A Key Innovator
One of Robert Colburn’s clients faced challenges with the historic renovation of some of its buildings and the purchase of vacant distressed properties. Colburn was able to create and negotiate a program with the carriers to successfully mitigate the risks and costs across the entire portfolio.
Another developer, owner and property manager just recapitalized a high-rise office property with extensive catastrophe exposure and a high total insurable value. The lender imposed a new set of loan and insurance terms including high limits for flood and wind coverage. But because capacity wasn’t readily available in the traditional marketplace, Colburn had to go directly to the carrier’s top management to obtain the necessary limits to meet the lender’s requirements.
“Even while on a family vacation in a different time zone, Robert accommodated several conference calls, which is a clear example of dedication,” said his client, William Gilbert, vice president and corporate controller at REDICO Management.
For another client, he leveraged his relationship with a carrier to create a stand-alone property program with comparable terms to its historic master global property program run by its joint venture partner. He was able to negotiate significant savings on the property rate and lower the attachment point in line with the client’s risk tolerance.
“Once Robert has the ball on something, I don’t need to worry about whether it gets done — I know it will,” said his client.
Man of Many Talents
When one of Michael Feinberg’s clients was left without a competitive policy for its multi-building phased development project, Feinberg was quick to act.
Designing an $80 million-limit residential builder’s risk coverage in a secondary market policy form, he was able to achieve best-in-class coverage terms as well as a lower price and more favorable security terms than quoted by the incumbent.
Another client suffered fire damage to a $500,000 HVAC chiller at one of its properties in South Carolina, but the insurers were only willing to replace the control board with a retrofit model. When the client insisted that a new chiller was the only way to ensure proper HVAC operation, Feinberg spent more than six months advocating to 11 insurers and received a $530,000 payment to replace the chiller.
In another case, he redesigned a large residential real estate client’s property insurance placement after the incumbent declined to renew after substantial flood losses.
Feinberg successfully procured the same coverage at a lower rate, including a $20 million flood aggregate with a $10 million aggregate in high hazard to meet the lender’s requirements.
“Mike has a personal feeling for every loss — he treats it like it’s his own,” said his client Edward J. Easton, owner of the Easton Group. “He’s extremely professional and highly responsive to everything that we do to meet our insurance needs.”
A Force of Nature
Starting a multimillion dollar five-star destination resort from scratch is never easy. Risks to consider include potential business interruption due to offshore pollution and contingent business interruption for shipments of one-of-a-kind materials.
That’s not to mention the decision to go with owner controlled or contractor controlled insurance programs.
That was the challenge facing Alexandra Glickman when her client Caruso Affiliated announced a new California coast development.
Having gone out to about 30 markets, she came up with a comprehensive and highly manuscripted insurance and risk-financing program that satisfied all parties’ needs.
She also put together a liability and property insurance program for a real estate investment trust that runs an incubator for startups in its properties across the country.
“To be able to structure a deal that protected not only our interests and the interests of the landlord, but also to provide the startups with a simple license solution was a big win for us, both in terms of coverage and cost,” said her client.
“Alexandra is a force of nature — she’s probably one of the best brokers on the West Coast, if not in the country.”
Another client said: “Alexandra sets the tone immediately in familiarizing her clients with delivery expectations, given her real estate knowledge and stellar relationships with the insurance markets and professional networks.”
‘He’s That Good’
Mike Gong discovered that a self-storage client was paying far more than necessary for flood insurance. Working closely with the client and a risk management company specializing in flood risk, Gong proved that the majority of the client’s buildings weren’t in a flood zone, and convinced the client’s lender to amend its insurance requirement, saving the client 80 percent on its flood insurance premiums.
“Mike understands how our business works and is quick to resolve issues that arise from time to time,” said Charlie Fritts, COO for Storage Investment Management. “Because of his extensive experience he knows many of the underwriters whom he will contact personally when he feels he can make a good argument for a lower rate.”
He has also come up with a solution for self-storage clients whose properties don’t conform to local zoning laws, which enables them to rebuild their real estate asset and indemnifies against losses.
“Mike’s key strengths are his knowledge and customer service,” said another client, Terry Aston, vice president at Carlo Development Co.
“I just send something to him and I never even have to think about it again — he’s that good.”
Another client said: “I have dealt with many brokers and agents during my time but Mike is up there with the best.”
Taking It to the Next Level
When one of Tony Lorber’s clients told him it wanted to purchase earthquake insurance on its large portfolio of properties, it was time to put his thinking cap on.
Leveraging the use of earthquake models and analytics as well as his knowledge of the market, he quickly identified specific criteria where the client didn’t need to buy cover on all of its properties, on a program the client admits is difficult to insure.
This allowed the client to maximize the amount of coverage it could purchase at the best value. Last year, his client asked him to develop a new methodology that would significantly increase the number of properties included without a rise in premium.
He was able to achieve this by looking at every building on a case-by-case basis and then utilized his contacts to find the best carriers.
In another case, he recommended that his client could take greater control of its general liability losses if it had a larger retention, while also providing cost savings.
He took about six months to finally convince the carrier that this approach made sense for his client and how it could implement this practice going forward.
“Tony is probably the most experienced and knowledgeable broker that I have ever worked with,” said Shanna Berrien, director of risk and insurance at CWS Capital Partners.
Another client said: “Tony just takes broking to a new level with his unique approach, hard work and dedication, meaning that he always exceeds our expectations.”
The One to Rely on for Complex Projects
When real estate development company BH3 Management decided to build a $200 million-plus ultra-luxury condominium project on Miami’s last private island, they turned to Fred Zutel.
He managed to secure an extremely competitive program, reducing the projected premium spend by more than $1.5 million, while leveraging analytics to negotiate insurance requirements with the lender and optimizing the builder’s risk program.
For another developer working on a condo project of similar size, he structured a unique surety program that saved millions and significantly reduced overall exposure.
Rocco Carlucci, director of risk management at Property Markets Group, for whom Zutel designed a new program, said: “Over the course of the 11 months that we worked together, Fred has brought to light issues that previously existed that we were then able to address at renewal, as well as to make sure that we are adhering to industry best practice.
“Fred has gone out of his way time and time again to make sure I understand what we’re discussing and why it’s important. He’s taken the time to make me feel comfortable with the options presented and in determining what solution works best.”
Another developer client said: “Fred has always provided exceptional customer service.
“He is extremely responsive and has a quick turnaround. He always delivers when or before he says he will.”