2018 Power Broker

Hospitality

Your First Call

Terence Bohan
Senior Broker
Aon, San Francisco

Carriers want to know that a company is mitigating its risk. Terence Bohan knows this, and he makes sure his clients do, too. Bohan uses his industry knowledge, including his perspective from his former role on the carrier side, to guide his clients through renewals, claims or just about anything they need.

Bohan and his Aon team devised a unique risk management solution for Boyd Gaming Corporation while trying to lower rates that had increased after Hurricane Katrina losses.

They split the Boyd portfolio into two separate programs: One program would encompass all the assets in Nevada, while the other program would cover the remainder of the Boyd assets throughout the Gulf Coast and central United States.

This strategy enabled the risk manager to maintain key relationships, especially in London, but introduced competition that helped drive savings to the tune of 25 percent.

Advertisement




Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, said, “The mitigation is attributable to Terence.”

Another client, Lauren Young, managing director, chief risk officer, and chief compliance officer, PCCP, LLC, gave Bohan the highest recommendation.

“When we suffered damage during Hurricane Harvey and had questions about our coverage, it was clear that the fastest way to get an answer was to call Terence,” Young said.

“He knew our policy in and out and was helpful in explaining everything clearly.”

The Strength of the Bulkhead

Ryan Davidge
Vice President
Aon, Pembroke, Bermuda

Aon’s VP of Property Ryan Davidge is like a bulkhead. The sailors among us know that the bulkhead strengthens the boat. Located below deck, it’s not visible to all, but those in the thick of things understand that this element of the ship helps keep them safe.

“Ryan always has his client’s best interests at heart, and he has a depth and breadth of industry knowledge that is well-respected in our circle,” said one client.

Davidge was tapped by the organizer and sponsor of the 35th America’s Cup to be its local broker in Bermuda.

The temporary “event village” had specific insurance requirements —property, marine D&O, P&I, WC, hull, cargo, AD&D and liability to name a few. But no one person was in charge of procuring all the insurance. For Davidge, this meant a lot of last-minute calls.

The sponsor struck up a sponsorship and coverage deal with a local insurer. But both the insurer and the race sponsor soon realized that they needed an intermediary.

Davidge stepped in and never looked back. He pulled together a number of insurance lines, including property, marine liability, D&O and workers’ comp. Transportation issues, for instance Bermuda’s location 640 miles off the coast of North Carolina, made logistics and coverage considerations complex and demanding.

So successful was Davidge’s handling of the Bermuda event’s insurance needs that his colleagues in New Zealand called him to advise on how to handle the next America’s Cup event.

Mr. Go-To

Gerald Levine, CPCU
Managing Director
Beecher Carlson, Waterford, Conn.

When asked about what he finds exceptional about Gerald Levine’s work, Andrew Lee, vice president, architecture and construction, The Lam Group, responded, “Do you have a day and a half for me to tell you?”

On the top of Lee’s list is the tremendous savings Levine helped him achieve with a recent package.

“Gerry was able to negotiate coverage for us and the contractor together, so we saved a lot of money and reduced our risk,” Lee said.

“He is our 100 percent, trusted go-to person. We don’t sign anything until it has gone by Gerry’s desk.”

Lee also described a property loss on a building that was just about to open. “Gerry put a package together quickly to get it resolved, and he even managed getting people in for some of the repairs, so we were not taken advantage of,” Lee said.

Advertisement




Thayer Thompson, general counsel and VP-commercial, Virgin Hotels North America, said that when their partners meet Gerry and see what he does for Virgin, they sometimes switch to him for their brokerage needs.

“Gerry Levine is an absolutely amazing broker. We’ve worked with him for five or six years, and he is simply the best. Some of our partners have hired him as well.

“I can’t imagine a better advocate on insurance for our business than Gerry. He is incredibly responsive, 24/7, very knowledgeable and very proactive. He has a great team.” 

Risk Never Sleeps

Christian Ryan
Managing Director
Marsh, Dallas

Christian Ryan’s client philosophy is simple; colleagues and clients first — 24/7 — and never forget that clients’ risks can’t wait and don’t sleep. This philosophy has served him well, and more importantly, it’s served his clients best.

When a large gaming client merged with another large gaming company, Ryan and his team reviewed both risk programs and made recommendations for the structure of the merged programs.

Company size and different risk philosophies, including different retentions, limits and overall structures, made combining their coverage challenging, but Ryan’s team was able to recommend a program while also reducing millions of dollars of costs and volatility.

Another client, Sam Makani, director, portfolio strategy and reporting, Solid Rock Group, experienced Ryan’s expertise firsthand.

“Christian is very familiar and experienced with the various options for property insurance for hotels — both big and small. He has a breadth of knowledge with a depth of industry contacts to align clients’ interests with the proper carriers.

“He and his team have provided guidance on various property and supplemental policies for our portfolio, including earthquake, wind and cyber insurance,” Makani said.

Additionally, Ryan and his London team crafted Marsh’s exclusive PRIME Hospitality and Gaming property facility, including manuscript language around booking cancellations, broader loss of attraction language and other ancillary but important features. 

Over the Moon

Ronald Sung
Assistant Vice President
Aon, Chicago

Ronald Sung postponed his honeymoon so he could attend a strategic client meeting last year. Not a dentist appointment or a ballgame — his honeymoon. If that’s not dedication and exemplary customer service, we’ll never know what is.

“Ron acts with the customer in mind,” said hospitality risk manager Michael Dougherty.

“Ron provided several different solutions to restructure our professional/cyber liability product this past year and some of the options were drastically different than what was done in the past,” Dougherty said.

“Ron walked us through each of the solutions and explained the unique advantage of each option. He not only helps clients find the right product, but he further helps by working to adapt the product, so it can be a closer solution for his clients.”

And this was simply one example.

Advertisement




“Ron has been excellent,” said another client. “I talk to him at least once a week and he goes above and beyond for us. He’s very collaborative. He’ll walk me through things and he’ll make presentations to our carriers,” she said.

Sung worked with that client on a confidential program that will help cell phone carriers place emergency 911 calls more accurately.

“We had a lot of details to think about and a lot of risk to identify,” said the client. “We couldn’t do this without Ron.”

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

High Net Worth

High Net Worth Clients Live in CAT Zones. Here’s What Their Resiliency Plan Should Include

Having a resiliency plan and practicing it can make all the difference in a disaster.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 7 min read

Packed with state-of-the-art electronics, priceless collections and high-end furnishings, and situated in scenic, often remote locations, the dwellings of high net worth individuals and families pose particular challenges when it comes to disaster resiliency. But help is on the way.

Advertisement




Armed with loss data, innovative new programs, technological advances, and a growing army of niche service-providers aimed at addressing an astonishingly diverse set of risks, insurers are increasingly determined to not just insure against their high net worth clients’ losses, but to prevent them.

Insurers have long been proactive in risk mitigation, but increasingly, after the recent surge in wildfire and storm losses, insureds are now, too.

“Before, insurance was considered the only step in risk management. Now, our client families realize it is one of the many imperative steps in an effective risk management strategy,” said Laura Sherman, founding partner at Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners.

And especially in the high net worth space, preventing that loss is vastly preferable to a payout, for insurers and insureds alike.

“If insurers can preserve even one house that’s 10 or 20 or 40 million dollars … whatever they have spent in a year is money well spent. Plus they’ve saved this important asset for the client,” said Bruce Gendelman, chairman and founder Bruce Gendelman Insurance Services.

High Net Worth Vulnerabilities

Laura Sherman, founding partner, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

As the number and size of luxury homes built in vulnerable areas has increased, so has the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, harsh cold and winter storms, and wildfires.

“There is a growing desire to inhabit this riskier terrain,” said Jason Metzger, SVP Risk Management, PURE group of insurance companies. “In the western states alone, a little over a million homes are highly vulnerable to wildfires because of their proximity to forests that are fuller of fuel than they have been in years past.”

Such homes are often filled with expensive artwork and collections, from fine wine to rare books to couture to automobiles, each presenting unique challenges. The homes themselves present other vulnerabilities.

“Larger, more sophisticated homes are bristling with more technology than ever,” said Stephen Poux, SVP and head of Risk Management Services and Loss Prevention for AIG’s Private Client Group.

“A lightning strike can trash every electronic in the home.”

Niche Service Providers

A variety of niche service providers are stepping forward to help.

Secure facilities provide hurricane-proof, wildfire-proof off-site storage for artwork, antiques, and all manner of collectibles for seasonal or rotating storage, as well as ahead of impending disasters.

Other companies help manage such collections — a substantial challenge anytime, but especially during a crisis.

“Knowing where it is, is a huge part of mitigating the risk,” said Eric Kahan, founder of Collector Systems, a cloud-based collection management company that allows collectors to monitor their collections during loans to museums, transit between homes, or evacuation to secure storage.

“Before, insurance was considered the only step in risk management. Now, our client families realize it is one of the many imperative steps in an effective risk management strategy.” — Laura Sherman, founding partner, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Insurers also employ specialists in-house. AIG employs four art curators who advise clients on how to protect and preserve their art collections.

Perhaps the best known and most striking example of this kind of direct insurer involvement are the fire teams insurers retain or employ to monitor fires and even spray retardant or water on threatened properties.

High-Level Service for High Net Worth

All high net worth carriers have programs that leverage expertise, loss data, and relationships with vendors to help clients avoid and recover from losses, employing the highest levels of customer service to accomplish this as unobtrusively as possible.

“What allows you to do your job best is when you develop that relationship with a client, where it’s the same people that are interacting with them on every front for their risk management,” said Steve Bitterman, chief risk services officer for Vault Insurance.

Site visits are an essential first step, allowing insurers to assess risks, make recommendations to reduce them, and establish plans in the event of a disaster.

“When you’re in a catastrophic situation, it’s high stress, time is of the essence, and people forget things,” said Sherman. “Having a written plan in place is paramount to success.”

Advertisement




Another important component is knowing who will execute that plan in homes that are often unoccupied.

Domestic staff may lack the knowledge or authority to protect the homeowner’s assets, and during a disaster may be distracted dealing with threats to their own homes and families. Adequate planning includes ensuring that whoever is responsible has the training and authority to execute the plan.

Evaluating New Technology

Insurers use technologies like GPS and satellite imagery to determine which homes are directly threatened by storms or wildfires. They also assess and vet technologies that can be implemented by homeowners, from impact glass to alarm and monitoring systems, to more obscure but potentially more important options.

AIG’s Poux recommends two types of vents that mitigate important, and unexpected risks.

“There’s a fantastic technology called Smart Vent, which allows water to flow in and out of the foundation,” Poux said. “… The weight of water outside a foundation can push a foundation wall in. If you equalize that water inside and out at the same level, you negate that.”

Another wildfire risk — embers getting sucked into the attic — is, according to Poux, “typically the greatest cause of the destruction of homes.” But, he said, “Special ember-resisting venting, like Brandguard Vents, can remove that exposure altogether.”

Building Smart

Many disaster resiliency technologies can be applied at any time, but often the cost is fractional if implemented during initial construction. AIG’s Smart Build is a free program for new or remodeled homes that evolved out of AIG’s construction insurance programs.

Previously available only to homes valued at $5 million and up, Smart Build recently expanded to include homes of $1 million and up. Roughly 100 homes are enrolled, with an average value of $13 million.

“In the high net worth space, sometimes it takes longer potentially to recover, simply because there are limited contractors available to do specialty work.” — Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting, Private Client Group, Ironshore

“We know what goes wrong in high net worth homes,” said Poux, citing AIG’s decades of loss data.

“We’re incenting our client and by proxy their builder, their architects and their broker, to give us a seat at the design table. … That enables us to help tweak the architectural plans in ways that are very easy to do with a pencil, as opposed to after a home is built.”

Poux cites a remote ranch property in Texas.

Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting, Private Client Group, Ironshore

“The client was rebuilding a home but also installing new roads and grading and driveways. … The property was very far from the fire department and there wasn’t any available water on the property.”

Poux’s team was able to recommend underground water storage tanks, something that would have been prohibitively expensive after construction.

“But if the ground is open and you’ve got heavy equipment, it’s a relatively minor additional expense.”

Homes that graduate from the Smart Build program may be eligible for preferred pricing due to their added resilience, Poux said.

Recovery from Loss

A major component of disaster resiliency is still recovery from loss, and preparation is key to the prompt service expected by homeowners paying six- or seven-figure premiums.

Before Irma, PURE sent contact information for pre-assigned claim adjusters to insureds in the storm’s direct path.

“In the high net worth space, sometimes it takes longer potentially to recover, simply because there are limited contractors available to do specialty work,” said Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting for Ironshore’s Private Client Group.

Advertisement




“If you’ve got custom construction or imported materials in your house, you’re not going to go down the street and just find somebody that can do that kind of work, or has those materials in stock.”

In the wake of disaster, even basic services can be scarce.

“Our claims and risk management departments have to work together in advance of the storm,” said Bitterman, “to have contractors and restoration companies and tarp and board services that are going to respond to our company’s clients, that will commit resources to us.”

And while local agents’ connections can be invaluable, Goetsch sees insurers taking more of that responsibility from the agent, to at least get the claim started.

“When there is a disaster, the agency’s staff may have to deal with personal losses,” Goetsch said. &

Jon McGoran is a novelist and magazine editor based outside of Philadelphia. He can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.