2017 Power Broker


Possessing Wisdom

Wesley Bryan
Managing Director
Wortham, Houston

One client of Wesley Bryan’s charged him with the task of providing manuscripted coverage for its captive program.

“He knows our program, he knows our business practices, and he knows our captive,” said the client’s vice president of risk management. “He has already made some important adjustments, but we have a situation that cannot be turned on a dime. … He sat down with us and learned our priorities. He has been able to make the program more polished, then it will be more strategic. We know why some decisions were made years ago, but now he is helping us to revisit them in light of our current situation.”


A couple of examples of how the coverage has already been adjusted include a 10 percent rate reduction from an already competitive expiring policy for marine hull package renewal. Bryan also obtained an underwriter’s agreement to include a $10 million cyber sublimit under the hull package program. Cyber previously was excluded.

The offshore business is weak with continued low prices for oil and gas, but Bryan gets credit for managing down as well.

“We have laid-up vessels,” said the risk manager. “The issue of credits for laid-up portions of the fleet has been handled well. He was able to negotiate for us while maintaining the relationship. He was strong, but not unkind.

“Wesley has a deep knowledge of things by which we benefit but for which he does not necessarily make a lot of money,”

A Difference Maker

Anthony DiPasquale
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

When challenges arise, Anthony DiPasquale’s clients know who to call.

“We made a huge acquisition which doubled the size of our company,” said one vice president of risk management. “Anthony put together the combined program … we saw huge cost efficiencies. We were so pleased with the work he did.

“Anthony’s experience with the market made the difference, both working with carriers domestically and offshore. With the complexities of the integration, he had to go back to the markets several times, and each time he went back to negotiate we saw a better result.”


The challenge for DiPasquale was that both programs worked well and, in general — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The enlarged program proved to be a challenge for one carrier to write on a stand-alone basis. That was especially true of the probable maximum loss under catastrophe exposure. The key was shifting from an annual aggregate deductible to a single occurrence.

A separate client in the luxury market offered an interesting testimonial: “We have been changing our coverage to reduce costs,” said the client’s vice president of finance, crediting DiPasquale with accomplishing that without compromising the status of the company’s brand. Contrary to some public perception, he said, fiscal responsibility is just as vital in up-market sectors as in any other.

Risk Managing Upturns and Downturns

Hardie Edgecombe
Area Executive Vice President
Arthur J. Gallagher, Metairie, La.

Most clients have an expectation that their brokers understand the industries that they serve.

But Hardie Edgecombe stands out, consistently impressing clients with his keen understanding of their unique operations and business needs.

“Through the downturn in oil and gas, Hardie has helped us scale down our coverage with reduced cost but without inhibiting our ability to grow once oil and gas prices recover,” said the CEO of one client.

“In that process, he was also able to eliminate gaps that we had. He found things that others had missed.”

For clients scaling up rather than down, Edgecombe brings just as much value to the relationship.


“Hardie has been our broker now for three years,” said the chairman for one client..
“We have been growing at a rapid pace and it took a while to get the plan together. But Hardie created a custom program for us, rolling most of our risks into one package that was placed domestically and in London. It was very competitive to past programs.”

The chairman recounted that Edgecombe won the business in no small part because “he has a very strong claims background.” “We had a large, unique claim and he helped ensure that the underwriters stood by their contracts. He kept their feet to the fire.”

Saving Millions in Premium

John M. Frazee, ARM
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Los Angeles

“The logistics of transporting raw materials from all over the world to our manufacturing and assembly plants, and then shipping the finished goods throughout the world with appropriate insurance coverage is a daunting task,” said the senior risk and insurance manager for one of John Frazee’s clients.

The client’s operations have grown and shifted among facilities, “so the exposure my office handles has tripled,” he said. “John essentially rebuilt our program to create seamless coverage among diverse regional operations, brought us closer to our insurers through direct relationships, secured better terms, pricing and coverage, and positioned the program so [it would] keep pace with our expanding logistics.”

Another client simply said, “John makes the impossible, possible. In 2016, we completed two very successful renewals for both our U.S. and Mexico marine programs due to John’s extraordinary effort. This was no small feat as our marine exposures are rather significant and there are a lot of moving parts.”


In another situation, “a very large builder’s risk placement saved our port millions of dollars in premium, and the coverage was placed well in advance of need,” said a director of risk management.

“John used the assets of his firm efficiently to get the task completed on time, and [under budget]. The second placement was smaller, but involved out-of-the-box thinking. John researched the market, and developed a solution that was of great benefit to the port.”

Mastering the Insurance Manuscript

Mira Jacinto, ARM, AMIM
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Los Angeles

Several Power Brokers won their clients’ praise for revamping or completely replacing their programs after a complicated acquisition.

But in the reverse situation, a successful outcome is often no less of a feat.

“We broke out a piece of our business,” said the manager of risk and finance for a client of Marsh’s Mira Jacinto.

“From the start of the process and all the way through, we had to keep getting quotes both for the business being sold, and the business remaining. Mira managed a very thorough process with important implications for the rest of our company.”

Another client, a major global operation, came to its 2016 renewal with several large outstanding claims on their stock throughput program, the risk manager said.

The company was anxious about its premium and loss ratio, given the size and number of open claims.


Jacinto worked with the company to create detailed underwriting specifications to highlight the firm’s loss-control protocols.

That helped satisfy the technical requirements of the insurer. Jacinto then arranged for the client’s loss-mitigation staff to meet in person with the underwriters.

Once carriers had believable numbers and a good sense of what the client was doing, Jacinto secured a multiyear program with manuscripted deductible terms.

Global Reach

Carolyn Roberts
Aon, New York

A client of Aon’s Carolyn Roberts had been trying to get into a new region of the world for quite some time.

“We were getting a lot of resistance from our underwriters. They had concerns about security, tracking shipments, basically everything,” said the risk manager.

“We had been working on this for [nearly] three years. Carolyn came in and communicated with the underwriters. She was able to get them to back down from the fence.”

Clients trust Roberts implicitly — no matter whether a situation is routine or extreme.

“I was out of country on holiday,” said the risk manager of another client, “when we had a very unfortunate incident. It was a big deal, but I made one phone call to Carolyn and she got it all completely sorted. She dealt with everything. Took it all on board.”


In another situation, Roberts was closely involved in an international collaboration for a global client, working closely with her colleagues in Europe.

The first challenge was overhauling a program that had been in place for more than a decade without much revision, the head of insurance said.

The gap analysis revealed more than a few holes, some of which required immediate attention, given the nature of the client’s business. The revised program had broader terms and higher limits, both at a lower premium. The scope of the overhaul was demonstrated when at inception, more than 2,000 certificates were issued in several languages.


Maren Dupont
Account Manager
Aon Risk Solutions, Hamburg, Germany

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Report: Marine

Crewless Ships Raise Questions

Is a remote operator legally a master? New technology confounds old terms.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 6 min read

For many developers, the accelerating development of remote-controlled and autonomous ships represents what could be the dawn of a new era. For underwriters and brokers, however, such vessels could represent the end of thousands of years of maritime law and risk management.

Rod Johnson, director of marine risk management, RSA Global Risk

While crewless vessels have yet to breach commercial service, there are active testing programs. Most brokers and underwriters expect small-scale commercial operations to be feasible in a few years, but that outlook only considers technical feasibility. How such operations will be insured remains unclear.

“I have been giving this a great deal of thought, this sits on my desk every day,” said Rod Johnson, director of marine risk management, RSA Global Risk, a major UK underwriter. Johnson sits on the loss-prevention committee of the International Union of Maritime Insurers.

“The agreed uncertainty that underpins marine insurance is falling away, but we are pretending that it isn’t. The contractual framework is being made less relevant all the time.”

Defining Autonomous Vessels

Two types of crewless vessels are being contemplated. First up is a drone with no one on board but actively controlled by a human at a remote command post on land or even on another vessel.

While some debate whether the controllers of drone aircrafts are pilots or operators, the very real question yet to be addressed is if a vessel controller is legally a “master” under maritime law.


The other type of crewless vessel would be completely autonomous, with the onboard systems making decisions about navigation, weather and operations.

Advocates tout the benefits of larger cargo capacity without crew spaces, including radically different hull designs without decks people can walk on. Doubters note a crew can fix things at sea while a ship cannot.

Rolls-Royce is one of the major proponents and designers. The company tested a remote-controlled tug in Copenhagen in June 2017.

“We think the initial early adopters will be vessels operating on fixed routes within coastal waters under the jurisdiction of flag states,” the company said.

“We expect to see the first autonomous vessel in commercial operation by the end of the decade. Further out, around 2025, we expect autonomous vessels to operate further from shore — perhaps coastal cargo ships. For ocean-going vessels to be autonomous, it will require a change in international regulations, so this will take longer.”

Once autonomous ships are a reality, “the entire current legal framework for maritime law and insurance is done,” said Johnson. “The master has not been replaced; he is just gone. Commodity ships (bulk carriers) would be most amenable to that technology. I’m not overly bothered by fully automated ships, but I am extremely bothered by heavily automated ones.”

He cited two risks specifically: hacking and fire.

“We expect to see the first autonomous vessel in commercial operation by the end of the decade. Further out, around 2025, we expect autonomous vessels to operate further from shore — perhaps coastal cargo ships. For ocean-going vessels to be autonomous, it will require a change in international regulations, so this will take longer.” — Rolls-Royce Holdings study

Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, asked an even more existential question: “From an insurance standpoint, are we even still talking about a vessel as it is under law? Starting with the legal framework, the duty of a flag state is ‘manning of ships.’ What about the duty to render assistance? There cannot be insurance coverage of an illegal contract.”

Several sources noted that the technological development of crewless ships, while impressive, seems to be a solution in search of a problem. There is no known need in the market; no shippers, operators, owners or mariners advocate that crewless ships will solve their problems.

Kinsey takes umbrage at the suggestion that promotional material on crewless vessels cherry picks his company’s data, which found 75 percent to 90 percent of marine losses are caused by human error.


“Removing the humans from the vessels does not eliminate the human error. It just moves the human error from the helm to the coder. The reports on development by the companies with a vested interest [in crewless vessels] tend to read a lot like advertisements. The pressure for this is not coming from the end users.”

To be sure, Kinsey is a proponent of automation and technology when applied prudently, believing automation can make strides in areas of the supply chains. Much of the talk about automation is trying to bury the serious shortage of qualified crews. It also overshadows the very real potential for blockchain technology to overhaul the backend of marine insurance.

As a marine surveyor, Kinsey said he can go down to the wharf, inspect cranes, vessels and securements, and supervise loading and unloading — but he can’t inspect computer code or cyber security.

New Times, New Risks

In all fairness, insurance language has changed since the 17th century, especially as technology races ahead in the 21st.

“If you read any hull form, it’s practically Shakespearean,” said Stephen J. Harris, senior vice president of marine protection UK, Marsh. “The language is no longer fit for purpose. Our concern specifically to this topic is that the antiquated language talks about crew being on board. If they are not on board, do they still legally count as crew?”

Harris further questioned, “Under hull insurance, and provided that the ship owner has acted diligently, cover is extended to negligence of the master or crew. Does that still apply if the captain is not on board but sitting at a desk in an office?”

Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Several sources noted that a few international organizations, notably the Comite Maritime International and the International Maritime Organization, “have been very active in asking the legal profession around the world about their thoughts. The interpretations vary greatly. The legal complications of crewless vessels are actually more complicated than the technology.”

For example, if the operational, insurance and regulatory entities in two countries agree on the voyage of a crewless vessel across the ocean, a mishap or storm could drive the vessel into port or on shore of a third country that does not recognize those agreements.

“What worries insurers is legal uncertainty,” said Harris.

“If an operator did everything fine but a system went down, then most likely the designer would be responsible. But even if a designer explicitly accepted responsibility, what matters would be the flag state’s law in international waters and the local state’s law in territorial waters.


“We see the way ahead for this technology as local and short-sea operations. The law has to catch up with the technology, and it is showing no signs of doing so.”

Thomas M. Boudreau, head of specialty insurance, The Hartford, suggested that remote ferry operations could be the most appropriate use: “They travel fixed routes, all within one country’s waters.”

There could also be environmental and operational benefits from using battery power rather than conventional fuels.

“In terms of underwriting, the burden would shift to the manufacturer and designer of the operating systems,” Boudreau added.

It may just be, he suggested, that crewless ships are merely replacing old risks with new ones. Crews can deal with small repairs, fires or leaks at sea, but small conditions such as those can go unchecked and endanger the whole ship and cargo.

“The cyber risk is also concerning. The vessel may be safe from physical piracy, but what about hacking?” &

Gregory DL Morris is an independent business journalist based in New York with 25 years’ experience in industry, energy, finance and transportation. He can be reached at [email protected]