2222222222

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

RisingStar2015.indd

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

AllStarsButton-ApplyNominate-270

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.

Advertisement




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.”

Advertisement




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.

Advertisement




“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]