2018 Power Broker

Technology

Next-Level Solutions

Carol Beeley
Vice President
Aon, Denver

Large multinationals with complex risks know Carol Beeley has the experience and savvy to handle their considerable needs, and the ingenuity to craft innovative solutions.

For a top global tech company, Beeley helped craft a solution to address the rapidly shifting exposures related to the company’s cloud-based and mobile offerings.

One key concern was temporary disruption of services — a loss scenario commonly excluded by standard policy language and triggers. Beeley created a first-of-its-kind hybrid coverage trigger that gave the company far better protection.

A company executive credits Beeley’s strong relationship with the lead market as a key factor in her ability to secure buy-in for the unique coverage.

For a global manufacturing client, Beeley put fresh eyes on its existing programs and formulated a plan to help achieve the company’s goal of streamlining its political risk and terrorism programs.

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The streamlined combined policy initially provided practically the same coverage while eliminating excess premium.

Subsequent negotiations allowed the company to re-gain coverage enhancements formerly contained in its standalone terrorism policy, allowing for cancellation of the separate terrorism cover completely.

After achieving similar gains for a multinational agribusiness client, Beeley incorporated currency-related losses into the program for no additional premium.

Beeley is a master at “piecing together the puzzle and making it work,” said the head of the company’s global insurance program.

Providing What Clients Need to Succeed

Megan Bell
Account Executive
Aon, Philadelphia

A multinational software corporation was facing a potentially difficult renewal due to recent losses. To get ahead of it, Megan Bell and her team at Aon helped create a sophisticated forward-looking analysis mapping out dozens of potential scenarios.

“It allowed us to forecast the renewal over time,” explained a company executive. “It was quite creative … it allowed us to play with various scenarios and put us in a position to better negotiate.”

Thanks to this advanced analysis, Bell and her client convinced the lead insurer to maintain the company’s expiring retention as opposed to the 150 percent increase it initially offered.

For global manufacturer Royal Adhesives & Sealants, Bell brought much-needed cohesion to a fragmented global program. Improvements in carrier relationships, terms and protocols have allowed the company to realize a more than 25 percent reduction in global insurance costs.

Recently, the company turned to Bell to help pave the way for a large investor to acquire the company.

“I said, ‘I need you to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer,’ ” explained Wayne Byrne, the company’s EVP and CFO. In a matter of days, Bell and her team collected everything the investor would need to complete the due diligence process and enabled the sale to proceed smoothly.

“Megan and her team did a phenomenal job,” said Byrne.

Bell is a true rising star, added the software executive. “She’s a great sparring partner, and she always comes up with great ideas.”

Clarity and Confidence in Cyber

Jesus Gonzalez
Vice President
Aon, Chicago

Jesus Gonzalez’s long history in the technology space has given him critical insights into the full scope of cyber liability exposures.

For St. Louis-based Charter Communications, Gonzalez undertook an in-depth analysis of Charter’s cyber program and its exposures. From it, he distilled a presentation that would help the board wrap their heads around the company’s risks.

“He really hit the nail on the head in terms of what we need and what we should think about,” said Allison Cosway, the company’s senior director of risk management. “I refer back to it a lot. He was able to take a complex subject and make it easy to understand.”

For a multi-industrial conglomerate undergoing a large-scale merger, Gonzalez was instrumental in helping the company align terms and conditions and optimize the cyber programs of the two organizations.

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“He was able to roll them into our existing program until our natural renewal date,” which bought the company enough time to prepare for its first renewal as a combined entity, said the company’s head of risk management. “The renewal went extremely well.”

The risk executive most values the way Gonzalez lays everything out on the table clearly. “Yes, we had cost savings. But that was secondary to making sure that we fully understood our exposures and our coverage.”

“It’s nice to have conversations with people who really get how this affects me and my business,” added Cosway, a former broker herself.

A Hands-On Innovation Leader

Samantha Levine
Vice President
Aon, Denver

A global technology leader had been involved in legal battles over patent infringement and needed a better way to get ahead of the potentially severe intellectual property exposure. A structured finance solution wasn’t going far enough to mitigate the losses.

Aon’s Samantha Levine helped the company transition to a carefully tailored program that allowed the company to invest annually in a modelled loss captive for its IP risks.

The captive solution put the company in a position to secure reinsurance for the exposure, but the markets were initially hesitant.

Levine and the client built detailed data about both the company’s historic losses and potential future losses, and the company took on risk on both a per claim retention and an aggregate loss basis through the captive.

Ultimately, the captive program gave the markets confidence in their ability to accurately price and model the exposure, and the company was able to secure an appropriate amount of reinsurance.

“Sam was very hands-on,” said a key executive. “It was a very innovative solution. Being able to get that off our balance sheet is huge. Just huge. And Sam was instrumental in making it happen … I can’t say enough good things about her,” he added.

“She works harder than just about anybody I’ve seen in the business,” said another risk executive from the same company, who noted that he makes a point of singing Levine’s praises to the company’s top brass.

Solutions to Meet New Frontiers

Jillian Slyfield
Managing Director
Aon, San Francisco

How do you insure something that’s never even existed before? That’s a challenge that could tax the resources of any broker. Good thing Aon’s Jillian Slyfield isn’t just any broker.

Tech start-up Clutch is a subscription vehicle platform that coordinates on-demand personal vehicles with subscribers who use those vehicles as their primary personal auto.

Their model, which wraps insurance costs into the subscription cost, made them a curious hybrid. They needed a corporate program that would respond as a personal lines program.

“You couldn’t model it,” said John Phelps, Clutch’s VP, strategy & business development.

Clutch was paying far too much for a fleet solution that fit poorly. The carrier “was trying to fit us into their world rather than ask what we need,” Phelps said.

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“We knew we needed to do it differently. We just wanted somebody to sit shoulder to shoulder with us and design [a new program],” he said. “Jillian went above and beyond, [working with] Yrisk to design a program from the ground up.”

Armed with an insurance solution that fits, the company has grown at rate unexpected by investors.

“I really don’ t think there’s anyone better than Jillian,” said Phelps.

“We’ve left other brokers because of their inability to move at our speed,” said another global technology client. “But she’s built this empowered network of people that can move with us. She doesn’t limit herself to being a broker … she jumps in, whatever we need.”

Evolution, Enabled

John Warren
Vice President
Marsh, Washington, D.C.

Marsh’s John Warren faced a unique challenge with technology provider Vistronix Intelligence and Technology Solutions, which was shifting from the government contracting realm into the commercial realm, dramatically increasing the company’s risks.

Its existing program couldn’t respond to the company’s new D&O, E&O, cyber and general liability exposures.

“As a government contractor, your client doesn’t usually sue you, they just terminate your contract,” explained Ted Timberlake, formerly SVP and general counsel for Vistronix.

Vistronix explored various applications for its analytical intelligence platform and began to get traction from hospitals. The tool could help vet and further the accreditation of doctors — typically a costly process for hospitals. But the company needed to overhaul its program in order to proceed.

“We had a new business area, no experience [in the health care field], the technology was untested … I was afraid that no one was going to touch us,” he said.

Warren arranged conference calls with a plethora of carriers, said Timberlake. He made sure that the technology leads had direct access to the carriers. Because of the structured and interactive way that Warren approached it, “every carrier but one quoted.”

The company was sold not long after, said Timberlake.

“I had to go back to John and say we’re getting sold,” he said. “But rather than drop me like a hot potato, he stayed with us and got us through the process.”

Finalists:

Tyler Muldoon
Account Executive
Aon, Philadelphia

Lisa Rose
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Washington, D.C.

Doug Jones
Senior Vice President
RHSB, Dallas

Brian Gillin
Vice President
Aon, New York

Karen Cangemi
Senior Vice President
Aon, San Francisco

 

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

High Net Worth

High Net Worth Clients Live in CAT Zones. Here’s What Their Resiliency Plan Should Include

Having a resiliency plan and practicing it can make all the difference in a disaster.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 7 min read

Packed with state-of-the-art electronics, priceless collections and high-end furnishings, and situated in scenic, often remote locations, the dwellings of high net worth individuals and families pose particular challenges when it comes to disaster resiliency. But help is on the way.

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Armed with loss data, innovative new programs, technological advances, and a growing army of niche service-providers aimed at addressing an astonishingly diverse set of risks, insurers are increasingly determined to not just insure against their high net worth clients’ losses, but to prevent them.

Insurers have long been proactive in risk mitigation, but increasingly, after the recent surge in wildfire and storm losses, insureds are now, too.

“Before, insurance was considered the only step in risk management. Now, our client families realize it is one of the many imperative steps in an effective risk management strategy,” said Laura Sherman, founding partner at Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners.

And especially in the high net worth space, preventing that loss is vastly preferable to a payout, for insurers and insureds alike.

“If insurers can preserve even one house that’s 10 or 20 or 40 million dollars … whatever they have spent in a year is money well spent. Plus they’ve saved this important asset for the client,” said Bruce Gendelman, chairman and founder Bruce Gendelman Insurance Services.

High Net Worth Vulnerabilities

Laura Sherman, founding partner, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

As the number and size of luxury homes built in vulnerable areas has increased, so has the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, harsh cold and winter storms, and wildfires.

“There is a growing desire to inhabit this riskier terrain,” said Jason Metzger, SVP Risk Management, PURE group of insurance companies. “In the western states alone, a little over a million homes are highly vulnerable to wildfires because of their proximity to forests that are fuller of fuel than they have been in years past.”

Such homes are often filled with expensive artwork and collections, from fine wine to rare books to couture to automobiles, each presenting unique challenges. The homes themselves present other vulnerabilities.

“Larger, more sophisticated homes are bristling with more technology than ever,” said Stephen Poux, SVP and head of Risk Management Services and Loss Prevention for AIG’s Private Client Group.

“A lightning strike can trash every electronic in the home.”

Niche Service Providers

A variety of niche service providers are stepping forward to help.

Secure facilities provide hurricane-proof, wildfire-proof off-site storage for artwork, antiques, and all manner of collectibles for seasonal or rotating storage, as well as ahead of impending disasters.

Other companies help manage such collections — a substantial challenge anytime, but especially during a crisis.

“Knowing where it is, is a huge part of mitigating the risk,” said Eric Kahan, founder of Collector Systems, a cloud-based collection management company that allows collectors to monitor their collections during loans to museums, transit between homes, or evacuation to secure storage.

“Before, insurance was considered the only step in risk management. Now, our client families realize it is one of the many imperative steps in an effective risk management strategy.” — Laura Sherman, founding partner, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners

Insurers also employ specialists in-house. AIG employs four art curators who advise clients on how to protect and preserve their art collections.

Perhaps the best known and most striking example of this kind of direct insurer involvement are the fire teams insurers retain or employ to monitor fires and even spray retardant or water on threatened properties.

High-Level Service for High Net Worth

All high net worth carriers have programs that leverage expertise, loss data, and relationships with vendors to help clients avoid and recover from losses, employing the highest levels of customer service to accomplish this as unobtrusively as possible.

“What allows you to do your job best is when you develop that relationship with a client, where it’s the same people that are interacting with them on every front for their risk management,” said Steve Bitterman, chief risk services officer for Vault Insurance.

Site visits are an essential first step, allowing insurers to assess risks, make recommendations to reduce them, and establish plans in the event of a disaster.

“When you’re in a catastrophic situation, it’s high stress, time is of the essence, and people forget things,” said Sherman. “Having a written plan in place is paramount to success.”

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Another important component is knowing who will execute that plan in homes that are often unoccupied.

Domestic staff may lack the knowledge or authority to protect the homeowner’s assets, and during a disaster may be distracted dealing with threats to their own homes and families. Adequate planning includes ensuring that whoever is responsible has the training and authority to execute the plan.

Evaluating New Technology

Insurers use technologies like GPS and satellite imagery to determine which homes are directly threatened by storms or wildfires. They also assess and vet technologies that can be implemented by homeowners, from impact glass to alarm and monitoring systems, to more obscure but potentially more important options.

AIG’s Poux recommends two types of vents that mitigate important, and unexpected risks.

“There’s a fantastic technology called Smart Vent, which allows water to flow in and out of the foundation,” Poux said. “… The weight of water outside a foundation can push a foundation wall in. If you equalize that water inside and out at the same level, you negate that.”

Another wildfire risk — embers getting sucked into the attic — is, according to Poux, “typically the greatest cause of the destruction of homes.” But, he said, “Special ember-resisting venting, like Brandguard Vents, can remove that exposure altogether.”

Building Smart

Many disaster resiliency technologies can be applied at any time, but often the cost is fractional if implemented during initial construction. AIG’s Smart Build is a free program for new or remodeled homes that evolved out of AIG’s construction insurance programs.

Previously available only to homes valued at $5 million and up, Smart Build recently expanded to include homes of $1 million and up. Roughly 100 homes are enrolled, with an average value of $13 million.

“In the high net worth space, sometimes it takes longer potentially to recover, simply because there are limited contractors available to do specialty work.” — Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting, Private Client Group, Ironshore

“We know what goes wrong in high net worth homes,” said Poux, citing AIG’s decades of loss data.

“We’re incenting our client and by proxy their builder, their architects and their broker, to give us a seat at the design table. … That enables us to help tweak the architectural plans in ways that are very easy to do with a pencil, as opposed to after a home is built.”

Poux cites a remote ranch property in Texas.

Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting, Private Client Group, Ironshore

“The client was rebuilding a home but also installing new roads and grading and driveways. … The property was very far from the fire department and there wasn’t any available water on the property.”

Poux’s team was able to recommend underground water storage tanks, something that would have been prohibitively expensive after construction.

“But if the ground is open and you’ve got heavy equipment, it’s a relatively minor additional expense.”

Homes that graduate from the Smart Build program may be eligible for preferred pricing due to their added resilience, Poux said.

Recovery from Loss

A major component of disaster resiliency is still recovery from loss, and preparation is key to the prompt service expected by homeowners paying six- or seven-figure premiums.

Before Irma, PURE sent contact information for pre-assigned claim adjusters to insureds in the storm’s direct path.

“In the high net worth space, sometimes it takes longer potentially to recover, simply because there are limited contractors available to do specialty work,” said Curt Goetsch, head of underwriting for Ironshore’s Private Client Group.

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“If you’ve got custom construction or imported materials in your house, you’re not going to go down the street and just find somebody that can do that kind of work, or has those materials in stock.”

In the wake of disaster, even basic services can be scarce.

“Our claims and risk management departments have to work together in advance of the storm,” said Bitterman, “to have contractors and restoration companies and tarp and board services that are going to respond to our company’s clients, that will commit resources to us.”

And while local agents’ connections can be invaluable, Goetsch sees insurers taking more of that responsibility from the agent, to at least get the claim started.

“When there is a disaster, the agency’s staff may have to deal with personal losses,” Goetsch said. &

Jon McGoran is a novelist and magazine editor based outside of Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected]