2018 Power Broker

Public Sector

The Talk of the Town

Judith Arenz, CPCU, RMPE
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Boca Raton, Fla.

Scott Marting, director of risk management, Palm Beach County BOCC, knows what it’s like to live through a hurricane.

As a risk manager in Florida, Marting said he needed a broker who not only understood the frequency of hurricane events but also the scope of damage that can be done, like property destruction, mold growth, extended loss of power and more.

“We were able this year to increase our wind cover and drive down our deductible,” said Marting.

And it was Power Broker® Judith Arenz who was instrumental in that process. She increased wind cover from $80 million to $115 million in the last two years. In 2017, Arenz helped drop Palm Beach County’s deductible from 5 to 4 percent as well.

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“Judy will get the answer. She’ll work closely with us before, during and after a hurricane,” said Marting.

And her talents don’t stop with fixing damaged property; Arenz is also knowledgeable in building towns from scratch.

One client aimed to build an entire community fueled solely by solar power. They needed someone with knowledge of both real estate and the public sector to succeed.

Arenz provided them with utility coverage for wastewater treatment; coverage for retail stores, restaurants, office space and a charter school; a program for waste management; and coverage for a sightseeing vessel for the town’s lakes.

Master of R&W

Allyson Coyne
Managing Director
Aon, Radnor, Pa.

Ashland Global Holdings Inc., was in the middle of an acquisition that represented a significant growth opportunity. As the company moved toward closing on the deal, they realized the seller would not be able to provide protection for breaches of reps and warranties.

In the eleventh hour, Allyson Coyne came through in the clutch.

“She came in late in the process, but she did a great job at reading the room for major concerns,” said Asad Lodhi, director of enterprise risk management and insurance. “Allyson did a terrific job at helping us find the right partners — in this case, an underwriter.”

Coyne was a brand-new face for the Ashland team. With a large, fast-moving transaction on the table, this would appear a daunting task for both broker and client.

But not for Coyne. She hit the ground running, determined to educate her client about a new R&W product that the underwriter was offering and helping to solve policy and coverage issues.

“In a couple weeks, she was able to get us all at a level of comfort and assist in a successful closing” with the R&W product in place, said Lodhi.

Another client had concerns around including reps and warranties coverage at all. The company did not see the value in such a product when it came to M&A opportunities.

But Coyne reviewed the coverage with them and demonstrated how vital it was in the underwriting process. They were convinced, and later put the coverage to use in successfully closing a deal.

Insuring Far and Wide

Katie Crowe, ARM, RIMS-CRMP
Senior Account Specialist
Aon, Washington, D.C.

The Department of Defense deploys people around the world, often in dangerous places. To insure their safety, Kerry H. Walters, director of contracts, finance and administration for engineering consultancy Darkblade Systems, needs defense base act coverage.

And to do that, he turns to Katie Crowe.

“She separated herself from the crowd,” he said. Walters’ old broker believed no one would underwrite the DBA coverage he was seeking because of how risky it was. Another broker found the coverage but at an extremely expensive premium.

Crowe was convinced better solutions existed; she brought down the policy premium from $120,000 to $20,000.

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Another client, Laureate Education Inc., has a global network that spans 25 countries, 70,000 employees and 1 million students at its higher education institutions. Amanda Chittenden is its director of risk management.

Crowe came on board two years ago, a transition Chittenden said was easy because Crowe dove right in.

Laureate was switching to a new database that collected information around its potential risk exposures. While Chittenden worked to get the Laureate team trained with the new system, she saw that she needed a way to reconcile the old data with the new.

“There was no electronic way to do that. Katie went through the data with me, line by line, to view when and where things changed.”

Advocating for the Client

Jessica Govic, CLCS
Area Executive Vice President
Gallagher, Rolling Meadows, Ill.

Lowell Crow, city manager, the City of Freeport, Ill., has worked with Jessica Govic for many years. When he stepped into the city manager role, he brought Govic on board immediately.

“Jessica was able to work with the community. She got on our public risk fund and saved close to $300,000,” he said.

In addition to big savings, Govic showed Freeport she was working for their best interests by acquiring cyber coverage and a $5,400 safety grant.

“She, by far, has the best customer service,” added Crow. “She never tries to sell products to us that we don’t need. She gives us options to go forward and decide.”

Mark Rooney, village manager, Village of Carpentersville, Ill., said Govic goes to bat for his town as well.

“Her team worked to help us find a more service-oriented coverage for workers’ comp,” he explained. “That wasn’t even her area, but she was able to get us an outstanding program. She facilitated that.”

In addition to workers’ comp, Govic helped get Carpentersville’s P&C premiums well below $150,000 in less than one year, and she saved the village $35,000 per year by bringing them on board with Gallagher’s risk management training. Before, said Rooney, the village would use a third party to conduct training programs.

“She’s thorough, professional, responsive, solid, committed and reputable,” said Dane Bragg, village manager, the Village of Buffalo Grove, Ill.

The Man on the Ground

Michael McHugh
Area Senior Executive Vice President
Gallagher, Rolling Meadows, Ill.

Jeff O’Connell and the executive board he is vice-chairman of oversee a 190-school-district pool in the suburbs of Chicago. Michael McHugh is instrumental in getting those schools what they need.

In 2017, O’Connell and the other members decided to put together a presentation on predatory behavior in schools. McHugh did not hesitate to jump in.

“He put the program together in three weeks. He got the legal team together and got us what we needed,” O’Connell said. He added that the best part was McHugh’s willingness to be a part of the training.

“Michael and his support team came out and provided training. He really wanted to be that man on the ground for us.”

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“Michael leads the financial analysis of our co-op on an ongoing basis,” said Ron Chilcote, treasurer, Collective Liability Insurance Cooperative.

For the co-op, a handful of legal firms throughout the state of Illinois vie to be a part of the CLIC legal panel. McHugh, said Chilcote, has a methodology for choosing which firms would best serve the co-op’s needs.

“He is very cognizant of our needs and represents our members, understanding that certain legal firms have different areas of expertise. What I see as Michael’s best attribute is his ability and willingness to mentor others. Michael is not afraid to share his knowledge for others to grow,” Chilcote said.

Analyze, Review, Succeed

Harry Merker
Senior Broker
Aon, New York

“As far as Harry’s knowledge — he is insurance savvy. Property is really his specialty,” said Jennifer Luckern, CEO, Florida Housing Authorities Risk Management Insureds (FHARMI).

Aon’s Harry Merker is the main property broker for FHARMI. Despite the continuously changing nature of the insurance industry, he strives to stay on top of the markets and get his clients what they need when they need it. To perform at a high level, he works to review and change his strategy with the times.

For example, in this last year, Merker was tasked with reviewing the Florida Housing Authorities’ coverages and found a few discrepancies. Altogether, FHARMI had more than $40 million in property coverage, and Merker had to make the coverages consistent and streamlined.

Luckern said Merker is especially fluent in the ins and outs of property markets in the state of Florida, which helped him go above and beyond in the course of “correcting our scope of coverage [and] reviewing the policies that back those coverages.”

Luckern added that Merker has saved them at least $1 million in the last two years they’ve worked with him.

In addition to helping them save big, Luckern knows that Merker stays on top of emerging risks and new products.

If she ever needs cover for flood or cyber or crime or any other exposures not within the authorities’ scope of coverage, she can call Merker, and he will connect her immediately with the right service. 

Finalist:

John Chino
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Irvine, Ca.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Insurtech

Kiss Your Annual Renewal Goodbye; On-Demand Insurance Challenges the Traditional Policy

Gig workers' unique insurance needs drive delivery of on-demand coverage.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 6 min read

The gig economy is growing. Nearly six million Americans, or 3.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, now have “contingent” work arrangements, with a further 10.6 million in categories such as independent contractors, on-call workers or temporary help agency staff and for-contract firms, often with well-known names such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

The number of Americans owning a drone is also increasing — one recent survey suggested as much as one in 12 of the population — sparking vigorous debate on how regulation should apply to where and when the devices operate.

Add to this other 21st century societal changes, such as consumers’ appetite for other electronic gadgets and the advent of autonomous vehicles. It’s clear that the cover offered by the annually renewable traditional insurance policy is often not fit for purpose. Helped by the sophistication of insurance technology, the response has been an expanding range of ‘on-demand’ covers.

The term ‘on-demand’ is open to various interpretations. For Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO of pioneering on-demand insurance platform Trōv, it’s about “giving people agency over the items they own and enabling them to turn on insurance cover whenever they want for whatever they want — often for just a single item.”

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“On-demand represents a whole new behavior and attitude towards insurance, which for years has very much been a case of ‘get it and forget it,’ ” said Walchek.

Trōv’s mobile app enables users to insure just a single item, such as a laptop, whenever they wish and to also select the period of cover required. When ready to buy insurance, they then snap a picture of the sales receipt or product code of the item they want covered.

Welcoming Trōv: A New On-Demand Arrival

While Walchek, who set up Trōv in 2012, stressed it’s a technology company and not an insurance company, it has attracted industry giants such as AXA and Munich Re as partners. Trōv began the U.S. roll-out of its on-demand personal property products this summer by launching in Arizona, having already established itself in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Australia and the UK were great testing grounds, thanks to their single regulatory authorities,” said Walchek. “Trōv is already approved in 45 states, and we expect to complete the process in all by November.

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group.” – Scott Walchek, founding chairman and CEO, Trōv

“On-demand products have a particular appeal to millennials who love the idea of having control via their smart devices and have embraced the concept of an unbundling of experiences: 75 percent of our users are in the 18 to 35 age group,” he added.

“But a mass of tectonic societal shifts is also impacting older generations — on-demand cover fits the new ways in which they work, particularly the ‘untethered’ who aren’t always in the same workplace or using the same device. So we see on-demand going into societal lifestyle changes.”

Wooing Baby Boomers

In addition to its backing for Trōv, across the Atlantic, AXA has partnered with Insurtech start-up By Miles, launching a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy in the UK. The product is promoted as low-cost car insurance for drivers who travel no more than 140 miles per week, or 7,000 miles annually.

“Due to the growing need for these products, companies such as Marmalade — cover for learner drivers — and Cuvva — cover for part-time drivers — have also increased in popularity, and we expect to see more enter the market in the near future,” said AXA UK’s head of telematics, Katy Simpson.

Simpson confirmed that the new products’ initial appeal is to younger motorists, who are more regular users of new technology, while older drivers are warier about sharing too much personal information. However, she expects this to change as on-demand products become more prevalent.

“Looking at mileage-based insurance, such as By Miles specifically, it’s actually older generations who are most likely to save money, as the use of their vehicles tends to decline. Our job is therefore to not only create more customer-centric products but also highlight their benefits to everyone.”

Another Insurtech ready to partner with long-established names is New York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK is working with Legal & General to enter the homeshare insurance market, recently announcing that XL Catlin will use its insurance cloud services platform to create the world’s first on-demand cyber insurance solution.

“For our cyber product, we were looking for a partner on the fintech side, which dovetailed perfectly with what Slice was trying to do,” said John Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber insurance team.

“The premise of selling cyber insurance to small businesses needs a platform such as that provided by Slice — we can get to customers in a discrete, seamless manner, and the partnership offers potential to open up other products.”

Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added: “You can roll up on-demand cover in many different areas, ranging from contract workers to vacation rentals.

“The next leap forward will be provided by the new economy, which will create a range of new risks for on-demand insurance to respond to. McKinsey forecasts that by 2025, ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global premium revenue.

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“When you’re a start-up, you can innovate and question long-held assumptions, but you don’t have the scale that an insurer can provide,” said Attia. “Our platform works well in getting new products out to the market and is scalable.”

Slice Labs is now reviewing the emerging markets, which aren’t hampered by “old, outdated infrastructures,” and plans to test the water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.

Collaboration Vs Competition

Insurtech-insurer collaborations suggest that the industry noted the banking sector’s experience, which names the tech disruptors before deciding partnerships, made greater sense commercially.

“It’s an interesting correlation,” said Slice’s managing director for marketing, Emily Kosick.

“I believe the trend worth calling out is that the window for insurers to innovate is much shorter, thanks to the banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile devices and, more recently, intelligent assistants like Alexa for personal banking.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.”

As with fintechs in banking, Insurtechs initially focused on the retail segment, with 75 percent of business in personal lines and the remainder in the commercial segment.

“Banks have bought into the value of these technology partnerships but had the benefit of consumer expectations changing slowly with them. This compares to insurers who are in an ever-increasing on-demand world where the risk is high for laggards to be left behind.” — Emily Kosick, managing director, marketing, Slice

Those proportions may be set to change, with innovations such as digital commercial insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent launch of the first digital D&O liability insurance policy, designed for venture capital-backed tech start-ups and reinsured by Munich Re.

Embroker said coverage that formerly took weeks to obtain is now available instantly.

“We focus on three main issues in developing new digital business — what is the customer’s pain point, what is the expense ratio and does it lend itself to algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is another obvious class of insurance that can benefit from this approach.”

Jason Griswold, co-founder and chief operating officer of Insurtech REIN, highlighted further opportunities: “I’d add a third category to personal and business lines and that’s business-to-business-to-consumer. It’s there we see the biggest opportunities for partnering with major ecosystems generating large numbers of insureds and also big volumes of data.”

For now, insurers are accommodating Insurtech disruption. Will that change?

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“Insurtechs have focused on products that regulators can understand easily and for which there is clear existing legislation, with consumer protection and insurer solvency the two issues of paramount importance,” noted Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law firm Akin Gump.

“In time, we could see the disruptors partner with reinsurers rather than primary carriers. Another possibility is the likes of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with their massive balance sheets, deciding to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.

“You can imagine one of them finding a good Insurtech and buying it, much as Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave it entry into the retail sector.” &

Graham Buck is a UK-based writer and has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since 1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.