2015 Power Broker

Financial Services

Diligence and Determination

Allison Barrett Senior Vice President Willis, New York

Allison Barrett
Senior Vice President
Willis, New York

One of Allison Barrett’s clients asked her to challenge its historically conservative purchasing philosophy, which had resulted in separate programs subject to low retentions.

Barrett proposed blending coverages on a primary or excess basis; isolating the directors and officers liability coverage or just the Side A (non-indemnifiable) component of the D&O from the rest of the blend; and moving to significantly higher self-insured retentions.

Barrett also pointed out the advantage of having a single insurer lead multiple programs from a claims-handling perspective.

Together, Barrett and the client elected a blend of Side BC D&O, E&O, EPL and fiduciary coverage at a higher retention plus a tower of ground-up Side A D&O, which provided considerably more limits at a 10 percent annual cost savings.

“Allison is extremely diligent, very smart and excellent at her job,” said Paul Major, vice president, risk management at Ameriprise Financial Inc.

Another client that provides financial and insurance services said that Barrett, a FINEX financial services industry leader, fights on its behalf to get its needs met with carriers.

“Allison Barrett has really been in our corner when we’ve come across difficult issues during placement and negotiations,” the client said.

“Because of Allison’s efforts during our summer/fall renewal process and her unique combination of insurance and legal skills, we were able to achieve very favorable and appropriate terms for our D&O policy at a significant cost savings,” the client said.

Tireless Partner in Trying Times

Ariel Duris, CPCU, RPLU, ARM Senior Vice President Aon, Denver

Ariel Duris, CPCU, RPLU, ARM
Senior Vice President
Aon, Denver

One of Ariel Duris’ insurance clients had several securities class-action claims. Its D&O limits were impaired and its stock dropped from $22 to $2 within two months.

However, at renewal, Duris was able to build new limits on top of the old extended program so the client could submit unrelated claims in the future and accomplish the desired limits.

Duris approached virtually the entire management liability market, structuring this new capacity according to how broad each carrier was willing to go.

Some carriers were willing to provide some A, B & C D&O limits, while others only Side A limits, and some only some Side A IDL.

Just before the company was acquired, Duris was asked to put together (in very little time) a separate runoff tower that would sit excess of the old tower until December, before becoming the primary source of insurance for the next six years.

“Ariel was available for me 24/7 when we were going through a difficult renewal of our D&O program,” said Scott Melnik, former senior vice president, claims, at Tower Group International. “I realize that we were not Ariel’s only client, but he certainly made it feel as if we were his only client as he worked tirelessly to put together a program for our organization.”

Jim Stewart, risk specialist/risk management at CSAA Insurance Group, said that Duris is extremely knowledgeable, anticipates the firm’s needs and keeps his team abreast of the changes occurring in the insurance market.

“Ariel provides exceptional service,” said another client.

Breaking New Ground

Jackie Geiger Vice President Aon, St. Louis

Jackie Geiger
Vice President
Aon, St. Louis

One of Jackie Geiger’s clients in the virtual currency space was concerned with getting meaningfully broad insurance coverage at a reasonable price for its bitcoin exposure. Initially, few insurers were willing to consider bitcoin risks, and those that were often offered restrictive terms and punitive pricing.

Geiger led the Aon team in putting together a comprehensive insurance program, including directors and officers coverage, working with company senior officers to develop a presentation to underwriters explaining the business model, advanced technology, security protocols and internal controls.

They also educated underwriters on virtual currency risk issues, price volatility and the company’s unique and superior risk profile, resulting in favorable terms.

“Getting insurance in the bitcoin industry is exceedingly difficult — a lot of companies forego policies simply because underwriters won’t quote us,” said the bitcoin client.

“Jackie helped us get in front of the underwriters and now we’re one of the few bitcoin companies that actually has a standard D&O policy. She also coordinated a meeting with a handful of underwriters for us to obtain a crime and fidelity policy to protect our bitcoin holdings, which is also very rare in the bitcoin ecosystem.”

“I’ve been particularly impressed by Jackie Geiger,” said Ed Molony, practice leader and advisor, corporate insurance at SEI Investments Co. “She not only has the expertise, attitude and skills to succeed, but more importantly, she puts the customer first, every day.”

Engineering a Welcome Solution

Paul Kim Managing Director Aon, New York

Paul Kim
Managing Director
Aon, New York

Paul Kim and his team developed and launched a state-of-the-art directors and officers solution that provides maximum protection for Side A non-indemnified loss.

The first-of-its-kind solution provides for a significant amount of funds for directors and officers to pursue coverage in the catastrophic situation when their D&O insurers have denied a non-indemnifiable claim.

With the increase in derivative claims and other types of non-indemnifiable claims, there have been situations where even insurers providing non-indemnifiable protection have denied coverage.

The product developed by Kim enables the insureds to obtain legal advice and if necessary bring an action against the insurers to enforce rights of coverage without having to personally pay for such expenses — the funds are provided by the insurers with no litigation management restrictions.

Several major companies have purchased this new solution to ensure their directors and officers are afforded the broadest protection available in the marketplace.

“Paul Kim takes a very strategic approach to brokering and more than any other broker, endeavors to utilize analytical tools to get the best results,” said Chris White, vice president, global risk and insurance manager at Capital Group. “He is also very service-centric.”

Amber Sanders, senior legal manager at Janus Capital, said that Kim is very knowledgeable about not only insurance products, but the Janus business and history regarding insurance policies.

Creative Solutions for Emerging Challenges

John Puetz Senior Vice President Willis, Overland Park, Kan.

John Puetz
Senior Vice President
Willis, Overland Park, Kan.

Xapo Ltd., a company that provides a bitcoin wallet combined with a cold storage vault and a bitcoin-based debit card, appointed Willis to set up and manage a captive domiciled in Bermuda to insure users’ crypto-currency.

The captive, called Meridian Global Insurance, insures the Xapo Vault against hacking, employee theft, a break-in at the physical vault and bankruptcy.

Puetz and his team then showed Xapo how — using an innovative Willis Bermuda ‘rent-a-captive’ solution — Willis could help the firm by providing coverage in the short term and a foundation for building conventional capacity.

The rent-a-captive was successful in attracting $20 million in excess capacity, so Xapo formed a wholly owned captive and is now looking to attract additional reinsurance capacity for its clients. Puetz spent considerable time with the Willis office in Bermuda and the Bermuda Monetary Authority explaining the unique nature of bitcoins and the structure of the captive insurance solution.

“John helped us secure insurance in the very new and challenging field of bitcoin storage,” said Ted Rogers, chief strategy officer, Xapo. “There were many complexities, especially the steep challenge of helping the insurance community understand the product and the risk. He put together a great team from Willis to help with the project.”

Puetz also marshaled a “fabulous” team to create an insurance market for a group of emerging technology companies, said a law firm client.

Strength and Savings in Rebuilding

Michael White Managing Director Marsh, New York

Michael White
Managing Director
Marsh, New York

One of Michael White’s financial institution clients faced tremendous challenges during the credit crisis, including concerns over its solvency. While its prospects were on the upswing, carriers remained concerned over recent losses.

In preparation for the 2013 renewals, White proposed a multiyear strategy to redefine the marketplace’s perception of the client and restructure the program where necessary.

As a result, there was a 15 percent savings on its directors and officers placement in 2013, followed by almost 40 percent savings in 2014.

The overall two year’s savings across all of its management and professional liability lines exceeded $3 million.

White and his team were also able to introduce new markets to the program that were more comfortable with the risk — making them better long-term partners.

At same time, the client maintained historical relationships with key carriers. The program was also modified to include larger tranches of carrier capital lower down in the program to ease the administrative burden of managing a large insurance program. The program’s terms and conditions were also enhanced.

A real estate investment trust client said his firm gets superior service from White. “He is terrific to work with, very responsive and helpful,” the client said.

“Michael White has educated himself very well on my portfolio, and he’s always talking about our structure,” said a money management client. “I have multiple coverages for almost 30 separate programs and he has about a dozen of them.”




Uri Dallal Senior Vice President Aon, New York

Uri Dallal
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

Jim McCue Managing Director Aon, New York

Jim McCue
Managing Director
Aon, New York

Michael O'Connell Managing Director Aon, New York

Michael O’Connell
Managing Director
Aon, New York

Ian Schwartz, ARM Vice President Aon, Los Angeles

Ian Schwartz, ARM
Vice President
Aon, Los Angeles