His ‘Claim’ Is Advocacy
Most brokers list their job title as broker, of course. But George Andersen calls himself a client advocate/broker, and that small distinction is revealing.
Having “grown up” in the insurance world thanks to a mom in the biz, it feels like family to Andersen, so he treats his clients like family.
Andersen insists on being involved in the claims side of his clients’ needs because it allows him to better see where coverage holes exist, make improvements and offer solutions, he believes.
Richard Stanton, director of risk management, BAE Systems Ship Repair, said Andersen’s industry knowledge is tremendous, his customer service is exceptional, and he does a great job with complex, marine-related coverage issues.
Case in point: BAE Systems had a failure-to-launch claim that was complicated on the liability and inland marine side. A third-party barge had become suspended on their marine railway.
“George helped get the resources we needed to salvage the vessel and get the railway repaired,” said Stanton. “He also took the lead in brokering an agreement between the two carriers on the coverage issues.” Andersen led the negotiations between underwriters, salvors and surveyors and got it resolved.
Howard Charles, COO, Phoenix Marine Co., said its barge sank in Nome, Alaska, leaving valuable equipment submerged shortly before the harbor waters were expected to freeze — and stay frozen until spring.
With no time to lose, Andersen dealt with the Coast Guard and other officials and commissioned salvage divers to retrieve the sunken valuables.
A World of Knowledge
With his clients doing business in multiple countries, Herman Brito Jr. has developed a well-earned reputation as an international compliance expert, a skill that is becoming more and more valuable in the marine cargo insurance industry.
“We had a major situation where we weren’t compliant in Nigeria, a highly regulated country,” said Frank Santomauro, director, Corporate Insurance Group for Pfizer.
“Herman was a tremendous resource and helped us secure a local marine policy for our import shipments. He has excellent technical and negotiating skills, and he is a great advocate for Pfizer. He really understands our business, is reliable and he delivers,” Santomauro added.
Another client experienced losses on shipments prior to their 2018 renewal, which of course, caused concerns about premium increases.
Brito got out in front of it by creating a partnership between his client’s risk management team and the insurer’s loss control team to highlighting the client’s commitment to improving their risk. The result was more than $100K in savings.
He did something similar for another client: By highlighting the client’s commitment to work in conjunction with its carrier’s loss control team and leveraging its longstanding partnership with the insurer, Brito was able to reduce the client’s captive annual aggregate retention by $2 million without an increase in risk transfer premium.
When Scott Davis became the broker for a complex account, he started by reviewing everything from wording to data and learned that the coverage was so poorly defined that even the underwriters were unclear about what they were covering.
He felt this caused the underwriters to be conservative in their risk approach. Davis created a new workbook that compared critical items over time.
He reworded the submission document, too, to focus on critical items and more clearly define things for the underwriters.
He also worked with his client to rewrite the policy, so coverage was more clearly defined. The new and improved submission and policy wording resulted in a favorable result at renewal.
Bonus: The placement was finalized before expiration, something that had not been achieved in years.
“Scott is strategic,” said his client. “His customer service and communications are extremely good. He helped us restructure the wording and get broader coverage with a cost reduction.”
Davis also clarified things for another client. “Scott met with me on the first day he worked with us and asked me what my expectations were. I told him, and he has delivered on all of them,” the client said.
Rosemarie Annese, director of risk management, Thermo Fisher Scientific, said Davis guided them as they told a key customer something wasn’t doable in the timeframe requested, ultimately helping them preserve the relationship and work toward accomplishing the request.
Getting It Done
Mark Pisani, vice president of human resources and risk management, Associated Terminals, received a call on Thanksgiving morning: Could he place cargo coverage on a ship traveling to Louisiana from South America that would cover for discharge by his cranes?
Not only was it a holiday, but it was also something they wouldn’t normally do — the customer usually secures coverage. But unable to do so, the customer turned to Pisani, who then turned to Gallagher’s Hardie Edgecombe.
Hardie’s team worked with underwriters to get the coverage placed “in time for the ship to sail with favorable pricing. Our customers were happy and that resulted in continued business,” Pisani said.
More routinely, Edgecombe holds semiannual reviews to analyze the year’s performance and discuss renewals.
“These reviews have impacted the direction of our insurance program,” Pisani said.
“We’ve been able to properly assess taking on larger SIR’s, evaluate the diversity of our risk portfolio, gauge uninsured risk to our risk tolerance, review opportunity to set up our own captive, and move a split marine program to one where shared risk made more sense.
“Working with Hardie and his team at Gallagher has been a pleasurable and beneficial experience.”
Another customer, Steve Hale, CEO, Gulf Copper and Manufacturing, agreed.
Connected and Effective
William Penn operates under the guiding principle that being a broker means being of service to your clients and treating them the way you’d like to be treated.
At the end of the day, he believes, clients buy insurance to get their claims paid, and it’s getting the difficult claims paid that differentiates the industry’s leading brokers.
So naturally, when a client had what he called “a tough year,” it was the expertise of Penn that quickly and satisfactorily resolved claims — and ultimately made that tough year a little more bearable.
One of the claims involved several shipments on the vessels of a shipping company that went bankrupt.
Penn worked with his client’s logistics team in the U.S. and Korea, as well as the underwriters, to ensure the containers made it to their destinations, so Penn’s client could keep its own clients happy. Then Penn handled the claims process to make certain it was properly adjusted to the satisfaction of the client.
The key to the success of this claim was coordination with all parties and involving the right team of claims handlers and forensic accountants. They had weekly, sometimes daily, calls.
The client said, “Bill is a seasoned veteran in the marine market. But he has the drive and determination of a new broker trying to prove himself.
“He is one of the most connected brokers we have ever worked with in his respective field. Most lines of coverage are very relationship-driven, and I would say even more so in marine.”