2015 Power Broker
Triumph in the Face of Loss
Jonathan Ball’s clients are the large and mid-sized utilities with integrated operations, myriad risks, legacy exposures and regulatory complications.
Clients with inherent gas, electric, and steam operations are exposed to the potential catastrophic liability loss that an accident in these areas could produce.
One client suffered a major loss including injuries and property damage. And the incident took place just a month prior to the excess liability insurance renewal.
“Mr. Ball was able to negotiate acceptable and responsive coverage terms and conditions with various domestic, worldwide and Bermuda insurers on our 2014 renewal,” said the risk manager.
“Our excess liability renewal in 2014 was a real challenge. Our operations obviously bring exposure to potential significant catastrophic third-party loss, and Mr. Ball — in spite of the loss — was able on our behalf to negotiate insurance with coverage terms and conditions that we needed.”
Ball, who is national casualty leader, and his colleagues also put together the needed tower of insurance capacity and limits with various excess liability insurers.
“Due to the loss, some insurers were cutting capacity, others were reluctant to continue, and others were no longer interested. … In spite of the obstacles resulting from the loss, Mr. Ball again negotiated responsive coverage terms and conditions giving us important liability protection from accidents as well as the coverage limits that our company needed.”
Leading the Way on Cyber
“Michael assisted our utility in placing our first-ever cyber policy this year,” said one risk manager, “with superior terms and conditions [compared to what] had been previously offered by the lead carrier to anyone else in our industry.
“His knowledge of the markets and coverage enabled our senior management to understand our options fully regarding transfer and retention, and the pros and cons of both. He demonstrated first-rate professionalism throughout the entire sales process and beyond.”
It is a rare talent to be able to craft such a tailored program for a major client with myriad exposures, and then to be able to replicate the coverage for a second client — similar in scope and size but with its own risk profile and specific exposures.
But Gaudet, a FINPRO energy, power and utility leader, pulled it off. Then he achieved a trifecta of sorts, working with a focus group at Marsh and taking the better of the two client-specific programs to develop a large-limit cyber program for utilities.
The model program works with two large primary underwriters as well as several excess carriers. Limits placed have run to $100 million and above.
Clients noted that Gaudet’s approach to cyber risk is informed by his D&O expertise, as well as by long experience in the utility sector. Prior to their experience with Gaudet, they said, they found cyber coverage to be highly customized and therefore too complicated to craft and place.
One Smart Dude
“Our ability to go to market has been heavily limited by our regulatory structure,” said one risk manager. “but Shannon is one smart dude.
“He definitely helped solve that problem. He changed the way the markets understood our business and was able to work on a very different type of structure for our program.
“As a result, we were able to move more of our program to markets that historically would not write us. That has meant a significant savings, as well as improvement in our terms and conditions.”
Another client had long kept its program organized into three discrete placements. When a new risk manager took the reins, he sought to combine the placements into a single program.
As a strong operator, the client was not overly worried with taking the integrated placement to the market, but was deeply concerned about missing some important detail in the combination, especially under a new risk manager.
Running coverage screens and gap analysis, Moyer placed the program and secured a substantial savings in aggregate cost over the previous separate placements.
A different client was one of many in the sector that spun off a segment of its business, clarifying its operations for managers, investors and insurers.
In this case the departing operations were not established as a stand-alone company but combined with the similar operations of another firm. That process meant that Moyer had to create several different programs for the old and new entities, covering all transition stages.
A Power Broker® in Every Sense
In a year when carriers seemed hesitant to extend themselves, David Nichols earned his laurels by digging in and securing significantly enhanced coverage for one thankful client.
“Dave was instrumental in accessing additional property and liability limits while keeping the premiums flat and a moderate increase respectively for the September 2014 renewals,” said the risk manager.
Many brokers advise and guide clients on presentations to carriers, but in one case Nichols had to take up the baton himself.
“Dave stepped in and helped deliver the presentation to the excess liability underwriters when my co-worker was unable to make the trip,” said a risk manager.
In another situation, Nichols worked both inside and outside for greater overall coverage, and also for adjustments and enhancements within the program. “Dave suggested we include some additional risk mitigation points in the presentation to the underwriters, restructured the layers to make it more economical, and accessed new markets to fill out the additional limits.”
Nichols also played a large role in literally bringing power to the people by helping a new generating station come into service.
The client credited Nichols for jumping aboard early in the process and helping to guide the formation of the whole risk-management philosophy. That extended logically to detailed planning for budgeting, deductibles and retentions.
More than a few Power Brokers have won their clients’ appreciation by fixing troubled placements, but there is just as much work in crafting a program out of tabula rasa.
A Respected Leader and Guide
“Julie’s relationship and reputation in our casualty insurance marketplace was very beneficial on our latest renewals,” said one risk manager.
“Her fair approach to negotiations and diligent pursuit of terms favorable for us proved both productive and efficient navigating a challenging renewal involving exposure changes and a large, sensitive loss.
“These efforts resulted in competitive rates, expansions in terms, improved communication with team members and further acceptance of our company in the marketplace.”
The client continued, “Julie’s market respect, and a detailed review of a proposed endorsement to be offered by our preferred insurer, prevented the form from being released with more restrictive terms than was anticipated. This benefited not only my company, but our industry as a whole. Julie is a valuable part of our insurance risk management team and we rely on and trust her like we would a long-term employee.”
Such industry savvy does not preclude Reinhardt from providing patient and gentle guidance when needed.
“I went from one company to another, and stepped into the middle of a renewal,” one client recalled. “It should have been done, but my predecessor retired and sort of let it go. Julie took the time to walk me through the whole program, including some modifications, and we got the renewal done.”
Those modifications included consolidating three different placements, one for each of the company’s operating groups, into one unified program. “There was some internal resistance,” said the risk manager, “but Julie helped quell that angst.”
Amplifying the Positives
“Paul has done so many things beyond the call for us that it is hard to pick on one issue,” one client said. “He has rescued us from the perception created from a recent loss by explaining to our carriers that such incidents take place fairly frequently in our industry.
“More to the point, such incidents do not constitute a forced outage. He has helped us battle what could be characterized as a poor operational year by correctly explaining the circumstances and how we have actually beaten industry standards. In short, Paul is invested in our success and really understands our business space very well.”
Another client noted, “Paul orchestrates the reinsurance placement for our captive insurance program. During our last renewal cycle, Paul convinced me of the potential value we could derive from an analytics study on our program and risk.
“The study provided the marketing team with a deeper understanding of our risk profile and an ability to counter conclusions in insurer models. The result was favorable and — more importantly — Paul helped move us to the next level in understanding our risk.”
Whitstock’s expertise is stochastic analysis, in which random variables are used to model or test possible risks. Notably, clients laud the use of that approach in captive insurance to determine optimal inflection points for captive participation, risk-transfer structure, and attachment points.
In several cases, Whitstock helped clients diversify their approach to placements among captive, mutual, and commercial markets using stochastic models.