190 Power Brokers and the 190 Solutions that Crushed It for Their Clients

Some risk managers are suffering sticker shock due to rapidly escalating premium rates. But they are not alone. Here come the Power Brokers.
By: | February 24, 2020

One veteran broker, a 2020 Power Broker® in fact, put it squarely and simply: This is the toughest market he’s seen in 16 years.

No surprise to anyone that commercial insurance is fiercely competitive. You can’t fake it and make it; not for long, anyway.

Year after year, as prices in property and general liability trended downward, everyone wondered when the turn would come.

Call it a hardening market, call it a transitioning market — call it what you want; it’s here. The carriers had to move to keep their books in order. Rate increases that climb past double digits and into the low triple digits are being reported.

Appetite that was there is now not there in many lines.

Marsh’s Matt Yoder, a Chicago-based senior vice president and a 2020 Power Broker® in the Retail category, exemplifies the skills needed to get great results when the chips are down but the premium rates decidedly are not.

Stephen Harwell, a vice president of corporate operations for the retailer Francesca’s, recalls that he faced a difficult task: His company experienced a very difficult 12 months. When it came time to renew his company’s D&O coverage, Harwell was up against it.

“We faced a lot of difficulty in even getting interest from some of the carriers,” Harwell said.

Luckily, for Harwell, he had Yoder with him because he had other issues, including a higher coverage amount than was actually necessary — but just try telling that to the people being covered by it: the board.

“As management, [we were] trying to sell to the board that we were going to provide them with less coverage. That’s a tough sell,” Harwell said.

Harwell and Yoder gave a presentation to the board to show them how disproportionate the coverage level they thought they needed was.

Tough sell made, Harwell and Yoder convinced the board to lower the amount of coverage, even to a degree that they weren’t totally comfortable with.

Then there was the matter of the renewal itself. No easy sled with the carriers still looking for substantial rate increases.

“That was where Matt went above and beyond, communicating minute by minute, blow by blow, what was happening,” Harwell said.

After a “lot of negotiations” the company still faced a substantial increase in pricing but less than what it was facing coming out of the gate.

Another man named Matt, another Power Broker® too, comes to us from the At Large category.

In this case, the laurels fall on Matt Klein, a senior vice president and the food and beverage team leader for Lockton, based in Kansas City.

In his Power Broker® application, Klein reported this has been a very difficult year for insureds in the food and beverage space.

“Lead umbrella placements have been unprofitable, and as a result, we are seeing substantial price corrections for these lines of business,” he wrote.

That being said, Cliff Henderson, a risk manager for Monogram Food Solutions, sang Klein’s praises. Henderson faced a number of issues, including a product recall complicated by the fact that co-manufacturers were in the mix and a sale/lease back initiative, the first time the company tried to pull that off.

And then there was the stolen trailer of broccoli.

“It was a situation where we felt like we got the best of both worlds, with the focus on our industry and the resources for a company that is growing as quickly as ours,” said Henderson.

“Matt and his team picked up and carried the ball from our prior broker,” Henderson said. All this while Klein delivered superior customer service, showed constant creativity and displayed crucial knowledge of and interest in Henderson’s industry.

That creativity, customer service and industry knowledge are the marks of Power Brokers. Read about Yoder, Klein and the rest of the winners on the following pages. &

The complete list of 2020 Power Broker® winners can be found here.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

More from Risk & Insurance