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2018 Power Broker

Pharmaceuticals

Tackling Tough Risks

Grant Bell
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Atlanta

A client of Marsh’s Grant Bell, a relatively new privately held biotech company, has multiple subsidiaries and is acquiring assets but hasn’t yet introduced any products. With such rapid expansion, risk management issues can crop up unexpectedly.

For example, a state recently sought evidence of workers’ compensation coverage at a new subsidiary located outside the client’s state of domicile. Bell “quickly and effectively guided our human resources team in the process,” the client said.

Bell also helped the client implement a system to ensure that it could “remain proactive in procuring specific workers’ compensation solutions or placements” as the company grows and enters new jurisdictions.

The client’s portfolio of coverages includes both public and private company D&O liability programs.

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“Grant and his team delivered significant savings with our most recent D&O public company renewal, achieving more than $200,000 in savings while maintaining both the retention and the total purchased limit,” the client said.

Another client praised Bell for his assistance in defending against a D&O claim.

“We faced a frivolous lawsuit that threatened many aspects of our business,” the client noted. “Grant was quick to organize the team, even connecting us with his firm’s experts on handling D&O carriers in this type of situation.”

The client added: “We have the best broker who can help us navigate any threat to our business from a risk management view.”

Armed with Knowledge

Matthew Grove, CIC, ARM, AIS
Business Insurance Consultant
BB&T Insurance Service, Frederick, Md.

No matter which direction their risks are heading, clients count on Matthew Grove to help manage them.

When Aziyo Biologics was purchasing the assets of CorMatrix last year, its greatest risk management concern was “the generation of certificates of insurance for more than 50 hospitals,” noted Jeff Hamet, VP, finance. Without the COIs, Aziyo’s new salespeople could not have entered the facilities, he explained.

Hamet said that Aziyo’s expectations were exceeded with the “simultaneous close of the deal, binding of coverage and generation of the necessary COI documents.”

Grove’s efforts “ensured a seamless transition with no loss of sales to Aziyo — which would have occurred had we been shut out from the hospitals even for a short period.”

Ed Cordell, former CFO of KeraLink International, praised Grove’s efforts when he came on board as the company was beginning to downsize in 2015.

“Matt inherited our line from a retiring broker at BB&T. He impressed me at our first meeting by being fully briefed on our business and coverages. However, he wanted to learn more” about KeraLink’s industry, competitors and business environment.

A year later, Grove used that knowledge to successfully market the renewal of the downsized KeraLink “as an opportunity in the corneal transplant market and sold the carrier on creating a package that could be marketed to the approximately 50-plus eye banks around the country,” Cordell said.

Leveraging Renewal Opportunities

Natalie Marquess, ARM, CIC, CRM
Senior Broker
Aon, San Francisco

After joining VIVUS Inc. as CFO in 2015, Mark Oki soon realized that the company’s renewals had been treated as a last-minute “perfunctory event.”

That changed after Oki turned to Aon’s Natalie Marquess for the 2016 and 2017 renewals. The renewal process, which began at least three months ahead of the renewal date both years, yielded many coverage enhancements while cutting premiums 41 percent in 2016 and 10 percent more in 2017, Oki said.

Marquess converted the company’s $10 million product liability deductible to a $5 million self-insured retention, giving VIVUS much more control of claims handling with no program cost increase.

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She also secured punitive damages coverage and negotiated a $25,000 deductible within the product liability program for clinical trial exposures — a fraction of the $5 million SIR that losses from clinical trials previously were subject to.

Oki also noted that Marquess understands VIVUS’s potential growth and planned for it by recommending adding a carrier to the company’s tower of insurers.

“It sets us up to have an existing relationship with the new insurer to absorb future growth” of risk.

An official for another client also praised Marquess for her efforts during that organization’s 2016 and 2017 renewals.

The Right Solutions at the Right Time

Lars Sorensen
Director EMEA Life Science & Pharma
Aon, Chicago

When product liability crises arise, Lars Sorensen has the resources to help his clients avert disaster.

Sorensen assisted one multinational client facing a material coverage reduction due to an exchange rate issue. For years, the client had €700 million of limits — or $1 billion of indemnity in the United States — where it generates significant revenue.

But in 2017, greater parity between the Euro and the dollar cut the client’s U.S. coverage by about $250 million.

Stressing that the organization could not shoulder a €200 million uninsured loss, the client noted that finding more than €100 million of additional coverage was a real challenge.

“Lars came with an Aon treaty, allowing us to benefit from an additional €200 million capacity immediately and following the conditions of our lead insurers in product liability without negotiations on wording and pricing,” the client said.

“This allows our company to continue to meet our future financial forecasts.”

For another client facing a claim, Sorenson collected documentation and developed arguments to rebut the plaintiffs’ allegations, ultimately compelling the plaintiffs to drop their claim.

Then Sorensen proactively developed “strategic risk management initiatives to improve internal controls and documentation, especially regarding quality controls,” which will allow the company to more efficiently confront future claims, the client said.

Coming Through in the Clutch

Nick Tait, AU
Principal
Marsh & McLennan Agency, San Diego

A client of Nick Tait’s invested considerable time and resources in a state-of-the-art facility.

Unfortunately, a sprinkler-head malfunctioned shortly before the operation was set to open in mid-2016. The malfunction occurred in the facility’s clean room but flooded the entire plant, causing substantial damage and a significant delay in opening the facility.

The client had business interruption insurance but faced significant complications with its claim.

First, “because the facility had not opened yet, there was not a historical revenue/income number to base the claim on,” the client said, adding that Tait and his team at Barney & Barney, a Marsh & McLennan Agency company, “were invaluable working with me to properly show the forecasts and impact on our income as a result of the flood.”

Recovering the loss of approximately $860,000 was an urgent matter. “Importantly, as a company, we were struggling with cash flow, and the BI claim payment was extremely important to bridge us from point A to point B while we recovered,” the client said.

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“Without a quick and good outcome for us, the company would likely be in trouble.”

Another client praised Tait for shepherding the company through a difficult renewal of its D&O liability insurance coverage while defending itself against a class-action claim.

Tait was able to renew the coverage with an increase in limits “without a meaningful increase in premium,” the client said. “The CEO and board were pleased with the revised D&O program that met our needs and fell within budget.”

Achieving Goals with Tailored Solutions

Darlene Villoresi
Managing Director
Marsh, Morristown, N.J.

When clients need their risk-financing plans fixed, Darlene Villoresi tops their call list.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. began self-insuring its U.S. product liability exposure in 2014 for economic reasons, explained vice president Limor Sagiv, head of global insurance. But after a few years, company officials “were not confident this was the right path,” he said.

Teva wanted insurers, however, to address its top three concerns: wording, deductibles and premium.

Villoresi “suggested a novel concept, and we drafted together a manuscript policy, based on the Bermuda form, which was shared with some key insurers — who are our partners on other lines — for their input,” Sagiv explained.

“After a very long process — over a year — we were able to bind a policy which answered the triple target,” including cutting Teva’s previous commercial program’s deductible by more than two-thirds, Sagiv noted. The program also includes a hedging tool to protect Teva’s balance sheet from a catastrophic event.

Sagiv ascribes Villoresi’s success to her determination, ability to simplify complex matters, skill in managing her team, great relations with markets, and her aptitude for “making things look achievable and possible by creating good process.”

Another client, whose acquisitions over the years required it to maintain multiple product liability programs, turned to Villoresi for an economical risk-financing approach.

Finalist: 

Brett Pizer
Vice President
Marsh, Philadelphia

 

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.

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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.”

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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.

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“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]