2018 Power Broker

Entertainment

Eagle-Eye View on Insurance

Berj Basralian
Account Executive
Risk Strategies/DeWitt Stern, New York

It’s no surprise drones would eventually find their way into the entertainment business.

“There’s this wave of drones,” said Lindsay Vetter, senior business affairs manager, VSA Partners Inc. “One of our productions decided to use footage from a drone, but I didn’t have the time to look it all over.”

Vetter turned to her trusted broker, Berj Basralian, who “researched the applications needed for the drones so that the production could have this footage like they wanted.”

Basralian’s work to get production covered will last longer than one production, too.

“We do the same thing every year. We know what we’re doing,” said Vetter. “The vendor changed it up and wanted to use a drone but didn’t want to invest in the coverage. Now it’s in place because of Berj, and every year we are ready to go.”

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Kristy Coleman, senior manager, risk management, Turner Broadcasting System, also turned to Basralian when she needed aircraft coverage. In addition to cast coverage for a popular prank show, they needed insurance to fly one of their talents in a fighter jet.

Later, they needed to insure a tank. Its purpose? To blow up a jeep.

“All of this was coming in piecemeal to the team, because production and the network would come up with new ideas. We needed to have the right insurance, all carriers on board, no exclusions,” Coleman said.

“It was filmed during a two-day event and went off without a hitch. Berj is always available; he never lets me down.”

Covering Every Angle

Konrad Dowling
Area Managing Director
Gallagher, Glendale, Calif.

Michelle Nishikawa, director, physical production, STX Entertainment, describes Konrad Dowling as a workhorse.

“I’m not sure when he takes a break. He has such an attention for details — we probably talk at least twice a day. I can see that he doesn’t ever want to leave me in the lurch.”

STX was filming abroad. The director and producer wanted to use a helicopter to scout for the next day’s shoots but needed the insurance coverage to do so.

“Generally, you want a week to 10 days to plan something like that, but unfortunately the call came in quickly,” Nishikawa said. She contacted Dowling, and it was handled in no time.

Another client said Dowling anticipates every question before they’re even asked. He’s always reviewing forms to see where his clients might be exposed.

For example, the client was deep into a production that had been in the works for a few years. It was filming abroad, and it required reshoots and extra takes after initial production wrapped.

Dowling sat with the team and discussed where they were vulnerable during their long shoot. He negotiated with insurers for the extra months of production at nearly a fraction of what it normally costs.

But that wasn’t all; his client said he was on top of everything. This particular project required animals sourced from France, housed in the U.S., then sent on location for filming. Dowling negotiated contracts for each country’s market and kept the animals properly cared for throughout the duration of filming.

Every Game Day’s MVP

Rebecca Hollis, ARM, CPCU
Vice President
Aon, Atlanta

Rebecca Hollis is in tune with the markets, according to her clients.

One client recently decided to engage with brand new markets, trusting in the value that Hollis brings to the company. Hollis orchestrated all meetings, talked on behalf of the company, researched each market to see they met the company’s needs and gave detailed insight on how the markets were different.

Hollis excels in paying attention, said the client. She knows the company’s program down to the last endorsement.

Christine Procops, senior vice president and CFO, the New York Football Giants, echoed that praise in Hollis’s attention to detail.

“She’s my go-to for all things insurance. The business is constantly evolving, and our insurance requirements and the complexity of our program have grown over recent years.”

Procops said Hollis comes through in the clutch at renewal every year. She praises Hollis as reliable and committed.

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“I’m the CFO of our team, so I am not dealing with insurance every day. Rebecca helps to keep the Giants educated on the market and new issues that may impact us, not to mention the difficult task of keeping me on track with renewals,” she said.

Procops said a 24/7 approach makes Hollis stand out: “We don’t have normal business hours. Rebecca understands our business and how we run. How many other vendors give out their cell phone numbers and then pick up when you call them on vacation?”

No Task Too Big or Too Small

Lorrie McNaught
Senior Vice President
Aon, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

No matter the scale of a task, Lorrie McNaught’s clients know she’ll get the job done.

One client said McNaught isn’t fazed by the volume, type or scale of a production — she’s always prepared for the task at hand.

“I can count on her as a resource,” added Margaret Morales, director of production management, Bunim Murray Productions.

Morales had an overseas production that added a last-minute stunt. She needed a 48-hour turnaround for permissions and insurance coverage. After speaking with the underwriters, McNaught had everything ready to go, said Morales.

Another client of McNaught’s works with a variety of reality shows. They have covered everything from wildlife to home life. With such a broad array of topics, McNaught is always on call.

When the company had to film on location for one of its reality shows, they sent an indemnification form to McNaught to double-check if they had broad-form property damage coverage in their policy. Shooting couldn’t begin without an answer. McNaught responded within 20 minutes, a company executive said.

The client said that it’s times like this, when McNaught can get back to them on-the-spot with an answer, that show how hard-working and knowledgeable she is.

Sometimes it’s big, and sometimes it’s small scale, the client said. To them, McNaught is a true insurance professional.

Weathering Any Storm

Daniel R’bibo, ARM
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Glendale, Calif.

Kelly Todd, line producer, Dumplin Holdings Inc., said Gallagher’s Daniel R’bibo is always available, day or night.

Todd’s company was filming in Georgia when Hurricane Irma hit. Because R’bibo understood the production side, Todd knew R’bibo would be a reliable source for her insurance-related questions while preparing for the storm.

“After Hurricane Irma, Daniel visited set. He advised us that the best rule of thumb was to mitigate any claims that we could have,” she said.

When the company was closing the bond for production, R’bibo put many documents together quickly in order to close out the production process on time, Todd said. He helped identify what was covered and advised them on how to proceed post-claim in order to mitigate any extra expenses.

Another client described R’bibo as a go-getter.

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The client was working on a back-to-back filming project with a huge budget. Due to the size, the production needed more aggressive limits for the films’ unique exposures.

Additionally, the actors involved in the production wanted to work on other projects during filming, which brought outside production companies into the coverage mix.

R’bibo worked to ensure that no special exclusions were placed on the actors while they worked on other projects, and the client said R’bibo checked off everything on his list; filming went ahead as scheduled.

One Step Ahead

George Walden
Resident Managing Director
Aon, New York

Knowing how to head off potential risk is just one way Aon’s George Walden demonstrates his expertise.

“A lot of money is spent on creating new content,” said Gregory L. Goetz, VP risk management, insurance, enterprise risk management, Scripps Networks Interactive. The entertainment industry assumes risk developing new content ideas and a variety of exposures can arise while content is being produced.

“As people in this industry know, a variety of risk events can occur during content production, which can affect the ultimate profitability of that content.”

Walden and Goetz have regular discussions to prepare for any such events. Together, they designed various methods to transfer risk to insurance carriers or arrange other alternative funding methods.

Another client said Walden has grown with the times and keeps them current on certain coverages like cyber security and transmission.

Walden was described as an extremely responsive and educated broker by a third client. She saw him as an advocate — someone who thinks about the company from her perspective — and an advisor — someone who can be objective when a situation calls for it.

“George is very demanding of his team and customer service is a very high priority,” said Goetz. Walden works to have a fast turnaround and strives to present helpful information, he said.

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.