2016 Power Broker

Fine Arts

Expert Stamp of Approval

Sandra Berlin Senior Vice President Willis Towers Watson, Chicago

Sandra Berlin
Senior Vice President
Willis Towers Watson, Chicago

Sandra Berlin is known for her vast knowledge of fine arts insurance and her high energy.

In the past year alone Berlin helped negotiate insurance for about 45 different loans of artwork to museums so the individual collectors had the best coverage possible while the pieces were out of their control.

Analyzing individual museum policies is an important component of loaning and making sure a collector’s own carrier is aware that this change in exposure is prudent.

“In Chicago, Sandra has the reputation of being if not the most knowledgeable art broker, then one of the top two or three specializing in art insurance,” observed Scott Hodes, senior counsel at Bryan Cave law firm in Chicago and a fine art expert.

Chicago-based Lela Hersh, art adviser at her own Museum and Fine Arts Consulting LLC, observed that since forming her own company in 2003 she has referred many of her private and corporate clients to Berlin.

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“She is always available, friendly and makes difficult information crystal clear for clients,” said Hersh.

“She’s not pushy at all and has a nice way of working with her high-end clientele.”

Recently Hersh referred a private client to Berlin who is moving their home and artwork to Colorado.

“I can trust that she will take care of them,” Hersh said.

Building Credibility

Sarah Johnson Court, Cert CII Director Aon, Miami

Sarah Johnson Court, Cert CII
Director
Aon, Miami

Clients of Sarah Johnson Court invariably cite her trustworthiness as the cornerstone of a healthy relationship with her.

“She knows her product and she really tries to help her customers as opposed to selling insurance just to get a commission,” said Laurans A. Mendelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Hollywood, Fla.-based HEICO, an aerospace and electronics products manufacturer.

“I’ve had situations in which she’s told me her policy is really not as good as a competing policy, so she said she wouldn’t recommend that I take hers,” Mendelson added. “She builds up great credibility that way.”

Mendelson also noted that Johnson Court does an excellent job of fighting with the insurance company to get better rates.

Anthony Tamer, founder and co-CEO of Miami-based HIG Capital, a worldwide private equity firm, said of Johnson Court: “Sarah has helped me specifically in getting our art insured in Florida, which, because of the flood and tropical weather conditions, is an expensive place to insure art. She worked very hard to get quotes from several insurance companies and was creative in finding reliable coverage that ended up being close to 30 percent more extensive, yet at a lower cost than most other providers.

“Most importantly, Sarah inspires trust, which is critical in a broker-client relationship,” Tamer added.

The Team Leader

Diane Jackson COO/Director of Finance Aon, Washington, D.C.

Diane Jackson
COO/Director of Finance
Aon, Washington, D.C.

Whether you are a large or smaller client of Diane Jackson, you are going to get the keen, comprehensive attention for which she is widely known.

In the past year, Jackson put together a proposal to help the Detroit Institute of Art conduct an international exhibition of some of its most precious paintings, to appear on two continents.

“Diane put together an excellent proposal that allowed us to slightly increase in-transit limits for shipments, which allowed us to send fewer conveyances, saving our museum and the borrowers’ staff time and money,” said Kimberly Dziurman, director of registration at the museum.

On another call-to-action for Jackson, Erika Franek, registrar of exhibition and loans, art insurance and risk management,at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, suddenly found herself in a demanding position when her predecessor left with little notice.

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“Diane was immediately on the phone with me, walking me through the details of the policy and helping me understand the nuances,” said Franek.

“She set up weekly phone calls for me as well. Those phone calls were essential to my first year as a risk manager.”

In addition to handling 75 accounts on her own, Jackson has seven senior-level  brokers who report to her. These individuals handle the largest clients of Aon’s art division. When there are any issues on those accounts, Jackson is called upon to help resolve them.

Pacifying the Lenders

Lynn Marcin Senior Vice President Aon, Washington, D.C.

Lynn Marcin
Senior Vice President
Aon, Washington, D.C.

Lynn Marcin’s decades of experience in the fine arts insurance world came to bear in  helping the Denver Art Museum open a very large “Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio” exhibition last November with 40-plus vendors and complicated insurance arrangements incorporating federal indemnity coverage, special exhibition policies and the museum’s own blanket policy.

“One lender in particular had very specific and challenging insurance requirements outlined in their loan agreement,” said Sarah Cucinella-McDaniel, chief registrar at the museum. “Lynn spent nearly six months and dozens of emails working with us to understand the requests from this lender, negotiate terms and prepare the policy.”

Marcin smoothed over another testy loan negotiation for the Tacoma Art Museum involving insurance for a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition.

“The for-profit organizer insisted on using his legal language for the certificates of insurance and endorsements,” said Rock Huska, chief curator of the museum. “His involvement included convoluted and, oftentimes, contradictory instructions outside our existing coverage. Lynn worked closely with our underwriters to approve his archaic language.”

At New York-based American Federation of Arts, registrar Elizabeth Abbarno noted, “In early 2015, we had sort of a snafu and Lynn was in constant contact with me. She really saved my bacon. She is a lovely person to work with.”

Covering Picasso

Anne Rappa Senior Vice President Aon, New York

Anne Rappa
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

Anne Rappa stands out as an exceptionally creative problem solver, her clients agree.

“Anne was extremely helpful as part of us putting together a major defining exhibition we had: a huge, huge Picasso show we had worked on for several years,” said Catherine Davis, director of arts administration at The Pace Gallery in New York.

“There was a billion dollars’ worth of art from around the world we had to provide insurance for.

“We were afraid there would not be enough capacity in the market, but Anne worked it out for us,” Davis added.

“We had some issues with the wording of specific exclusions in our fine arts policy which seemed contradictory to me,” noted K.C. Mauer, chief financial officer of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts in New York.

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“Anne spent a lot of time reviewing the policy language with me and she made sure that these language issues were addressed to my satisfaction so that I, as a non-insurance expert, understood them,” Mauer added.

She also doesn’t sugar-coat things, which Mauer appreciates.

“Anne helped us renegotiate the terms of our fine arts policy so that we were insured for all occurrences that we tell consignors we are liable for,” said  Christopher Reimann, director of finance at Chicago-based Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Riding to the Rescue

Emily Weiss Account Executive DeWitt Stern, New York

Emily Weiss
Account Executive
DeWitt Stern, New York

This past year was one in which Emily Weiss rode to the rescue on a number of major fronts.

In one case, Weiss took over the account of New York-based Di Donna Galleries LLC during a colleague’s maternity leave.

“She made a huge effort to update herself quickly on the many aspects of all of our different policies and she made the intricacies of our insurance policies easy to understand,” said business director Courtney Conway.

And when it came to renewing the galleries’ fine arts insurance policy in September, Weiss put together an insurance package with the galleries’ preferred underwriter that reduced the galleries’ premium by about 35 percent, said Conway.

In another important accomplishment, Weiss took over an artist’s studio account after it had been neglected for many years.  When she took over the account there were locations and buildings missing, incorrect limits and subjectivities that were not appropriate given the nature of the business. Weiss amended the definition of property covered and valuation clauses so that they were more in line with the nature of the artist’s work.

At New York’s New Museum, registrar Derya Kovey counts on Weiss for various skills.

“The broker needs to be strong in both hard skills such as insurance knowledge, as well as soft skills like emotional intelligence, understanding the museum’s values, and knowing what is needed  to keep the artists happy,” Kovey said.

BlackBar

Finalists:

Blythe Hogan Director Aon, New York

Blythe Hogan
Director
Aon, New York

Kristina Marcigliano Account Executive DeWitt Stern, New York

Kristina Marcigliano
Account Executive
DeWitt Stern, New York

Casey Wigglesworth Account Executive Aon, Washington, D.C.

Casey Wigglesworth
Account Executive
Aon, Washington, D.C.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

This senior risk manager values his role in helping Varian Medical Systems support research and technologies in the fight against cancer.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

When I was 15 years old I had a summer job working for the city of Plentywood, mowing grass in the parks and ballfields, emptying garbage cans, hauling waste to the dump, painting crosswalk lines.  A great job for a teenager but I thought getting a college degree and working in an air-conditioned office would be a good plan long term.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

I was enrolled in the University of Montana as a general business student, and I wanted to declare a more specialized major during my sophomore year. I was working for my dad at his insurance agency over the summer, and taking new agent training coursework on property/casualty risks in my spare time, so I had an appreciation for insurance. My dad suggested I research risk management for a career, and I transferred sight unseen to the University of Georgia to enroll in their risk management program. I did an internship as a senior with the risk management department at Sulzer Medica, and they offered me a full time job.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

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We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks. If we initiate a collaborative exercise with the risk owners — people who may have unique knowledge about that particular risk — and include a cross section of people from other corporate functions, you can do an effective job of taking the risk apart to analyze it, figure out a way to manage that exposure, and then reap the upside benefits while reducing the downside exposure. That can be done with new products and new service offerings, when there isn’t coverage available for a risk. It’s asking, is there anything we can do to reduce the risk without transferring it?

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber liability. There’s so much at stake and the bad guys are getting more resourceful every day. At Varian, our first approach is to try to make our systems and products more resilient, so we’re trying to direct resources to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s a huge reputation risk if one of our products or systems were compromised, so we want to avoid that at all costs.

We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

I’ve worked with a number of great ones over the years. We’ve enjoyed a great property insurance relationship with Zurich. Their loss control services are very valuable to us. On the umbrella liability side, it’s been great partnering with companies like Swiss Re and Berkley Life Sciences because they’ve put in the time and effort to understand our unique risk exposures.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

One hundred percent through a broker. I view our broker as an extension of our risk management team. We benefit from each team member’s respective area of expertise and experience.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

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I think so. The brokers were kind of villainized by Spitzer. I think it’s fair for brokers and insurers to make a reasonable profit, and if a portion of their profit came from contingent commissions, I’m fine with that. But I do appreciate the transparency and disclosure that came out as a result of the fiasco.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

David Collins, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Varian Medical Systems Inc.

While we might be doing fine here in the U.S. from an economic perspective, the Middle East is a mess, and we’re living with nuclear threat from North Korea. But hope springs eternal, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping saner minds prevail and our leaders throughout the world work together to make things better.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My Dad got me started down the insurance and risk path. I’ve also been fortunate to work for or with a number of University of Georgia alumni who’ve been mentors for me. I’ve worked side by side with Karen Epermanis, Michael Rousseau, and Elisha Finney. And I’ve worked with Daniel Dean in his capacity as a broker.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

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Raising my kids. I have a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, and they’re making mom and dad proud of the people they’re turning into.

On a professional level, a recent one would be the creation and implementation of our global travel risk program, which was a combined effort between security, travel and risk functions.

We have a huge team of service personnel around the world, traveling to customer sites to do maintenance and repair. We needed a way to track, monitor and communicate with them. We may need to make security arrangements or vet their lodging in some circumstances.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

My 12-year-old son thought my job responsibilities could be summed up as a “professional worrier.” And that’s not too far off.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Varian’s mission is to focus energy on saving lives. Proper administration of the risk function puts the company in a better position to financially support research that improves products and capabilities, helps to educate health care providers and support cancer care in general. It means more lives saved from a terrible disease. I’m proud to contribute toward that.

When you meet someone whose cancer has been successfully treated with one of our products, it’s a powerful reward.




Katie Siegel is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]