Here’s How Marsh Power Broker Julie Polera Irons Out Mergers and Acquisitions

This Marsh broker already has extensive accolades under her belt, and she’s just getting started.
By: | May 12, 2020

When Julie Polera began her college years at Northeastern University in Boston as a psychology major, little did she know her career path would lead her to become vice president of private equity, mergers and acquisitions at Marsh.  

“My strategy after graduation was to be accepted into a management training program, and I was fortunate enough to begin my career at HUB International,” Polera said. 

“At a certain point, I became interested in private equity business and sought out a role within the private equity and mergers and acquisitions group at Marsh in 2012.”

Today, Polera celebrates having several industry certifications, including being a licensed property and casualty broker in all 50 states, as well as a licensed life and health broker, and she has earned her commercial lines coverage specialist designation. 

Using Her Knowledge to Help her Clients Succeed

Her role at Marsh is one that earned her accolades aplenty thanks to producing substantial savings for many sizable clients. 

“My role at Marsh requires a detailed knowledge of the insurance marketplace and an understanding of how we are able to work with the markets and their product offerings to tailor to the needs of our clients,” Polera said. 

“Each deal in the private equity practice must have a strategy as we negotiate solutions for our clients. This is vital as our clients are consistently acquiring and divesting operations. 

“We also must create a program that satisfies the financial needs of our clients in terms of overall program costs and credit risk requirements,” Polera continued.

In fact, one of her clients, a large construction aggregates company, which is owned by private equity, has grown substantially by an acquisition-based $1.5 billion during the last five years. 

The company has had a solid claims history and utilized risk control/telematics for its 3,800-unit fleet. 

However, the company was looking to review alternative ideas and approaches to managing its insurance program. 

Polera worked her magic and was able to produce a creative corridor deductible option that generated a year-over-year savings of 30% — more than $1.6 million — as well as a flat collateral requirement with the company’s incumbent carrier. 

“The purchase of insurance is a critical component to both the financial and operational components of the business,” Polera said. 

“The ability to overcome obstacles and produce a positive outcome for clients is what I am most proud [of].”

Creating a Strong Bond

In addition, Polera prides herself in understanding her clients’ needs and working with the client as a team. 

“It’s important to get the client comfortable enough to talk to you on a personal level and express what drives their decisions and performance metrics,” Polera said. “My goal is to become an extension of my client’s team as opposed to an insurance broker.” 

And she did just that when she worked with a leading transportation solutions provider that, despite not paying out any losses within the past five years, was facing a 100% rate increase (equivalent to $2 million) lead umbrella renewal indication as a result of a rather tumultuous umbrella market. 

“I worked in collaboration with the client and primary markets to obtain the optimal program structure balance on the primary and lead program to provide a savings of $1.3 million in premium,” Polera said. 

A Well-deserved 2020 Power broker Win

And while providing extensive cost savings and becoming a key partner with her clients is what Polera is most proud of, becoming a Risk & Insurance M&A Power Broker in 2020 was a nice moment. 

“I am proud of the strong relationships I have developed with colleagues, peers and mentors who I trust and admire within the industry,” Polera said. 

“I am lucky to be able to work and learn from some of the best in the industry.”

And while Polera has always been very driven and has embraced self-motivation, she is also a firm believer that success takes a village. 

“I would never be where I am now without the support and guidance of my family, my close mentors within Marsh and the industry,” she said. 

“I also believe having had the resources available within Marsh has given me the ability to achieve my goals,” Polera said. 

“One of the things I have learned in my current role is that you must be able to be flexible and adaptable at any point in time, given [the] nature of private equity business.”

Communication also is paramount within her role.

“It is critical to develop relationships with the client at varying levels and disciplines to understand each client’s unique needs as there are many stakeholders involved in the decision of how to best insure the company.”

Embracing Challenges

Of course, Polera’s role certainly provides its fair share of challenges. 

As she explains, over the last year, the volatility of the excess market has been a challenge for many of Marsh’s clients. 

As a result, Polera has worked with colleagues and markets to structure complicated deals that create solutions on both a primary and excess basis. 

“Most currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to many of our clients’ businesses,” Polera said. 

Challenges aside, Polera hopes to thrive as a leader and make an impact on people as her leaders have done with her. She strives to continue to grow and add value with every opportunity and be an innovator in the industry.

“I look forward to each challenge and opportunity to make a difference. I love working with underwriters, my colleagues at Marsh and clients to navigate and solve problems,” Polera said. 

“My goal is to continue advancing my career and to be acknowledged as a resourceful broker in the insurance industry.” &

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Maura Keller is a writer, editor and published book author with more than 20 years of experience. She has written about business, design, marketing, health care, and a wealth of other topics for dozens of regional and national publications. She can be reached at [email protected].

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