Power Broker

Power Broker Overview

What is a Power Broker?
A Risk & Insurance® Power Broker® is an individual who stands out among their peers for the exceptional client work they delivered over the past year. While brokers play many key roles in the insurance industry and risk profession, a Power Broker® award recognizes problem solving, customer service and industry knowledge.

Our goal is to broadly recognize and promote outstanding risk management and customer service among the brokerage community. Therefore, we don’t select a single winner but instead recognize four to six winners in different industry categories.

Who selects the winners?
A Power Broker® is selected based upon the strength of client testimonials. Risk & Insurance® editors and writers collect and choose the most compelling testimonials based on the award criteria.

What criteria are used to select winners?
It is very important to note that Power Broker® is focused on recent accomplishments. Certainly the below criteria could be demonstrated through the arc of an entire career, but for this program we strive to highlight recent challenges and solutions. This approach is utilized for the benefit of our readers who most value learning about challenges and solutions to current problems. The criteria are:

  • Risk Solution (50%): What specific challenge did a client face and how did the applicant/nominee solve that problem?
  • Customer Service (25%): Does the applicant/nominee demonstrate a commitment to primarily serve the interests of their clients?
  • Industry Knowledge (25%): Is the applicant/nominee committed to mastering the industry category they work in?

The focus is on the individual broker
Creativity and problem solving are critical success factors independent of firm or account size. Therefore, neither the size of a broker’s firm nor the size of an account is an important criteria for the Power Broker® program. We strongly encourage all brokers to apply.

Nomination process
Applications/nominations (referred to below as simply “applications”) are accepted from any source including a client, insurer, brokerage firm, service provider or individual broker. In the interest of maintaining a level playing field, Risk & Insurance® will accept no more than 100 Power Broker® applications from any one firm or its subsidiaries. Since the client testimonial is most important for judging, the source of the application does not impact an applicant’s chance of winning.

We require an application form to be completed in order to capture profile information, an overview of the problem/solution and client contact information. Provide enough information to give our editors an overview of you and your accomplishment but don’t feel compelled to write overly long responses. Think concise and factual.

Important Note Regarding Confidentiality: We are very conscious of the sensitive nature of the information provided. Client references listed on applications and contacted by judges may choose to be on or off the record. This includes the client name, company name and additional identifying information. All other information on the application will be considered on-the-record unless specified otherwise.

Judging process
Judges consisting of Risk & Insurance® editors and/or writers are appointed for each industry category. All of the applications in a category are first reviewed by the judges to provide an overview of the field and to ensure that the applications are complete. Client references listed on the applications are then contacted and interviewed.

A summary of the interview along with an evaluation form is completed by the judge performing the interview. Once all interviews are complete, the judging team meets to review all the interviews and evaluations. The four to six brokers that received the strongest client referrals based on the award criteria are named a Power Broker®.

Rising Star Designation

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Power Broker® winners and finalists who are 40 years old or younger are highlighted in the annual “Rising Star” section. Designees are determined based on the DOB listed on the Power Broker® application. No additional application is needed to apply for this designation.

Publication
Winners are first announced in the February print issue of Risk & Insurance®. The information is also posted on the Risk & Insurance® website, eNewsletter, web digital edition and iPad/iPhone Apps. A profile highlighting each Power Broker’s accomplishments along with a head-shot is presented by industry category.

Award Boxes
A few weeks after the winners are announced, each Power Broker® receives a box with a copy of the print issue, an award plaque and additional information.

Download the 2017 Logo Usage Agreement and PR Statement.

2018 Application Deadline: October 20, 2017

Winner Announcement Date: February 2018 Issue

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Risk Management

The Profession

This senior risk manager values his role in helping Varian Medical Systems support research and technologies in the fight against cancer.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

When I was 15 years old I had a summer job working for the city of Plentywood, mowing grass in the parks and ballfields, emptying garbage cans, hauling waste to the dump, painting crosswalk lines.  A great job for a teenager but I thought getting a college degree and working in an air-conditioned office would be a good plan long term.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

I was enrolled in the University of Montana as a general business student, and I wanted to declare a more specialized major during my sophomore year. I was working for my dad at his insurance agency over the summer, and taking new agent training coursework on property/casualty risks in my spare time, so I had an appreciation for insurance. My dad suggested I research risk management for a career, and I transferred sight unseen to the University of Georgia to enroll in their risk management program. I did an internship as a senior with the risk management department at Sulzer Medica, and they offered me a full time job.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

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We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks. If we initiate a collaborative exercise with the risk owners — people who may have unique knowledge about that particular risk — and include a cross section of people from other corporate functions, you can do an effective job of taking the risk apart to analyze it, figure out a way to manage that exposure, and then reap the upside benefits while reducing the downside exposure. That can be done with new products and new service offerings, when there isn’t coverage available for a risk. It’s asking, is there anything we can do to reduce the risk without transferring it?

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber liability. There’s so much at stake and the bad guys are getting more resourceful every day. At Varian, our first approach is to try to make our systems and products more resilient, so we’re trying to direct resources to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s a huge reputation risk if one of our products or systems were compromised, so we want to avoid that at all costs.

We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

I’ve worked with a number of great ones over the years. We’ve enjoyed a great property insurance relationship with Zurich. Their loss control services are very valuable to us. On the umbrella liability side, it’s been great partnering with companies like Swiss Re and Berkley Life Sciences because they’ve put in the time and effort to understand our unique risk exposures.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

One hundred percent through a broker. I view our broker as an extension of our risk management team. We benefit from each team member’s respective area of expertise and experience.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

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I think so. The brokers were kind of villainized by Spitzer. I think it’s fair for brokers and insurers to make a reasonable profit, and if a portion of their profit came from contingent commissions, I’m fine with that. But I do appreciate the transparency and disclosure that came out as a result of the fiasco.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

David Collins, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Varian Medical Systems Inc.

While we might be doing fine here in the U.S. from an economic perspective, the Middle East is a mess, and we’re living with nuclear threat from North Korea. But hope springs eternal, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping saner minds prevail and our leaders throughout the world work together to make things better.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My Dad got me started down the insurance and risk path. I’ve also been fortunate to work for or with a number of University of Georgia alumni who’ve been mentors for me. I’ve worked side by side with Karen Epermanis, Michael Rousseau, and Elisha Finney. And I’ve worked with Daniel Dean in his capacity as a broker.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

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Raising my kids. I have a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, and they’re making mom and dad proud of the people they’re turning into.

On a professional level, a recent one would be the creation and implementation of our global travel risk program, which was a combined effort between security, travel and risk functions.

We have a huge team of service personnel around the world, traveling to customer sites to do maintenance and repair. We needed a way to track, monitor and communicate with them. We may need to make security arrangements or vet their lodging in some circumstances.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

My 12-year-old son thought my job responsibilities could be summed up as a “professional worrier.” And that’s not too far off.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Varian’s mission is to focus energy on saving lives. Proper administration of the risk function puts the company in a better position to financially support research that improves products and capabilities, helps to educate health care providers and support cancer care in general. It means more lives saved from a terrible disease. I’m proud to contribute toward that.

When you meet someone whose cancer has been successfully treated with one of our products, it’s a powerful reward.




Katie Siegel is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]