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

Risk Focus: Workers' Comp

Do You Have Employees or Gig Workers?

The number of gig economy workers is growing in the U.S. But their classification as contractors leaves many without workers’ comp, unemployment protection or other benefits.
By: and | July 30, 2018 • 5 min read

A growing number of Americans earn their living in the gig economy without employer-provided benefits and protections such as workers’ compensation.

Advertisement




With the proliferation of on-demand services powered by digital platforms, questions surrounding who does and does not actually work in the gig economy continue to vex stakeholders. Courts and legislators are being asked to decide what constitutes an employee and what constitutes an independent contractor, or gig worker.

The issues are how the worker is paid and who controls the work process, said Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law with a client roster in the trucking industry.

The common law test, he said, the same one the IRS uses, considers “whose tools and whose materials are used. Whether the employer is telling the worker how to do the job on a minute-to-minute basis. Whether the worker is paid by the hour or by the job. Whether he’s free to work for someone else.”

Legal challenges have occurred, starting with lawsuits against transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. Several court cases in recent years have come down on the side of allowing such companies to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors.

Those decisions are significant for TNCs, because the gig model relies on the lower labor cost of independent contractors. Classification as an employee adds at least 30 percent to labor costs.

The issues lie with how a worker is paid and who controls the work process. — Bobby Bollinger, a North Carolina attorney

However, a March 2018 California Supreme Court ruling in a case involving delivery drivers for Dynamex went the other way. The Dynamex decision places heavy emphasis on whether the worker is performing a core function of the business.

Under the Dynamex court’s standard, an electrician called to fix a wiring problem at an Uber office would be considered a general contractor. But a driver providing rides to customers would be part of the company’s central mission and therefore an employee.

Despite the California ruling, a Philadelphia court a month later declined to follow suit, ruling that Uber’s limousine drivers are independent contractors, not employees. So a definitive answer remains elusive.

A Legislative Movement

Misclassification of workers as independent contractors introduces risks to both employers and workers, said Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust.

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered.”

Misclassifying workers opens a “Pandora’s box” for employers, said Richard R. Meneghello, partner, Fisher Phillips.

Issues include tax liabilities, claims for minimum wage and overtime violations, workers’ comp benefits, civil labor law rights and wrongful termination suits.

The motive for companies seeking the contractor definition is clear: They don’t have to pay for benefits, said Meneghello. “But from a legal perspective, it’s not so easy to turn the workforce into contractors.”

“My concern is for individuals who believe they’re covered under workers’ compensation, have an injury, try to file a claim and find they’re not covered in the eyes of the state.” — Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

It’s about to get easier, however. In 2016, Handy — which is being sued in five states for misclassification of workers — drafted a N.Y. bill to establish a program where gig-economy companies would pay 2.5 percent of workers’ income into individual health savings accounts, yet would classify them as independent contractors.

Unions and worker advocacy groups argue the program would rob workers of rights and protections. So Handy moved on to eight other states where it would be more likely to win.

Advertisement




So far, the Handy bills have passed one house of the legislature in Georgia and Colorado; passed both houses in Iowa and Tennessee; and been signed into law in Kentucky, Utah and Indiana. A similar bill was also introduced in Alabama.

The bills’ language says all workers who find jobs through a website or mobile app are independent contractors, as long as the company running the digital platform does not control schedules, prohibit them from working elsewhere and meets other criteria. Two bills exclude transportation network companies such as Uber.

These laws could have far-reaching consequences. Traditional service companies will struggle to compete with start-ups paying minimal labor costs.

Opponents warn that the Handy bills are so broad that a service company need only launch an app for customers to contract services, and they’d be free to re-classify their employees as independent contractors — leaving workers without social security, health insurance or the protections of unemployment insurance or workers’ comp.

That could destabilize social safety nets as well as shrink available workers’ comp premiums.

A New Classification

Independent contractors need to buy their own insurance, including workers’ compensation. But many don’t, said Hart Brown, executive vice president, COO, Firestorm. They may not realize that in the case of an accident, their personal car and health insurance won’t engage, Brown said.

Matt Zender, vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust

Workers’ compensation for gig workers can be hard to find. Some state-sponsored funds provide self-employed contractors’ coverage.  Policies can be expensive though in some high-risk occupations, such as roofing, said Bollinger.

The gig system, where a worker does several different jobs for several different companies, breaks down without portable benefits, said Brown. Portable benefits would follow workers from one workplace engagement to another.

What a portable benefits program would look like is unclear, he said, but some combination of employers, independent contractors and intermediaries (such as a digital platform business or staffing agency) would contribute to the program based on a percentage of each transaction.

There is movement toward portable benefits legislation. The Aspen Institute proposed portable benefits where companies contribute to workers’ benefits based on how much an employee works for them. Uber and SEI together proposed a portable benefits bill to the Washington State Legislature.

Advertisement




Senator Mark Warner (D. VA) introduced the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act for the study of portable benefits, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D. WA) introduced a House companion bill.

Meneghello is skeptical of portable benefits as a long-term solution. “They’re a good first step,” he said, “but they paper over the problem. We need a new category of workers.”

A portable benefits model would open opportunities for the growing Insurtech market. Brad Smith, CEO, Intuit, estimates the gig economy to be about 34 percent of the workforce in 2018, growing to 43 percent by 2020.

The insurance industry reinvented itself from a risk transfer mechanism to a risk management mechanism, Brown said, and now it’s reinventing itself again as risk educator to a new hybrid market. &

Susannah Levine writes about health care, education and technology. She can be reached at [email protected] Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]