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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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“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

Workers' Comp

Keeping Workers on Their Feet

Slip and fall prevention programs must interweave all of the factors contributing to the risk.
By: | July 6, 2017 • 11 min read

If you peruse the last decade’s worth of literature from the CDC, NIOSH, or numerous other agencies or organizations, you’re bound to come across the “good news” that slips, trips and falls are largely preventable.

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So it’s frustrating, then, that slip, trip and fall injuries consistently account for more than a quarter of all nonfatal occupational injuries, and at least 65 percent of those injuries happen on same-level walking surfaces. And those figures just don’t budge all that much from year to year.

According to the “2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index,” falls on same level currently rank as the second highest cause of disabling injuries in the U.S., with direct costs of $10.17 billion, accounting for 16.4 percent of the total national injury burden.

“Not only are they still happening often, but they tend to be very significant injuries,” said Mike Lampl, director of research at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“We’ve seen these trends grow over the years,” said Wayne Maynard, product director, risk control, with Liberty Mutual. “Bottom line is, it’s a real, real big problem.”

So why are preventable falls so hard to prevent? This stubborn status quo, say experts, is that the causes of slips and trips are typically far more complex than they seem. There are nearly always multiple factors in play, from footwear and flooring and the interplay of both, to cleaning procedures, lighting, housekeeping, weather, and workers’ mental or physical conditions as well as overall awareness.

And all of these factors are being exacerbated by the fact that incidents often go unreported.

“Slips, falls — people get up, move on, they don’t report it,” said Maynard.

“When somebody’s injured and files a claim — in the workers’ arena, how many are behind the scenes that may have happened that are not reportable? …. The unreported number is considerable in my opinion.”

The key to making any headway in reducing slips and falls on the same surface, say experts, is to have a comprehensive fall prevention plan that addresses all possible factors. No small task.

Engineering Solutions

Flooring conditions are often the most obvious starting point. Ideally, said Maynard, all the right choices are made at the planning and design stage. But sometimes mistakes are made, and in other cases, a business may be inheriting an older space with floor chosen for a different purpose.

Patricia Showerman, senior loss control consultant, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

So even flooring in good condition may be the wrong type of material and may not have the necessary coefficient of friction (slip resistance) needed for the work being done.

If companies want to drill down into all the details of the surfaces in their facilities, a friction coefficient study is always an option, said Patricia Showerman, senior loss control consultant at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

But if a company doesn’t want to take that step, she said, it may be a simpler matter of saying, “Let’s look at what you’ve got. Let’s look at your floor surfaces and how you’re maintaining them.”

A lot of people want that “shiny grocery store glam look,” she said. “And if you can do it properly, and maintain it properly and keep that coefficient of friction and have the shiny look, that’s great. That’s what everybody wants but how do they get there?”

Certain surfaces may start out with an adequate coefficient of friction when they’re clean and dry. But add even an invisible layer of dust or debris, “and it’s like microscopic little BBs that you slide across,” said Showerman. “So if you have dust on your floor, you are dramatically reducing your slip coefficient.”

For companies that do have flooring surfaces in need of improvement, ripping up the floor and replacing it isn’t typically a feasible option. Fortunately there are more budget-friendly ways to get the maximum slip resistance from existing flooring, such as coatings and etchings.

A coating adds a microscopic layer on top of the flooring that creates a grip surface while maintaining the shine. Showerman likened the effect to the way that Velcro fasteners work.

“You want that hook effect … sharp points are going to microscopically stick into the soles of your shoes, rather than rolling off the top.”

Etching can work in a similar way, chemically altering the existing surface to make it imperceptibly gritty. Etching can also be used to create pores in an existing surface, which is useful for areas such as machine shops, she said.

Be Smart With Surfactants

While keeping floor surfaces clean is one of the best ways to remove slip and fall hazards, cleaning them the wrong way can actually do more harm than good.

Failure to follow appropriate cleaning procedures can severely diminish a surface’s coefficient of friction.

Experts suggest that companies engage with their chemical suppliers, and discuss their flooring as well as the types of dirt or grease removal and disinfectant needs. Detergents – which can contain different types of surfactants — aren’t a one size fits all solution.

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Sometimes purchasers might be inclined to try to cover all their bases by buying the strongest product on the market, but that might mean adding unnecessary surfactants that make surfaces less slip resistant.

“Clearly identify the types of surfaces you’re using it for, the type of oil or dirt or debris you have, and whether or not you need a sanitizing step,” said Showerman.

“You’ve got to find the right balance.”

But that’s only half the battle. A significant problem experts see time and time again is that companies don’t understand how their flooring is being maintained on a day-to-day basis by front-line employees. Failure to follow appropriate cleaning procedures can severely diminish a surface’s coefficient of friction.

“This is where you’re seeing someone with a mop and bucket and they are just re-smearing that grease from one place to another. They put the dirty mop in the dirty bucket, the mop gets full of that emulsified grease and you’re smearing it across the room. In high grease areas, you have to replace with clean water consistently.”

In other cases, a worker without the proper training may grab the first detergent he finds, even if it’s meant for the equipment rather than the floor. Or perhaps he mixes equal parts detergent and water when he was supposed to only use 8 oz. of detergent for every five gallons of water.
Sometimes people will even over-concentrate the detergent on purpose, she added.

Peter Koch, safety management specialist, The MEMIC Group

“I see that in the food industry frequently,” said Showerman. “They find that the more detergent they leave on the floor, the easier it is to clean up next time … but then everyone’s slipping and falling like in a cartoon.”

A company could invest a significant amount in flooring improvements, only to have the benefits undone by improper detergent use or failure to follow recommended rinsing procedures.

It’s incumbent upon safety managers to reinforce that maintaining floor surfaces isn’t just a matter of housekeeping, but a key part of the company’s workplace safety program.

The Human Factor

When you’ve done everything possible to address hazards in the physical work environment, workers themselves remain the wildcard. Most employers routinely include slip and fall hazards in their safety awareness training or toolbox talk programs. But that training should go well beyond a general “watch where you walk” message, say experts.

“One of the most overlooked parts for employee safety is actually employee training,” said Peter Koch, safety management specialist at  The MEMIC Group.

“How do you train an employee to not slip and fall? I think many times that is wrapped in a “you have to be more careful” message, which is valid but nebulous and not very helpful — it means something different to everyone based on your risk tolerance as an individual.”

Koch’s employee training regimen revolves around four elements: surfaces, awareness, footwear and environment (SAFE).

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The first goal of the surface portion is just to get employees to start thinking about the different types of surfaces they walk on and how it can change throughout the work day. Koch said he likes to ask: “How many different types of surfaces did you have to walk on the get to this training room?”

The footwear piece of it is the most straightforward. Are your shoes designed for the work that you’re doing and the surfaces you’re walking on? Are they in good condition? Are the soles worn out?

There is no ASTM standard for measuring the performance of slip-resistant footwear, added Gallagher’s Showerman. So workers should be reminded that wearing the right shoe isn’t a guarantee — it’s just one piece of the solution.

Awareness, said Koch, may be the most challenging piece of the puzzle — helping people to think about their gait, what they’re carrying, what they’re doing, and simply where their heads are at any given moment.

“If you’re thinking about 15 things you have to get done by the end of the day, or you have a particularly challenging employee interaction coming up that day, or you had a fight with your girlfriend last night— or whatever it is — you’re not focused. Then you take that step through the icy patch, and now it relies completely on your athletic ability and luck to stay upright.”

Workers may not necessarily make the connection between personal factors and fall risk. Someone who has an ear infection or is taking certain medications, for example, may not even be aware that their balance might be compromised, putting them at higher risk for a fall.

Employees also should be reminded of how even normal daily stressors can contribute to risk. Everyone is under pressure to deliver more in less time. Everyone is rushing, everyone is stretched to their limits. Add the ever-present cellphone beeping and buzzing and demanding our attention and perhaps it’s a wonder slips and falls don’t happen even more often than they already do.

We’re so conditioned to react when the vibration goes off or the tone chimes in our pockets that we just grab it without thinking, Koch said.

“If you knowingly put yourself at risk by knowingly going quickly through an area with slip and fall exposures, it’s just Russian roulette – at some point you’re going to get broken.” — Peter Koch, safety management specialist, The MEMIC Group.

“Even that, in certain conditions, is going to be enough to put you on the ground.”

Awareness of environmental factors should also be part of the training, Koch said, especially in terms of what workers can’t control, like inclement weather.  He said the main thing he tries to impress upon people is to slow down in a high-risk environment.

“If you knowingly put yourself at risk by knowingly going quickly through an area with slip and fall exposures, it’s just Russian roulette – at some point you’re going to get broken.”

Koch says that getting people to put all of these facets of awareness together is where the training can really click.

The goal is that when they approach an area with a higher-risk surface, employees are thinking “for those few seconds or minutes that I’m going to be walking through it, I need to have a greater sense of awareness, I need to put away the mental [distractions] and focus on what I’m doing – don’t answer your phone, don’t answer your texts.”

Some employers are looking to address the human piece of the slip and fall puzzle by using training that goes far beyond hazard awareness. Active slip-prevention training focuses on body mechanics and teaches workers how to respond when they feel themselves begin to slip.

One such program revolves around the Slip Simulator, technology born of a research partnership between Virginia Tech researchers and UPS. The simulator that creates slippery and hazardous conditions in a controlled environment while participants walk in a harness so they can slip safely. An instructor offers real-time guidance on how to alter their movements to avoid falling.

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After mastering the initial technique, trainees face additional challenges related to their specific work environments, such as walking up ramps or turning wheels. A New Mexico security team practiced drawing firearms while standing on the simulator, which led to a change in how they wear their weapons. Workers at an Ohio refinery practiced stepping over pipes and turning large valves.

Clients of the program are reporting 60 to 80 percent reductions in accident rates.

The Road Ahead

A comprehensive slip and fall prevention plan is a must for employers, experts agreed, with clear, consistent procedures that empower employees to be a part of the solution.

“Employees play a very critical role,” said Liberty Mutual’s Maynard. “If they see a slip risk or a slipperiness issue, they need to be able to report it and they need to be able to get that corrected immediately. They have an important role in maintaining a safe facility and reducing risk themselves — be proactive, don’t walk by, clean it up.

“Any time you can involve the employee in solutions …. the likelihood of success of that intervention is higher.”

Maynard added that the best prevention plans will also be forward-looking.

“Understand where current safety performance is. Then make a roadmap to get better,” he said. “Emphasize where you’re doing well,” then identify opportunities to effect improvement, now and over the next three, four or five years.

“Prevention is too often reactive,” Maynard said. “We’ve got an issue and now what do we do? The goal is for companies to be proactive.” &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]