Practicing Proactive Customer Service
Brandon Cole, CPCU, CRM, CIC, ARM, RPLU, CISR, AINS, is known to go way above and beyond the call of duty. (Clearly!)
Mark Johnson, director of finance and human resources for Whittier Christian High School, said, “We just moved to Brandon in the past year, but I would say primarily what he’s done for us is provide all kinds of consulting and education before we were even clients of his.
“Even at one point when I said, ‘We’re not likely to make a decision for another year,’ he said, ‘That’s OK, I’m still interested in walking this road with you,’ ” Johnson said.
He added, “We ultimately did make the decision to go with Brandon earlier than we might have because he proved himself over and over by bringing ideas and perspective to the table that helped us ultimately manage and reduce our risk in a variety of ways.”
On another front, Cole also developed a cyber/privacy liability product via Lloyd’s in the past year.
The current marketplace for this product often requires high minimum premiums and high retentions. Cole has been able to negotiate much more reasonable terms for his clients.
Cole’s group also removed all sub-limits to provide consistent coverage to all their clients. In the past, less than 10 percent of the group’s clients purchased the coverage. Now more than 75 percent purchase it.
Balancing Goals and Risks
Mike Devereux is widely regarded as a veteran relationship builder.
“I’ve worked with Mike for 10 years and he cares about building relationships,” said Jeff Hinds, president of Congregation Kol Ami. “He cares. He’s creative. He’s pleasant to chat with.
“He’s tireless, continually accessible, courageous, insightful and incisive,” he said.
Hinds said his institution is dealing with the challenge of a recurring sinkhole and Devereux has not only helped him steer through the minefield of the coverage in that area, but he has also helped Hinds make intelligent risk-related decisions. Because of the congregation’s long-standing relationship with Devereux, they trust his advice.
Devereux concentrates on arranging insurance and risk management programs for religious organizations and private schools, as well as other nonprofit organizations. He has been able to help organizations serve their communities while managing risks that could otherwise destroy them financially.
Given his deep expertise in serving the needs of nonprofit organizations, he is able to stay a step ahead and anticipate issues by watching out for trends and common problems.
Mark Canterbury, business administrator at Seffner Christian Academy, said Devereux “really understands our needs as a nonprofit and a church and a school. What I appreciate about Mike is he just doesn’t tell us what is out there but he listens to what our concerns are. He stays in touch throughout the year, calling and emailing on a regular basis.”
Putting Clients’ Needs First
In her clients’ eyes, Tammy Mission shines as a bright, up-and-coming professional.
“Not only is she very bright, but she has put us in touch with other agents within her company for other areas of our insurance needs,” said Robin McCrae, executive director of Community Human Services.
“She helps us anticipate things that we maybe don’t realize we should consider or ways we could save money,” McCrae said. “That’s what I mean by her being thorough.”
Mission regularly drives an hour and a half to meet with McCrae and her staff at Community Human Services’ headquarters.
Joel Rusco, vice president and chief financial officer at Volunteers of America-Northern California and Northern Nevada, met Mission just this year when his organization was in a crisis situation and she was recommended to him.
“We had a huge increase in premiums and what made her extremely valuable to us was the quick turnaround time in taking care of our needs,” said Rusco.
“She really helped us through the crisis,” he said. “Plus, since that time, she’s been really good at communication and staying on top of all of our issues.”
Rusco said his organization prefers working with confident professionals like Mission. “She comes across extremely strong, and everything she says she can back up,” Rusco said.
Going the Extra Mile for Clients
Jeff Cross’s clients, large and small, say he is a passionate advocate for them.
A standout example occurred when there was a tropical storm over Houston, recalled Tammie Kahn, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Houston.
“When we couldn’t get out of our homes because of the severity of the storm, Jeff was out with his camera recording all over town where his clients were, recording evidence. His help was invaluable.”
Cross came to the rescue of the Hobby Center Foundation for the Performing Arts in Houston when the organization was in danger of losing hurricane coverage.
“Though we never had any hurricane damage losses, our underwriter came to us 18 months ago and said to us, ‘We will renew your policy one more year and then we’re getting out of it,’ ” said the foundation’s president Fran Macferran.
“We can’t be without that insurance.
“So Jeff was able to go out and find a specialty risk policy to insure a building such as ours,” said Macferran.
“It’s the personal service and the understanding of our industry that sets Jeff apart,” said Don Poole, director of finance, Alley Theatre in Houston.
Poole said Cross is also exceptional at “knowing what our needs are and being on the spot when we have a claim. And he does well on rates and so forth.”
Leveraging Expertise to Exceed Expectations
Scott Konrad is known for his ability to bring expertise to the table in complicated situations. Thank his 38 years in the business, half serving the nonprofit sector.
In one instance in the past year, Konrad helped a prominent nationwide advocacy organization to consolidate programming from three separate brokers into a single portfolio, closing coverage gaps, fortifying protection and trimming costs.
He facilitated expert counsel for the client to negotiate more favorable office condo insurance provisions in its agreement with the condo association, substantially upgrading protection and mitigating its financial exposure.
In another instance, an important client got involved in a very complicated negotiation regarding an insurance policy that was not even part of the portfolio of policies that Konrad placed for that client.
“It got very complicated and when I was talking it over with Scott, he brought in a very senior guy from HUB to serve as counsel for us,” the client said. “This advice was actually outside the scope of our retainer with Scott, but it was very helpful.”
Ingrid Milne, chief financial officer at SeriousFun Children’s Network, said that her organization does not have in-house expertise on risk, so her group looks for Konrad to provide advice on matters in developing countries and higher risk nations where there are security issues.
Building Relationships That Last
Troy Winkles is so effective, his clients think of him as one of the members of their team.
“For me, with a relatively large organization spread over an area the size of the state of Connecticut, through Troy I have an insurance organization within my own organization,” said Herrmann Spetzler, CEO of Open Door Community Health Centers.
“I can always get a hold of Troy, and I can make whatever insurance moves I need to make, whether it’s directors and officers insurance or malpractice insurance.”
Added Spetzler, “When it isn’t in Troy’s purview of expertise, he’s able to bring forth the right person from within Gallagher to get the job done in short order. I have been able to save having an insurance department within my organization by having Troy and Gallagher on call.”
Spetzler said he and his team have been able to concentrate on health care delivery knowing that Winkles and his team have been taking care of his organization’s insurance needs.
That’s been the case for several decades, Spetzler said.
Winkles is very personable and very responsive, said Kavoos Bassiri, president and chief executive officer of Richmond Area Multi-Services. “He is very resourceful,” added Bassiri. “He will ask different people for different opinions. He is very pleasant to interact with.
“I’ve had Troy on my account for a long time,” said Bassiri. “I’ve been solicited by other agents and say ‘no’ because of Troy and the excellent staff he works with. I would lose the personal connection we have.”