2017 Power Broker

Pharmaceutical

Anticipating Client Needs

Dawn Buelow
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Chicago

When Japanese pharma company Astellas moved its clinical trial cover to a new carrier, an Astellas executive in the Netherlands objected. They didn’t appreciate the new carrier’s failure to provide a summary of the policy exclusions for countries where a broker is not used and the option for long-tail certificates of insurance.

The colleague lobbied hard to switch back, so Marsh’s Dawn Buelow marshaled her considerable negotiation skills and long experience with clinical trials to press the new carrier to accommodate the request.

She prevailed, even though the carrier had never agreed to this for any previous client.

“This was a huge win for us,” said Barbara Devine, Astellas’ assistant director, risk management.

A health care research and manufacturing client recently split in half. “We needed to turn over our liabilities to the newly spun-off part of the company,” said the company’s global risk manager. Buelow worked through each underwriter agreement, putting the company in a better cash and collateral position.

“Before we knew we had to do that, she had already worked through the bulk of them with the underwriters,” said the risk manager. “She spared us a lot extra work with the underwriters.”

Anticipating client needs before they’re aware of them is a habit of Buelow’s, the risk manager said.

Tackling Problems With Diligence

Aashish “A.C.” Chauhan, ARM
Director
Aon, Chicago

An insurance analyst for a global health care products manufacturer wasn’t sure if the incumbent or the prefund renewal rates for the GL and workers’ compensation lines were optimal. So A.C. Chauhan went back to the market for more proposals.

Convinced the incumbent was the right choice, he negotiated a lower prefund, and in the process, discovered collateral from the early 2000s. He studied what could be returned to the company and was able to cut premium payments by half.

“A.C. goes looking,” the insurance analyst said. “He knows what he’s doing.”

Another company executive said Chauhan used “a basic blocking attack” when re-evaluating a workers’ comp program that was ripe for bidding. The company was unhappy with some parts of the program but liked others. The “motivated incumbent” made desired changes to the program, the executive said. “He got us fairness and consistency.”

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Chauhan comes through in a pinch, said Larry Armbruster, director, insurance and risk management, Sodexo. When the company got a surprise nonrenewal notice, Chauhan had 60 days to gather information and review several policies. Late in the process, Sodexo decided to place a global policy. The timing “gave us angst and put us against the wall in gathering liability data,” he said, because the data varied with local laws and customs.

“A.C. smoothed over the differences,” and was able to put together a program that saved money. “He’s absolutely organized,” said Armbruster. “He’s an A-plus personality.”

Cutting Through the Noise

Marty Gould
Managing Director
Marsh, New York

The memory of a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak originating at a Boston-area compounding pharmacy hung like a dark shadow over one of Marty Gould’s clients as it contemplated buying a compounding pharmacy — one with a clean record. “It signaled a major shift in our risk profile,” the risk manager said.

Gould took on the task of educating more than 20 senior underwriters on the business rationale for the acquisition, differentiating between the risk the proposed acquisition posed from the risk that resulted in the meningitis outbreak, said the risk manager. Gould was able to hold most of the insurance program together, replacing the few pieces that inevitably splintered away.

“It could have been a real train wreck if the underwriters didn’t understand what and why we were acquiring,” the risk manager said. “He averted a mess.”

Gould’s communication style and relationships with insurers benefit his clients, said the risk manager for a global health care supplier. When the primary insurer on the company’s casualty program came in with an “utterly ridiculous” renewal quote last year, Gould declined it, as he did the second “still ridiculous” quote, the risk manager said.

At the end of an RFP process, a competing insurer came in with a flat renewal rate — essential to the rest of the program, because secondary insurers take their pricing cue, increase or decrease, from the primary insurer.

“He cut through the noise,” she said.

Leader and Mentor

Michelle Greene, ARM
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Boston

When a global specialty biopharmaceutical company spun out of an older company, it didn’t have much of a process for conducting clinical trials, said its risk manager.

That wasn’t a crisis at the time, but 18 months later, after “incredibly dynamic” acquisition activity, it was conducting 100-plus trials at any given time. Michelle Greene helped avert disaster by aiding the company in revamping its clinical trial processes, including tracking protocols, informed consent documents and FDA-required procedures.

“That kind of work required leadership on Michelle’s part and repeatable, sustainable processes on our side,” the risk manager said.

The company also inherited considerable inefficiencies when it spun out of its owner. “We took the existing insurance program whether it was a good fit or not.”

With a scrupulous eye to shaping the new company’s casualty and liability coverage around mitigating its actual risks, not merely producing an insurance certificate, Greene eliminated overbilling and “right-sized” the program, the risk manager said.

The company’s treasury analyst, who is relatively new to her insurance responsibilities, also credited Greene with the soft skills of “leadership and mentoring” as well as shaping a competitive insurance program.

“She a great trainer of future leaders,” the treasury analyst said. “She’s so knowledgeable. Very humble. A great listener.”

The ‘Gold Standard’

Amy Klitzke, ARM
Vice President
Aon, Minneapolis

Amy Klitzke brings a “gold standard” knowledge of coverage, said Deb Harder, vice president, risk management, inVentiv Health. “And she’s thorough.”

Klitzke united those traits when reviewing a D&O policy drafted by a prominent law firm, scrutinizing every word, submitting replacement language and producing “skinnied-down policy language” that prompted less pushback from underwriters.

In the world of global clinical trials, Harder said, perfectionism with D&O policies is essential. “With others, I try to be patient, but I don’t have to be with Amy. She responds completely and thoroughly.”

Lé Andra Holly, senior manager, risk management, Staples, depends on Klitzke to flag uncovered risks, such as active shooter and workplace violence. Applying savings Klitzke negotiated from renewals, the coverage cost is “nothing to very little,” Holly said.

Klitzke brought the same attention to detail to a global leader in beauty salons and cosmetology education. Even before being awarded the insurance program, Klitzke identified two dozen coverage deficiencies and gaps, and resolved 16 of them.

Once hired, she established a learning center that included, among other things, a crime prevention and response program.

“She works as easily with senior management as with day-to-day folks,” said the company’s risk manager. “She’s always thorough, always concise and clear.”

An Advocate and Communicator

Walker Taylor, CPCU
Managing Director
Arthur J. Gallagher, Wilmington, N.C.

With the acquisition of several high-risk products, Akorn Pharmaceuticals needed a way to bring its new product portfolio into its insurance program. Akorn engaged Arthur J. Gallagher’s Walker Taylor to guide its annual renewal. Favorable terms were a priority.

“We were impressed with [Taylor’s] grasp of the science and the business points,” said Akorn’s general counsel Joe Bonaccorsi. Taylor procured the lines Akorn sought under favorable terms.

“He’s a good advocate and a good communicator,” Bonaccorsi said, and he’s able to speak in plain language to attorneys, scientists and the R&D teams.

When two private equity companies bought a large contract research organization, they transferred the existing insurance program — which included professional services, E&O, medical malpractice and product liability — from Taylor to their own broker.

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That relationship didn’t work out, so the organization’s general counsel prevailed upon the new owners to meet with Taylor, who pitched a return under a flat fee arrangement for two years. His program generated savings, far outstripping the other broker in cost and performance. It also included new, robust cyber security coverage, necessary because of the volume of personal health data in the client’s databases.

Still, the owners hired an independent third party to scrutinize the program. “They had zero recommendations for improvement,” the attorney said.

Finalists:

Grant Bell
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Atlanta

Warren Printz
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Cleveland

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Property

Insurers Take to the Skies

This year’s hurricane season sees the use of drones and other aerial intelligence gathering systems as insurers seek to estimate claims costs.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 6 min read

For Southern communities, current recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey will recall the painful devastation of 2005, when Katrina and Wilma struck. But those who look skyward will notice one conspicuous difference this time around: drones.

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Much has changed since Katrina and Wilma, both economically and technologically. The insurance industry evolved as well. Drones and other visual intelligence systems (VIS) are set to play an increasing role in loss assessment, claims handling and underwriting.

Farmers Insurance, which announced in August it launched a fleet of drones to enhance weather-related property damage claim assessment, confirmed it deployed its fleet in the aftermath of Harvey.

“The pent-up demand for drones, particularly from a claims-processing standpoint, has been accumulating for almost two years now,” said George Mathew, CEO of Kespry, Farmers’ drone and aerial intelligence platform provider partner.

“The current wind and hail damage season that we are entering is when many of the insurance carriers are switching from proof of concept work to full production rollout.”

 According to Mathew, Farmers’ fleet focused on wind damage in and around Corpus Christi, Texas, at the time of this writing. “Additional work is already underway in the greater Houston area and will expand in the coming weeks and months,” he added.

No doubt other carriers have fleets in the air. AIG, for example, occupied the forefront of VIS since winning its drone operation license in 2015. It deployed drones to inspections sites in the U.S. and abroad, including stadiums, hotels, office buildings, private homes, construction sites and energy plants.

Claims Response

At present, insurers are primarily using VIS for CAT loss assessment. After a catastrophe, access is often prohibited or impossible. Drones allow access for assessing damage over potentially vast areas in a more cost-effective and time-sensitive manner than sending human inspectors with clipboards and cameras.

“Drones improve risk analysis by providing a more efficient alternative to capturing aerial photos from a sky-view. They allow insurers to rapidly assess the scope of damages and provide access that may not otherwise be available,” explained Chris Luck, national practice leader of Advocacy at JLT Specialty USA.

“The pent-up demand for drones, particularly from a claims-processing standpoint, has been accumulating for almost two years now.” — George Mathew, CEO, Kespry

“In our experience, competitive advantage is gained mostly by claims departments and third-party administrators. Having the capability to provide exact measurements and details from photos taken by drones allows insurers to expedite the claim processing time,” he added.

Indeed, as tech becomes more disruptive, insurers will increasingly seek to take advantage of VIS technologies to help them provide faster, more accurate and more efficient insurance solutions.

Duncan Ellis, U.S. property practice leader, Marsh

One way Farmers is differentiating its drone program is by employing its own FAA-licensed drone operators, who are also Farmers-trained claim representatives.

Keith Daly, E.V.P. and chief claims officer for Farmers Insurance, said when launching the program that this sets Farmers apart from most carriers, who typically engage third-party drone pilots to conduct evaluations.

“In the end, it’s all about the experience for the policyholder who has their claim adjudicated in the most expeditious manner possible,” said Mathew.

“The technology should simply work and just melt away into the background. That’s why we don’t just focus on building an industrial-grade drone, but a complete aerial intelligence platform for — in this case — claims management.”

Insurance Applications

Duncan Ellis, U.S. property practice leader at Marsh, believes that, while currently employed primarily to assess catastrophic damage, VIS will increasingly be employed to inspect standard property damage claims.

However, he admitted that at this stage they are better at identifying binary factors such as the area affected by a peril rather than complex assessments, since VIS cannot look inside structures nor assess their structural integrity.

“If a chemical plant suffers an explosion, it might be difficult to say whether the plant is fully or partially out of operation, for example, which would affect a business interruption claim dramatically.

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“But for simpler assessments, such as identifying how many houses or industrial units have been destroyed by a tornado, or how many rental cars in a lot have suffered hail damage from a storm, a VIS drone could do this easily, and the insurer can calculate its estimated losses from there,” he said.

In addition,VIS possess powerful applications for pre-loss risk assessment and underwriting. The high-end drones used by insurers can capture not just visual images, but mapping heat, moisture or 3D topography, among other variables.

This has clear applications in the assessment and completion of claims, but also in potentially mitigating risk before an event happens, and pricing insurance accordingly.

“VIS and drones will play an increasing underwriting support role as they can help underwriters get a better idea of the risk — a picture tells a thousand words and is so much better than a report,” said Ellis.

VIS images allow underwriters to see risks in real time, and to visually spot risk factors that could get overlooked using traditional checks or even mature visual technologies like satellites. For example, VIS could map thermal hotspots that could signal danger or poor maintenance at a chemical plant.

Chris Luck, national practice leader of Advocacy, JLT Specialty USA

“Risk and underwriting are very natural adjacencies, especially when high risk/high value policies are being underwritten,” said Mathew.

“We are in a transformational moment in insurance where claims processing, risk management and underwriting can be reimagined with entirely new sources of data. The drone just happens to be one of most compelling of those sources.”

Ellis added that drones also could be employed to monitor supplies in the marine, agriculture or oil sectors, for example, to ensure shipments, inventories and supply chains are running uninterrupted.

“However, we’re still mainly seeing insurers using VIS drones for loss assessment and estimates, and it’s not even clear how extensively they are using drones for that purpose at this point,” he noted.

“Insurers are experimenting with this technology, but given that some of the laws around drone use are still developing and restrictions are often placed on using drones [after] a CAT event, the extent to which VIS is being used is not made overly public.”

Drone inspections could raise liability risks of their own, particularly if undertaken in busy spaces in which they could cause human injury.

Privacy issues also are a potential stumbling block, so insurers are dipping their toes into the water carefully.

Risk Improvement

There is no doubt, however, that VIS use will increase among insurers.

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“Although our clients do not have tremendous experience utilizing drones, this technology is beneficial in many ways, from providing security monitoring of their perimeter to loss control inspections of areas that would otherwise require more costly inspections using heavy equipment or climbers,” said Luck.

In other words, drones could help insurance buyers spot weaknesses, mitigate risk and ultimately win more favorable coverage from their insurers.

“Some risks will see pricing and coverage improvements because the information and data provided by drones will put underwriters at ease and reduce uncertainty,” said Ellis.

The flip-side, he noted, is that there will be fewer places to hide for companies with poor risk management that may have been benefiting from underwriters not being able to access the full picture.

Either way, drones will increasingly help insurers differentiate good risks from bad. In time, they may also help insurance buyers differentiate between carriers, too. &

Antony Ireland is a London-based financial journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]