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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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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

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Pharma Under Fire

Opioids Give Rise to Liability Epidemic

Opioids were supposed to help. Instead, their addictive power harmed many, and calls for accountability are broadening.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 8 min read

The opioid epidemic devastated families and flattened entire communities.

The Yale School of Medicine estimates that deaths are nearly doubling annually: “Between 2015 and 2016, drug overdose deaths went from 33,095 to 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States. That number is expected to continue unabated for the next   several years.”

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That’s roughly 160 deaths every day — and it’s a count that’s increasing daily.

In addition to deaths, the number of Americans struggling with an opioid disorder disease (the official name for opioid addiction) is staggering.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 2 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and roughly one-third of those people will “graduate” to heroin addiction.

Conversely, 80 percent of heroin addicts became addicted to opioids after being prescribed opioids.

As if the human toll wasn’t devastating enough, NIDA estimates that addiction costs reach “$78.5 billion a year, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”

Shep Tapasak, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers

With numbers like that, families are not the only ones left picking up the pieces. Municipalities, states, and the federal government are strained with heavy demand for social services and crushing expenditures related to opioid addiction.

Despite the amount of money being spent, services are inadequate and too short in duration. Wait times are so long that some people literally die waiting.

Public sector leaders saw firsthand the range and potency of the epidemic, and were among the first to seek a legal reckoning with the manufacturers of  synthetic painkillers.

Seeking redress for their financial burden, some municipalities, states and the federal government filed lawsuits against big pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers. To date, there are more than 100 lawsuits on court dockets.

States such as Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Arkansas have been hit hard by the epidemic. In Arkansas alone, 72 counties, 15 cities, and the state filed suit, naming 65 defendants. In Pennsylvania, 16 counties, Philadelphia, and Commonwealth officials have filed lawsuits.

Forty one states also have banded together to subpoena information from some drug manufacturers.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, recently told reporters that the banded effort seeks to “change corporate behavior, so that the industry can no longer do what I think it’s been doing, which is turning a blind eye to the effects of dumping these drugs in the communities.”

The volume of legal actions is growing, and some of the Federal cases have been bound together in what is called multidistrict litigation (MDL). These cases will be heard by a judge in Ohio. Plaintiffs hope for a settlement that will provide funding to be used to help thwart the opioid epidemic.

“From a societal perspective, this is obviously a big and impactful issue,”  said Jim George,  a managing director and global claims head with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “A lot of people are suffering in connection with this, and it won’t go away anytime soon.

“Insurance, especially those in liability, will be addressing this for a long time. This has been building over five or six years, and we are just now seeing the beginning stages of liability suits.” 

Basis for Lawsuits

The lawsuits filed to date are based on allegations concerning: What pharma knew or didn’t know; what it should have known; failure to monitor size and frequency of opioid orders, misrepresentation in marketing about the addictive nature of opioids; and false financial disclosures.

Opioid manufacturers, distributors and large drugstore chains together represent a $13 billion-a-year industry, meaning the stakes are high, and the pockets deep. Many have compared these lawsuits to the tobacco suits of the ’90s.

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But even that comparison may pale. As difficult as it is to quit smoking, that process is less arduous than the excruciating and often impossible-to-overcome opioid addiction.

Francis Collins, a physician-geneticist who heads the National Institutes of Health, said in a recorded session with the Washington Post: “One really needs to understand the diabolical way that this particular set of compounds rewires the brain in order to appreciate how those who become addicted really are in a circumstance where they can no more [by their own free will] get rid of the addiction than they can get free of needing to eat or drink.”

“Pharma and its supply chain need to know that this is here now. It’s not emerging, it’s here, and it’s being tried. It is a present risk.” — Nancy Bewlay, global chief underwriting officer for casualty, XL Catlin

The addiction creates an absolutely compelling drive that will cause people to do things against any measure of good judgment, said Collins, but the need to do them is “overwhelming.”

Documented knowledge of that chemistry could be devastating to insureds.

“It’s about what big pharma knew — or should have known.  A key allegation is that opioids were aggressively marketed as the clear answer or miracle cure for pain,” said Shep Tapasak, managing principal, Integro Insurance Brokers.

These cases, Tapasak said, have the potential to be severe. “This type of litigation boils down to a “profits over people” strategy, which historically has resonated with juries.”

Broadening Liability

As suits progress, all sides will be waiting and watching to see what case law stems from them. In the meantime, insurance watchers are predicting that the scope of these suits will broaden to include other players in the supply chain including manufacturers, distribution services, retail pharmacies, hospitals, physician practices, clinics, clinical laboratories and marketing agencies.

Litigation is, to some extent, about who can pay. In these cases, there are several places along the distribution chain where plaintiffs will seek relief.

Nancy Bewlay, global chief underwriting officer for casualty, XL Catlin

Nancy Bewlay, XL Catlin’s global chief underwriting officer for casualty, said that insurers and their insureds need to pay close attention to this trend.

“Pharma and its supply chain need to know that this is here now. It’s not emerging, it’s here, and it’s being tried. It is a present risk,” she said.

“We, as insurers who identify emerging risks, have to communicate to clients. We like to be on the forefront and, if we can, positively influence the outcome for our clients in terms of getting ahead of their risks.”

In addition to all aspects of the distribution chain, plaintiffs could launch suits against directors and officers based on allegations that they are ultimately responsible for what the company knew or should have known, or that they misrepresented their products or signed off on misleading financial statements.

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Shareholders, too, could take aim at directors and officers for loss of profits or misleading statements related to litigation.

Civil litigation could pave the way, in some specific instances, for criminal charges. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who in 2015 became the first state attorney general to file suit against a prescription drug maker, has been quoted as saying that if evidence in civil suits points to criminal behavior, he won’t hesitate to file those charges as well.

Governing, a publication for municipalities and states, quoted Hood in late 2017 as saying, “If we get into those emails, and executives are in the chain knowing what they’ve unleashed on the American public, I’m going to kick it over to a criminal lawsuit. I’ve been to too many funerals.”

Insurers and insureds can act now to get ahead of this rising wave of liability.

It may be appropriate to conduct a review of policy underwriting and pricing. XL Catlin’s Bewlay said, “We are not writing as if everyone is a pharma manufacturer. Our perception of what is happening is that everyone is being held accountable as if they are the manufacturer.

“The reality is that when insurers look at the pharma industry and each part of the supply chain, including the pharma companies, those in the chain of distribution, transportation, sales, marketing and retail, there are different considerations and different liabilities for each. This could change the underwriting and affect pricing.”

Bewlay also suggests focusing on communications between claims teams and underwriters and keeping a strong line of communication open with insureds, too.

“We are here to partner with insureds, and we talk to them and advise them about this crisis. We encourage them to talk about it with their risk managers.”

Tapasak from Integro encourages insureds to educate themselves and be a part of the solution. “The laws are evolving,” he said. “Make absolutely certain you know your respective state laws. It’s not enough to know about the crisis, you must know the trends. Be part of the solution and get as much education as possible.

“Most states have ASHRM chapters that are helping their members to stay current on both passed and pending legislation. Health care facilities and providers want to do the right thing and get educated. And at the same time, there will likely be an uptick in frivolous claims, so it’s important to defend the claims that are defensible.”

Social Service Risk

In addition to supply chain concerns, insurers and insureds are concerned that even those whose mission it is to help could be at risk.

Hailed as a lifesaver, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug Naloxone, can be administered to someone who is overdosing on opioids.  Naloxone prevents overdose by blocking opioid receptor sites and reversing the effects of the overdose.

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Some industry experts are concerned that police and emergency responders could incur liability after administering Naloxone.

But according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “From a legal standpoint, it would be extremely difficult to win a lawsuit against an officer who administers Naloxone in good faith and in the course of employment. … Such immunity applies to … other professional responders.”

Especially hard hit are foster care agencies, both by increased child placements and stretched budgets. More details in our related coverage.

While the number of suits is growing and their aim broadening, experts think that some good will come of the litigation. Settlements will fund services for the addicted and opioid risk awareness is higher than ever. &

Mercedes Ott is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]