2018 Power Broker

Employee Benefits

Jennifer Akhter
Senior Vice President
Aon, Dallas

Nontraditional Insurance for Nontraditional Workers

The U.S. Woman’s Chamber of Commerce was looking for health insurance and related education for traditionally uninsured parties, including part-time workers and small women-owned businesses, said Fred Karutz, a third-party consultant.

Together, he and Jennifer Akhter developed solutions.

“Jenn drove creation of the multichannel health care coverage and education campaign,” Karutz said. “She brought industry expertise wrapped around her knowledge of the customer experience to translate what I knew about the consumer health business into thoughtful action for the Women’s Chamber.”

Akhter also helped Uber address workers’ comp. As independent contractors, Uber drivers don’t get benefits.


“We wanted to tackle workers’ comp in an affordable way,” said Patty Daberkow, project manager, Insurance Solutions, Uber Technologies.

In collaboration with Uber and OneBeacon, Akhter created a program to protect drivers. Used with the Uber app, the program offers “benefits” designed for independent workers. Since the program piloted, it has rolled out to more than 30 states.

A company with more than 20,000 employees wanted “affordable, ACA-compliant” health insurance for its part-time and seasonal employees, said its director of benefits.

He turned to Akhter, who established an online environment linking employees to state and federal health care exchanges and to additional carriers providing ACA-compliant plans.

Breaking Protocol

Eric Barthel
Vice President
HUB International, Newport Beach, Calif.

“Eric Barthel helped Stanislaus County, Calif., abandon the ‘normal’ brokerage process, where carriers set the rates and then brokers beat them up,” said Jody Hayes, CEO. Instead, he helped create a nonprofit organization to build its own health plan.

This year, when the county had enough data, Barthel used it to negotiate better contracts with carriers.

“Typically you don’t know what you’ve bought, only the cost of the entire package,” Hayes said. “Eric changed that dynamic. Instead of being in the business of buying health insurance, we are now in the business of buying health care.”

Even allowing for the vagaries of what might have been, Barthel’s strategy brought “substantial” savings: $26 million in 2016 compared to projected costs for the county’s traditional health care program through 2011.

Along the way, inflationary costs fell from an annual average of 11 percent between 2005 and 2011 to 6 percent between 2012 and 2017.

“Eric knows what a broker should know, then a whole lot more,” said Hayes.

That includes providers, said Mary Lou Bennett, board member, Retired Employees of Kern County, Calif., such as the clinics and hospitals Barthel recruits to take blood work and distribute educational information at its health fairs.

“Health fairs can get out of hand because of no-shows,” she said. “Everybody Eric invites always comes through.”

Bennett’s board depends on his negotiation skills. During conferences, Barthel negotiates with the myriad of insurance companies that want to get involved.

Cutting Costs Without Sacrificing Convenience

Angela Bassinger
Senior Consultant
Gallagher, Dallas

“Keeping our employees healthy is a win-win in terms of our workforce and our dollars,” said Mark Browder, CFO, ChildCareGroup. For Browder, maximizing health care dollars with an effective benefits program is especially important because ChildCareGroup is a nonprofit. Every cent counts.

Angela Bassinger helped the company get the most for its money by suggesting a telehealth vendor that would provide added convenience and ultimately decrease expenses on its health plan by reducing the need for doctor or emergency room visits.

From January 2016 to February 2017, the company saved an estimated $132,000 in claims that would have been incurred if the members chose an onsite visit instead of telemedicine.


Bassinger also helped the nonprofit implement a pharmacy advocacy program that evaluates employees’ medications for compliance and suggests lower cost alternatives where possible.

“Angela has also rallied her office to throw some holiday parties for the kids and bring them gifts — so she supports us in other ways outside of providing insurance. She’s got our back,” Browder said.

Bassinger and her team also helped Prospect Airport Services drop their fixed costs on excess insurance by about 15 percent, even while clearing the hurdles of Affordable Care Act compliance.

Delivering in a Turbulent Market

Dustin Brand
Senior Consultant
INSURICA, Oklahoma City

Ongoing efforts to comply with the Affordable Care Act, uncertainty over its future and medical cost inflation all result in an ever-changing marketplace. Entities with limited resources — like municipalities and nonprofits — struggle the most to keep pace.

“Dustin Brand walked us through the market changes. We changed carriers this year and switched to more managed care through an HMO. There were more restrictions, and presenting plan changes to employees can be very sensitive and emotional.

“Dustin was there to address each employee’s questions,” said Janice Cain, city manager, the city of Altus in Oklahoma.

Brand implemented a similar change for Goodwill of Oklahoma. The organization’s health care costs were burgeoning due to both expanded eligibility under the Affordable Care Act and to largely unmanaged emergency medical care and pharmacy utilization.

Brand was able to partner the nonprofit with an Accountable Care Organization, which offered an HMO that introduced more medical management into the plan. This helped to control costs while still allowing employees the flexibility of using urgent care services and a few other specialists without a referral.

Brand was also able to secure around $200,000 in premium subsidies from the state’s Insure Oklahoma program. In the end, he and his INSURICA team saved Goodwill close to $1 million.

“He is very knowledgeable and is an expert in the field. He presents information well on the options available and can identify the issues we may encounter up front,” Cain said.

Deep Dive Into Client Needs

Matthew Creighton
Senior Vice President
HUB International, San Diego

“Matt Creighton understands us,” said Trish Besaw, director, human resources, Family Health Centers of San Diego.

While higher rates prevail, HUB International’s Creighton redesigned the nonprofit’s health plan, which had taken hits from expensive claims, offering better benefits at a reduced renewal rate.

And he found health coverage allowing employees, many of whom live in or near Mexico, to use Mexico’s affordable medical and dental facilities while still allowing emergency care in California.

In time for Welk Resorts’ open enrollment, said Tracy Ward, vice president, corporate culture, Creighton and his team created a benefits microsite, an online version of its benefits platform, enabling mobile access with links to websites and carrier contacts.


With Creighton’s help, Welk also introduced a wellness portal to replace its onsite classes, improving participation across the company’s multiple locations. He also helped launch an initiative to analyze workforce productivity and absence management.

“He poured a lot of effort into bringing these projects to fruition,” said Ward.

When Rivulis Irrigation spun off from John Deere, the new company needed to find an equivalent benefits package as quickly as possible for its already shaken employees, said Nannette Doolittle, human resources manager.

“We needed a quality broker to find good insurance and make quick, smart decisions,” Doolittle said. “Matt worked hard and fast. He’s very detail oriented.”

Taking the Long View

Suzanne McGarey, CEBS, CLU
Managing Principal
EPIC/Ascende, Houston

A private equity firm in Oklahoma had a unique problem. They did not have a competitive employee benefits program, because they didn’t need one.

The successful firm had no trouble recruiting employees, and the prestige of working there overshadowed any concerns employees might have had about their benefits, or lack thereof.

But then the leadership changed, and the firm’s reputation took a hit. Now if the company wanted to recruit the best of the best, it needed to revamp its benefits offering. Enter Suzanne McGarey, CEBS, CLU, and her team at Ascende.

“As a PE firm, every dime we spend is scrutinized by our equity partners, so we have to keep costs low while still offering competitive benefit plans. So we have to determine what employees find valuable.

Ascende helped us conduct a survey of our employees so we could get a feel for what matters to them,” said the firm’s VP of human resources and administration.

McGarey also helps her clients develop long-term plan strategies.

When HR technology company Empyrean Benefit Solutions debated whether to switch from an unpopular high-deductible plan back to a PPO, McGarey helped them to recognize that the problem was not the plan but the education being provided to employees.

She helped Empyrean communicate with and market the plan to its employees. She also helped them implement a wellness program that rewards participants with a few dollars each day deposited in their health savings accounts.

“The program rewards positive behavior rather than punishing lack of participation.”

The Advocate Clients Count On

Tracie McPherson
Area President
Gallagher, Madison, Miss.

Forrest General Hospital needed to reduce the cost of prescription drugs as part of its $25 million-plus medical plan.

Working with the hospital’s internal pharmacy staff, employee health and pharmacy benefits managers, Tracie McPherson helped it negotiate some of the nation’s lowest prescription drug costs with a new pharmacy benefit manager while preserving grandfathered status on the plan, said Troy Daniels, VP and CHRO, Forrest General.

After accomplishing the new pharmacy benefit structure and better financial arrangements, “She approached me about expanding employee health to virtual visits to accomplish additional savings at our outlying facilities,” Daniels said.

For business reasons, St. Dominic Health Services switched to a TPA better known for being a health insurance company. The transition was “an absolute mess,” said Diedra Bell, CFO. They had problems moving data and setting up the plan in the TPA’s system.


“Tracie spent hours with the new TPA about how to administer our plan,” Bell said. “She went to bat for us on customer service and how to adjudicate our claims.”

There’s more. To help mitigate a significant projected cost increase in its medical plan, McPherson worked with St. Dominic’s executive benefits committee to negotiate better arrangements with a pharmacy benefit manager. The new program is on target to generate savings of more than 20 percent on prescription drugs.

“Tracie is a strong advocate. She won’t let go until she’s found the best solution for us.”

Managing the Benefits Balancing Act

John Mejasic
Voluntary Benefits Specialist
Gallagher, Radnor, Pa.

An employee health care program needs to balance the financial considerations of the employer with the needs and demands of its workers. As health care costs show no signs of coming down, the task is often onerous and unpleasant.

But for his clients, Gallagher’s John Mejasic has demonstrated tireless effort to make both sides happy.

When Temple University Health System wanted to offer their health plan as a group policy as well as an individual policy, Mejasic went to every employee already enrolled in the individual policy and helped them to assess whether they could benefit by switching to the group plan.

That level of involvement not only helped employees better understand their options but also helped Temple maximize their health care spend so that enrollees got the most benefits for their buck.

But employee benefits go beyond medical, dental and vision care. Mejasic also helped some clients build student loan and tuition assistance programs.

“He has found us some excellent deals on those programs. We’ll be rolling it out mid-year, and I think it will be well-received by our employees,” said Charelle Hirsh, director of compensation & benefits, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

“We’ve also added a second opinion resource through Pinnacle Health, offered under critical illness coverage. It’s offered remotely, so employees don’t have to travel to consult with a second expert.”

Not Your Average Actuary

Martin Molloy, FSA
Associate Partner
Aon, Columbus, Ohio

Martin Molloy, a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries, put his analytical and mathematical skills to good use for Trelleborg Coated Systems US, Inc. The company had inherited a pension plan from an acquired entity that had no clear summary in its plan document.

“It was mostly boiler plate language,” said Eden Isbell, HR director, Trelleborg. “There were certain ways we had to calculate things based on that language, instead of how our previous actuary had done it before.

“Molloy understood the plan document, and how the previous actuary had operated, and what we needed to be able to amend.”

He brought in an ERISA attorney to make amendments to the plan document and helped to draft new language that more accurately represented how the plan was accounted for.


“When I have questions about things I don’t understand, Martin can explain things clearly and thoroughly without making me feel inadequate. And he always makes himself available to meet with our pension committee,” Isbell said.

“He works with us and our ERISA attorney to make sure our documents are fully compliant.”

He did the same for Motorists Mutual Insurance Company when it merged with another business and needed to adjust the way it accounted for health plan costs.

Motorists also needed to reduce its workforce after the merger and implemented an early retirement incentive to do so, which made the accounting method change more challenging. Molloy helped the company accurately capture costs related to paying out retirement benefits.

No Task Too Demanding

Vali Nourishad, ARM, CEBS
Mercer Health and Benefits, Irvine, Calif.

Vali Nourishad comes through for demanding customers, said David Henry, vice president human resources, Foundation Building Materials — a self-described demanding customer.

Henry wanted a value-based employee benefits program. He solicited employee comments and entertained every suggestion as the company shrugged off its existing benefits package: Free life insurance? Free long-term disability? Maybe.

The team had 60 days to market, select, design and roll out the program. Every juncture allowed two hours for review, modification and vetting. Too ambitious, said a number of brokers Henry considered. When can I start? Nourishad asked.

Despite acquisitions two weeks into the RFP that added thousands of employees and incomplete historical data, Nourishad helped executive stakeholders make decisions in time for a successful implementation and open enrollment.

Vesna Mardjonovic, total rewards manager, Zodiac Pool Solutions North America, is another self-described tough customer. “I’m a New Yorker,” she explained.

Zodiac was reviewing its employee benefits from the ground up. In two weeks, Nourishad presented 64 options for executive review.

It gave employees a benefits allowance that they could spend according to their own needs, including high- and low-deductible plans, medical, dental, vision and flexible spending accounts.

“Our CFO was amazed,” Mardjonovic said.

Won’t Take ‘No’

Beth Vernon
Senior Account Executive
Gallagher, Pittsburgh

“Not my job” is not in Beth Vernon’s vocabulary, said Dawn Rice, benefits manager, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

In the first year of her tenure as broker, Vernon went head-to-head with the carrier to get a 17.9 percent overall health insurance rate decrease, a two-year rate guarantee and a wellness incentive that wasn’t even on the prior broker’s radar.

And because the owner “really wraps her arms” around employees, Vernon had the carrier’s vice president on the phone regarding an employee’s spouse’s hospital admission.

Vernon also interceded in a 29-year associate’s eye surgery: “Beth arranged the visit with the low-vision specialist,” Rice said. “She made a difference in the treatment plan.”

Her willingness to fight in the trenches makes a difference in carriers’ willingness to cover experimental treatments, said an attorney with Babst Calland Attorneys at Law.

For example, the carrier for a shareholder’s child, who had a dismal prognosis for muscular dystrophy, refused experimental treatment coverage. Vernon interceded, moving up the carrier’s executive chain. It finally agreed to cover the drug for a year.

Now the child can raise his arms and offer some muscular resistance, feed himself and play video games, greatly improving his quality of life.

“Beth will advocate again,” the attorney said. He’s hopeful that success with the first experimental treatment will ease resistance in the future. “She has the tenacity and persuasive skills to do it. She’s a mild-mannered pit bull.”

Making the Complex Simple

Regina Walsh
Area Vice President
Gallagher, Philadelphia

Law firms have unique obligations when it comes to their benefit structures, because partners utilize them as investment vehicles and they may intertwine with pension plans. Managing the moving parts requires technical expertise and the ability to explain any changes in layman’s terms.

“We were not happy with one of our existing programs. We were paying a lot for insurance. Some of our partners were still underinsured. Some used it as an investment vehicle, and the investments were continually misallocated,” said Richard Rowe, executive director, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.

“Regina came up with three to five alternate plans and presented them to the management committee. She was able to establish a relaxed atmosphere from the start and earned their trust. She corrected misunderstandings that some partners had about both the existing and the new product.”

Ultimately, Walsh saved the firm $1.5 million in premiums by restructuring the program without changing or removing any of the benefits for partners.

Another law firm also needed help educating its partners about their options, especially since the firm has a complex pension structure. Walsh came through for that firm as well, said Dennis Foley, treasurer, Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

“Regina helps find the most cost-effective life insurance coverage, navigates potential minefields and thoughtfully answers our questions.”


Catherine Borbone
Executive Vice President
Alliant Insurance Services, Alpharetta, Ga.

Nicole Negvesky
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Tampa, Fla.

Edward J. O’Malley, RHU, CLU
Mid Atlantic Region Practice Leader
Gallagher, Mount Laurel, N.J.

Randy Rider
Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits
HUB International, Newport Beach, Calif.

Mary Alice Sexton
Executive Vice President
Krauter & Company, New York

Teri Weber
Partner and Senior Consultant
Spring Consulting Group, Boston












More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Exclusive | Hank Greenberg on China Trade, Starr’s Rapid Growth and 100th, Spitzer, Schneiderman and More

In a robust and frank conversation, the insurance legend provides unique insights into global trade, his past battles and what the future holds for the industry and his company.
By: | October 12, 2018 • 12 min read

In 1960, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg was hired as a vice president of C.V. Starr & Co. At age 35, he had already accomplished a great deal.

He served his country as part of the Allied Forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy and liberated the Nazi death camps. He fought again during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star. He held a law degree from New York Law School.


Now he was ready to make his mark on the business world.

Even C.V. Starr himself — who hired Mr. Greenberg and later hand-picked him as the successor to the company he founded in Shanghai in 1919 — could not have imagined what a mark it would be.

Mr. Greenberg began to build AIG as a Starr subsidiary, then in 1969, he took it public. The company would, at its peak, achieve a market cap of some $180 billion and cement its place as the largest insurance and financial services company in history.

This month, Mr. Greenberg travels to China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of C.V. Starr & Co. That visit occurs at a prickly time in U.S.-Sino relations, as the Trump administration levies tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods and China retaliates.

In September, Risk & Insurance® sat down with Mr. Greenberg in his Park Avenue office to hear his thoughts on the centennial of C.V. Starr, the dynamics of U.S. trade relationships with China and the future of the U.S. insurance industry as it faces the challenges of technology development and talent recruitment and retention, among many others. What follows is an edited transcript of that discussion.

R&I: One hundred years is quite an impressive milestone for any company. Celebrating the anniversary in China signifies the importance and longevity of that relationship. Can you tell us more about C.V. Starr’s history with China?

Hank Greenberg: We have a long history in China. I first went there in 1975. There was little there, but I had business throughout Asia, and I stopped there all the time. I’d stop there a couple of times a year and build relationships.

When I first started visiting China, there was only one state-owned insurance company there, PICC (the People’s Insurance Company of China); it was tiny at the time. We helped them to grow.

I also received the first foreign life insurance license in China, for AIA (The American International Assurance Co.). To date, there has been no other foreign life insurance company in China. It took me 20 years of hard work to get that license.

We also introduced an agency system in China. They had none. Their life company employees would get a salary whether they sold something or not. With the agency system of course you get paid a commission if you sell something. Once that agency system was installed, it went on to create more than a million jobs.

R&I: So Starr’s success has meant success for the Chinese insurance industry as well.

Hank Greenberg: That’s partly why we’re going to be celebrating that anniversary there next month. That celebration will occur alongside that of IBLAC (International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council), an international business advisory group that was put together when Zhu Rongji was the mayor of Shanghai [Zhu is since retired from public life]. He asked me to start that to attract foreign companies to invest in Shanghai.

“It turns out that it is harder [for China] to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

Shanghai and China in general were just coming out of the doldrums then; there was a lack of foreign investment. Zhu asked me to chair IBLAC and to help get it started, which I did. I served as chairman of that group for a couple of terms. I am still a part of that board, and it will be celebrating its 30th anniversary along with our 100th anniversary.


We have a good relationship with China, and we’re candid as you can tell from the op-ed I published in the Wall Street Journal. I’m told that my op-ed was received quite well in China, by both Chinese companies and foreign companies doing business there.

On August 29, Mr. Greenberg published an opinion piece in the WSJ reminding Chinese leaders of the productive history of U.S.-Sino relations and suggesting that Chinese leaders take pragmatic steps to ease trade tensions with the U.S.

R&I: What’s your outlook on current trade relations between the U.S. and China?

Hank Greenberg: As to the current environment, when you are in negotiations, every leader negotiates differently.

President Trump is negotiating based on his well-known approach. What’s different now is that President Xi (Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) made himself the emperor. All the past presidents in China before the revolution had two terms. He’s there for life, which makes things much more difficult.

R&I: Sure does. You’ve got a one- or two-term president talking to somebody who can wait it out. It’s definitely unique.

Hank Greenberg: So, clearly a lot of change is going on in China. Some of it is good. But as I said in the op-ed, China needs to be treated like the second largest economy in the world, which it is. And it will be the number one economy in the world in not too many years. That means that you can’t use the same terms of trade that you did 25 or 30 years ago.

They want to have access to our market and other markets. Fine, but you have to have reciprocity, and they have not been very good at that.

R&I: What stands in the way of that happening?

Hank Greenberg: I think there are several substantial challenges. One, their structure makes it very difficult. They have a senior official, a regulator, who runs a division within the government for insurance. He keeps that job as long as he does what leadership wants him to do. He may not be sure what they want him to do.

For example, the president made a speech many months ago saying they are going to open up banking, insurance and a couple of additional sectors to foreign investment; nothing happened.

The reason was that the head of that division got changed. A new administrator came in who was not sure what the president wanted so he did nothing. Time went on and the international community said, “Wait a minute, you promised that you were going to do that and you didn’t do that.”

So the structure is such that it is very difficult. China can’t react as fast as it should. That will change, but it is going to take time.

R&I: That’s interesting, because during the financial crisis in 2008 there was talk that China, given their more centralized authority, could react more quickly, not less quickly.

Hank Greenberg: It turns out that it is harder to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.

R&I: Obviously, you have a very unique perspective and experience in China. For American companies coming to China, what are some of the current challenges?


Hank Greenberg: Well, they very much want to do business in China. That’s due to the sheer size of the country, at 1.4 billion people. It’s a very big market and not just for insurance companies. It’s a whole range of companies that would like to have access to China as easily as Chinese companies have access to the United States. As I said previously, that has to be resolved.

It’s not going to be easy, because China has a history of not being treated well by other countries. The U.S. has been pretty good in that way. We haven’t taken advantage of China.

R&I: Your op-ed was very enlightening on that topic.

Hank Greenberg: President Xi wants to rebuild the “middle kingdom,” to what China was, a great country. Part of that was his takeover of the South China Sea rock islands during the Obama Administration; we did nothing. It’s a little late now to try and do something. They promised they would never militarize those islands. Then they did. That’s a real problem in Southern Asia. The other countries in that region are not happy about that.

R&I: One thing that has differentiated your company is that it is not a public company, and it is not a mutual company. We think you’re the only large insurance company with that structure at that scale. What advantages does that give you?

Hank Greenberg: Two things. First of all, we’re more than an insurance company. We have the traditional investment unit with the insurance company. Then we have a separate investment unit that we started, which is very successful. So we have a source of income that is diverse. We don’t have to underwrite business that is going to lose a lot of money. Not knowingly anyway.

R&I: And that’s because you are a private company?

Hank Greenberg: Yes. We attract a different type of person in a private company.

R&I: Do you think that enables you to react more quickly?

Hank Greenberg: Absolutely. When we left AIG there were three of us. Myself, Howie Smith and Ed Matthews. Howie used to run the internal financials and Ed Matthews was the investment guy coming out of Morgan Stanley when I was putting AIG together. We started with three people and now we have 3,500 and growing.

“I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

R&I:  You being forced to leave AIG in 2005 really was an injustice, by the way. AIG wouldn’t have been in the position it was in 2008 if you had still been there.


Hank Greenberg: Absolutely not. We had all the right things in place. We met with the financial services division once a day every day to make sure they stuck to what they were supposed to do. Even Hank Paulson, the Secretary of Treasury, sat on the stand during my trial and said that if I’d been at the company, it would not have imploded the way it did.

R&I: And that fateful decision the AIG board made really affected the course of the country.

Hank Greenberg: So many people lost all of their net worth. The new management was taking on billions of dollars’ worth of risk with no collateral. They had decimated the internal risk management controls. And the government takeover of the company when the financial crisis blew up was grossly unfair.

From the time it went public, AIG’s value had increased from $300 million to $180 billion. Thanks to Eliot Spitzer, it’s now worth a fraction of that. His was a gross misuse of the Martin Act. It gives the Attorney General the power to investigate without probable cause and bring fraud charges without having to prove intent. Only in New York does the law grant the AG that much power.

R&I: It’s especially frustrating when you consider the quality of his own character, and the scandal he was involved in.

In early 2008, Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging a meeting with a prostitute at a Washington Hotel and resigned shortly thereafter.

Hank Greenberg: Yes. And it’s been successive. Look at Eric Schneiderman. He resigned earlier this year when it came out that he had abused several women. And this was after he came out so strongly against other men accused of the same thing. To me it demonstrates hypocrisy and abuse of power.

Schneiderman followed in Spitzer’s footsteps in leveraging the Martin Act against numerous corporations to generate multi-billion dollar settlements.

R&I: Starr, however, continues to thrive. You said you’re at 3,500 people and still growing. As you continue to expand, how do you deal with the challenge of attracting talent?

Hank Greenberg: We did something last week.

On September 16th, St. John’s University announced the largest gift in its 148-year history. The Starr Foundation donated $15 million to the school, establishing the Maurice R. Greenberg Leadership Initiative at St. John’s School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.

Hank Greenberg: We have recruited from St. John’s for many, many years. These are young people who want to be in the insurance industry. They don’t get into it by accident. They study to become proficient in this and we have recruited some very qualified individuals from that school. But we also recruit from many other universities. On the investment side, outside of the insurance industry, we also recruit from Wall Street.

R&I: We’re very interested in how you and other leaders in this industry view technology and how they’re going to use it.

Hank Greenberg: I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.

R&I: So as the pre-eminent leader of the insurance industry, what do you see in terms of where insurance is now an where it’s going?

Hank Greenberg: The country and the world will always need insurance. That doesn’t mean that what we have today is what we’re going to have 25 years from now.

How quickly the change comes and how far it will go will depend on individual companies and individual countries. Some will be more brave than others. But change will take place, there is no doubt about it.


More will go on in space, there is no question about that. We’re involved in it right now as an insurance company, and it will get broader.

One of the things you have to worry about is it’s now a nuclear world. It’s a more dangerous world. And again, we have to find some way to deal with that.

So, change is inevitable. You need people who can deal with change.

R&I:  Is there anything else, Mr. Greenberg, you want to comment on?

Hank Greenberg: I think I’ve covered it. &

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]