to solve – that’s what sounded really interesting to me back in 2002, and it’s still what captures my attention today.”


Fast-forward nearly 20 years, and Robinson is still with RPS, today serving as the national property brokerage president. In that time, he’s seen gross written premium in the E&S market increase from roughly $9 billion in 2002 to $41 billion in 2020. The growth he first witnessed in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks is somewhat similar to what the E&S market is experiencing now due to another systemic event: the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s hard to analyze and draw lines from one event to the other, but I would say the market has responded in a similar way in that capacity has been impacted, lines are being cut down, rates are going up, and it’s being felt on all lines of insurance,” Robinson says. “But there are some differences – 9/11 was a localized event from a geographic perspective, but it caused significant reverb through the capital markets on the insurance

side. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every single business in the United States, from Main Street all the way up to corporate America, and that will have a trickle effect on the insurance industry.” What remains to be seen is how the industry will respond to COVID-19 with product innovation and potential solutions for pandemic risk. In 2002, when Robinson entered the E&S space, terrorism insurance wasn’t mainstream. It wasn’t until the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was passed in 2002 that the industry really had to start engaging with terrorism exposure. Within a few short years, the E&S market had taken things a step further, offering private, stand-alone terrorism insurance with broader coverage and more attractive premiums than TRIA. “In the E&S industry, we’re always looking to innovate and make adaptations and

ABOUT THE RPS PROPERTY PRACTICE GROUP Risk Placement Services’ property practice group writes more than $500 million in annual premium volume. With an emphasis on brokering business to every viable property market, RPS ranks among the top five for production with key markets. The group is especially skilled in establishing hard-to-place layered and shared property placements.

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RPS’ PROPERTY PRODUCT LINES All risks Florida windstorm Coastal properties California earthquake Builder’s risks (including renovations) Deductible buybacks and wind + AOP Excess property Flood coverage (including A&V zones) Difference in conditions Vacant property Inland marine Equipment floaters

“If we can figure out how to build a [pandemic insurance] solution that is scalable, affordable and easily available to anyone who wants it, that will be a home run” changes where necessary,” Robinson says. “Since developing stand-alone terrorism insurance, the market has now created specific coverage for active shooter risk, [and] we also have riot, strike and civil commotion coverage. A lot of these things weren’t even part of the conversation back in 2002, but

they’re examples of how the E&S industry reacts to problems and finds solutions.” Post-COVID-19, the big question mark hovers around pandemic insurance, which isn’t actually a new product – but is one that has historically been unaffordable and unattractive.

Ocean marine and cargo Stand-alone terrorism Auto physical damage Motor truck cargo “If we can figure out how to build a solution that is scalable, affordable and easily available to anyone who wants it, that will be a home run for the insurance industry,” Robinson says. “I do expect this to come out of the E&S space because that’s what we’re good at.”




Questions all leaders should ask themselves LearnLoft’s John Eades outlines seven questions managers need to ask themselves each month to gauge whether they’re leading effectively

THERE ARE many ways to determine how good of a job you’re doing as a leader. One of my favorite ways is to evaluate the growth of team members. When the growth of a team member slows down, it means the leader or employee has lost their focus on the importance of personal development. This is important to note, because a team that continuously develops not only lasts, they also do great things together. This got me thinking: What are some other questions that all leaders should be asking themselves monthly, regardless of their experience level? Here are seven questions all leaders should ask themselves at least every 30 days.


Did you say ‘thank you’?

This should be the easiest question to answer. One leader of mine would write a handwritten note to every employee in the company on their work anniversary, just to say thank you. A simple ‘thank you’ in a handwritten note, email, text or, better yet, in


person goes a long way. How far? I still remember it and am writing about it to encourage you to do the same.


Did you give your team valuable learning material?


Did you change your mind because of a team member’s opinion?

Most likely you’re in a leadership role because you are a lifelong learner. You were a sponge earlier in your career, and now you continue to consume content that improves you as a person. Are you sending your team blogs, podcasts, videos, books and ideas that will help them grow?

If you can’t put your finger on the last time you changed your mind because of a team member’s perspective or opinion, it’s a real problem. It means one of two things: Your team members aren’t engaged enough in their job to come up with new ideas, or you aren’t doing a good enough job asking for their opinion and listening.


Did someone proactively ask for more responsibility – or just do it without asking?

No team can reach its full potential without individual team members being proactive and seeking more responsibility. When this isn’t happening, it’s often caused by a manager who tends to micromanage and assume their team can’t complete tasks as well as they can. On the flip side, if a team member does this, they feel comfortable approaching you and are confident you’re going to be open to it. This is a true sign of growth for both the leader and the employee.


Did you say ‘great job’?

When you tell a team member ‘great job,’ it is typically tied directly to results or some kind of behavior that produced those results. If you’re saying ‘great job’ more often, your team will gain confidence and look to replicate those results over and over again.

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Find time to explore and encourage people to document their professional goals, and then find ways to align the work they do on your team toward their achievement of those goals


Did you talk with team members about their goals or progress toward those goals?

One of the most important things you can learn about your employees is what their professional goals are. While this might seem counterintuitive, leaders who know this can look to ensure they provide the opportunities and support to make these goals become a reality someday.

Find time to explore and encourage people to document their professional goals, and then find ways to align the work they do on your team toward their achievement of those goals.


Did you laugh with your team?

The most underrated, but arguably the most important, characteristic of a being a great leader in today’s work environment is being able to have fun at work.

This can’t be faked or manufactured, but it’s a great question to ask yourself, as it might shed some light on the need to bring the laughter out of your team and foster a joyful environment. My hope is that these seven simple questions will have you evaluating the basics of leadership. If you don’t like the answers you came up with, just remember that leadership is a journey and not a destination. Be better tomorrow! John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a fullservice organizational health company whose mission is to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is a speaker, host of the Follow My Lead podcast, and author of F.M.L.: Standing Out & Being a Leader. For more, visit

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Transform your culture in three steps Anna O’Dea offers three ways to make your workplace a more supportive environment

CLIENTS OFTEN ask me how they can introduce initiatives in their workplace to make it a more supportive environment for their team. Being in the business of marketing, advertising and digital, I know that written content helps to develop relationships and build trust. In fact, I spent $50,000 on content to learn about what issues were really important to people at work in a bid to help develop that trust. But developing a culture that champions and rewards transparency is not as easy as writing a few blog posts on diversity. It’s about the actions you take as a business and putting your money where your mouth is in terms of reflecting how your team feels. Genuine connection comes down to how vulnerable we are willing to be with others. It is the act of sharing stories, vulnerabilities and even fears that helps bring us together. When you reveal something about yourself that is not widely known to others, you’re showing that person or audience who you really are. You’re demonstrating that you trust them. This, supported by consistent behavior


that demonstrates integrity, builds trust. So many impressive leaders in my network have faced adversity in different forms and balanced this with growing a business and, more often than not, significant personal challenges going on behind the scenes: sickness, loss of a loved one, trauma, and financial and emotional setbacks. These experiences, which have shaped who they are as individuals, have gone on to influence the type of leaders they are and the team they attract. I believe any business can be transformed by listening and leading by example. Here are the lessons I’ve learned since spending $50,000 to find out what’s important to my community and team.

Never make assumptions about people’s lives I’ve learned from tech entrepreneurs that one of the most common mistakes is investing in a solution without asking customers what they want. For example, when we started the #LeadingLadies series, instead of dictating the content we thought would be relevant, we asked interviewees to share their

own stories that they hadn’t had a chance to share before. We told them they had access to a blank canvas and nothing was off limits. The floodgates opened. We discovered that issues such as bullying in the workplace, racism, homophobia, sexism, parental leave and negotiating a pay raise were affecting many workplaces, and these brave individuals wanted a platform to address them. I realized that perhaps many workplaces still create initiatives without actually asking their team what’s important to them. It’s tricky for many employees to verbalize what they need without fear of consequence. I think the bravest question any leader can ask themselves is, “Have you asked your team what they need, or are you making assumptions based on your own point of view in a position of privilege?” Does your team feel they can tell you what they need, or are

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changing people’s perceptions of themselves. It made me realize that perhaps we could all do a better job of showing our team that it’s OK to be human at work. That it’s possible to be yourself, open, honest, and transparent and still be liked, respected, and rewarded. Workplaces with greater diversity deliver higher returns. Could you do a better job of more accurately reflecting the diverse range of opinions and influences that no doubt exist in your business? Are decisions reflective of what’s important to the wider team or just a select few?

When it gets uncomfortable, think of what others will learn from you

Perhaps we could all do a better job of showing our team that it’s OK to be human at work. That it’s possible to be yourself, open, honest, and transparent and still be liked, respected, and rewarded there opportunities to create an anonymous feedback loop so you can better learn how to support them?

Realize that people can’t be what they can’t see After months of research, writing, profiling senior women in leadership positions, transcribing interviews, commissioning countless photo shoots and developing content, some interesting things started to happen.

I started to receive emails from people, saying our stories had helped to shine a light on an issue that was pertinent to them. I received phone calls from people in tears, saying they’d faced similar adversity and for the first time they didn’t feel alone. People told me they felt heard and that the series showed them what was possible. I realized countless men and women, from junior professionals to executives, were seeing themselves in these stories, and that was

When I told people I was going to invest so heavily in content, not everyone loved the idea. I was told I was nuts. It wouldn’t generate ROI. Interestingly, and perhaps more reflective of my industry, I was also told to be careful about what I had to say. When you do something new, you bend, you grow and sometimes you fall over. You might even fail. But if you don’t do that new, scary thing, you’ll be exactly what other people expect of you and no further away from those doing the same things. If you really want to be competitive and attract and keep the best talent, ask yourself this: Are we communicating our initiatives internally and externally to let people know there are great workplaces like ours out there? And if we aren’t, is there a reason for that? A recruitment expert and the founder and director of Agency Iceberg, Anna O’Dea has placed thousands of employees in the best workplaces. O’Dea is also the founder of #LeadingLadies, an award-winning interview series featuring C-suite professionals’ career journeys. Follow her on LinkedIn at in/annaodea.

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Levitz’s favorite ski destination is Beaver Creek, Colorado


Miles between Chicago and Beaver Creek, Colorado


Vertical drop (in feet) of Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey run


Total length (in miles) of Birds of Prey

MOUNTAIN TIME Chicago-based insurance executive David Levitz got hooked on skiing after experiencing Colorado’s slopes DAVID LEVITZ started skiing in high school, but growing up in the plains of Illinois meant he had to venture to a hill in Wisconsin to learn the ropes. But when he moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver, a whole new world opened up. “I never understood when people would say, ‘Once you ski out West, you will never ski again at home,’ but that all


changed once I went to Denver,” says Levitz, who’s now a managing partner at GCG Financial. “I spent as many days as I could on the slopes in college and haven’t looked back since.” While he’s based in the Chicago area, Levitz still frequents Colorado’s Beaver Creek for his ski fix. It was there that he had one of his most challenging experi-

ences on the Birds of Prey run, which was built for the 1999 World Championships. “That’s where they will hold the World Cup this December,” he says. “While I know they generally hose down the ski run for the Olympics, I was barely able to stay on the run on snow! I can’t imagine how racers can tackle a hill like that skiing on pure ice.”

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