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.


“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
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.


“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.


“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.



Blythe Hogan Director Aon, New York

Blythe Hogan
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

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]