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2017 Power Broker

Construction

A Skillful Mediator

Joseph Boschee
Director of Claims
Aon, Los Angeles

Aon’s Joseph Boschee wowed clients this past year with his mastery of the arts of diplomacy and mediation.

“We were having trouble communicating with our insurance company,” said an executive vice president. “Joe and I decided that a face-to-face meeting with the carrier [was needed]. … Joe stepped in and took care of everything. He found the key people, arranged a meeting and established our talking points, then traveled with me and [led] the conversation. The best part was the follow-up after the meeting,” he said. “Joe established monthly reporting, which has been invaluable for keeping in touch with our insurer.”

Another client lauded Boschee’s availability in times of crisis and his skillful execution and integrity. “Joe’s counsel contributes to our fiscal year-end, saving our company thousands of dollars,” said the claims manager. “By example, we solicited Joe’s expertise with a claim that had been open for six years. His intervention resulted in a voluntary dismissal with prejudice.

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“He expertly guided us through the litigation, while counseling us through negotiations to maintain our convictions. It was with this guidance and steady confidence we attained the successful outcome, also saving our company thousands of dollars.

“Joe has educated us through his shared experiences, promoting extraordinary results,” said the claims manager. “He equipped his partners with the knowledge to apply complex solutions.”

Diligent and Determined

Mary Grandy
Senior Vice President
EPIC, Sacramento, Calif.

Mary Grandy has a special knack for finding solutions for intractable insurance problems.

“I became acquainted with Mary this year when my company bought a construction and real-estate company,” said one vice president of operations. “Mary single-handedly and effectively straightened out the insurance needs of our new construction subsidiary, and that was no easy feat. She was up against a less-than-sterling safety record. Mary kept the construction insurance program out of state supervision, not once, but twice. Mary has worked diligently with us to improve the safety record at the operator.”

In another situation, Grandy uncovered a significant amount of pending litigation left unresolved. She had to retrace the paper trail while also assisting with the disposition. She suggested new counsel, and participated in the settlement negotiations.

For another client, the answer was successfully executing an idea that the client had percolating for some time, but had never brought to fruition.

“Our costs were very high, and we were trying to get into a captive,” said one controller. “I had talked to our previous broker and they only made a half-hearted effort. I had known Mary, and gave her the chance to make it happen.

“She just ran with it. She saw the advantages to us, including the prospect of dividends. It only took her six to nine months to binding. We got better terms and conditions and were able to save money.”

Focused on Client Needs

Dale Kaprosy
Senior Vice President
Oswald Cos., Cleveland

Most brokers make their living by selling insurance. Only a few are equipped to help their clients buy less insurance.

“Dale was very helpful moving us into self-insurance with a high deductible and large retentions,” said one CFO. “We are a construction company and have a very good handle on risk management. He helped us build our program.

“This is not selling insurance, it is taking care of clients and it is where brokerage needs to be going,” he said. “Larger, more sophisticated clients don’t need a broker who’s trying to sell them dollar one of coverage. What we needed and got was appropriate coverage — which he did get to sell. But mostly he helped us hold on to some of our own cash.”

For clients not in a position to insure themselves, Kaprosy is equally supportive.

“We sold three of our sites during this last policy year and Dale assisted us with adjusting our policies midstream to eliminate unnecessary premiums,” said another CFO.

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“Separately, we had an old claim go to pre-trial hearings. Dale was [copied] on an email just so he was in the loop but he called shortly after the message went out to get more details. He was able to provide his informed perspective on the facts and insurance implications.

“In another instance we added a new offering for installed services and he assisted us with making sure that the standard contract we devised had the appropriate insurance requirements for the nature of the work.”

Offering Peace of Mind

Cormac O’Connor, Dip CII (UK)
Senior Vice President
Marsh, New York

“Cormac was instrumental in placing an excess liability program for what I would consider one of the most challenging contracts and placements in my 30 years in this business,” said one director of risk and insurance management.

“The project was for public works infrastructure in a large city. The complexity of the contract, its participants and contractual arrangements and the onerous insurance requirements made the placement a significant challenge.

“Cormac had to find some $500 million in excess casualty capacity. In the end, that comprised more than 20 different carriers. Each of those had to agree to our aggressive premium targets, to the very specific requirements of the contract, and to issue absolutely identical policies in regard to terms and conditions.”

While to some that may sound routine, the client says it most assuredly wasn’t. “When all was said and done, the project insurance policy documents ran longer than 1,200 pages.”

O’Connor was able to secure agreement from all the carriers to use “clean and simple” follow-form documents from the brokerage. “As a result, he was able to deliver the highest continuity of coverage over the primary policy that could possibly be achieved.

“That provided significant piece of mind, and also contract certainty to the general contractor. It also saved much time and energy in conducting policy-form comparisons.”

A Personal Connection

Susan Schwartz, CPCU, ARM
Director
Aon, St. Louis

Picture a long, mellow holiday weekend. Two people sitting on a porch chatting away, conversation flows easily from topic to topic. As the day winds down, there are smiles, thanks, hugs even. And new language for insurance coverage.

“Susan sat with me on my porch over a holiday weekend,” said one risk manager. “She helped me manuscript a new builder’s risk policy. That’s just the kind of person she is. She helped with wording, making especially sure we had all of our temporary personnel covered on all of our policies.”

The narrative is quaint, almost endearing. But the back story is serious heavy lifting for any broker. The client had taken the responsible step of having its safety personnel trained as emergency medical technicians. That enhanced safety for all workers as well as extending an umbrella over others at any job site. But no good deed goes unpunished, and the added capabilities also added liabilities.

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“We had to extend our general liability to cover those new exposures,” said the risk manager. Just to add further complication, the client is based in the Midwest with operations in several states; each state has its own regulations about certification and liability for emergency personnel.

The client also has a variety of full-time, part-time and temporary workers. “The onus is on us to be sure all coverages are filled and filed,” said the client. “Susan helped us weed through all that, literally document by document.”

A Responsive Point Person

Ryan Shinkle, CIC
Area Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher, Lafayette, La.

The market giveth and the market taketh away. Both cases give brokers chances to shine.

“We are a half-billion-dollar newly formed engineering and construction firm comprising several previously existing companies,” said one vice president.

“Ryan was the point person for consolidating so many different liability policies, each with varying deductible levels, coverage limits, terms and conditions. He exhibited incredible knowledge and great quality and attention to detail.”

Shinkle built a single program that saved a considerable amount of money and made the administration of the program more efficient and manageable.

“As a new company that is trying to grow in both existing and new markets, we’ve had many questions about what types of coverage we need,” said the vice president. “Ryan has been very responsive and has helped us ensure that we are properly covered in all areas of our new and existing businesses.”

Another client had the misfortune to have its longtime underwriter pull out of the market. “We were insured for 10 years with the same carrier,” said a director of safety. “When that insurer made a decision to stop writing that type of coverage, Ryan stepped up and worked hard in looking at the market to help us find another carrier.

“He then spent long hours to make sure that everything was covered for our renewal. We even made field visits to companies to make sure that a good match would be selected.”

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Insurtech

Kiss Your Annual Renewal Goodbye; On-Demand Insurance Challenges the Traditional Policy

Gig workers' unique insurance needs drive delivery of on-demand coverage.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 6 min read

The gig economy is growing. Nearly six million Americans, or 3.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, now have “contingent” work arrangements, with a further 10.6 million in categories such as independent contractors, on-call workers or temporary help agency staff and for-contract firms, often with well-known names such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

The number of Americans owning a drone is also increasing — one recent survey suggested as much as one in 12 of the population — sparking vigorous debate on how regulation should apply to where and when the devices operate.

Add to this other 21st century societal changes, such as consumers’ appetite for other electronic gadgets and the advent of autonomous vehicles. It’s clear that the cover offered by the annually renewable traditional insurance policy is often not fit for purpose. Helped by the sophistication of insurance technology, the response has been an expanding range of ‘on-demand’ covers.

The term ‘on-demand’ is open to various interpretations. For Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO of pioneering on-demand insurance platform Trōv, it’s about “giving people agency over the items they own and enabling them to turn on insurance cover whenever they want for whatever they want — often for just a single item.”

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“On-demand represents a whole new behavior and attitude towards insurance, which for years has very much been a case of ‘get it and forget it,’ ” said Walchek.

Trōv’s mobile app enables users to insure just a single item, such as a laptop, whenever they wish and to also select the period of cover required. When ready to buy insurance, they then snap a picture of the sales receipt or product code of the item they want covered.

Welcoming Trōv: A New On-Demand Arrival

While Walchek, who set up Trōv in 2012, stressed it’s a technology company and not an insurance company, it has attracted industry giants such as AXA and Munich Re as partners. Trōv began the U.S. roll-out of its on-demand personal property products this summer by launching in Arizona, having already established itself in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Australia and the UK were great testing grounds, thanks to their single regulatory authorities,” said Walchek. “Trōv is already approved in 45 states, and we expect to complete the process in all by November.

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group.” – Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group,” he added.

“But a mass of tectonic societal shifts is also impacting older generations — on-demand cover fits the new ways in which they work, particularly the ‘untethered’ who aren’t always in the same workplace or using the same device. So we see on-demand going into societal lifestyle changes.”

Wooing Baby Boomers

In addition to its backing for Trōv, across the Atlantic, AXA has partnered with Insurtech start-up By Miles, launching a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy in the UK. The product is promoted as low-cost car insurance for drivers who travel no more than 140 miles per week, or 7,000 miles annually.

“Due to the growing need for these products, companies such as Marmalade — cover for learner drivers — and Cuvva — cover for part-time drivers — have also increased in popularity, and we expect to see more enter the market in the near future,” said AXA UK’s head of telematics, Katy Simpson.

Simpson confirmed that the new products’ initial appeal is to younger motorists, who are more regular users of new technology, while older drivers are warier about sharing too much personal information. However, she expects this to change as on-demand products become more prevalent.

“Looking at mileage-based insurance, such as By Miles specifically, it’s actually older generations who are most likely to save money, as the use of their vehicles tends to decline. Our job is therefore to not only create more customer-centric products but also highlight their benefits to everyone.”

Another Insurtech ready to partner with long-established names is New York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK is working with Legal & General to enter the homeshare insurance market, recently announcing that XL Catlin will use its insurance cloud services platform to create the world’s first on-demand cyber insurance solution.

“For our cyber product, we were looking for a partner on the fintech side, which dovetailed perfectly with what Slice was trying to do,” said John Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber insurance team.

“The premise of selling cyber insurance to small businesses needs a platform such as that provided by Slice — we can get to customers in a discrete, seamless manner, and the partnership offers potential to open up other products.”

Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added: “You can roll up on-demand cover in many different areas, ranging from contract workers to vacation rentals.

“The next leap forward will be provided by the new economy, which will create a range of new risks for on-demand insurance to respond to. McKinsey forecasts that by 2025, ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global premium revenue.

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“When you’re a start-up, you can innovate and question long-held assumptions, but you don’t have the scale that an insurer can provide,” said Attia. “Our platform works well in getting new products out to the market and is scalable.”

Slice Labs is now reviewing the emerging markets, which aren’t hampered by “old, outdated infrastructures,” and plans to test the water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.

Collaboration Vs Competition

Insurtech-insurer collaborations suggest that the industry noted the banking sector’s experience, which names the tech disruptors before deciding partnerships, made greater sense commercially.

“It’s an interesting correlation,” said Slice’s managing director for marketing, Emily Kosick.

“I believe the trend worth calling out is that the window for insurers to innovate is much shorter, thanks to the banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile devices and, more recently, intelligent assistants like Alexa for personal banking.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.”

As with fintechs in banking, Insurtechs initially focused on the retail segment, with 75 percent of business in personal lines and the remainder in the commercial segment.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.” — Emily Kosick, managing director, marketing, Slice

Those proportions may be set to change, with innovations such as digital commercial insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent launch of the first digital D&O liability insurance policy, designed for venture capital-backed tech start-ups and reinsured by Munich Re.

Embroker said coverage that formerly took weeks to obtain is now available instantly.

“We focus on three main issues in developing new digital business — what is the customer’s pain point, what is the expense ratio and does it lend itself to algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is another obvious class of insurance that can benefit from this approach.”

Jason Griswold, co-founder and chief operating officer of Insurtech REIN, highlighted further opportunities: “I’d add a third category to personal and business lines and that’s business-to-business-to-consumer. It’s there we see the biggest opportunities for partnering with major ecosystems generating large numbers of insureds and also big volumes of data.”

For now, insurers are accommodating Insurtech disruption. Will that change?

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“Insurtechs have focused on products that regulators can understand easily and for which there is clear existing legislation, with consumer protection and insurer solvency the two issues of paramount importance,” noted Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law firm Akin Gump.

“In time, we could see the disruptors partner with reinsurers rather than primary carriers. Another possibility is the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with their massive balance sheets, deciding to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.

“You can imagine one of them finding a good Insurtech and buying it, much as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave it entry into the retail sector.” &

Graham Buck is a UK-based writer and has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since 1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.