The 2019 Hospitality Power Brokers

Martyn Clark
Executive Director
Aon, London

Martyn Clark, Executive Director, Aon

Four Seasons is among the hotel sector’s best-known names, but isn’t actually a hotel owner. Instead, the company manages owners’ assets and its group insurance policy. Four Seasons suffered a $30 million claim from last January’s California mudslides.

Securing attractive terms for the 2018 renewal was a challenge for Martyn Clark, as owners could easily move their individual hotels to separate standalone insurers or alternative programs.

Maintaining the program’s integrity meant retaining current owners while expanding the premium base via new hotels; a task complicated by the program’s $500 million named windstorm sublimit being specifically allocated to three named hotels.

One option was to buy a program standalone excess layer, but pricing was high and capacity limited. Instead, the solution chosen was to sublimit the $330 million windstorm limits for an Orlando location to $100 million — freeing up $230 million of new limits.


“During our last renewal period, we faced 30 percent-plus pricing increases as the industry was severely impacted by Harvey, Irma and Maria,” said Hyatt’s director of risk management, Jennifer Pack.

“While hotels in our property program weren’t impacted by these events, the markets and brokers indicated we should expect large increases regardless, due to the very nature of our business and locations.

“With the assistance of Martyn and his team, we were able to convince both new and incumbent markets that Hyatt is a great risk and also receive flat rates year-on-year.”

Dennis Donovan
Managing Director
Marsh, Philadelphia

Dennis Donovan, Managing Director, Marsh

Dennis Donovan regularly works with the biggest organizations in sport and the gaming industry. One major international manager of sports arenas and convention centers asked Donovan to negotiate multi-year guaranteed rate commitments from underwriters for their 2018 general liability, umbrella and environmental liability renewal programs.

The new liability structure was a “state-of-the-art” insurance program, featuring the broadest coverages available for venue management companies.

Highlights included negotiated audit savings for the group’s workers’ comp and general liability programs; composite rates to mitigate premium swings due to changes in manual rates and class code mix; and self-audits to minimize administration.

For another client in online gaming and sports wagering, the team worked closely with Marsh’s cyber Center of Excellence to secure significant improvements to the company’s vendor contract with respect to cyber liability terms and conditions.

A further success was achieved for a major U.S. sports association in designing an international network of individual country specialists within Marsh, with expertise in hospitality, sports and entertainment.

“With over 240 facilities in eight countries, our group is constantly challenging Dennis to keep our insurance current, accurate and in compliance with our contracts and local law,” said Bill Helmig, executive director of risk management for venue manager SMG.

Ryan Griffin
Senior Vice President
JLT Specialty, Chicago

Ryan Griffin, Senior Vice President, JLT Specialty 

Translating global ransomware attacks and technology vendor disputes into understandable losses is rewarding for Ryan Griffin.

Risk solutions devised for clients last year included a cyber risk financial stress test for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which incorporated scenario development and quantification.

“As a highly regulated business that derives most of its revenues from international operations, it is critical we have a clear understanding of all threat vectors produced by cyber exposure,” said W. David Little, SVP global risk management.

“Ryan has been instrumental in developing and using the knowledge gained from our stress test to produce risk management solutions that address our cyber exposures.”

Complex claim navigation was undertaken for Sabre Corporation and another client, a producer of slot machines and provider of financial equipment and services to casinos.


“Ryan was instrumental in helping us think through the complexities of our cyber claim and then partnered with us to discuss and justify appropriate coverage,” said Brian Evans, VP, treasury and assistant treasurer, Sabre.

“With his understanding of our underlying business, and expertise in the cyber and E&O market, we were able to drive and deliver a positive outcome for the company.”

A single meeting convinced another client to transition their E&O program from a 10-year incumbent to Griffin and JLT. “Under Ryan’s leadership, the subsequent onboarding process was seamless and thorough,” they said.

James Kelley, CPCU, AIC
Aon, New York

James Kelley, Director, Aon

Harvey, Irma and Maria left their mark on Comcast NBC Universal. For James Kelley, it meant working closely with an independent adjusting firm, multiple experts and a large market of insurers to develop an effective strategy that maximized the client’s recovery.

Comcast’s VP of global risk management, Donald Aspinall, said: “Jim has been a tremendous asset and advocate in thoughtfully working through three extraordinarily complex claims for us.

“The facilities impacted were in diverse geographies and involved many complex aspects of the company. Jim navigated this complexity with admirable professionalism and aplomb.”

For another client, Host Hotels & Restaurants, the challenge lay in the proximity of many properties in Paris and Brussels to terrorist attacks in 2015-16.

Kelley’s team worked with forensic accountants to develop a unique claim strategy, including interactive mapping of the cities against timelines of the terror events.

The claim presentation matched complex facts, geographies and timelines up to coverage within the policy in an easily understandable fashion and helped overcome significant coverage limitations. These efforts paid off, resulting in a recovery of “millions of dollars.”

Kelley also negotiated multiple claims for a major chemical company, including a plant explosion and complicated process shutdown: “Jim works efficiently with adjusters and experts and presents a fully documented claim that avoids costly litigation,” said its insurance manager.

Sean Murphy, AAI, ARM
Senior Director, Hospitality Practice
Gallagher, Houston

Sean Murphy, Senior Director, Hospitality Practice, Gallagher 

When Hurricane Irma tore across Florida, Puerto Rico and other regions in September 2017, it created a sizeable workload for broker Sean Murphy.

“Sean has settled, or is in the process of settling, more than $91 million in property and BI claims due to Irma, with six of his major clients suffering losses,” reported Wesley Brandt, president of Wes Brandt Insurance Consulting.

“All are complex, but none were contested due to a comprehensive team of professionals and resources managing the claims.

“Sean is a student of manuscript forms and negotiates the smallest details of policy wording to accomplish the risk transfer and retention goals of his clients. He travels more than 80,000 miles each year to see them — sometimes several times a quarter — to solve problems they have raised.”


This expertise saw Murphy take on a leadership role, providing insurance and risk management advice to both sides of a contested $5 billion-plus takeover of one of the U.S.’s leading hotel REITs.

Following the approved purchase, he and his team were asked to create a comprehensive risk management program for the combined company. This will include placement of most of the insurance in what is now a 60-plus hotel portfolio, all upscale and large properties across the U.S., most located in high CAT zones, which fortunately are Murphy’s specialty.

David Owen, CISR, CLCS
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Dallas

David Owen, Area Senior Vice President, Gallagher

With rates on the rise again, achieving savings for the client is a challenge. Yet a thorough analysis and restructure of one newly-won program by David Owen and his team achieved a premium decrease of no less than 60 percent for the client, a hotel fund manager.

The account was moved to new carriers, and more than 40 enhancements of the coverage were secured.

For another client, a hotel chain, Owen provided due diligence on four potential acquisitions and two disposals, While reducing the cost of risk by 25 percent year-on-year and adding specialized cyber coverage.

In serving middle market clients as their outsourced risk manager, Owen sees his role as their ‘quarterback,’ by connecting them to the full team of Gallagher resources and maintaining sole accountability for the team while providing weekly updates.

“I take pride in lifecycle service — renewals, ongoing operational service, claims service and loss control service,” he disclosed in his Power Broker® application. “I pride myself on reviewing and providing constructive feedback on client insurance and indemnity provisions in leases, PSAs, and lender and partnership agreements.”

“In the years in which David acted as our agent, he exceeded all of our needs,” said Rex Stewart, CFO of Quorum Hotels & Resort.

“He is very good at communicating and responding to our requests for assistance. David is proactive in pursuing opportunities to improve our coverage and ensure good communication from our carriers regarding claim status.”

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]