Industry News

Key Acquisition Expands Education Opportunities for Industry Professionals

The Institutes CEO Peter Miller sat down with R&I to share how the addition of CLM will help deliver knowledge more efficiently into the hands of risk and insurance professionals.
By: | July 10, 2018 • 4 min read

On June 1, The Institutes, a provider of research and educational programming for risk and insurance professionals, closed the books on a deal to acquire CLM, a professional association in the claims resolution and litigation management industries.


Both organizations share a focus on education, and together they’ll serve more than 200,000 claims professionals, risk managers, underwriters, brokers, attorneys and others involved in the industry with broader learning opportunities. Combined, they’ll offer at least 30 designations and countless continuing education credits through online courses, webinars, seminars and other training.

We sat down with President and CEO of The Institutes, Peter Miller, to discuss how the two organizations will work together and what changes members should expect.

R&I: What were some reasons behind The Institutes’ acquisition of CLM?

Peter Miller: This is a transformative time for the industry. Technology is changing how we predict and mitigate risk, how we handle claims, and how we interact with customers. It’s also changing the way that knowledge is delivered, and that matters to The Institutes.

Peter Miller, President & CEO, The Institutes

We’re supported by and work for the benefit of the industry, so we have to make sure we understand the strategic direction of the industry and respond to ensure that professionals have the tools they need to succeed.

CLM adds some content and capabilities that we didn’t have before to help us achieve that mission and serve the industry better.

R&I: What unique content and capabilities does CLM bring to the table, and how does that complement The Institutes?

PM: They have a lot of strengths that complement what we’re trying to do.

For example, we provide online as well as paper-based courses, but we did not deliver much of our educational offerings at events and in-person seminars.
CLM’s capabilities in those areas give us a new way to deliver information and will enable us to touch on hot topics more effectively than we could in the past. The live, in-person approach is a different delivery mechanism that works better for more current and topical content.

We’re interested in helping people do their jobs better, and our tool to do that is knowledge. Our customers will be able to see a more complete set of knowledge products. They’ll get a better solution from us today than they did from either of us before this combination.

CLM also adds the CCP designation in claims and the CLMP designation in litigation management, where they have carved out a good niche. Addressing litigation rounds out our content around claims.

They also bring an extremely dedicated group of volunteers, well-attended conferences, and an advisory panel that helps to ensure content is relevant to working professionals.

R&I: What does this merger mean for members of both The Institutes and CLM?

PM: It means that if you’re in the industry, we can get you content in a time, manner and place of your choosing. And that content is extremely up to date.

We’re interested in helping people do their jobs better, and our tool to do that is knowledge. Our customers will be able to see a more complete set of knowledge products. They’ll get a better solution from us today than they did from either of us before this combination. It’s sort of 1+1=3 from a claims knowledge perspective.

Now that we have expanded delivery capabilities, we’re thinking about how we can leverage it to better fulfill our mission. That could include expanding our offerings at conferences, whether it’s CLM’s annual conference or other industry events. We’ll go about that by looking at what the industry needs, which we’re confident we can understand more completely together.

R&I: How will the two organizations operate going forward?

PM: Because CLM is also focused on education, the integration has been pretty seamless.


For the time being, their designations and educational programs will keep the CLM brand, and we’ll add a note that it belongs to The Institutes’ Risk and Insurance Knowledge Group. Theirs is a very strong brand. They’ve done a phenomenal job since they were founded.

We’ll provide a bit bigger footprint, more resources, and access into the industry, so more people can benefit.
The biggest operational change is that CLM has adopted our not-for-profit classification but making that adjustment has not required anything drastic since they were already focused on education.

R&I: What makes this a “transformative time” for the insurance industry?

PM: We think tech is starting to impact industry more completely than it has in the past, particularly blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI.

I’ve seen many technologies come and go, promising to be the next big thing, but these tools are based on some of those old ideas that have been updated and improved. There’s been an explosion of data in forms we can actually analyze.

Blockchain, AI and IoT are now reaching a point of maturation and will be adopted faster. The confluence of these three technologies is what makes this time unique. Using them together will have a big transformational impact on how we manage risk. &

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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

High Net Worth

To the High Net Worth Homeowner: Build a Disaster Resiliency Plan You Can Be Proud Of

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.


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.”


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.


“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 [email protected]