2017 Power Broker


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.


“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.


“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
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.


“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

Employment Practices


Sexual harassment is a growing concern for corporate America. Risk managers can pave the way to top-down culture change.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 12 min read

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements opened up Pandora’s Box, launching countless public scandals and accusations. The stories that continue to emerge paint an unflattering picture of corporate America and the culture of sexual harassment that has permeated it for decades.


“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it,” reads the official tagline of Time’s Up, one of the most vocal groups demanding change.

The GoFundMe campaign that supports the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund raised more than $16.7 million in less than a month, making it the most successful GoFundMe initiative on record.

Funds will be used to help victims of sexual harassment and assault bring legal action against harassers, as well as provide public relations consultation to manage any media attention such suits might attract.

The problem was never really a secret.

In surveys conducted since 1980 by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 40 percent of women and 15 percent of men consistently reported being sexually harassed at work.

In a sweeping meta-analysis of 25 years’ worth of research data, published in “Personnel Psychology,” an average of 25 percent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment at work. When respondents were given clear definitions of harassing behavior, that figure shot up to 60 percent.

The current climate is just now pushing awareness to the forefront. It was reported last November that law firms in the nation’s capital are seeing a spike in inquiries about sexual harassment cases.

Laura Coppola, regional head of commercial management liability in North America, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website is seeing visits to its harassment web page double.

There’s no question the costs to businesses can be staggering. Twenty-First Century Fox reportedly incurred $50 million in costs tied to the settlement of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations in its Fox News division, as well as a $90 million settlement of shareholder claims arising from sexual harassment scandals.

In June, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had $224 million in costs during the fiscal year related to “management and employee transitions and restructuring” at business units, including the group that houses Fox News.

If time is indeed up, it won’t just impact Hollywood, Silicon Valley or Capitol Hill. It will impact every workplace, in every industry.

“It affects everybody,” said Marie-France Gelot, senior vice president and insurance & claims counsel for Lockton’s Northeast Claims Advisory Group.

“I think anybody in corporate America — at some point — has seen it or been aware of it or been around it.”

“This particular phenomenon is certainly at a much wider scope than we’ve seen in the last decade or so,” said Laura Coppola, regional head of commercial management liability in North America, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.

“This is going to touch many industries, many segments, and many people.”

Employers are beginning to wonder if their workplace could be next.

“I think if you’d been asking [insureds] a year ago, ‘Are you interested in hearing about sexual harassment prevention?’ I think the answer would have been, ‘No, we’re good, we’ve got it,’ ” said Bob Graham, vice president, HUB International Limited.

“But I think now everyone’s saying ‘Sure, yes, we’d like to hear something.’ ”

Leading the Conversation

As American workplaces come under increasing scrutiny, the time is ripe for a large-scale pivot in the way employers manage risks related to sexual harassment.

The co-chairs of the EEOC’s select task force on the study of harassment in the workplace expressed it aptly in 2016:

“With legal liability long ago established, with reputational harm from harassment well known, with an entire cottage industry of workplace compliance and training adopted and encouraged for 30 years, why does so much harassment persist and take place in so many of our workplaces? And, most important of all, what can be done to prevent it? After 30 years — is there something we’ve been missing?”

Experts in the management liability field unanimously told Risk & Insurance® these issues should be elevated to the board level and the C-suite.

“Just as cyber liability shifted rapidly from an IT discussion to a board level discussion, so too will the harassment and discrimination discussion go beyond HR and be elevated to the highest levels,” said Coppola. It will become a corporate-wide, enterprise-wide conversation.

“It’s going to take some time to get to that board level, but it’s going to have to happen,” said Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services.

“Risk management and HR cannot go down parallel paths, not understanding one another. Not anymore. There’s too much at stake.” — Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services

Risk managers, said Kelly Thoerig, U.S. employment practices liability coverage leader, Marsh, are well suited to lead this conversation, which means actively partnering with human resources, the legal department, the general counsel’s office and outside counsel.


“Just like the quarterback depends on the offensive line, on receivers, on the running backs, it’s not a one-man show,” said King. “This can’t be the risk manager operating in a vacuum; they have to be liaising with multiple parts of the organization.”

Added King, “Risk management and HR cannot go down parallel paths, not understanding one another. Not anymore. There’s too much at stake.”

Connecting with outside counsel can also be of great benefit to risk managers, said Coppola.

“[They can] provide a very independent objective view of what they see in the overall market and how their knowledge of the individual client’s best practices can be improved and enhanced to ensure that they are protecting employees and the organization.”

Brokers and carriers also may be able to offer insights and services. Unfortunately, that piece is often lost because risk management and HR are siloed.

“The [knowledge of the] services that come with the insurance policy end up with the policy — in a drawer in the risk manager’s office,” said Tom Hams, employment practice liability insurance leader, Aon.

“HR doesn’t know that they exist. Even if they’re just online blogs or something like that, they could be more meaningful to the HR department than they are to risk management.

“So it’s important to make sure that companies are aware they’ve got those tools and — more importantly — to share them internally.”

Expediting Cultural Change

The X factor that underpins every aspect of these efforts is culture, experts agreed.

“It’s not so much ‘does the company have best-in-class policies and procedures in place;’ I think many of them do. I think that a significant change needed is doing a full overhaul of corporate culture, and that’s no small feat,” said Gelot.

Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services

True culture change can only come from the top level. But that isn’t likely to happen unless everyone at the top understands what the scope of the exposure could be if it’s not addressed appropriately on the front end. And for that, money talks, said Thoerig, who will be presenting on the topic at RIMS 2018 in San Antonio.

“Nothing is more instructive than real tangible claims examples and settlement amounts. Arm yourself with … recent, relevant claims examples specific to the industry and the jurisdictions the company operates in.”

In addition, said King, HR and legal should be regularly feeding claims information to risk managers to share at quarterly meetings of the board and give specific updates around these issues.

Armed with that level of intelligence, top brass can set the goals that will drive all anti-harassment efforts, said experts, putting an emphasis on identifying and correcting behavior that could potentially expose a company to liability.

Better Training and Reporting 

The best anti-harassment programs are multilayered, said Hams, with each facet carefully tailored to suit the employee population, the industry and the organization’s goals. A clearly defined policy is essential, stating that harassment will not be tolerated and neither will retaliation against those who report it.

The policy should be clear that employees are expected to report harassment or unacceptable behavior. Hams said he’s seen companies go so far as to state employees who don’t speak up are in violation of the policy.

“At least it should give them pause to stop and think about what they might have seen before they click the button or sign the document,” he said.

Companies should consider how uncomfortable employees may be about speaking up. An open-door policy is a start.

But there should also be multiple reporting points throughout the organization, said Hams, and an anonymous hotline for those reluctant to bring the matter up with anyone in their chain of command, and a multilingual hotline as well.

An effective training plan will have multiple moving parts and should touch every level of the organization from the executive suite to managers and supervisors to the rank and file. Comprehensive training is especially critical for the managers and supervisors who might receive or investigate complaints.

Many large employers already have training programs that can be considered best-in-class. Small to midsized employers, however, may still be using the cookie-cutter compliance-centric training that has dominated the field for decades.

The goal of this training is to hit all the bases related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, ticking off a list of acts or speech that would be considered illegal and affirming the company will not tolerate illegal behavior.

Overwhelmingly though, this type of training misses the mark. Studies have shown that this one-size-fits-all training is ineffective, especially when it’s a rote check-the-box exercise. Employees get the message their employer doesn’t take the subject too seriously.

Worse, it can even aggravate tensions, creating more discriminatory behavior from men who avoid working with women just to eliminate the chance of being accused of anything.

One study even found that men were more likely to place blame on the victim of sexual abuse after they’d received that type of anti-harassment training.

Even at best, compliance-centric training will still fail, because it only addresses behaviors that violate the law. But there is a broad array of behavior that — while not quite illegal — shouldn’t be tolerated.

When this kind of activity is allowed to flourish unchecked, the environment becomes increasingly toxic for those on the receiving end. It also tells employees that the company will tolerate harassment as long as it’s not overly egregious. In that case, it’s just a matter of time before the company is faced with a serious claim.

“Nothing is more instructive than real tangible claims examples and settlement amounts. Arm yourself with … recent, relevant claims examples specific to the industry and the jurisdictions the company operates in.” — Kelly Thoerig, U.S. employment practices liability coverage leader, Marsh

In its 2016 report, the EEOC’s harassment task force recommended changing tactics, exploring alternative training models such as respect-based civility training — what some call professionalism training.


The theory is “if you train them to act in a professional manner, these things tend not to happen at all,” said Hams.

The EEOC also suggested bystander intervention training, which is designed to empower employees to intervene when they witness harassing behavior.

Experts agreed whatever training programs or modules a company chooses, it’s important the training material reflect the workforce and be continuous and regularly refreshed.

A certification scheme also should be put in place to ensure the training is hitting the mark. While the law does not yet require companies to prove the effectiveness of their programs, some suggest it’s only a matter of time before the courts catch up to the problem.

What’s more, said Coppola, it’s simply the right thing to do for companies that want to confirm they’ve created a culture where all employees can expect to be treated professionally.

Zero Tolerance

Gelot and others believe a zero-tolerance policy should be a key component of an effective anti-harassment program.

“There are many companies that have Harvey Weinsteins and Matt Lauers and Kevin Spaceys working in their midst and those people are tolerated. Employees know about them — it’s not a secret.”

Bob Graham, vice president, HUB International Limited

Particularly when the harasser is a high-level executive, companies may wrestle with the decision to look the other way or lose a key rainmaker. In a zero-tolerance environment — one that starts at the top — the decision would be clear.

“What we saw with Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose — they were terminated immediately as the accusations came out. That’s zero tolerance. That’s sending a message to all of the employees within the company that this is completely unacceptable, we won’t tolerate it, and [it] clearly sends a message to the public at large.”

Employers should promote a workplace culture where all forms of harassment and discrimination are unacceptable and reportable, said Gelot. That’s the only way to take the fear and the stigma out of reporting.

That said, the EEOC offers a word of caution on zero-tolerance policies applied militantly without regard for common sense. Employers should hash out the specifics of which acts merit immediate termination versus a warning.

Overzealous application of the zero-tolerance doctrine can backfire if an employee fears her coworker’s children will go hungry if she reports his lewd or sexist jokes.

Creating a Dialogue

As with managing any other exposure that touches everyone, robust sharing of ideas and best practices has the power to improve the risk profile of entire industry sectors.

Facebook raised eyebrows in December, making public its sexual harassment policy in full.

“I hope in sharing it we will start a discussion, both to help smaller companies thinking about this for the first time, and to improve our own practices by learning from other companies,” wrote Lori Goler, Facebook’s global VP of people, about the company’s bold move.


That level of disclosure is making some risk professionals uncomfortable. But others acknowledge the wisdom of it.

“Any time you can share best practices that’s probably a great idea, because no one has all the answers … or at least not all the right answers,” said Graham.

“There’s a reason they did that, and I think it’s for all the right, positive reasons. They want to drive the momentum that is going to reduce or even eliminate what we have seen in corporate America over the last 50-plus years. They want to lead by example, they want to be the model and rightly so,” added Coppola.

“I think we are at a perfect time in our economic environment that allows the evolution of equality in our workplace.”

Part of that should involve making the workplace more egalitarian, said Gelot, and figuring out “how to make female employees not feel ostracized by a ‘boys’ club’ atmosphere, and actively championing the ascension of women into senior rolls.”

“We can’t focus on the past,” said Coppola. “But we can work very hard collectively as a community, and within the insurance industry specifically, to move forward.” &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]