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2018 Power Broker

Aviation

Helping Clients Soar

Bryan Holmgren
Vice President
Aon, Chicago

It seems like everywhere you look, businesses are finding more ways to use drones — also known as unmanned aircraft systems. It follows that the insurance industry needs to keep pace. But it wasn’t, as brokers and clients alike observed.

Getting coverage meant a time-consuming process, restrictive policy language, low liability limits and high premiums.

Bryan Holmgren of Aon’s Aviation Practice Group recognized this, and led a team as they developed an insurance solution that provides less restrictive policy wording, more competitive costs at higher coverage limits and a seamless policy placement process.

Aon Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft Insurance Program now provides clients with a competitively priced way to cover the exposure with a best in class policy.

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One client talked about the challenges they faced and how Holmgren assisted them. “Our drone fleet has been growing faster than expected. Bryan helped us negotiate a policy that covers our fleet on a blanket basis rather than reporting each drone. This has resulted in a much easier process to manage.”

She added, “My favorite ‘Bryan story’ is when our drone carrier insisted on language that was crazy restrictive. We had to have a call with the VP of underwriting, who dug in [his heels]. Fortunately, we had Bryan on the call. He brought his expertise from the aviation world and pushed back on some of the limitations.

“Bryan’s incredible knowledge helped get us a result that made much more sense for the consumer.”

Relationships and Communication 

Drew Love, CIC
Vice President, Account Executive
Aon, Dallas

In every business, relationships matter, but never more than when there is a crisis or problem. Aon’s Drew Love knows and lives this, his clients say, and that helps him help them.

For Jesse Castilleja, insurance manager at H-E-B, storms were brewing — literally and figuratively — as Love helped them with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the ever-growing risks of cyber exposure.

H-E-B did a great job preventing cyber exposure, but the carriers just didn’t recognize it. Love facilitated underwriter meetings with carriers he felt were a good fit.

After the meetings, underwriters recognized all that H-E-B brought to the table. This led to a renewal that allowed the client to purchase higher limits and enhance terms and conditions while decreasing price.

“I can use Drew as a sounding board,” Castilleja said. “He’s very knowledgeable and works hard for us and has a strong team that helps us develop risk solutions.”

Another client said that Drew immediately became an asset to them just hours after coming on board.

“Drew is very responsive to all questions and requests. He is proactive in providing solutions. He understands our business. Most important, he realizes the expectations our risk department has from our C-suite and works in tandem with us to exceed their expectations,” the client added.

Yet another client said he told Aon that he always expects the “A team.”

“Love qualifies as an ‘A team’ member,” the client said. He added that as his business grows, their risks are becoming atypical and Love is helping them navigate the new terrain.

The Knowledge They Depend On

John McCaffrey
Vice President
Aon, Dallas

With a significant suite of risk, including remote international locations and 30,000 employees and contractors who fly there, an aviation client of John McCaffrey’s needed coverage that would protect its interests and satisfy contractors as well.

It was a complex placement. The existing program consisted of six different polices covering exposures related to their worldwide operations for airport liability, products/completed operations, and non-owned liability.

“We wanted to take on more risk, but underwriters were resistant,” the client said. McCaffrey, Aon’s Southwest Region Practice Leader, negotiated with underwriters and ultimately created a restructure of their coverage that saved them 15 percent on premiums while reducing the number of policies to two, and creating clarity and coverage flexibility.

“John is top-notch,” the client said. “He is very aware of our market relative to our unique placement, and he gives us a lot of good advice about markets we can use,” she added.

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Chuck Burn, senior manager of insurance for Union Pacific, said that their aviation risks include flying to plants in the middle of nowhere — sometimes on a customer’s or supplier’s plane. McCaffrey “knows what to ask for, what to get, and how to develop a travel procedure that will help protect them.”

Burn also said that their recent increase in drone usage sparked a need for better coverage for that risk, a greater understanding of it and the ability to communicate it enterprise-wide. “John has been very responsive and helped us understand the drones as an emerging risk,” said Burn. “He’s helped us understand FAA regulations too.”

Protection for Land or Sky

Scott Thomason
Senior Vice President
Regions Insurance, Texarkana, Texas

From down on the farm to the often not-so-friendly skies, Scott Thomason puts his experience to work helping clients protect lives and livelihoods.

Darrin Henry, owner of Henry’s Aerial said. “Scott helped our company with risk solutions for all aspects of our company, from aircraft and commercial auto to workers’ compensation and property.

“Just today, I called him with a question about our pilots using his personal aircraft for travel from jobsite to jobsite. He instantly had a plan to  protect our interests and the employee’s,” Henry said.

Henry is impressed with the time Thomason has invested in his business, started by his father. Thomason is the only broker who has visited their home and field operations, even bringing underwriters to educate them about Henry’s specialized missions and to meet his pilots.

Thomason also guided Henry’s company as it expanded operations to wildland fire suppression. “Not only did Scott know the aviation industry, he was able to obtain coverage for our fire aircraft service vehicles. We had struggled with coverage for the hazmat [jet fuel],” Henry said.

Katherine Williams, owner of Cotesworth Farms Partnership, concurs. “We have a cattle farm and unusual insurance needs. Scott has covered them all.

“We had a major loss just after we switched to him. He and his staff handled things immediately and to our satisfaction. I was impressed with Scott’s knowledge and thoroughness,” she added.

Ahead of the Curve

Lou Timpanaro
Senior Managing Director
Crystal & Company, New York

Lou Timpanaro knows the insurance industry so well that he can spot trends far over the horizon — while there’s still time to help prepare clients.

Christine Zalar, president/founding partner of Emprize Group/Life Flight Eagle, can attest to that. “Lou has endless knowledge and an absolutely unique ability to get ahead of industry trends. It’s a very powerful capability.”

Timpanaro recently resolved a situation for Emprize. It required that one of their aircrafts be stored at a fixed-base operator (FBO).

“The FBO was putting everything on us,” Zalar said. “They wanted us to assume all the risk.” They were at an impasse until Timpanaro stepped in. He negotiated acceptable terms that protected his client. “Lou knew what we could do to protect our exposure,” Zalar said. “He’s king of the road.”

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Another client, an aircraft charter company, wanted to use their insurance program as a marketing tool to attract high net worth individuals — while reducing premiums and increasing protection. Not easy, but for Timpanaro, it was achievable. He reduced costs while increasing liability limits by 33 percent.

But there is one thing even Timpanaro couldn’t predict. An aircraft cleaning company accidentally set off the foam suppression system in an aircraft hangar causing a 30-foot wall of fire retardant.

Cool under pressure, Timpanaro initiated the emergency response protocol: a claims adjustor assessed damage, coverage assurances were communicated and clean up was immediate. The facility, the aircraft and operations were back to normal in four days and payments were made shortly thereafter to close out the claim.

The complete list of 2018 Power Broker® winners can be found here.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]