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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 2018 Logo Usage Agreement and PR Statement.

2019 Application Deadline: October 19, 2018

Winner Announcement Date: February 2019 Issue

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Risk Report: Manufacturing

More Robots Enter Into Manufacturing Industry

With more jobs utilizing technology advancements, manufacturing turns to cobots to help ease talent gaps.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 6 min read

The U.S. manufacturing industry is at a crossroads.

Faced with a shortfall of as many as two million workers between now and 2025, the sector needs to either reinvent itself by making it a more attractive career choice for college and high school graduates or face extinction. It also needs to shed its image as a dull, unfashionable place to work, where employees are stuck in dead-end repetitive jobs.

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Added to that are the multiple risks caused by the increasing use of automation, sensors and collaborative robots (cobots) in the manufacturing process, including product defects and worker injuries. That’s not to mention the increased exposure to cyber attacks as manufacturers and their facilities become more globally interconnected through the use of smart technology.

If the industry wishes to continue to move forward at its current rapid pace, then manufacturers need to work with schools, governments and the community to provide educational outreach and apprenticeship programs. They must change the perception of the industry and attract new talent. They also need to understand and to mitigate the risks presented by the increased use of technology in the manufacturing process.

“Loss of knowledge due to movement of experienced workers, negative perception of the manufacturing industry and shortages of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and skilled production workers are driving the talent gap,” said Ben Dollar, principal, Deloitte Consulting.

“The risks associated with this are broad and span the entire value chain — [including]  limitations to innovation, product development, meeting production goals, developing suppliers, meeting customer demand and quality.”

The Talent Gap

Manufacturing companies are rapidly expanding. With too few skilled workers coming in to fill newly created positions, the talent gap is widening. That has been exacerbated by the gradual drain of knowledge and expertise as baby boomers retire and a decline in technical education programs in public high schools.

Ben Dollar, principal, Deloitte Consulting

“Most of the millennials want to work for an Amazon, Google or Yahoo, because they seem like fun places to work and there’s a real sense of community involvement,” said Dan Holden, manager of corporate risk and insurance, Daimler Trucks North America. “In contrast, the manufacturing industry represents the ‘old school’ where your father and grandfather used to work.

“But nothing could be further from the truth: We offer almost limitless opportunities in engineering and IT, working in fields such as electric cars and autonomous driving.”

To dispel this myth, Holden said Daimler’s Educational Outreach Program assists qualified organizations that support public high school educational programs in STEM, CTE (career technical education) and skilled trades’ career development.

It also runs weeklong technology schools in its manufacturing facilities to encourage students to consider manufacturing as a vocation, he said.

“It’s all essentially a way of introducing ourselves to the younger generation and to present them with an alternative and rewarding career choice,” he said. “It also gives us the opportunity to get across the message that just because we make heavy duty equipment doesn’t mean we can’t be a fun and educational place to work.”

Rise of the Cobot

Automation undoubtedly helps manufacturers increase output and improve efficiency by streamlining production lines. But it’s fraught with its own set of risks, including technical failure, a compromised manufacturing process or worse — shutting down entire assembly lines.

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More technologically advanced machines also require more skilled workers to operate and maintain them. Their absence can in turn hinder the development of new manufacturing products and processes.

Christina Villena, vice president of risk solutions, The Hanover Insurance Group, said the main risk of using cobots is bodily injury to their human coworkers. These cobots are robots that share a physical workspace and interact with humans. To overcome the problem of potential injury, Villena said, cobots are placed in safety cages or use force-limited technology to prevent hazardous contact.

“With advancements in technology, such as the Cloud, there are going to be a host of cyber and other risks associated with them.” — David Carlson, U.S. manufacturing and automobile practice leader, Marsh

“Technology must be in place to prevent cobots from exerting excessive force against a human or exposing them to hazardous tools or chemicals,” she said. “Traditional robots operate within a safety cage to prevent dangerous contact. Failure or absence of these guards has led to injuries and even fatalities.”

The increasing use of interconnected devices and the Cloud to control and collect data from industrial control systems can also leave manufacturers exposed to hacking, said David Carlson, Marsh’s U.S. manufacturing and automobile practice leader. Given the relatively new nature of cyber as a risk, however, he said coverage is still a gray area that must be assessed further.

“With advancements in technology, such as the Cloud, there are going to be a host of cyber and other risks associated with them,” he said. “Therefore, companies need to think beyond the traditional risks, such as workers’ compensation and product liability.”

Another threat, said Bill Spiers, vice president, risk control consulting practice leader, Lockton Companies, is any malfunction of the software used to operate cobots. Then there is the machine not being able to cope with the increased workload when production is ramped up, he said.

“If your software goes wrong, it can stop the machine working or indeed the whole manufacturing process,” he said. “[Or] you might have a worker who is paid by how much they can produce in an hour who decides to turn up the dial, causing the machine to go into overdrive and malfunction.”

Potential Solutions

Spiers said risk managers need to produce a heatmap of their potential exposures in the workplace attached to the use of cobots in the manufacturing process, including safety and business interruption. This can also extend to cyber liability, he said.

“You need to understand the risk, if it’s controllable and, indeed, if it’s insurable,” he said. “By carrying out a full risk assessment, you can determine all of the relevant issues and prioritize them accordingly.”

By using collective learning to understand these issues, Joseph Mayo, president, JW Mayo Consulting, said companies can improve their safety and manufacturing processes.

“Companies need to work collaboratively as an industry to understand this new technology and the problems associated with it.” — Joseph Mayo, president, JW Mayo Consulting

“Companies need to work collaboratively as an industry to understand this new technology and the problems associated with it,” Mayo said. “They can also use detective controls to anticipate these issues and react accordingly by ensuring they have the appropriate controls and coverage in place to deal with them.”

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Manufacturing risks today extend beyond traditional coverage, like workers’ compensation, property, equipment breakdown, automobile, general liability and business interruption, to new risks, such as cyber liability.

It’s key to use a specialized broker and carrier with extensive knowledge and experience of the industry’s unique risks.

Stacie Graham, senior vice president and general manager, Liberty Mutual’s national insurance central division, said there are five key steps companies need to take to protect themselves and their employees against these risks. They include teaching them how to use the equipment properly, maintaining the same high quality of product and having a back-up location, as well as having the right contractual insurance policy language in place and plugging any potential coverage gaps.

“Risk managers need to work closely with their broker and carrier to make sure that they have the right contractual controls in place,” she said. “Secondly, they need to carry out on-site visits to make sure that they have the right safety practices and to identify the potential claims that they need to mitigate against.” &

Alex Wright is a U.K.-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected]