2222222222

2017 Power Broker

Private Client

A Fast Mover

Jay Brancaleone
Senior Account Executive
Aon
Boston

When one of Jay Brancaleone’s clients sees something they like, they tend to buy it and pay cash. Whether it’s a car or an investment property, the clients move quickly and they ask a lot of Brancaleone in making sure the correct coverages are in place.

“Off the charts,” is how the client described Brancaleone’s professionalism.

“I’d give him a 10,” said another client of Brancaleone’s level of customer service.

For one particular client, Brancaleone came through in a big way. The client’s wife discovered a crack in her 3-karat, $75,000 engagement ring. The problem was the ring wasn’t covered under the client’s jewelry policy.

Undeterred, Brancaleone researched the client’s high net worth homeowner’s policy. Catching his eye was the phrase “special limits of insurance.” Brancaleone filed a claim under that policy. The claim was initially denied, but Brancaleone wasn’t done.

Advertisement




He escalated the claim to the vice president of claims at the carrier and got it paid in full as a contents loss. Adding to the client’s delight was the fact that the $5,000 deductible was waived because the size of the loss exceeded $50,000.

Yet another client benefited when Brancaleone went to bat for him and resolved a water leak claim in excess of $150,000.

This client to tends to buy and sell things at a quick pace.

“He can stop and start as I require him to do so,” the client said.

Proven Skills

Steve Kent
Managing Director
Crystal & Company
New York

When the situation demands it, Steve Kent can vault back and forth between private client and commercial work and deliver great service in both disciplines.

Witness what happened when Kent’s high net worth client, who also owns a music festival, experienced a business loss when poor weather punched a hole in the festival revenues.

An initial look from a commercial broker pegged the losses at around $200,000. The client thought her loss was higher than that but wasn’t sure; then Kent jumped in.

Using his Crystal & Company colleagues as resources, Kent engaged a forensic accountant and helped the client recoup more than $1 million.

“I would rate him extremely highly,” said a family office risk manager who has authoritative knowledge of the high net worth insurance carriers and the brokers that work with them. “He has been instrumental in managing our accounts,” the risk manager said.

Advertisement




“I would say that we are very reliant on him,” said a client. Kent provided excellent service to the client’s wife in managing insurance considerations after the death of an in-law as well as with an unrelated incident, a residential fire.

“He is very attentive and responsive,” said yet another client.

That same client said that Kent displays an in-depth knowledge of the insurance carriers and their products.

Data Driven

Kelly Nash, CISCR, CIC
Managing Director
Marsh
Chicago

Using data to determine the likelihood of loss and to properly price coverage makes perfect sense. So why not use data to benchmark high net worth exposures and programs, reasoned an executive with a large family office.

Executives at Marsh asked themselves the same question and put Kelly Nash on the job. She brought in Marsh Global Analytics to create CAT modeling for the family’s multiple property locations. She also pioneered a family office benchmarking study, which provided her clients with the first-ever comparisons of family office insurance coverages, claims and standards.

Rate her customer service on a scale of one to 10, we asked a senior risk analyst.

“It is probably a 20,” responded the analyst, who in a former life worked on the agency side. “She is always willing to try things even though the request may be untouchable,” the analyst went on. “She is one of the main reasons we are with [Marsh],” she said.

Advertisement




“I have always been impressed by what she does and am confident that my customers will be taken care of the way I would like to be taken care of,” said an executive with a wealth management firm who never hesitates to put Nash in touch with her clients.

A businessman who has seen his company and his wealth expand over the years trusts Nash to identify coverage gaps and bring him up to speed on the latest products.

He also knows she is there when he needs her.

“She is immediate,” he said.

A Winner, Twice Over

Laura Sherman
Founding Partner
Baldwin, Krystyn, Sherman
Tampa, Fla.

This is our second year naming Power Brokers from the ranks of private client brokers, and it’s Laura Sherman who’s hit the winners’ circle twice.

Sherman, a founding partner of Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners, is revered not only by her clients, but also by her peers.

A client who knows just enough about insurance to be dangerous thought he was doing the right thing by canceling the flood insurance on his mother’s Long Island, N.Y., property 30 days in advance of selling it.

You can guess what happened after he canceled the policy, can’t you? Superstorm Sandy and massive flood damage to the house.

Sherman talked the panicked client off of the ledge by letting him know that the federal flood insurance program has a 30-day grace period. Just reinstate the policy and cut your premium check and you’ll be good, she counseled. And so it was.

Advertisement




The money saved — which nearly came right out of the client’s pocket — amounted to more than $75,000.

“Laura Sherman came to the rescue,” said the adoring client.

“She exceeds my expectations by far, she is far and away the best,” said another client, singing Sherman’s praises.

“All I can say is that if it weren’t for Laura I would be in a world of hurt,” said yet another client. “She does not know the word ‘no,’ ” he said.

Among the Best in the Business

Kimberly Lucarelli, CIC, CAPI
Senior Vice President
Oswald Cos
Cleveland

An executive in the Midwest saw a bad dream come true when a wicked storm blew through his neighborhood and sent a tree crashing down into his house.

Others in his neighborhood, who had also suffered damage, endured push-back from the insurance carriers when they filed their claims. Not him.

He credited Kimberly Lucarelli and her associates at Oswald Cos. with handling his claim smoothly and professionally, and very importantly, with no chop from the underwriter. “Which has been great,” he said. “She made a great result for me.”

Lucarelli also proved her worth to this client by consolidating his insurance program and saving him money in the bargain. As a businessman, this client worked with many insurance brokers over the years on the commercial side and the personal lines side, and rates Lucarelli highly.

“She really knows the carriers and their products inside and out,” the client said.

Advertisement




A carrier executive who is in a position to know rates Lucarelli among the top five in the business.

Lucarelli’s value is to the carrier as well as the insured. The executive said that Lucarelli gives the carrier candid feedback about how their products are working for clients and how they could be improved.

“It’s very helpful for me and most agents don’t take the time,” the carrier executive said.

It Got Handled

Diane Giles
Senior Vice President
Marsh
New York

An executive with a family office faced a dilemma. Their client owned more than a dozen properties and sought a more tailored approach than having to hold separate policies for each property with renewal dates “all over the place,” as the family office executive put it.

“Makes sense, but no one offers it,” is what a couple of brokers told him, and left it at that. Not Marsh’s Diane Giles.  She said it makes sense, no one offers it, but let’s get it done anyway.

And that is what she did. The result was a blanket policy with cheaper pricing and loads of coverage. Pull a property out, the blanket policy resets. Put one in, it resets again. One premium. One limit.

“Our principal thought it was a spectacular outcome,” the family office executive said.

An insurance executive who works in the personal lines space said Giles is one of the top brokers in this area, and is aided by the fact that she was on the carrier side before she was on the agent side.

Advertisement




“She is very much about customer service and putting together solutions for her customers,” the carrier executive said.

“She never mismanages your expectations,” added the family office executive.

He said Giles expertly walks that line between giving him space and giving him the information he needs to keep his client informed and trusting.

Finalists:

Monica Griffy, CISR
Vice President
Risk Consulting Partners
Clayton, Mo.

Cecilia Graveran, AAI, ACA, AIS, etc.
Account Executive
Aon
Miami

Sarah Aguirre
Vice President
Marsh
New York

Jennifer Silva
Vice President
USI
Houston

Tim Weyerich, CAPI
Midwest Regional Director
Aon
Clayton,  Mo.

 

 

 

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Pharma Under Fire

Opioids Give Rise to Liability Epidemic

Opioids were supposed to help. Instead, their addictive power harmed many, and calls for accountability are broadening.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 8 min read

The opioid epidemic devastated families and flattened entire communities.

The Yale School of Medicine estimates that deaths are nearly doubling annually: “Between 2015 and 2016, drug overdose deaths went from 33,095 to 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States. That number is expected to continue unabated for the next   several years.”

Advertisement




That’s roughly 160 deaths every day — and it’s a count that’s increasing daily.

In addition to deaths, the number of Americans struggling with an opioid disorder disease (the official name for opioid addiction) is staggering.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 2 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and roughly one-third of those people will “graduate” to heroin addiction.

Conversely, 80 percent of heroin addicts became addicted to opioids after being prescribed opioids.

As if the human toll wasn’t devastating enough, NIDA estimates that addiction costs reach “$78.5 billion a year, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”

Shep Tapasak, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers

With numbers like that, families are not the only ones left picking up the pieces. Municipalities, states, and the federal government are strained with heavy demand for social services and crushing expenditures related to opioid addiction.

Despite the amount of money being spent, services are inadequate and too short in duration. Wait times are so long that some people literally die waiting.

Public sector leaders saw firsthand the range and potency of the epidemic, and were among the first to seek a legal reckoning with the manufacturers of  synthetic painkillers.

Seeking redress for their financial burden, some municipalities, states and the federal government filed lawsuits against big pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers. To date, there are more than 100 lawsuits on court dockets.

States such as Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Arkansas have been hit hard by the epidemic. In Arkansas alone, 72 counties, 15 cities, and the state filed suit, naming 65 defendants. In Pennsylvania, 16 counties, Philadelphia, and Commonwealth officials have filed lawsuits.

Forty one states also have banded together to subpoena information from some drug manufacturers.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, recently told reporters that the banded effort seeks to “change corporate behavior, so that the industry can no longer do what I think it’s been doing, which is turning a blind eye to the effects of dumping these drugs in the communities.”

The volume of legal actions is growing, and some of the Federal cases have been bound together in what is called multidistrict litigation (MDL). These cases will be heard by a judge in Ohio. Plaintiffs hope for a settlement that will provide funding to be used to help thwart the opioid epidemic.

“From a societal perspective, this is obviously a big and impactful issue,”  said Jim George,  a managing director and global claims head with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “A lot of people are suffering in connection with this, and it won’t go away anytime soon.

“Insurance, especially those in liability, will be addressing this for a long time. This has been building over five or six years, and we are just now seeing the beginning stages of liability suits.” 

Basis for Lawsuits

The lawsuits filed to date are based on allegations concerning: What pharma knew or didn’t know; what it should have known; failure to monitor size and frequency of opioid orders, misrepresentation in marketing about the addictive nature of opioids; and false financial disclosures.

Opioid manufacturers, distributors and large drugstore chains together represent a $13 billion-a-year industry, meaning the stakes are high, and the pockets deep. Many have compared these lawsuits to the tobacco suits of the ’90s.

Advertisement




But even that comparison may pale. As difficult as it is to quit smoking, that process is less arduous than the excruciating and often impossible-to-overcome opioid addiction.

Francis Collins, a physician-geneticist who heads the National Institutes of Health, said in a recorded session with the Washington Post: “One really needs to understand the diabolical way that this particular set of compounds rewires the brain in order to appreciate how those who become addicted really are in a circumstance where they can no more [by their own free will] get rid of the addiction than they can get free of needing to eat or drink.”

“Pharma and its supply chain need to know that this is here now. It’s not emerging, it’s here, and it’s being tried. It is a present risk.” — Nancy Bewlay, global chief underwriting officer for casualty, XL Catlin

The addiction creates an absolutely compelling drive that will cause people to do things against any measure of good judgment, said Collins, but the need to do them is “overwhelming.”

Documented knowledge of that chemistry could be devastating to insureds.

“It’s about what big pharma knew — or should have known.  A key allegation is that opioids were aggressively marketed as the clear answer or miracle cure for pain,” said Shep Tapasak, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers.

These cases, Tapasak said, have the potential to be severe. “This type of litigation boils down to a “profits over people” strategy, which historically has resonated with juries.”

Broadening Liability

As suits progress, all sides will be waiting and watching to see what case law stems from them. In the meantime, insurance watchers are predicting that the scope of these suits will broaden to include other players in the supply chain including manufacturers, distribution services, retail pharmacies, hospitals, physician practices, clinics, clinical laboratories and marketing agencies.

Litigation is, to some extent, about who can pay. In these cases, there are several places along the distribution chain where plaintiffs will seek relief.

Nancy Bewlay, global chief underwriting officer for casualty, XL Catlin

Nancy Bewlay, XL Catlin’s global chief underwriting officer for casualty, said that insurers and their insureds need to pay close attention to this trend.

“Pharma and its supply chain need to know that this is here now. It’s not emerging, it’s here, and it’s being tried. It is a present risk,” she said.

“We, as insurers who identify emerging risks, have to communicate to clients. We like to be on the forefront and, if we can, positively influence the outcome for our clients in terms of getting ahead of their risks.”

In addition to all aspects of the distribution chain, plaintiffs could launch suits against directors and officers based on allegations that they are ultimately responsible for what the company knew or should have known, or that they misrepresented their products or signed off on misleading financial statements.

Advertisement




Shareholders, too, could take aim at directors and officers for loss of profits or misleading statements related to litigation.

Civil litigation could pave the way, in some specific instances, for criminal charges. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who in 2015 became the first state attorney general to file suit against a prescription drug maker, has been quoted as saying that if evidence in civil suits points to criminal behavior, he won’t hesitate to file those charges as well.

Governing, a publication for municipalities and states, quoted Hood in late 2017 as saying, “If we get into those emails, and executives are in the chain knowing what they’ve unleashed on the American public, I’m going to kick it over to a criminal lawsuit. I’ve been to too many funerals.”

Insurers and insureds can act now to get ahead of this rising wave of liability.

It may be appropriate to conduct a review of policy underwriting and pricing. XL Catlin’s Bewlay said, “We are not writing as if everyone is a pharma manufacturer. Our perception of what is happening is that everyone is being held accountable as if they are the manufacturer.

“The reality is that when insurers look at the pharma industry and each part of the supply chain, including the pharma companies, those in the chain of distribution, transportation, sales, marketing and retail, there are different considerations and different liabilities for each. This could change the underwriting and affect pricing.”

Bewlay also suggests focusing on communications between claims teams and underwriters and keeping a strong line of communication open with insureds, too.

“We are here to partner with insureds, and we talk to them and advise them about this crisis. We encourage them to talk about it with their risk managers.”

Tapasak from Integro encourages insureds to educate themselves and be a part of the solution. “The laws are evolving,” he said. “Make absolutely certain you know your respective state laws. It’s not enough to know about the crisis, you must know the trends. Be part of the solution and get as much education as possible.

“Most states have ASHRM chapters that are helping their members to stay current on both passed and pending legislation. Health care facilities and providers want to do the right thing and get educated. And at the same time, there will likely be an uptick in frivolous claims, so it’s important to defend the claims that are defensible.”

Social Service Risk

In addition to supply chain concerns, insurers and insureds are concerned that even those whose mission it is to help could be at risk.

Hailed as a lifesaver, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug Naloxone, can be administered to someone who is overdosing on opioids.  Naloxone prevents overdose by blocking opioid receptor sites and reversing the effects of the overdose.

Advertisement




Some industry experts are concerned that police and emergency responders could incur liability after administering Naloxone.

But according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “From a legal standpoint, it would be extremely difficult to win a lawsuit against an officer who administers Naloxone in good faith and in the course of employment. … Such immunity applies to … other professional responders.”

Especially hard hit are foster care agencies, both by increased child placements and stretched budgets. More details in our related coverage.

While the number of suits is growing and their aim broadening, experts think that some good will come of the litigation. Settlements will fund services for the addicted and opioid risk awareness is higher than ever. &

Mercedes Ott is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]