These Are the Best 190 Commercial Insurance Brokers and Why We Call Them Power Brokers

Creativity, deep industry knowledge and delivering superior customer service are the hallmarks of these award-winning brokers.
By: | February 25, 2019 • 2 min read

It’s gratifying to see someone like Bob Parisi, a managing director with Marsh, win a Power Broker® award in the cyber category. Parisi has served as an expert on cyber risk for this magazine and in many other forums for quite some time.


A client who served as a reference for Bob Parisi’s 2019 Power Broker® application described Parisi as “so passionate about what he does that it’s almost painful — he is beyond passionate.”

Parisi is not alone. Many of the 190 commercial insurance brokers we recognize as Power Brokers in this February issue are passionate. They have to be. They must also be driven to deliver the results their clients need.

Remember that the three main qualifiers for someone to distinguish themselves from the field and win a Power Broker® award are creativity/resourcefulness, customer service and industry knowledge. What I’m trying to drive home here is that those traits must be deployed even more intensely given the pace of change in our world and our economy.

Bob Parisi
Managing Director

Consider Payal Chahal, a vice president with Aon in San Francisco. Chahal works with an autonomous vehicle startup that has the goal of creating an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service by 2020. It all sounds exciting, but the insurance markets have no idea what to do with such a thing, given there is no loss data to go on.

But Chahal, who has won a Power Broker® award in the technology category, was able to put together an insurance program with a standard carrier. She is in the process of creating a new product liability coverage for the startup addressing both cyber security and product liability. Without this coverage, the startup would have no road in front of it.

Cyber risks and the pace of technology growth are one stand-out area in Power Broker®, which is in its 14th year. Another area of intense focus and innovation is in the category of mergers and acquisitions, particularly within the emergence of tax insurance.

Aon’s Jessica Harger did not enter in the mergers and acquisitions category, but it’s where she was named a winner for the brilliance she displayed in procuring a tax insurance solution for a major private equity company. The seller in the deal was unwilling to indemnify two major tax liabilities identified by the buyer. No insurance solution; no deal.

Harger stepped in and was able to put together $600 million in coverage from 13 carriers. She stipulates this is one of the largest tax insurance programs ever placed.

“A lot of brokers are guilty of using too much jargon, which often confuses the client, but Jessica cuts through all that and gets to the heart of the matter,” said her client.

Each year since 2005,  Risk & Insurance® has received hundreds of applications for Power Broker®. Not all of them are as stunning as Harger’s was. But a fair number of them are.

Mark your calendars for mid-October. That’s when the next round of Power Broker® applications are due. Much will have changed by then. And commercial insurance brokers will have a lot to talk about. Not in the area of boasting, but in proof they are extremely high-performing professionals, without whom the machinations of industry would grind to a metal-splintering halt.

Here’s a quick reference guide to all 190 winners by firm.

2HB Human Resources & Benefits Solutions
Laurie Miller Employee Benefits
ABD Insurance & Financial Services Inc.
Cristina Varner Technology
Alliant Insurance Services
Jacqueline Altschul Private Client
Timothy Ayala Employee Benefits
Seth Cole Public Sector
Jonathan Gilbert M&A
Sheneen Nicholson Private Client
Mark Patrick Employee Benefits
Lydia Ramcharitar M&A
Thomas Shashaty Finance
Brian Taich Real Estate
John Baines Employee Benefits
Joyce Bednarek At-large
James Bennett Traditional Energy
Kerry Bostwick Private Client
Lawrence Bowlus Technology
Stephen Busch Pharmaceuticals
Michael Calhoun Aviation
Payal Chahal Technology
Kathryn Christensen Captives
David Christian Real Estate
Martyn Clark Hospitality
Traci Crimm Private Client
Katie Crowe Public Sector
Scott Davis Marine
Matthew Donohue Aviation
Christian Ford Retail
David Fraser International
Katherine Glancy Johnston Agriculture
Sandra Gulick Agriculture
Jessica Harger M&A
Shane Hogan Finance
Jill Jeske Workers’ Compensation
James Kelley Hospitality
Jonathan Kosin Construction
Jeffrey Leadley Construction
Corey Lewis At-large
Sherry Loughrige Entertainment
Cabot Lyman Retail
Matt Maloney Employee Benefits
Natalie Marquess Pharmaceuticals
Timothy McCaffrey Construction
John McCall Finance
Darin McMullen Cyber
Taylor Mitcham Transportation
Alex Moen Cyber
Alyssa Montgomery Pharmaceuticals
Carol Murphy Workers’ Compensation
Liam Murphy Transportation
Megan Nicholas Employee Benefits
Christine Palomba Utilities
Patricia Piccinini Public Sector
Sanju Rajan Transportation
Anne Rappa Fine Arts
Peter Schimeck At-large
Brian Sebold Agriculture
Christopher Shorter Renewable Energy
Kate Simons Delmedico Real Estate
Austin Sims Traditional Energy
Molly Slattery Fine Arts
Karen Sullivan Technology
Katie Underwood International
Shawn Walsh International
Max West Environmental
Ross Wheeler Utilities
Matthew Wiener At-large
Casey Wigglesworth Fine Arts
Blair Wunderlich Fine Arts
Henry Yuan Health Care
Frank Baer Captives
Jeff Maconaghy Transportation
Beecher Carlson
Jason Flaxbeard Captives
Amanda Lania Renewable Energy
Marc Toy Renewable Energy
Mary Leighton Renewable Energy
Tammy Mission  At-large
Brown & Brown
Ron Cutter Public Sector
EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants
Alexander Brown Environmental
DeAnna Buck Captives
Alexandra Forcucci Real Estate
Maron Impagliazzo Transportation
Matt Sears Employee Benefits
Neil Slattery Retail
Frank Albrecht At-large
Morgan Anderson Real Estate
Ken Banks Education
Sollie Bartoe Health Care
Erik Burt Health Care
Brandon Cole Nonprofit
Tim DePriest Nonprofit
Kelly Ethier Education
Justin Felker Captives
Paul Fetterolf Employee Benefits
Byron Given Education
Karen Graham Public Sector
Wes Grigston Employee Benefits
Dave Harman At-large
Ethan Hendrickx Employee Benefits
Marcus Henthorn Public Sector
Pepper Krach Employee Benefits
Bradley Meinhardt Aviation
Mark Munroe Nonprofit
Sean Murphy Hospitality
David Owen Hospitality
Paul Pousson Education
Bill Powell Education
Michael Rankin Employee Benefits
Alex Ranney Real Estate
Daniel R’bibo Entertainment
Jeff Reis Employee Benefits
John Riley Agriculture
Joshua Rubich Employee Benefits
Nancy Sylvester Education
Bruce Tindal Nonprofit
Tamra Walton Employee Benefits
William Willer Aviation
Gillis, Ellis & Baker
Betsy Ellis Clement Private Client
HUB International Insurance Services
Seth Cohen Entertainment
IMA Select
Wesley Keating Nonprofit
JLT Specialty USA
Aaron Baum Entertainment
Ryan Griffin Hospitality
Dana Smith Aviation
Johnson, Kendall, Johnson Inc.
Kevin Dougher Nonprofit
Lockton Companies
Kyle Sliwerski Retail
Inna Ashtamenko M&A
Jonathan Ball Utilities
Paula Bennett Pharmaceuticals
Kenneth Branigan Retail
Andy Bullock Construction
Clifton Chan Utilities
Lauren Cisco Technology
Justin Corrado Cyber
Jodie DeVries Agriculture
Dennis Donovan Hospitality
Frannie Epps Technology
Paul Evans Entertainment
Michael Gaudet Utilities
Jennifer Hustwitt Finance
Trish Kawa Construction
Ruth Kochenderfer Health Care
Romonda Lee At-large
R. Alfonso Lozada Jr. At-large
Kimberly Mann Environmental
Martin McCluney Marine
Whitney Nelson Marine
Amy Odom Workers’ Compensation
Robert Parisi Cyber
Warren Printz Pharmaceuticals
Rose Proby Fine Arts
Lindsay Roos Health Care
Jilian Rossow Traditional Energy
Scott Smidlein Renewable Energy
Lee Snelgrove Traditional Energy
Steve Toffolon International
Niki Tsalikis Pharmaceuticals
Rohan Verma M&A
Amber Walker Environmental
Harry Wallace M&A
Liza Webster Environmental
Kristi Whistle Retail
Erin Yamada Renewable Energy
Susan Young Cyber
Ben Zviti Finance
Marsh Captive Solutions
Ellen Charnley Captives
Lorraine Stack International
Marsh Private Client Services
Kashif Khan Private Client
Marsh Wortham
Wesley Bryan Marine
Gavin Hurd Traditional Energy
McNeal, Sports & Wilson Risk Advisers
Will Wilson Jr. Workers’ Compensation
Jamil Jaffer Employee Benefits
Melanie Stangl Employee Benefits
Lisa Wurster Employee Benefits
Orion Risk Management
Zach Brown Workers’ Compensation
Risk Strategies/DeWitt Stern
Kierstin Johnsen Fine Arts
Spring Consulting Group
Karen English Workers’ Compensation
The Buckner Company
Brandon Robertson Health Care
Willis Towers Watson
John Atkinson At-large
Brian Baker At-large
Paul Chirchirillo Traditional Energy
Michael Falvey At-large
Souwei Ford Cyber
Samara Freimark International
Kevin Kirby Finance
Kate Mead Environmental
Clay Morris Construction
Joseph Peiser Transportation
Michael Perron Utilities
Rob Scheige Aviation
Charles Storm Agriculture
Zodiac Insurance Services
David Wash Entertainment

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

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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.


That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.


Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]