2018 Power Broker


Above and Beyond

Area Vice President
Gallagher, Irvine, Calif.

Last year, KIPP NYC was asked to join a larger group insurance portfolio that offered significant savings — up to 30 percent — but they would have to change their coverage.

Katina Grays, managing director, data & operations, had a good relationship with her broker Brandon Cole and was transparent about the possibility of moving to a more cost-effective group insurance.

Cole knew he needed to get KIPP NYC an even more competitive rate than ever before.

“He truly wanted us on his portfolio and he worked to preserve our business,” said Grays.

“We were able to keep the levels of coverage we had for a lot less money.”

Cole uses that above-and-beyond approach with everything he does. Another client, Homeboy Industries, gives recently freed incarcerated men and women the opportunity to work and move on from the trauma of gang life.


Their insurance needs change frequently, as they are constantly adding new enterprises to their portfolio.

“We do a number of fundraising events at some unusual venues as well,” said Jack Faherty, CFO.

“Brandon is extremely helpful. I see him as a critical business advisor.”

This year, Homeboy acquired a for-profit entity.

“It was a unique situation for us, because we are a nonprofit with nonprofit insurance. We had to ask, ‘How do we fold a for-profit into our nonprofit?’”

Brandon was there, “a true business confidante,” according to Faherty.

The Risk Manager’s Risk Manager

Joan Dove, CPCU
Area Executive Vice President
Gallagher, San Francisco

Joan Dove strives to make risk awareness a part of every client’s focus.

“Joan stepped in and educated me and my team,” said Henry Roth, CFO & VP of administration, Notre Dame De Namur University.

Recently, the university launched a multi-million-dollar construction project. Roth, while well-versed in risk management and insurance, was not fully up to speed on the nuances of construction and the insurance that comes with it.

Dove’s ability to come in and teach him was, to him, the ultimate sign of industry knowledge.

“It’s the trademark of a good teacher,” he said. And her teaching doesn’t stop there. She’s done presentations for various departments at the university, including one on transportation safety with the sports coaches.

“We’re a small account, but she makes us feel important.”

Kelley Maltais, VP of human resources, YMCA of the East Bay, said Dove also helped raise risk awareness, particularly when it came to worker safety.

“We have a safety issue,” said Maltais. “We have workers’ comp claims that come in weekly, and Joan knows we have to turn that around.”

That’s why Dove has been implementing annual safety and risk management training sessions.

“I really think she’s the broker of choice for the Y,” said Maltais.

Believing in the Client’s Mission

Adam Sammons, CIC
Account Executive
Marsh & McLennan Agency, Dallas

Johnny Gonzalez, operations director, The Village Church, oversaw the annual church trunk-or-treat event, which included bounce houses, rock walls and other like activities for the enjoyment of parishioners.

“We are a church of 12,000 people across five campuses. At any given event, we can have 500 or more people attending.”

Because the rock wall was new, Gonzalez turned to Adam Sammons to review their policy. Sammons quickly realized the insurance didn’t cover events of 500 people or more.

“Adam was able to get the terms and conditions changed last minute, and we were able to move forward with the event,” said Gonzalez.

Sarah Proctor, CFO for ACH Child & Family Services, said Sammons has “always attended to our insurance and risk management needs, but that has become only a small part of the total service and partnership he has provided for us.”


ACH provides services for children who have been abused or neglected. The agency is working with the state of Texas to redefine its foster care system.

Sammons, said Proctor, is actively engaged in their overall mission and even volunteers for the agency outside of work.

“Adam’s support is valuable, because he does not just bring us suggestions for us to pursue. Adam shares his ideas with us, does the research, talks to other people who can offer expertise and pursues solutions on behalf of foster children and foster families.”

Top Negotiator

Lori Wheeler
Managing Director
Wortham, Houston

When the Rio Texas Conference, a United Methodist Church serving more than 400 Texan churches, aimed to switch brokers, they didn’t have to look further than Wortham Insurance’s Lori Wheeler.

Her presentation with the organization sealed the deal, and immediately Wheeler got to work.

“Our insurers didn’t know what they were actually insuring until Lori came along,” said Tina Whitaker, property and liability administrator, Rio Texas Conference.

The organization didn’t have a clear understanding of how its missions were covered under its existing policies. The missions, Whitaker explained, are group worship sessions throughout the local community where congregations gather to learn from and collaborate with each other.

“Lori made sure those groups were included. She found they were a subsidiary we could get coverage for,” said Whitaker.

Another client of Wheeler’s said she was able to get them D&O insurance at a much lower renewal rate.

The client got hit with a lawsuit one month prior to renewal, which would have upped their D&O tower premium more than 40 percent. Wheeler negotiated the overall program premium increase to less than 2 percent.

“Lori is an asset to our business,” said the client.

Leaving a Lasting Impression

Scott Konrad
Senior Vice President
Hub International, New York

HUB’s Not-for-Profit Practice Leader Scott Konrad strives to create a lasting impression of improvement. He takes great professional satisfaction in leaving every client in better condition than before he met them.

In one such case, one of Konrad’s clients decided to switch brokers this year, and he did everything in his power to make it a smooth transition.

The client said that the quality of responses they received from Konrad on every question they had showed just how knowledgeable and ready Konrad was willing to work for them.

They described his approach to brokering as, ‘I’m always ready to do what I can to make things easier and better for the client.’

With this approach, Konrad has created a bridge of trust and open communication.


“He’s a people-connector. He’ll get you in contact with the right people and come up with the best economical solutions,” said Renee Richardson, CFAO, City Harvest.

City Harvest has a fleet of 22 trucks that transport 59 million pounds of excess food each year, delivering it to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other community food programs.

Road safety is their top priority, and the organization worked with Konrad to ensure their fleet and workers were protected. Konrad, said Richardson, knew the perfect connections to get them a claims adjustor who would help City Harvest achieve its goal.

A Key Player

Tim DePriest, ARM
Managing Director
Gallagher, Glenside, Calif.

Years ago, Gallagher’s Tim DePriest asked John Maceri, executive director for The People Concern: Do you consult your broker before a renovation or program expansion?

“We talk with funders and attorneys, but I hadn’t thought of contacting our insurance broker for their input,” said Maceri.

DePriest wasn’t Maceri’s broker yet, but he left a lasting impression — now he offers sage advice to The People Concern.

“He knows the market and is great in analyzing it, providing good counsel on important things we might not have otherwise considered.”

Naomi Kageyama, director of risk management and special projects with Special Service for Groups, said, “There are few people in our industry that I can unequivocally say I trust, and Tim is one of them.

“In addition to helping us with our annual renewal, he personally comes out yearly to meet with our managers and educate them on our coverage.”

Another client, Kings View, needed to buy cyber liability insurance. As a behavioral and mental health facility, keeping digital records protected from cyber threat is an imperative.

DePriest negotiated competitive rates, quoting the facility at half of what Kings View was quoted by another broker.

On top of that, DePriest knows the mental health industry, which enables him to provide the best coverage for his client’s needs: “If I bring up a nuanced question related to the services we provide, Tim knows what I’m talking about,” said Jim Rodriguez, CFO, Kings View.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

In the Fast-Paced World of Retail, This Risk Manager Strives to Mitigate Risks Proactively and Keep Senior Leaders Informed

Janine Kral works to identify and mitigate risks, building strong partnerships with leaders and ensuring they see her as support rather than a blocker. 
By: | October 29, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My very first paid job was working on my uncle’s ranch in British Columbia in the summers. He had cattle, horses and grapes — an unusual combo. But my first real job out of college was as a multi-line claims adjuster at Liberty Mutual.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Right out of college I applied for a job that turned out to be a claims adjuster at Liberty Mutual. I accepted because they were offering six weeks of training in Southern California, and at the time that sounded really fun. I spent about three years at Liberty Mutual and then I spent a short period of time at a smaller regional insurance company that hired me to start a workers’ compensation claims administration program.

I was hired at Nordstrom as the Washington Region Risk Manager, which was my first job in risk management. When I started at Nordstrom, the risk management department had about five people, and over the years it has grown to about 75. I’ve been vice president for 11 years.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

I would say that technology has probably been the biggest change. When I started many years ago, it was all paper and no RMIS.


R&I: What risks does the retail industry face that are unique?

We deal with a lot of people — employees and customers. With physical brick and mortar settings, there are the unique exposures with people moving in and out in a public environment. And of course, with ecommerce, we have a lot of customer and employee data, which creates cyber risk — which is not necessarily a unique risk in today’s environment.

R&I: Can you describe your approach to working with senior leaders and front-line staff alike to further risk management initiatives?

It starts with keeping the pulse of what’s happening with the business. Retail moves really fast. In order to identify and mitigate risks proactively, we identify top risk areas and topics, and then we ensure that we have strong partnerships with the leaders responsible for those areas. Trust is critical, ensuring that leaders see us as a support rather than a blocker.

R&I: What role does technology play in your company’s approach to risk management?

Janine Kral, claims adjuster, Nordstrom

We have an internal risk management information system that all of our locations report events into — every type of incident is reported, whether insured or uninsured. Most of these events are managed internally by risk management, and our guidelines require that prevention be analyzed on each one. Having all event data in one system allows us to use the data for trending and also helps us better predict what may happen in the future, and who we need to work with to mitigate risks.

R&I: What advice might you give to students or other aspiring risk managers?

My son is a sophomore in college, and I tell him and his friends all the time not to rule out insurance as a career opportunity. My advice is to cast a wide net and do your homework. Research all the different types of opportunities. Read a lot — articles, industry magazines, LinkedIn. Be proactive and reach out to people you find interesting and ask them about their careers. Don’t be shy and wait for people and opportunities to come to you. Ask questions. Build networks. Be curious and keep an open mind.

R&I: What are your goals for the next five to 10 years of your career?

I have always been passionate about continuous improvement. I want to continue to find ways to add value to my company and to this industry.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

My favorite book is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s a true story about a man who was in prison in Australia after being convicted of armed robbery, and he escaped to India. While in India, he passed himself off as a doctor in a slum. It’s a really interesting story, because this is a convicted criminal who ends up helping others. I am not always successful in getting others to read the book because it’s 1,000 pages and definitely a commitment.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Fiorella’s in Newton, Massachusetts. Great Italian food and a great overall experience.


R&I: What is your favorite drink?

“Sister Carol.” I have no idea what is in it, and I can only get it at a local bar in Seattle. It’s green but it’s delicious.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Skydiving. Not tandem and without any sort of communication from the ground. Scary standing on a wing of a plane, but very peaceful once the chute opened, slowly floating down by myself.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

I can’t think of one individual person. For me, the real heroes are people who have a positive attitude in the face of adversity. People who are resilient no matter what life brings them.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

It’s rewarding to help solve problems and help people. I am proud of the support that my team provides others. &

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at kdwyer@lrp.com.