Municipalities are catching on to their cyber risks too. Just ask Jennifer Deshaies, risk manager for the city of Nashua, N.H.
She had to learn the hard way. Not by having a breach and a claim. No, she had to listen to HUB’s Bill Brouillard try to teach her about it, over and over, until she got it.
It took a while, as she recalled, jokingly.
She would tell him, “We are a municipality; no exposure!” He would introduce her to a gentleman from a cyber insurance company. “I was dead set against it.”
He introduced her to his own brokerage’s cyber experts and made her sit through PowerPoint presentations.
“I was taught how and why things could go wrong. Bill gained nothing but a headache from me on this issue. I gained security and peace of mind. Priceless,” Deshaies said.
Ask Patricia Kabiltz, as well, director of risk management services for the Maine Municipal Association, a group self-insurer for more than 450 municipalities.
The pool had been actively seeking cyber liability coverage for years. Brouillard delivered two strong proposals in 2014, one a stand-alone policy with a national company and the other that would add coverage to their current casualty reinsurance contract at a reasonable price.
Both afforded them pricing and underwriting control — essentially all the things Kabiltz was searching for.
“We would not have been able to accomplish this without Bill’s perseverance and assistance,” she said.
A Major Force
Perhaps the best way to describe John Chino’s role in public sector insurance is as a “major force.” That’s how Bob Coontz, president and CEO of risk pool CharterSAFE, described the veteran public sector broker.
Coontz had always admired Chino from somewhat of a distance. CharterSAFE worked with AJG but with another broker (who Chino supervised), but it wasn’t until that broker departed that Coontz finally saw Chino’s forcefulness up close.
In fact, Coontz traveled the country with Chino, witnessing the relationships he’d built with underwriters. Chino’s impact was so immediate, so impressive, that CharterSAFE has since put his name on their marketing materials.
Chino continues to impress even those risk professionals he’s worked with for years.
“He never says no,” said Matt Hansen, the director of San Francisco’s risk management division.
Hansen had to find coverage for mobile mammography and methadone vans in San Francisco, which he described as the toughest things to place on his program. Not for Chino.
Rick Ferguson, executive director at the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), has worked with Chino for more than 13 years.
In the past year, ICRMP expanded by nearly 25 percent after moving into a new schools program. That translated into a doubling of its property exposures. Chino assisted in rewriting their existing coverage document to meet the schools’ demands, then in procuring additional limits in excess property coverage.
Tiny municipalities. Call them hamlets or villages, or maybe even a town, but to call them a city might be a stretch. And to say that they are prime targets for public entity underwriters is a stretch as well.
Yet tiny municipalities have a savior. AJG’s Jessica Govic specializes in working with them and bringing them sophisticated risk management tools and tactics from larger municipalities.
For Kevin McNamara, administrator for the village of Dwight, Ill., Govic led the effort to bring his town together with other area municipalities into their own insurance cooperative.
“Jessica has been the leader of this collaboration from day one, and after one year in the newly formed co-op, we are more than satisfied with the results,” he said.
Matt Fritz, administrator for the village of Coal City, Ill., said Govic served to re-galvanize the entire region’s risk management community. Back in 2008, Coal City pursued a stand-alone insurance coverage and saved tens of thousands, tempting other towns to leave the co-op. Yet Fritz sought to return to a cooperative for years. It wasn’t until 2014 that a new cooperative was realized.
“It was not until Jessica became involved that this occurred,” Fritz said.
The newly formed 13-member Illinois Municipal Insurance Cooperative went through its first renewal in 2014.
“The 13 initial members of IMIC are learning more than they care to about insurance, but Jessica continues to help anyone with anything as questions occur,” he said.
Vickie Novak, director of Glenview Public Library, has been a library director for 40 years.
She knows why libraries traditionally have not built insurance programs through pools. Managed by a local board of trustees, libraries traditionally place a lot of currency in autonomy.
“It takes someone who is forward-thinking enough to put this together and give it a push,” Novak said, to change the minds of a library’s board of directors.
Enter Marcus Henthorn, an “exceptional” broker who wowed Novak’s board to the point of inspiring them to become a charter member of the pool he was constructing: Libraries of Illinois Risk Agency (LIRA).
The pool launched on Dec. 31, 2013, with a total of 23 member libraries, and has grown to nearly three dozen members in one year. Members like Glenview can rely on LIRA for all of their coverages, from boiler and machinery, volunteer coverage, workers’ comp, D&O, crime and standard property & casualty.
The library’s results also speak to another reason that normally independent libraries have teamed together. Glenview has saved 27 percent on its premiums by approaching renewal as a group member, rather than a sole entity.
“Not only that, we had better coverage and higher limits,” Novak added.
Another director and early adopter of the pool recounted how her library shaved at least one-fifth off their premium costs in the first year, but seemed equally as excited about the loss assessment and control processes available through the pool.
A Go-To Broker
A conversation about insurance can get technical. We can talk about locking in a maximum of 3 percent rate increases over two years, in an excess workers’ compensation marketplace that has seen volatility and average annual premium raises in the double-digits.
We can discuss how a broker negotiated a single retention for communicable disease and negotiated foreign coverage in the event that the public entity’s sole employee who travels internationally were to get injured or become ill abroad.
Sandra McFarland secured such coverage in 2014 for one of the more populous counties in Georgia.
Michael Kushner, risk management director for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, said that because of what McFarland’s accomplished for him, “I wouldn’t go to anyone else. She has gotten me some coverage over and above what I would have imagined.”
One example is cyber liability, which is currently excluded from general liability after ISO pulled the exposure from its forms. Kushner said McFarland was busy going to bat for him “as I speak.”
Her abilities aren’t limited to renewals and coverages; call her with claims too. Kushner was staring down a class action lawsuit in his detention centers that led to a multimillion-dollar claim, for which his county would not have had coverage if not for McFarland.
“She made me look great,” he said.
Calm in the Storm
A Northeast public school recently found itself in the eye of an uproar that received national media attention.
Willis’ John M. Moore had assisted the school district in placing its crisis management coverage ahead of the event.
When the crisis erupted, Moore stood by the district’s administrators and school board members as they utilized the coverage and brought in the services of a crisis management firm.
The teachers, administrators and board members could go back to the business of running the district, while specialists stepped in to handle the media.
Timothy Stys of Watchung Hills Regional High School is one business administrator grateful for Moore’s “high-quality advice” and negotiating, not to mention the broker’s ability to stand before the school board when someone needed to explain the nuances of the insurance program.
When some Watchung teachers decided to take students on a world exchange trip without prior notice this past school year, Stys called Moore. who procured the needed additional insurance.
Debra Ginetto, executive director of the Northeast Bergen School Boards Insurance Group, faced New Jersey-instituted cap limitations. Moore negotiated rate stability for Ginetto’s program, while also securing cyber liability coverage, a group safety recognition dividend and school board legal liability coverage in a marketplace seeking a 200 percent rate increase.
Ginetto called Moore “one of the most honest and forthright people that I know.”