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

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]