2018 Power Broker

Real Estate

Moving with Confidence

Caitlin Costello
Senior Vice President
Marsh, New York

When a large real estate client with a $26 billion portfolio came to Caitlin Costello at the end of their tether with their insurer’s service, she knew exactly what to do. After marketing the program and meeting with potential carriers, Costello was able to move the business to a new provider that specialized in real estate.

In the process, she also helped the company save $450,000 on its primary cover and an additional $150,000 on its umbrella and excess tower coverage, while securing enhanced program structure terms and conditions.

“Caitlin worked with confidence to determine and recommend a new commercial insurer with appropriate pricing, coverage and very robust claims handling support that was long overdue for the account,” said the client. “She remains an integral part to the year-round service and claims management processes.”


Costello helped save another client more than $1 million annually on their workers’ compensation program after marketing it for the first time in 15 years.

Brennan Shaffner, vice president, J.P. Morgan, said Costello’s key strength is her depth of knowledge and understanding of the business.

“Along with her deep technical expertise, she has a thorough understanding of the business and knows the priorities we want to achieve. At renewal, for example, she always starts the process early, putting me in front of the relevant carriers, so that we can secure the best coverage, as well as personally being a great sounding board for me.”


Alexandra Glickman
Managing Director
Gallagher, Glendale, Calif.

To her clients, Alexandra Glickman is nothing short of a miracle worker.

When a publicly traded real estate investment trust with a market capitalization of around $2.5 billion and 18 million square feet of properties on its books realized it needed earthquake coverage to be compliant and competitive, it turned to just about every major brokerage you can imagine with no success.

That was until Glickman, Gallagher’s managing director of real estate and hospitality services, stepped into the fray, asking to meet with Rexford Industrial Realty’s CEO, CFO and general counsel to present a solution.

After the company agreed to meet directly with the markets and tell their story, she was able to develop a property program that met its requirements with manuscripted terms and conditions at a competitive rate.

General counsel David Lanzer said: “Alexandra was the only one that was able to help us figure out how to include earthquake in our insurance program at a price within our budget that still gave us comprehensive coverage.

“She has proved to be an exceptional broker for us — she responds to every question I have within the hour, has the contacts and is extremely knowledgeable and accessible despite her senior position at Gallagher.”

Another client, Eric Diamond, chief operating officer, ACF Property Management, said: “I have yet to meet an insurance professional who is more knowledgeable about the industry, more focused on meeting the client’s particular needs or more willing to explain why the recommended product is best suited to the client.”

The Ultimate Professional

Andrew Krantz, ARM
Vice President
York International Agency, Harrison, N.Y.

Real estate has been in Andrew Krantz’s blood from an early age.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Krantz is the third generation to work at the family business, York International Agency, a New York-based boutique insurance agency.

Among his biggest achievements over the last year has been placing a residential real estate company’s first master environmental policy and crafting specific manuscript language for another client to protect it against lawsuits brought by minority investors.

One client said: “Andrew and his family have been around real estate for a long time, and he has tremendous knowledge of the industry. He has spent a lot of time learning his craft and therefore is able to deliver the best results to the client.”


Another client concurred: “Andrew Krantz has been the ultimate professional. He routinely goes above and beyond to ensure that our large real estate portfolio not only has the right coverage and risk management protocols, but that any and all of our needs are handled with the utmost efficiency and expediency.”

Added yet another client, “Andrew came into the office and collected all of the information that he needed to put our real estate portfolio together under one policy and beat the incumbent’s quote by 25 percent.

“He’s extremely responsive and efficient in what he does — I wouldn’t know what to do without him.”

Complications Ironed Out

Michael Lettin ARM
Vice President
Aon, Denver

Dealing with complex claims and insurance programs is all in a day’s work for Aon’s Michael Lettin.

When a global chemicals firm suffered a shortage of raw materials from its third-party suppliers because of U.S. hurricanes, it filed a force majeure claim with its property carrier.

The claim was complex, involving several of the company’s U.S. entities, third parties and causes of damage and delays.

Lettin played a key role in overseeing the ongoing claim’s progress, sitting in on every call with the carrier and the company’s business team and giving advice at every stage.

Kerri Hennessy, corporate paralegal and global insurance manager, Innospec Fuel Specialties, said “This is by far the most complicated claim I have worked on, and it has been overwhelming at times.

“Mike has been instrumental in helping me navigate the complexities of this claim and has been available and involved throughout every step of the process.”

Another client had recently acquired three large manufacturing facilities in Europe that carried a $5 million deductible for all other peril (AOP) losses —substantially higher than the client’s current $250,000 AOP deductible structure.

Lettin proposed that its carrier, FM Global, review all the historical engineering reports for the facilities and provide recommendations for risk improvements they would like to see completed at the sites.

Thanks to Lettin, FM Global agreed to the proposal, and the deductible was reduced to $250,000 on the condition that the client agreed to carry out the improvements.

M&A Mastery

Blake Giannisis
Director, U.S. Property Broking
Aon, New York

When AOL merged with Yahoo in June forming a new company called Oath, Aon’s Blake Giannisis, director of U.S. property broking, was called in to assess each of the former companies’ property programs, alongside parent Verizon’s policy, and decide on the best solution.

After extensive work with AOL and its carrier FM Global, he came up with a robust and competitive program for all parties, with Verizon ultimately deciding to combine all of the policies under its master program.

Oath’s director of insurance and risk management Nancy Perkins said, “Both companies were separately insuring their real estate risks under very different and complex programs, and Blake was instrumental in evaluating each one and making a recommendation about what we should do.

“After reviewing the various programs, he felt it was in everyone’s best interests to combine the policies and that’s what we did.”


Giannisis also enabled Verizon and its real estate investor Magnum to achieve a third consecutive year of double-digit rate decreases on its luxury residential tower at 140 West Street in lower Manhattan — a notoriously tricky address to insure because of its flood and terrorism exposures.

“The building was damaged in 9/11 and flooded during Superstorm Sandy, so it’s always been a tough one to insure, but to Blake’s credit he has always been able to come up with the goods and get us the best quotes available,” said risk manager Josh Dean.

The Calm Amid the Storms

Justin Dove
Area Vice President
Gallagher, San Francisco

When Holliday Development saw its 105-unit apartment building in San Francisco Bay burn to the ground — not once but twice — during construction, it was faced with a complex claim totaling almost $20 million.

Gallagher’s Justin Dove stepped in immediately.

“The amount of time and energy we have spent in working through an extremely complex claim at the same time as keeping all our lenders and partners happy has been immense,” said Kevin Brown, partner at Holliday.

“Luckily we had Justin on our side — he leapt into action at 4:30 a.m. when the initial fire happened and came over to calmly walk us through our coverage and what we could claim on.”

Dove also helped another client, Burrard Development, negotiate an architect and general contractor agreement and loan documents for a $200 million high-rise condominium project in Seattle, crafting bespoke contract language and placing a detailed and robust program.

Another client, Mark Hutter, construction manager at BUILD, for whom Dove provided pricing projections and a contract review for a $60 million project in San Francisco, said, “Justin understands the time-sensitive nature of providing insurance products to our real estate transactions and has, on many occasions, made himself available while on vacation to keep the ball moving.

“His deep understanding of both the insurance business and the real estate industry allow him to provide excellent advice on any number of situations and available products.”


Deepa Cook
Senior Vice President
Alliant Insurance Services, Troy, Mich.

Shane Hogan
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

Phil Masi
Senior Vice President
AssuredPartners, Lake Mary, Fla.

Katherine Santarelli
Real Estate Practice Leader
RCM&D, Towson, Md.


More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance


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.”


“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.


“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?


“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.