2018 Power Broker


Dedicated to Creating Coverage

Cristin Bullen
Senior Vice President
Marsh, New York

Clients applaud Cristin Bullen for improving their environmental coverages and designing protection for singularly difficult risks.

“Cristin was an invaluable resource in underwriting a custom and comprehensive PLL policy,” which covered a recent acquisition that involved spinning off a contaminated site to a third party, one client noted.

The client needed an affordable pollution legal liability policy that would cover all site risks. Bullen “made a market for our policy where there really wasn’t one,” the client said.

In its purchase of a large paper company, another client spun off the acquisition’s paper mills to a third party that was not purchasing environmental impairment liability coverage excess of a fund the original seller established. The third party also structured its acquisition to limit its environmental exposure.


Therefore, Bullen’s client needed an excess EIL policy providing tens of millions of dollars of coverage. Bullen developed an extensive underwriting submission delineating the three parties’ assumed liabilities.

At sludge processor Synagro Technologies Inc., market conditions had long meant inadequate coverage. But Bullen immediately improved the company’s contractor’s pollution liability coverage for a lower premium.

That helped bolster Synagro’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, noted Michael J. Miltenberger, director of compliance and risk management.

A Man of Many Words

Steve Manz
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Southfield, Mich.

“Steve Manz has the very unique ability to speak two languages,” a client observed.

“One language enables Steve to talk in ‘geotechnical’ terms with folks on our side and translate what he’s understood into ‘insurance lingo’ so underwriters gain sufficient knowledge of the risk.”

That ability allowed the client to resurrect an acquisition deal that had died because of site contamination. A consultant previously remediated a site contaminant, but the treatment triggered an inactive chemical in the soil.

A city well located off the property complicated the issue; the site owner attempted but failed to purchase environmental coverage, so the client pulled out of the deal.

In revisiting the deal, the client developed its own remediation plan and engaged Manz to find coverage to hedge its exposure.

The client said: “[We] bought the business, implemented our remediation plan, saved dozens of high-paying jobs in a rural community and protected residential water supplies in the process … all because we were able to acquire insurance, thanks to Steve!”

Another large client faced an unfavorable renewal of its manuscripted pollution liability coverage, despite a good loss history. The client tapped Manz to negotiate with the insurer.

Manz persuaded the carrier to accept 90 percent of the client’s requested terms and conditions — with a 17 percent premium reduction.

No Stone Unturned

Ed Morales
Senior Vice President
Marsh, San Francisco

Environmental insurance broker Ed Morales is a master at finding solutions — including some that clients thought were not possible.

EVRAZ North America retained Morales to make sure it had the most appropriate coverage by strong insurers at competitive prices.

Beforehand, EVRAZ, which has U.S. and Canadian facilities, believed it could afford environmental coverage only for its U.S. facilities, explained Edwin Koopmans, vice president and treasurer.

He found “the right insurers and made sure that they had a good understanding of our risk profile,” Koopmans said. Morales educated him about the need for coverage in Canada.

“We now have coverage for all of our locations at a premium that is approximately 20 percent less than the prior cost.”

Another client, which represents real estate investors with widely varying environmental risks, faced the loss of its blanket pollution legal liability insurer at renewal.


“With Ed’s hard work, I was able to pull the plug on the blanket a year in advance, broaden coverage, clarify certain critically important language and pay lower rates,” the client noted.

For EnergySolutions, which decommissions nuclear power plants, Morales replaced its PLL coverage in 2016 — with a 35 percent cost decrease — after the incumbent insurer pulled out of the market, noted Scott D. Michelsen, director, credit, collections & insurance.

Morales also secured advantageous terms and pricing for the 2017 renewal.

Problem Solver

Pete Pantalone, CPCU
Aon, Philadelphia

Clients count on Pete Pantalone to resolve problems.

Delaware agency Diamond State Port Corp. needed to rapidly expand the Port of Wilmington, a leader in banana imports.

DSPC officials found a suitable waterfront parcel, but there were many other motivated bidders and inadequate time for environmental reviews, noted Parul Shukla, director, finance & administration. Officials decided to bid and purchase insurance to limit the DSPC’s financial exposure.

The agency retained Pantalone, who placed a $25 million, 10-year policy.

“With the quick placing of the coverage, DSPC was successful in acquiring the site for development into a state-of-the-art container facility that will double the jobs and improve economic impact for the Delaware citizens.”

For another client, the reputation of the risk management department has been burnished because of Pantalone’s assistance in finding an insurance solution for a corporate divestiture with an environmental obligation, the client noted.

“The benefit to the insurance risk management program has been that I am now getting contacted to design an insurance solution for M&A deals, since this was a successful placement at a relative small cost.”

Another client, whose three-year pollution liability program covering global risks was expiring in a tough market, praised Pantalone for replacing the program with expanded coverage at a 20 percent premium reduction.

Taking Proactive Measures

Tony Sandfrey, CRM
Environmental Practice Leader
Integro, Atlanta

Fixing problems before they turn disastrous is one value proposition Tony Sandfrey offers clients.

Sandfrey unilaterally analyzed a client’s existing coverage. He identified non-concurrent wording issues in the client’s tower, as well as some “shaving-of-limits endorsements,” the client noted.

Without addressing those problems with the client’s insurers, “there could be a case where an excess layer would not drop down after exhaustion of lower limits,” jeopardizing coverage in higher layers, the client explained.

Sandfrey “worked long and hard to educate” the insurers on why the wording was problematic.

Sandfrey also recognized a potential coverage gap if the client ever divested any U.S. operations where contamination was later discovered.


For Banner Health, which has inherited “many strange insurance policies” through acquisitions, Sandfrey streamlined coverage, said Heather M. Wielenga, commercial insurance risk finance director.

One example was an environmental policy for a medical center Banner acquired.

Policy terms precluded a premium reimbursement if Banner cancelled the coverage, but Sandfrey negotiated a deal that allowed Banner to cancel the policy and receive a $28,000 premium reimbursement in exchange for moving Banner’s entire environmental portfolio to the insurer — for expanded coverage at a lower cost, Wielenga said.

“We did not believe our problem could be fixed.”

Seals the Deal

Max West
Senior Vice President
Aon, Chicago

A client’s planned acquisition was complicated. The target’s previous owner had indemnified only some of the target’s assets for contamination, noted attorney John H. Johnson Jr., a partner at Troutman Sanders, LLP, who also represented the client.

Johnson explained that broker Max West assembled an insurance product that would fully cover the environmental liabilities of the indemnified assets if the previous owner failed to honor its commitment. The policy also covered the non-indemnified assets, with limited exclusions.

“Absent Mr. West’s involvement, the transaction likely would not have been completed,” Johnson observed.

Another client company was looking for a buyer but encountered a major roadblock: federal regulators said it was potentially responsible for a Superfund site.

The client’s own analysis, however, indicated it was not responsible for any pollution.

“We could convince ourselves of anything we wanted to, however the biggest issue remained on dealing with the future unknown liability,” the client said. The client did not believe insurance would be affordable, but West secured two viable options.

As a result, the client said, the company “was sold with all parties satisfied. The seller does not have a long-term liability/escrow. The buyer has a 10-year policy to protect the company against any future claims related to the site. The deal would not have been done without this type of solution.”


Ana Zalles Moore
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance


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.”


“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.


“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?


“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.