2018 Power Broker

Workers’ Compensation

Embracing Unique Solutions

Jason Allen
Worldwide Risk Management, Portland, Maine

AMK9, a global security firm operating in volatile regions such as Afghanistan and Iran, faced significant challenges with injuries.

The firm had a broker at the time but felt that broker wasn’t delivering the value the company expected. It cast its net and found Worldwide Risk Management’s Jason Allen.

“He used his resources to dramatically improve our loss history,” said risk manager Ralph Mylie. “I would say that he’s saved us millions of dollars.”

Part of that effort included working with the insurance carrier to connect the client with vendors with the right expertise.

One of the vendors Allen sourced uses sophisticated baseline imaging that can be compared against post-injury imaging to more accurately identify work causation.


This was key, said Mylie, because a good chunk of the company’s losses had been coming from people that were probably not screened properly to begin with.

Partnering with that vendor, AMK9 gained a high level of confidence it was paying for legitimate claims, and costs began dropping rapidly.

“He goes 120 percent for his clients,” said the founder and chief scientific officer for the vendor. She said she has worked with several of Allen’s clients with similar issues managing soft tissue injuries.

Added another client with personnel deployed across the globe, “Jason absolutely understands what our company’s true needs are.”

Bespoke Solutions for Every Challenge

Matt Edelheit
Senior Vice President 
Lockton, Denver

Matt Edelheit thrives on problems that require complex solutions. Recently, Edelheit’s client, Valvoline Inc., spun off from its parent company, and separated legacy liabilities that were assigned to both companies. The vast majority of these claims were workers’ comp, some dating back to the early ’70s.

“I was hired to come in and do ERM,” said Mark Bures, Valvoline’s manager of enterprise risk management and insurance. “I had 15 years’ experience in ERM and zero in insurance.”

“Matt was an unbelievable resource in helping me understand it all,” Bures said. “I call him for everything, and he always takes the call.”

Working closely with all stakeholders, Edelheit’s team created a customized insurance program that reduced the client’s retentions, reduced their total cost of risk and removed more than $1.8M of historical losses that would have otherwise been collateralized.

For another client, a nationwide self-storage company that owns some of its facilities and manages others, Edelheit developed a unique program structure that allows smaller owners to take advantage of the company’s buying power to get better rates.

“I’m not aware of anyone doing what we did,” said the company’s risk management director. Edelheit recommended a safety shoe program for employees and reduced bending-related injuries by instituting a walk-to-open procedure for unit doors.

“We’ve dropped probably between 35 and 40 percent in claims costs and premiums.”

A Steadying Presence

Tim Keip
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Chicago

Any broker can do a good job when a client’s sailing in calm waters. But it takes a Power Broker® like Marsh’s Tim Keip to help steady the ship during storms.

Keip’s mettle was tested during a tricky renewal for a manufacturing client that had been acquired by a larger company and was merging risk management and insurance departments.

The client enlisted Keip’s help in steering the parent company to its carrier and developing a new program that played to both company’s strengths.

“It took tons of work” and some serious creativity, said the client, including carving out certain pieces of the program and applying different deductibles.

Another client was in the middle of a significant marketing effort when tragedy struck, and the company was faced with a catastrophic claim. Half of the potential carriers dropped the company like a hot potato.


But Keip kicked into overdrive to keep the claim from derailing the renewal, organizing on-site inspections and safety presentations, making a case for carriers that necessary steps had been taken to minimize the risk of a repeat catastrophe.

He made a convincing case that while bad things do happen, the company had taken responsible measures to improve safety results, the client said.

When all was said and done, the program benefited from significant improvements, including a unique feature that allowed the client to apply appropriate retentions to different aspects of its operations.

Building Dream Teams

Travis Boggert, CIC, CRM
Chief Sales Officer
HUB International, Tulsa, Okla.

Travis Biggert’s approach to client service is a little bit like solving puzzles: carefully select each piece until the whole program fits.

Biggert and his HUB team spent years interviewing and vetting occupational medicine physicians, attorneys, neurosurgery groups and orthopedic groups to build teams that best serve their clients.

“Our premium had almost doubled in a year,” said one client, a large retailer. “We had some claims that were dragging out.” Travis and his team “helped us refine our process,” he said. “Our premiums would have been half a million, but now they’re under $200,000. He’s really been a game changer for us.”

Mercy Regional EMS. owner and CEO Duke Dixon said Biggert came in and redesigned the company’s program from top to bottom. “At that point I was willing to try anything.

“Travis brought in some programs that restructured the way we do workers’ comp,” including pre-employment testing and a specialized musculoskeletal tool called Electrodiagnostic Functional Assessment.

“Our number of claims dropped practically overnight,” said Dixon. “And the claims we have now we know are legit.”

Biggert works exceptionally hard “to help insureds understand their loss patterns and develop strategies to reduce those losses,” said Mark Gruber, chief operating officer of Oklahoma’s state insurance fund, CompSource Mutual.

“Travis is probably the most proactive individual I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

The Man with the Answers

Chad Hoxie
Assistant Vice President      
Alliant, San Diego

The CEO at San Diego-based PMS Janitorial was comfortable with her incumbent provider. But her son Phil Senescall, the company’s sales director, convinced her to take a meeting with his longtime friend, Chad Hoxie.

She was powerfully impressed, said Senescall, and Hoxie has been a game-changer for the company ever since.

“He’s great with giving us out-of-the-box ideas,” said Maria Butler, the company’s HR director.

Hoxie’s current work-in-progress is trying to expand the company’s medical provider network to include a cross-border health care group specializing in serving U.S. workers who would rather receive treatment in Mexico.

If he succeeds, it will build a higher level of trust with Hispanic employees who are injured on the job, said Butler.


She adds that Hoxie’s customer service is off the charts. Perfect example: Late afternoon on the Friday before Christmas, an urgent question cropped up.

“I knew a lot of people were headed out early, but I was desperately trying to get an answer for my employee,” she said. “I had exhausted all my resources as far as calling my adjuster and my entire line of contacts.”

But she called Hoxie, and he called her right back and promised to find the answer she needed. Not only did he get the answer promptly, “but then offered to get me more information,” she said.

“Here I thought I was going to have to wait until the following week. I don’t know who he called, but he was able to get me an answer.”

Guiding Clients Toward Best in Class

Dennis Tierny
National Director
Marsh, New York

Marsh’s Dennis Tierney is the one you call when you need someone to take the 30,000-foot view and find ways to turn a good program into one that is truly best in class.

“Dennis came onto our account, and it was a breath of fresh air,” said Phil Scarano, director of risk finance management, Diageo North America Inc.

Scarano said Tierney has a gift for “making sure the best people and the best talent are touching your files.”

During an aggressive claims review, Tierney revamped the way the company accesses legal services, ensuring that a wider breadth of defense firms is considered. He also made the shift from in-house counsel to a panel of counselors.

Tierney, as National Director of Workers’ Comp Claims, is exceptional at helping clients understand how claims in one part of the country may be looked at differently than in other regions or jurisdictions.

That’s why for a distributor client, Tierney took the time to hand-pick the company’s team of resources, including attorneys in each jurisdiction.

“He was part of the interview process,” said the company’s risk and insurance manager.

“He was instrumental in helping us find the right fit, and helping us understand the jurisdictional nuances.”

“His leadership mantra is ‘you should always be measured by how you make the people around you better.’ It’s one of his strengths,” said Scarano.


Jeffrey Breskin
Crystal & Company, Los Angeles

Christian Florence
ZOOM Co-Practice Leader
Beecher Carlson, Atlanta

Jessica Haas
Vice President, Claims Consulting Practice
Marsh, Morristown, N.J.

Carol Murphy
Managing Director and Casualty Growth Leader
Aon, Chicago

Ettie Schoor
PRISM Insurance Group
Cedarhurst, N.Y.

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.


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.”


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.


“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]