6 People on the Move

Ken Jones joins SterlingRisk; Julie Boucher and Chris Varin join Marsh Captives Solutions; Jennifer S. Lanter and Steven E. Dubiel join Willis Towers Watson; Kristy Kendle joins QBE North America.
By: | November 1, 2018 • 3 min read

Ken Jones Joins SterlingRisk as Vice President

SterlingRisk Insurance, an independently owned insurance brokerage, announced that Kenneth J. Jones has joined the firm as Vice President.  Jones brings more than 30 years’ experience to SterlingRisk, with experience in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Ken Jones, vice president, SterlingRisk

“Ken’s outstanding track record and strong industry reputation is an asset to both SterlingRisk and our clients,” announced SterlingRisk CEO David Sterling.  “Throughout his career, he has served as a business owner, a consultant, and a respected risk manager, often holding mentoring and leadership positions along the way.  We welcome Ken and look forward to his contributions as he brings his keen understanding of insurance to SterlingRisk.”

Jones, who attended Adelphi University, started his career with a large Long Island insurance firm, eventually becoming its top-ranking risk manager.  He then opened his own agency and later sold the business and worked with a national agency, becoming one of its top agents within 18 months.  His concentrations include construction, real estate, and the not-for-profit sector, working to reduce client exposures and lower costs.


Active on the Board of the Long Island Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Jones is an endurance triathlete with three Ironman finishes and over a dozen marathon finishes.  He has two adult children and resides with his wife in Huntington, New York.

Julie Boucher Appointed as Islands Practice Leader for Marsh Captives Solutions 

Chris Varin Is now U.S. Practice Leader for Marsh Captives Solutions 

Effective January 1, 2019, Julie Boucher will assume direct leadership of Marsh’s Bermuda, Cayman and Barbados captive offices. She has 30 years of experience in captives and will transfer from Vermont to Bermuda.

Also effective January 1, 2019, Chris Varin will take on the newly created role of US Practice Leader for Marsh Captive Solutions.

Both Mr. Varin and Ms. Boucher will report to Ellen Charnley, President, Marsh Captive Solutions.

Jennifer S. Lanter Joins Willis Towers Watson as Associate Director-Senior Broker, Construction

Steven E. Dubiel Joins as Associate Director-Senior Broker, Construction

Jennifer and Steven join the North American Construction Broking team at Willis Towers Watson where they will work closely with owners, developers and contractors to place and implement

Chris Varin, U.S. practice leader, Marsh Captive Solutions

large construction casualty projects, also known as Controlled Insurance Programs.

These complex, highly specialized project-specific insurance placements represent a growing segment of Willis Towers Watson’s portfolio and include a range of heavy infrastructure and large scale development projects across health care, sports and entertainment, energy and public-private partnerships.

Jennifer and Steven will report to Matt Summers, director/North American broking leader for the CIP team.

Kristy Kendle Joins QBE North America as Regional Executive-Western Region

QBE North America, an Integrated Specialist Insurer, promoted Kristy Kendle to Regional Executive – Western Region, which includes the states of AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA and WY. In this role, she is accountable for profitable growth across QBE’s specialized insurance business portfolio, as well as the development of all agent and broker relationships in the region.

Managing QBE’s regional hub office in San Francisco and activities throughout the region, Kendle will oversee strategy and business planning for the region. She also will collaborate with Underwriting and Claims leadership to deliver better end-to-end risk management solutions, leveraging the applied expertise, customer service excellence and global strength of QBE.

“As Regional Executive, Kristy is the primary representative of the entire QBE enterprise in the Western Region,” said Mark Cantin, President, Field Operations at QBE North America. “She has been serving as the interim Regional Executive, and with her proven leadership, we’re confident the team can further build on the strong momentum we have in the West.”


Kendle is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience. She joined QBE in 2016 as a Business Development Leader in QBE’s Western Region. Prior to QBE, she was at The Hanover Insurance Group, where she served as Regional Vice President. In this role, she was accountable for sales performance management, distribution management, portfolio management, recruiting, coaching and mentoring leaders and underwriters. She more than doubled the book of business in five years. Prior to The Hanover, Kendle held leadership positions at Travelers, AIG and Chubb.

Kendle has an Associate of Arts degree from Orange Coast College, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from California State University of Long Beach. &

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.

High Net Worth

High Net Worth Clients Live in CAT Zones. Here’s What Their Resiliency Plan Should Include

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 riskletters@lrp.com.