Helping Clients Soar
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 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.”
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.