2018 Power Broker


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.


“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.


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
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.


“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.


Brett Pizer
Vice President
Marsh, Philadelphia


More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Report: Marine

Crewless Ships Raise Questions

Is a remote operator legally a master? New technology confounds old terms.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 6 min read

For many developers, the accelerating development of remote-controlled and autonomous ships represents what could be the dawn of a new era. For underwriters and brokers, however, such vessels could represent the end of thousands of years of maritime law and risk management.

Rod Johnson, director of marine risk management, RSA Global Risk

While crewless vessels have yet to breach commercial service, there are active testing programs. Most brokers and underwriters expect small-scale commercial operations to be feasible in a few years, but that outlook only considers technical feasibility. How such operations will be insured remains unclear.

“I have been giving this a great deal of thought, this sits on my desk every day,” said Rod Johnson, director of marine risk management, RSA Global Risk, a major UK underwriter. Johnson sits on the loss-prevention committee of the International Union of Maritime Insurers.

“The agreed uncertainty that underpins marine insurance is falling away, but we are pretending that it isn’t. The contractual framework is being made less relevant all the time.”

Defining Autonomous Vessels

Two types of crewless vessels are being contemplated. First up is a drone with no one on board but actively controlled by a human at a remote command post on land or even on another vessel.

While some debate whether the controllers of drone aircrafts are pilots or operators, the very real question yet to be addressed is if a vessel controller is legally a “master” under maritime law.


The other type of crewless vessel would be completely autonomous, with the onboard systems making decisions about navigation, weather and operations.

Advocates tout the benefits of larger cargo capacity without crew spaces, including radically different hull designs without decks people can walk on. Doubters note a crew can fix things at sea while a ship cannot.

Rolls-Royce is one of the major proponents and designers. The company tested a remote-controlled tug in Copenhagen in June 2017.

“We think the initial early adopters will be vessels operating on fixed routes within coastal waters under the jurisdiction of flag states,” the company said.

“We expect to see the first autonomous vessel in commercial operation by the end of the decade. Further out, around 2025, we expect autonomous vessels to operate further from shore — perhaps coastal cargo ships. For ocean-going vessels to be autonomous, it will require a change in international regulations, so this will take longer.”

Once autonomous ships are a reality, “the entire current legal framework for maritime law and insurance is done,” said Johnson. “The master has not been replaced; he is just gone. Commodity ships (bulk carriers) would be most amenable to that technology. I’m not overly bothered by fully automated ships, but I am extremely bothered by heavily automated ones.”

He cited two risks specifically: hacking and fire.

“We expect to see the first autonomous vessel in commercial operation by the end of the decade. Further out, around 2025, we expect autonomous vessels to operate further from shore — perhaps coastal cargo ships. For ocean-going vessels to be autonomous, it will require a change in international regulations, so this will take longer.” — Rolls-Royce Holdings study

Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, asked an even more existential question: “From an insurance standpoint, are we even still talking about a vessel as it is under law? Starting with the legal framework, the duty of a flag state is ‘manning of ships.’ What about the duty to render assistance? There cannot be insurance coverage of an illegal contract.”

Several sources noted that the technological development of crewless ships, while impressive, seems to be a solution in search of a problem. There is no known need in the market; no shippers, operators, owners or mariners advocate that crewless ships will solve their problems.

Kinsey takes umbrage at the suggestion that promotional material on crewless vessels cherry picks his company’s data, which found 75 percent to 90 percent of marine losses are caused by human error.


“Removing the humans from the vessels does not eliminate the human error. It just moves the human error from the helm to the coder. The reports on development by the companies with a vested interest [in crewless vessels] tend to read a lot like advertisements. The pressure for this is not coming from the end users.”

To be sure, Kinsey is a proponent of automation and technology when applied prudently, believing automation can make strides in areas of the supply chains. Much of the talk about automation is trying to bury the serious shortage of qualified crews. It also overshadows the very real potential for blockchain technology to overhaul the backend of marine insurance.

As a marine surveyor, Kinsey said he can go down to the wharf, inspect cranes, vessels and securements, and supervise loading and unloading — but he can’t inspect computer code or cyber security.

New Times, New Risks

In all fairness, insurance language has changed since the 17th century, especially as technology races ahead in the 21st.

“If you read any hull form, it’s practically Shakespearean,” said Stephen J. Harris, senior vice president of marine protection UK, Marsh. “The language is no longer fit for purpose. Our concern specifically to this topic is that the antiquated language talks about crew being on board. If they are not on board, do they still legally count as crew?”

Harris further questioned, “Under hull insurance, and provided that the ship owner has acted diligently, cover is extended to negligence of the master or crew. Does that still apply if the captain is not on board but sitting at a desk in an office?”

Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Several sources noted that a few international organizations, notably the Comite Maritime International and the International Maritime Organization, “have been very active in asking the legal profession around the world about their thoughts. The interpretations vary greatly. The legal complications of crewless vessels are actually more complicated than the technology.”

For example, if the operational, insurance and regulatory entities in two countries agree on the voyage of a crewless vessel across the ocean, a mishap or storm could drive the vessel into port or on shore of a third country that does not recognize those agreements.

“What worries insurers is legal uncertainty,” said Harris.

“If an operator did everything fine but a system went down, then most likely the designer would be responsible. But even if a designer explicitly accepted responsibility, what matters would be the flag state’s law in international waters and the local state’s law in territorial waters.


“We see the way ahead for this technology as local and short-sea operations. The law has to catch up with the technology, and it is showing no signs of doing so.”

Thomas M. Boudreau, head of specialty insurance, The Hartford, suggested that remote ferry operations could be the most appropriate use: “They travel fixed routes, all within one country’s waters.”

There could also be environmental and operational benefits from using battery power rather than conventional fuels.

“In terms of underwriting, the burden would shift to the manufacturer and designer of the operating systems,” Boudreau added.

It may just be, he suggested, that crewless ships are merely replacing old risks with new ones. Crews can deal with small repairs, fires or leaks at sea, but small conditions such as those can go unchecked and endanger the whole ship and cargo.

“The cyber risk is also concerning. The vessel may be safe from physical piracy, but what about hacking?” &

Gregory DL Morris is an independent business journalist based in New York with 25 years’ experience in industry, energy, finance and transportation. He can be reached at [email protected]