Going the Extra Mile, Every Time
Insurance makes things happen, and those in the real estate business know that well. One of Morgan Anderson’s clients was taking an aggressive approach to growing its office portfolio. But it couldn’t be done without an insurance program in place that would allow it to be nimble.
The company needed to be able to add properties quickly at a predetermined rate, regardless of their location within the country. Adding a new policy for each acquisition was becoming cumbersome.
Anderson took the time to gain a full understanding of the company’s business goals, and was able to create a coverage program, inclusive of catastrophic property limits, that allowed the client to acquire properties quickly and efficiently, saving them significant amounts of both time and money.
Clients emphasized how Anderson has helped them avoid missteps.
“We have a lot of moving parts in terms of real estate and lending,” said one investment client. “He helped us realize we were grossly unprotected in many regards, and in other areas, we really didn’t need to think about it as much as we thought we had to, which relieved some of the pressure and also costs for us.”
Anderson wows clients with his willingness to go the extra mile and get things done.
“We’re always fire drill first and let’s solve it later,” said a client, “and he’s never missed a beat.”
Focusing on the Sweet Spots
An extremely large corporation had grown their real estate portfolio dramatically in Tier 1 wind areas, making their Cat risk profile a serious challenge for the marketplace to underwrite. As a result, the company’s premiums had increased by more than 30 percent.
When the organization put out an RFP, Ryan Barber, managing director at Marsh, got to work. Utilizing the resources of the natural catastrophe modeling team, Barber was able to determine that less than 2 percent of the portfolio locations were driving 80 percent of its loss expectancy. Barber developed a strategy to carve out just a sliver of the company’s locations and place them in a stand-alone program with a carrier that priced wind capacity based upon site-specific loss expectancies developed by their field engineers on the ground, rather than Cat models.
Using this approach, the master program’s wind loss expectancy plunged by 80 percent, and the client would be able to secure more competitive pricing for its master program while the stand-alone program could be placed with a single carrier.
Barber’s ingenuity and strategic thinking won him the business. The client executed Barber’s proposal, resulting in multimillion-dollar savings for the company.
One thing that fuels Barber’s success is his relationship with carriers around the world and his understanding of what makes them tick.
“Not only does he know the right placement people, but he knows all of their sweet spots,” said Sarah Shepard, risk management associate for Robert M. Currey & Associates Inc.
Expertise Across the Spectrum
A former client reached out to Alexandra Glickman to tell her about his new REIT venture: acquiring single family homes for renters.
Glickman, area vice chairman at Arthur J. Gallagher, started asking questions, and over the course of the conversation, she walked him through all of the property, liability, PLL and professional exposures he didn’t even realize he was facing.
His need for help was urgent — his program couldn’t respond to the assets he was about to close.
Glickman and her team didn’t waste a single moment. They created a complete property and casualty program in less than a week that responded to all of the company’s needs, including portfolios in wind-exposed and flood-exposed areas.
As a result of Glickman’s expertise and relationships, the client has been able to quintuple its portfolio in less than four months.
“What I really like about Alex is that she’s really conversant across the whole spectrum of insurance,” said the CFO of the REIT. He knows he can come to Glickman about anything, whether it’s D&O, E&O, cyber insurance or any other potential exposure, he said.
Another client with more than several billion dollars in assets was in the middle of structuring its IPO when a new lender gave it a rude surprise: The company had to bind a substantial amount of additional wind, flood and quake capacity — and it had four hours to do it. Relying on her reputation and her long-standing market relationships, Glickman got it done.
Summed up one client: “I know she’s got my back.”
Tenacity in Action
Tandis Hassid Nili is tenacious. “She does not give up or give in,” said one client, the vice president of risk management for a multifamily REIT. And that’s exactly why clients are thrilled to have Nili, a vice president at Aon, stepping up to the plate for them.
One client of Nili’s was interested in acquiring some foreign properties in order to expand its operations. The company had obtained a primary liability policy locally, but there were quite a few problems left to solve. For starters, the policy was in Spanish. On top of that, the local broker had never explained the terms and conditions of the policy. The client called Nili for help.
The broker quickly grabbed a Spanish-English dictionary and got on the phone with the local brokerage firm. With some persistence, she was able to translate the terms and conditions of the policy. Unfortunately those terms weren’t acceptable to the global umbrella underwriter, who refused to attach the umbrella policy over the local policy.
Nili gave herself a crash course on the local liability market. In doing so, she learned that locals perceived American companies as having deep pockets, and were eager to sue American companies and their contractors. Even if the company contracted its operations to third parties locally, the company would still not be able to fully avoid liability.
With a better grasp of the liability picture, Nili went back to the global umbrella underwriter to negotiate a solution. Thanks to Nili’s efforts, the company was able to secure the limits it needed to grow its operations.
Calm in the Eye of Any Storm
One of Robin Reyes’ many strengths is her ability to forge strong relationships.
When the real estate division of a large banking client was looking for a consulting partner to work with them on construction loans and refinancing of permanent buildings, they selected Reyes, senior vice president at Marsh, and her team on a trial basis.
Within months, the client was so pleased with what they saw that they engaged Reyes’ team to teach their younger risk analysts about insurance and the coverages the real estate division needed. The head of the real estate division soon extended those introductions to his clients for other services.
When another client decided to do an RFP for all lines of coverage, Reyes found herself competing against 11 other brokers to keep the business. Fortunately, Reyes had leverage — a strong relationship with the risk manager of the trust. In the end, not only was she able to keep the business, but the client gave her its property and pollution business as well.
A month later, Reyes proved the client had made the right choice by negotiating a 10 percent savings across all lines at renewal.
Reyes has tremendous industry knowledge, which clients find comforting. They also appreciate that she is completely unflappable. No matter what’s at stake or what the time frame, she responds with a confident, “It’s not a problem. We’ll get it done.”
“She has always excelled,” said an admiring client.
Foiling Sandy’s Savagery
Shortly after taking on the account of a large private real-estate developer, Alexander Zavala learned that one of the company’s managed properties — a large condo building in a high hazard flood zone — had no national flood coverage, a potentially devastating exposure.
Zavala, a vice president and client advocate at Willis, spent three weeks going back and forth with the relevant agencies, negotiating and trying to get proper mapping data. Zavala discovered that the client’s prior broker had submitted an application a year earlier, but never followed though in getting the coverage in place.
After weeks of being persistent, speaking to supervisors and driving the process forward, Zavala bound the policy during the first week of October. Three weeks later, Superstorm Sandy hit, and the condo suffered serious damage. Thanks to Zavala’s patience and persistence, the client saved more than $4.5 million.
Another client faced a difficult transition when key members of the risk management team left to pursue other opportunities. The department was left in a state of flux, but its insurance needs were still pressing. Zavala worked with the interim group to help shore things up and fill in the gaps; he also worked to onboard the new risk management team as seamlessly as possible.
“Without the help of Willis and Alex, we would not have achieved a smooth transition to our current risk management department,” said Celia Seigerman-Levit, director of risk management and insurance for The Related Cos. “We look at them as an extension of our department.”