The 2019 Entertainment Power Brokers

Aaron Baum, ARM
Vice President
JLT Specialty, Chicago

Aaron Baum, Vice President, JLT Specialty

Vice Media has grown to become an international digital and broadcasting company with unique insurance requirements.

These are catered to by Aaron Baum, VP of JLT Specialty USA, who put together a custom-tailored global risk program for Vice, providing 16 lines of coverage covering the client’s feature film and television operations in 33 countries.

Each film, television show or live event presents its own set of exposures, which extend to the world’s danger zones as he has also procured coverage for television productions filming in war-torn nations such as Syria, Iraq and Somalia.

Baum and his team also created a program for TV production company Roush-Wagner, the name behind Showtime at the Apollo, and assisted events producer LiveStyle in constructing a global program for outdoor music festivals around the world.


“Having worked with Aaron more than 10 years, he has made my job in production a lot easier by always providing solutions to difficult situations,” said Jim Roush.

“From dealing with live ammunition being fired on a competition reality set to dealing with an A-list musician being sick and losing a week of shooting, Aaron always handles everything with a calm demeanor and positive attitude. I know my back — and other areas — is covered.”

Trevor L. Mattice, an associate at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf and Cunningham agrees. “It is difficult to properly insure risk if you do not have a comprehensive understanding of the business. Aaron’s ability to connect the dots sets him apart.”

Seth Cohen, ARM, CPCU
Vice President
HUB, Encino, Calif.

Seth Cohen, Vice President, HUB

A documentary filmmaker declined for E&O coverage by more than 10 markets was informed that the project was uninsurable.

But those rejections failed to deter HUB’s Seth Cohen, who set up screenings for multiple insurers to identify areas of concern. He also brought in a respected media attorney to advise on the project.

Working together with all stakeholders, Cohen and his team successfully negotiated an insurance program that allowed the filmmaker to screen their film at a major festival, obtain global distribution and win major awards.

“Having worked with Seth over the years, I have come to rely on his knowledge and expertise throughout the production process,” said Paul Taylor, SVP for Lighthearted Entertainment. “A recent production incurred a significant loss due to a weather event. With Seth’s guidance, it was quickly back up and running and the claims process was much less daunting.”

“Seth, on so many occasions has gone above and beyond to ensure that my shows have the coverage needed or requested by the network, even when it is asking for coverages not usually in the realm of entertainment,” said Isabel San Vargas, EVP, head of production and operations at Propagate Content.

“Not only can I count on his advice to be accurate and experienced, but whenever I’m in a situation where we get back quotes that seem ridiculous or impossible, one call to Seth and my problems miraculously dissolve.”

Paul Evans, CII
Senior Client Advisor
Marsh, Philadelphia

Paul Evans, Senior Client Advisor, Marsh

This past year, Marsh’s Paul Evans achieved great success creating tailored solutions for clients.

Real estate developer The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC)  required a robust events cancellation insurance program for their newly refurbished Pier 17 location at New York’s South Street Seaport.

Said Randy Kostroske, HHC’s SVP, risk management, “During my 30-year career as a risk management professional, I’ve had great opportunities to create productive working relationships with insurance professionals and strong business minds.

“However, until this year it had never been necessary for me to protect against loss of revenue and expenses due to the potential cancellation of events at one of my company’s real estate venues utilized by the entertainment industry.


“My own due diligence identified Paul as an individual with significant experience in this space. His hands-on style of approaching business and strong technical knowledge of commercial insurance in this niche market is excellent.”

Clorox sought a wraparound production program for their advertising and marketing.

“We initially started with a small program to cover in-house productions,” said Susanna Chan, associate director of risk management for Clorox.

“Paul guided us with extending the program, by phases, to cover the company’s advertising productions worldwide, resulting in significant savings while having broader and consistent cover for all advertising projects.”

Sherry Loughrige
Senior Vice President
Aon, Southfield, Mich.

Sherry Loughrige, Senior Vice President, Aon

Reviving the fortunes of the city of Detroit has been central to the work taken on by Sherry Loughrige and her team at Aon.

Loughrige works with Little Caesar Enterprises; Ilitch Holdings Inc. and The District Detroit, which since 2014 have undertaken the revitalization of 50 city blocks, a new hockey arena and more.

Loughrige placed a multi-million-dollar owner controlled insurance program (OCIP) that allowed all contractors to roll into it. This provided ease of administration and lower insurance costs, enabling the project owner to enjoy the savings.

The construction project has been a boon for the city of Detroit, while the insurance program designed by Aon to address all the construction needs/projects has been completed safely and on schedule with each phase.

“The valuable risk management program support and innovative resources provided by Sherry and her team have certainly contributed to the success of our transformational project and helped address the myriad of exposures it presents,” said Mike Niehaus, director of risk management, Ilitch Holdings.

“Sherry has been a major influence in keeping our insurance costs and policy coverage in line with our changing landscape in the automotive world,” said Gary Caldwell, CFO for Dakkota Integrated Systems.

“She also was instrumental in securing a new workers’ compensation carrier with potential annual savings of $1 million to our bottom line.”

Daniel R’bibo, ARM
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Glendale, Calif.

Daniel R’bibo, Area Senior Vice President, Gallagher

Gallagher’s Daniel R’bibo claimed a 2018 Power Broker® award for helping a film production company cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

This year, he developed an insurance program to cover all film shoots for Airbnb Inc.’s marketing and online content globally.

The online marketplace and hospitality service hadn’t previously carried production insurance, so there was no track record to present to underwriters.

R’bibo and his team were nonetheless able to develop a blanket policy covering everything from ziplining shoots to surfing footage.

“We have operations across the globe, with shoots happening last minute simultaneously on multiple projects on multiple continents almost every week,” said Airbnb’s Bo Wright. “To say that our program is complicated is an understatement.


“We’re thankful to have Daniel as a trusted advisor to guide us through the design phase of our program and serve as an operational partner we can count on. His team provides white glove service to our producers and are always keen to educate and ensure that we all work together in a way that enables the business and accelerates our production cycle.”

Beau Marks of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) department of film, television and digital media, said that R’bibo has also helped in explaining to UCLA and its students the importance of workers’ compensation insurance.

David Wash
Zodiac Insurance Services, Shamong, N.J.

David Wash, President, Zodiac Insurance Services

This year, David Wash and his team at  Zodiac Insurance Services have been working to find insurance solutions for entertainment companies that use mobile equipment and inflatables.

Wash reports that the challenge has been developing products in an almost non-existent insurance market that has been through significant periods of losses. Underwriting profitably in an industry segment that has not been kind to predecessors requires creativity, diligence and attention to detail.

Zodiac met with U.S. manufacturers to learn about their offerings and safety protocols, implementing the latter as mandatory. Wash believes that working both with them and also inspectors and emergency experts has prevented a number of potential accidents.

At Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley, senior underwriter Richard Everall reports: “Beazley have been very fortunate to partner with Zodiac on this project. It is rare to find the level of passion, detail and care for the customer that David and the Zodiac team bring to what remains a very challenging sector.

“Zodiac continually refine the existing market by developing and testing new solutions which, coupled with their fast-growing network and market support, has built the well-respected Managing General Agent that Beazley enjoys a strong relationship with and has done all the way back to the company foundation.

“We can expect to see Zodiac bring many more innovative ideas and products to market in the coming years.”

The complete list of 2019 Power Broker® winners can be found here.

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]