San Francisco is putting in its first new subway tunnel in decades, and the city and county relied on Regina Carter to structure and place the coverage.
“We did a very complicated transaction,” said Matt Hansen, director, risk management division, City and County of San Francisco. “This really put the city in a good position.”
In a marketplace that had a very narrow appetite for the risk, Carter, managing director at Aon, was able to create a program that provided capacity and favorable terms in a short amount of time.
Regina Carter has offered extraordinary support for Global Government Services for more than 20 years, said Sherri Bovino, president and CEO of its parent company, 1st Flagship.
“She helps me protect my company in a proactive way, always anticipating our needs as laws change and risks/liabilities change,” Bovino said.
In a recent situation, Bovino’s company had to take responsibility for a ship that had been refurbished by a military organization. It had to be moved to an unfamiliar pier and maintained until it could be moved again and moored in a permanent location.
Bovino said, “Any damage or malfunction while in our custody would present a huge risk or liability. Working 24 hours around the clock, Carter’s team was able to provide a complicated insurance solution that was acceptable to us and our subcontractors. The exposure for Global with its Navy customer went all the way to the Pentagon in this situation.”
Reaching Their Potential
The Texas Association of Counties may manage the biggest public risk pool in the country, but Mark Goode understood he was still “dealing with a fairly unsophisticated client with a very eccentric market,” said Gene Terry, a judge and the executive director of the organization.
“Mark has been just extraordinary to work with. He grasped the eccentricities and peculiarities of our business very quickly and I have relied on him a lot,” Terry said, who noted that the pool is owned by 254 counties in Texas.
“One of the things that has impressed me is he is aware of ethical considerations. They provide primary consulting services for us. If there is a consultation versus brokerage practice issue, he is the first to raise it, even when I might not recognize it,” he said.
“Our reputation is critically important to us and managing the pool in the appropriate way is important because we are expected to deliver services in so many areas,” Terry said. “They have helped us to realize the potential the pool gives us to provide more and better services to our members.”
Goode, executive vice president at Willis, has also been crucial in creating a property and casualty pool for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors.
“They helped us go through the entire process, from obtaining excess insurance, to meeting with the regulatory insurance department, local insurance agents and supervisors,” said Derrick Surrette, executive director of the group, which includes 82 counties in Mississippi.
Leading the Way
Since 2009, school districts in Minnesota had little choice but to enter the conventional marketplace for coverage. With the expert advice and leadership of Tyler LaMantia, area vice president at Arthur J. Gallagher, the districts may now take advantage of the Minnesota Insurance Scholastic Trust (MIST).
“It became clear that Minnesota Public Schools needed a member owned and controlled insurance cooperative by which they could control their own destiny to help deal with the reoccurring problem of the fluctuating insurance marketplace cycles,” said Paul Carlson, superintendent, New London-Spicer Schools, one of seven districts that joined the pool in its inaugural year.
“For property and casualty, we saved about $15,000,” he said. He anticipates an even greater savings when workers’ compensation coverage is added to the pool.
DeeDee Kahring, director of finance and operations at Eastern Carver County Schools, saw her district’s involvement in the new pool result in a significant drop in deductible. It had been $25,000. It is now $2,500. Plus, the coverage was expanded.
“Tyler is an expert in school district self-insurance pools,” said Sandy Linn, director of business services at New Prague Area Schools, which also joined MIST.
“Tyler has been so great in leading us through this process and helping us. The average savings for districts on fixed costs was 25 percent to 30 percent,” she said, adding that “the pool allowed the districts to control variable loss fund costs through claims management.”
Succeeding for Clients
Transitioning from a pool to its own carrier, Piedmont Unified School District was able to offer revamped health care benefits at a lower cost with the help of Deb Mangels, senior vice president, ABD Insurance and Financial Services.
“It’s been an amazing year for us,” said Michael Brady, assistant superintendent, who had to oversee intense labor negotiations as employees saw a bump in medical benefit premiums. But they also saw that their premiums were $100 lower each month than what they would have paid in the pool.
In addition, Brady said, Mangels was able to save about “two years’ worth of premiums, which is huge for us,” following an audit that discovered the district had paid employer premiums over a multi-year period for a deceased retiree.
Mangels also initiated online enrollment for Piedmont and negotiated a 15-month plan year so the district could get on its preferred open enrollment cycle, Brady said.
“I have never felt that we were in a better place than we are right now,” Brady said.
Don Humphrey, finance manager at Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, said that “before we reached out to Mangels and ABD, the organization’s employee benefits were managed by HR with several different providers, each with their own point of contact.”
“With the Affordable Care Act, we realized we needed some help,” Humphrey said. The diistrict changed everything but medical, filled in some coverage gaps and saved $50,000 per year with Mangel’s help.
Passion for Innovation
With workers’ comp claims skyrocketing and with Illinois legislation overtly employee friendly, Michael McHugh has found ways to help his clients save money while mitigating exposures and claims.
“Michael and his team not only manage and make recommendations to us, but they also support us in a wide variety of ways,” said Mark Michelini, chairman of the Collective Liability Insurance Cooperative (CLIC) and assistant superintendent for business services at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill.
“Michael and his team bring a level of professionalism and sophistication they have spent a whole career developing. I am very fortunate to have their support,” he said.
McHugh has introduced several new programs to help the pool mitigate risks, including a company nurse program that provides more sophisticated triaging when claims occur; a claims advocacy group that offers a second opinion on claims; and a dedicated third-party administrator service unit, said Michelini.
“In these hard times,” said Jeff O’Connell, assistant superintendent for business services, Lake Park School District in Roselle, Ill., “they have been able to negotiate some good terms so that we are able to keep our costs in control and our members aren’t seeing huge increases.
“We are always looking for ways to better the pool. That comes at the direction of Michael and the Gallagher team,” he said.
Michael McHugh gives extensively to those in need. His family sponsors three inner-city Chicago students so that they can receive a Catholic education. He also is involved with his church’s “adopt a needy family” program during the holidays.
“I am fortunate to have a loving family and that is why I feel it is important to reach out and help those that are less fortunate,” McHugh said.
He is also involved with his local church, serving on its finance committee for the past 10 years, and with the church’s fundraising committee and building committee to renovate the parish school and church.
Most recently, he came to the aid of two employees at his golf club who had lost their home in a fire. Over a period of weeks, he used his professional experience to counsel them prior to and during the claims process, reducing the anxiety they experienced during the stressful time.
McHugh is also very active in his organization’s college summer intern program. He interviews potential summer interns in the fall, is involved as they work with the company in the summer, and hires some of the young producers when they graduate.
“I am pleased to say that many of these young producers that began their careers in my business unit have been promoted within Gallagher to leadership roles, including branch managers,” he said.
McHugh is also active in other community programs, including youth baseball and soccer programs.
A Guide to Solutions
Nancy Sylvester is “like a toy solder that never unwinds. She’s dynamite,” said Dan Strange, administrator of the Louisiana Housing Association.
“We have a tremendous self-insurance program for the housing authorities, which number about 100. And it saves our agency a ton of money each year,” he said.
Sylvester, managing director, Public Sector, at Arthur J. Gallagher, goes “above and beyond,” said Steve Haynes, risk manager for the City of Plano, Texas.
“She’s technically very astute and very knowledgeable about not only insurance but risk management,” he said. “She is more of a business consultant, someone you can bounce ideas off of formally and informally.”
In Louisiana, she and her teammate, Butler Bourgeois, who was named a Power Broker® finalist this year, have helped guide Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office “through the perils of the insurance industry,” said Al Allemond, risk manager.
“I can’t begin to tell you how valuable they have been to me in getting us on the right track and keeping us there,” he said, noting that when he took on the position, the office had a three-ring binder of claims. “I would consider our agency during those days as horrible.”
But Sylvester and Bourgeois persevered when Allemond insisted on being able to handle claims in-house, and they ultimately found a carrier who agreed. Things have been running smoothly ever since.