2015 Power Broker
Accountability Is Key to Lasting Success
Where Stacie Bixler goes, large financial savings follow.
“We had switched a vast amount of our business from another broker to Aon, and for a while Stacie was not able to be on our account because she had a noncompete when she went over to Aon,” said Jared Poff, vice president of treasury and risk management at Big Lots.
“But ever since she’s been on our account, it has gone very, very well,” he said. “With her leading the charge on our renewal process to dramatically restructure our insurance program, she was able to generate a premium savings of 30 percent on a multimillion dollar program.”
Poff said Big Lots has worked with Bixler for years and was a client of hers when she was with another firm.
“We did an RFP about a year and a half ago, and when we moved a lot of our business to Aon, I certainly worked hard to get her put on our account. Through her leadership and ownership we have been able to consistently generate substantial savings.”
Clients cite two big attributes Bixler brings to the table. One, she has a down-to-earth, no-pretentions personality.
“Even though I know she rallies the expertise of all the various experts at her firm, she makes sure nothing falls through the cracks,” said one of her clients.
Secondly, she owns everything about the relationship. She is never one to say, “That’s not my job” or pass a problem on to someone else.
Bringing Cyber to the C-Suite
Nadia Hoyte has the reputation of being able help her clients explain complicated cyber risk matters to top management in a clear and compelling manner.
“One of the products we bought from her was a cyber risk policy that was coverage we had never purchased before, and she really took a lot of time with us over a couple of years making sure we really understood it,” said Angela Cool, manager of corporate insurance, Westar Energy.
“Actually the week we renewed the coverage was when the big Target hacking event happened, so I had a lot of high-level executives asking about our cyber coverage and it was nice to tell them we had that placed,” Cool added.
Priya Trivedi, vice president of finance at Kate Spade & Co., noted that since Nadia has been on her program, her company has gone from having a $7 million cyber risk policy to a $30 million tower.
“Nadia has been very instrumental in rebuilding that entire tower and really helping me justify to the board the need for that,” said Trivedi. “First she gave us great advice and then she had access to the entire market.”
“Nadia recently presented to my treasurer and senior vice president of the company, and she did it in a way he understood it,” said Jenny Novoa, senior director of risk management and safety at Gap Inc. “He’s not dealing with insurance on an everyday basis and she was able to explain things that were important to him at his level.”
Enabling Safe Growth for Clients
Anthony Martinico is known to be exceptionally detail oriented without losing track of the big picture.
“Anthony is on top of all the details,” said Ralph Davis, vice president of tax, insurance and safety at Signet/Sterling Jewelers. “He makes me feel like I’m the only account that he has. And he’s an excellent communicator both from a client and a carrier aspect.”
Martinico has played a major role from the beginning in helping Signet/Sterling Jewelers make a major acquisition of Zale’s Corp. in a deal executed last May.
“He’s been very instrumental in getting it integrated for us, participating at meetings in our Dallas office as well as in our Akron office, which is our headquarters for the U.S.,” said Davis.
It was a very big deal — Zales boasts $2 billion-plus in sales with about 1,500 stores — and it added 40 percent more in additional revenue for Signet/Sterling, Davis said.
“Anthony handled all aspects of the insurance considerations, and I let people at Aon know of his good work,” said Davis.
Another client who works with Martinico literally on a day-to-day basis said he is exceptional at working with the insurers and preparing all of the detailed documentation that’s needed for renewals and for other supplementary schedules.
“He’s very well organized and has great follow-up on all matters,” the client said. “We have so many projects we work together on, but Anthony keeps track of all of them in a timely and well organized way.”
Bridging Key Gaps
Neeraj Sahni’s clients credit him with being an artful communicator on their behalf, especially in international situations.
The global risk manager of a major U.S. corporation said her company went through its second renewal with Sahni. “He makes the experience so much easier, especially on the international side.
“We’ve got a lot of locations in Asia and Europe and sometimes it can be difficult to manage their insurance needs from the U.S., but Neeraj has been a great liaison to help us bridge the communication gap,” the risk manager said.
In one instance, the corporation’s partner in India was presented with a difficult situation by wanting to buy its insurance locally. But Sahni was key in participating in meetings at all hours and working with the team in India to bring things to a successful conclusion. “We couldn’t have done it without him,” said the global risk manager. “He was the key player.”
Another client in the past year faced a real challenge with all the heightened awareness around cyber liability exposure.
“Neeraj brought the right partners to the table to really help us get our executive leadership and our board of directors comfortable with, one, our exposure, and then, two — more importantly — our preparedness, by buying the right resources in the marketplace.”
Joshua Reding, director of risk management at Life Time Fitness, said of Sahni, “He’s a good collaborator. He’s a good listener to what the client’s needs are. In addition to being a good strategist, he gets his hands dirty.”
Mirroring Retail’s Customer Service Focus
John Vanasco is highly regarded for his ability to work as a skilled partner on all levels.
“He’s got a tremendous relationship with the carriers and it’s a good relationship,” said Gene Mellevold, vice president of risk management at CBS Corp.
“I don’t like to deal with brokers who beat up people and drag them out to the last penny. John very much believes in working as a partner not only with the client but also the carrier as well and that ends up having great results for the client.”
Dennis Herbert, director of risk management at ANN Inc., said, “I would say technically he really knows his stuff. But it’s also his people skills, his negotiating skills with the other side. He’s very good at looking for new creative ways of doing things to better the program.”
Chico’s has been a client of Vanasco’s for just the past year, but Gillian Cummings-Beck, director of insurance and risk management, said, “I can tell you what he was able to do for us in our management risk program lines from a pricing standpoint, and what he was able to leverage for us with the carrier was a fantastic change.”
When it comes to customer service, which Chico’s values as a tenet of their success, Cummings-Beck noted that Vanasco lives up to the company’s culture of putting customers’ needs first.
“So if you put customer service on top of financial savings, he just did a terrific job for us,” added Cummings-Beck.
Cutting Costs, Not Corners
Keith Wright has a reputation for being a major account turnaround strategist.
Jeff Nadalo, general counsel at Buc-ee’s Ltd., said, “We had previously been with another broker. What Keith has done for us since he has had our account is nothing short of phenomenal.
“He came in and identified areas in which we were overpaying and then not only was able to save us a substantial amount of money but also delivered a more thorough review of our program.”
A lot of Wright’s success is bringing the right people to the table, Nadalo said. “And not only did he bring experts who were quite unique and offered very narrow focused areas of expertise, but then on top of that he was able to follow through on all the commitments,” Nadalo added.
Jerry Ferris, director of risk management at Petco, said his company engaged Wright last April and was quickly impressed. Petco went into a renewal process with one of its property programs.
“We broadened our coverage where we needed to and we certainly got a significant reduction in the cost of the insurance program,” Ferris said.
“I’ve got a bunch of years of experience in the insurance business, and Keith ranks at the very top in my experience with brokers,” Ferris added.
“He listens carefully and tries to understand our organization as quickly as he can. After he listens, he considers the areas I’ve discussed and then compares that to the Marsh organization to define resources in the organization that might be beneficial to us.”