2017 Power Broker

Rising Stars Earn a Seat at The Table

The 2017 Power Broker® Rising Stars are already shaping the future of the insurance industry.
By: | March 3, 2017 • 7 min read

See the complete list of 2017 Power Broker® Rising Stars.

Marcus Henthorn became an insurance broker the way many have for generations. A successful family member sat him down while he was still in high school to encourage him to consider the opportunities.

Sponsored by




He took the advice and interned with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in his final two summers of college. Then, he joined the brokerage giant full time after graduation. He’s worked there ever since.

Today, at 32, he is area assistant vice president managing public sector accounts.

Henthorn’s steady dedication earned him a spot on our 2017 Power Broker® “Rising Stars” list along with 71 other insurance professionals. Rising Stars are Power Broker® winners or finalists who are under the age 40.

Since the launch of this category in 2009, more than 325 brokers under 40 received the Rising Star designation. The average age of the designees on this year’s list is 33.

This year’s list includes players in the industry who are reshaping the job and the future. Since the launch of this category in 2009, more than 325 brokers under 40 received the Rising Star designation. The average age of the designees on this year’s list is 33.

Rising Stars rely more on data to better understand the root cause of their clients’ problems — and to find the most creative solutions. They are available around the clock. They operate in terms of minutes, hours, days. Not weeks or months.

Today’s Rising Stars think on a global scale.

And they are part prognosticator, always anticipating a problem before it actually becomes a problem.

They share common traits: a love of solving problems and a willingness to take an unconventional path to secure a great solution for a client.

Overall, this is an exciting group of tech-savvy helpers who know innovation gives them an edge over the competition and they aren’t afraid to take chances.

However they came to their career — a suggestion from a family friend, a “happy accident,” seizing the opportunity to work alongside celebrities and movie-makers — they are the insurance executives of tomorrow. This group of leaders should dispel worries and whispers about a graying industry.

After years of focused recruiting efforts, brokerages are tilling a deep bench and they support these up-and-coming brokers however they can.

“There’s lots of opportunity to be very successful and spend your whole career in insurance,” said Kathleen Battle, vice president of talent acquisition at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. “If you have empathy, a competitive spirit, and have discipline and drive, you’ll find there’s unlimited income potential.”

Seth Cohen, vice president, HUB International

Seth Cohen is a 33-year-old Power Broker® in the entertainment sector. As a vice president at HUB International, he helps insure the cast, stunt people, filmmakers and business lines in Hollywood.

He thrives in the challenging fast-paced environment.

“I’m not front and center; I’m behind the scenes helping,” he said. “I get to work with a wide range of people. That to me is exciting.

“Everything is immediate,” he said. “With technology, there’s an expectation of constantly assessing the exposure to find a proper solution on a timely basis.

“It’s important to be flexible.” Cohen said. “As things evolve, we evolve with it.”

This generation thinks more broadly, too.

Duncan Milne, 34, a senior broker for the public sector, joined Aon nine years ago in his native United Kingdom.

Eventually, he took an opportunity at Aon to move to New York, where he is based today.

“Insurance in general is becoming more globalized,” Milne said. “We are seeing our clients seek more global solutions.

“I enjoy problem solving and take great pride in the results that we deliver,” Milne said.

Brokerages bring new talent on board and support their success with coaching, mentoring, learning and development programs.

“We create a community around our new producers to help retain them, especially if they come from out of industry, as they need time to learn the insurance side,” Battle said.

“The attraction and the retention has to be there in order for this to be successful.”

Henthorn learned about Gallagher through his summer internship and now he’s a mentor for college students. He can easily tick off the career benefits to being an insurance broker.

Sponsored by




“Many of my friends work in technology. It’s perceived to be a sexier industry and millennials think that’s where they need to be,” Henthorn said.

“What they are missing is the insurance industry is dominated by baby boomers on the tail end of their careers,” he said.

“There are large portfolios controlled by these individuals that will need to be filled by younger generations; that’s where we come in.”

As these opportunities open up, Henthorn uses big data and technology to maneuver past his competition and secure new client deals.

“Times are changing, data is driving the industry right now,” Henthorn said. “When leveraged effectively, data can provide an incredible competitive advantage that allows us to better serve our clients.”

Henthorn comes to negotiations armed with benchmarks he’s created using data compiled by tracking information provided by Gallagher clients.

“When you utilize data effectively, you can often anticipate issues before they arise. I try to look for new and innovative ways to take my clients to the next level and be ahead of these issues,” Henthorn said.

“If you’re ahead of the issues, you’re ahead of the competition. You’re doing something right.”

Kristina Marcigliano, senior account executive, DeWitt Stern

Data is an enormous benefit to the insurance industry, Milne said. Brokers and insurance companies need to keep up-to-date with technology and make investments to stay ahead, Milne said.

Kristina Marcigliano, 28, senior account executive at DeWitt Stern, “learned the business backwards in,” having started on the claims side.

“I think that helped me to be a better broker and learn how to build better coverage for my client, because I’m always thinking of the worst-case scenario,” Marcigliano said

She is grateful for the way she stumbled into her insurance broker career. Today she’s a fine arts broker.

“It was kind of a happy accident,” Marcigliano said. “I got started because of my love of history, working for a firm that insured historical stamps and collectible coins. I couldn’t be happier with the path I took. I love my job. The people I work with make it even better.”

Marcigliano said she gets great satisfaction when she sees the insurance product that she built and placed for her client “truly respond and make them whole again.”

Like Marcigliano, Laura Decker, 27, turned her passion into a brokerage career. She studied environmental science in college and then set her sights on finding a job in a similar field after college.

Associates in her business network recommended she pursue insurance.

Today, she’s an associate director at Aon Risk Solutions’s environmental services group.

“I think in general that there is a lot of opportunity in the field because risk continues to evolve,” Decker said. “As we try to keep up with the way risk is evolving and new liabilities, the opportunity continues to grow.

“When the general public thinks of insurance, they think of personal lines like auto and health insurance,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think people see it in the most positive way because it seems like an extra expense.”

Decker sees a lot of great things about working as a broker.

Her job, in particular, allows for companies to grow.  She gains great satisfaction from seeing a business complete a large acquisition or merger after they’ve been able to place insurance and gain lender approval to move forward with a deal.

Sponsored by




“Insurance leads to a lot of growth in business and in the construction industry overall,” Decker said. “It’s something people don’t necessarily think of when they see companies growing and they see new infrastructure projects across the nation.”

Decker thrives at Aon because every day brings something different her way. Her role is expanding too.

Increasingly, clients are relying on their broker for more than insurance solutions — they perceive them as an integral part of their organization’s risk management team.

“As brokers, we are becoming more and more like risk management advisers and consultants, and there is greater need to understand company changes and objectives.

“Every day is different, it’s not just a repetitive motion that you go through and you get the same result every time,” Decker said.

“The challenge of each risk being different and the market always changing in conjunction with that, it keeps things exciting.” &

Juliann Walsh is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Cyber Liability

Fresh Worries for Boards of Directors

New cyber security regulations increase exposure for directors and officers at financial institutions.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 6 min read

Boards of directors could face a fresh wave of directors and officers (D&O) claims following the introduction of tough new cybersecurity rules for financial institutions by The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Advertisement




Prompted by recent high profile cyber attacks on JPMorgan Chase, Sony, Target, and others, the state regulations are the first of their kind and went into effect on March 1.

The new rules require banks, insurers and other financial institutions to establish an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program and adopt a written policy that must be reviewed by the board and approved by a senior officer annually.

The regulation also requires the more than 3,000 financial services firms operating in the state to appoint a chief information security officer to oversee the program, to report possible breaches within 72 hours, and to ensure that third-party vendors meet the new standards.

Companies will have until September 1 to comply with most of the new requirements, and beginning February 15, 2018, they will have to submit an annual certification of compliance.

The responsibility for cybersecurity will now fall squarely on the board and senior management actively overseeing the entity’s overall program. Some experts fear that the D&O insurance market is far from prepared to absorb this risk.

“The new rules could raise compliance risks for financial institutions and, in turn, premiums and loss potential for D&O insurance underwriters,” warned Fitch Ratings in a statement. “If management and directors of financial institutions that experience future cyber incidents are subsequently found to be noncompliant with the New York regulations, then they will be more exposed to litigation that would be covered under professional liability policies.”

D&O Challenge

Judy Selby, managing director in BDO Consulting’s technology advisory services practice, said that while many directors and officers rely on a CISO to deal with cybersecurity, under the new rules the buck stops with the board.

“The common refrain I hear from directors and officers is ‘we have a great IT guy or CIO,’ and while it’s important to have them in place, as the board, they are ultimately responsible for cybersecurity oversight,” she said.

William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting, Argo Pro

William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting at Argo Pro, said that unknown cyber threats, untested policy language and developing case laws would all make it more difficult for the D&O market to respond accurately to any such new claims.

“Insurers will need to account for the increased exposures presented by these new regulations and charge appropriately for such added exposure,” he said.

Going forward, said Larry Hamilton, partner at Mayer Brown, D&O underwriters also need to scrutinize a company’s compliance with the regulations.

“To the extent that this risk was not adequately taken into account in the first place in the underwriting of in-force D&O policies, there could be unanticipated additional exposure for the D&O insurers,” he said.

Michelle Lopilato, Hub International’s director of cyber and technology solutions, added that some carriers may offer more coverage, while others may pull back.

“How the markets react will evolve as we see how involved the department becomes in investigating and fining financial institutions for noncompliance and its result on the balance sheet and dividends,” she said.

Christopher Keegan, senior managing director at Beecher Carlson, said that by setting a benchmark, the new rules would make it easier for claimants to make a case that the company had been negligent.

“If stock prices drop, then this makes it easier for class action lawyers to make their cases in D&O situations,” he said. “As a result, D&O carriers may see an uptick in cases against their insureds and an easier path for plaintiffs to show that the company did not meet its duty of care.”

Advertisement




One area that regulators and plaintiffs might seize upon is the certification compliance requirement, according to Rob Yellen, executive vice president, D&O and fiduciary liability product leader, FINEX at Willis Towers Watson.

“A mere inaccuracy in a certification could result in criminal enforcement, in which case it would then become a boardroom issue,” he said.

A big grey area, however, said Shiraz Saeed, national practice leader for cyber risk at Starr Companies, is determining if a violation is a cyber or management liability issue in the first place.

“The complication arises when a company only has D&O coverage, but it doesn’t have a cyber policy and then they have to try and push all the claims down the D&O route, irrespective of their nature,” he said.

“Insurers, on their part, will need to account for the increased exposures presented by these new regulations and charge appropriately for such added exposure.” — William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting, Argo Pro

Jim McCue, managing director at Aon’s financial services group, said many small and mid-size businesses may struggle to comply with the new rules in time.

“It’s going to be a steep learning curve and a lot of work in terms of preparedness and the implementation of a highly detailed cyber security program, risk assessment and response plan, all by September 2017,” he said.

The new regulation also has the potential to impact third parties including accounting, law, IT and even maintenance and repair firms who have access to a company’s information systems and personal data, said Keegan.

“That can include everyone from IT vendors to the people who maintain the building’s air conditioning,” he said.

New Models

Others have followed New York’s lead, with similar regulations being considered across federal, state and non-governmental regulators.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Cyber-security Taskforce has proposed an insurance data security model law that establishes exclusive standards for data security and investigation, and notification of a breach of data security for insurance providers.

Once enacted, each state would be free to adopt the new law, however, “our main concern is if regulators in different states start to adopt different standards from each other,” said Alex Hageli, director, personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“It would only serve to make compliance harder, increase the cost of burden on companies, and at the end of the day it doesn’t really help anybody.”

Advertisement




Richard Morris, partner at law firm Herrick, Feinstein LLP, said companies need to review their current cybersecurity program with their chief technology officer or IT provider.

“Companies should assess whether their current technology budget is adequate and consider what investments will be required in 2017 to keep up with regulatory and market expectations,” he said. “They should also review and assess the adequacy of insurance policies with respect to coverages, deductibles and other limitations.”

Adam Hamm, former NAIC chair and MD of Protiviti’s risk and compliance practice, added: “With New York’s new cyber regulation, this is a sea change from where we were a couple of years ago and it’s soon going to become the new norm for regulating cyber security.” &

Alex Wright is a U.K.-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected]