The 2019 International Power Brokers
David Fraser, Senior Vice President, Aon
David Fraser’s multinational clients rave about his superior service. Fraser and his team helped to secure an Australian private equity firm’s insurance coverage throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, said the firm’s general manager of risk and insurance.
Despite average rate increases of 25 to 30 percent in the Australian market, through Fraser’s collaborative leadership of the teams across Australia and Europe, the Aon team managed to secure a 15 percent reduction, saving around $1 million in premiums — “unheard of in the current market,” the client said.
“David is an amazing guy — he’s super-committed, very well connected and respected, and above all, I trust him as a friend,” the client said. “He is always looking to put himself in our shoes and always puts our interests first. I have worked with some world-class brokers over the years, but David is one of the best in the business.”
Fraser is “a full-service broker,” assisting another client’s insurance needs in Europe, Asia and the U.S. “He knows insurance and more importantly, he understands people and is a great problem-solver,” the client said. “David has the rare ability to keep perspective and a sense of humor while addressing the ‘issue of the day,’ which is invaluable — and, in my experience, impossible to teach.
“Insurance can be taught and learned — the people skills to wield that knowledge and use it, not so much,” the client said. “David has both.”
Samara Freimark, SVP, Global Services and Solutions, Willis Towers Watson
For a global Fortune 500 company with a broad range of products and exposure in more than 40 countries, Samara Freimark conducted rigorous marketing and held discussions with all stakeholders to successfully bind a controlled master foreign liability program with more than 35 local admitted policies.
This was achieved for under $300,000 — an extremely competitive price given the client’s exposure. In addition, Freimark was also able to secure a multi-year rate agreement.
For another client, Newell Brands Inc., WTW took over the casualty portion of the account in early 2018, with Freimark and her team providing “some great suggestions” on alternate structuring of its program, said Karl Miller, director, risk management.
“The Willis team used their contacts and expertise to make that changed structure a reality,” Miller said. “This not only resulted in improved coverage but [also] a substantial reduction in Newell’s casualty rate.”
Dennis Phinney, senior corporate risk/insurance manager at Autodesk, said Freimark and her team were able to obtain broader coverage internationally, while at the same time lowering premiums.
“This has been very important to us as we transition to a new business model — Samara and her team went above and beyond to solve problems for us,” Phinney said.
Lorraine Stack, Managing Director, Marsh
Captives historically have been used primarily for property and casualty risks, but now more are writing employee benefits as companies are increasingly able to control stakeholder engagement across their firms — backed by better quality data from fronting insurers.
Last April, Marsh Captive Solutions’ Lorraine Stack coordinated a captive owner’s forum on employee benefits comprised of 15 of Marsh’s largest European multinational clients. The half-day event was a chance for thought leaders, industry experts and captive-owning clients to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and opportunities around employee benefit captives.
Stack is a specialist adviser on pension captive arrangements, having supported the first-ever pension captive establishment in Europe. She is currently supporting another client who is assessing the suitability of adding pension risk to its Luxembourg captive.
“Lorraine has always been very supportive in helping us figure out our insurance program by reinsuring through our captive,” the client said. “She has always been helpful in her comments when we were asking questions.
“She’s also constructively curious and is very good at taking an idea maybe from a completely different industry or geography and apply it relevantly to your situation,” the client said. “Through building up respect and trust among her clients she has established her own niche and is only going to go from strength to strength in the future with it.”
Steve Toffolon, Global Risk Management Client Executive, Marsh
One of Steve Toffolon’s pharmaceutical clients was facing a very challenging renewal for its products liability program and financial services programs due to a very difficult market cycle. The marketplace was reducing capacity, increasing costs and demanding more information.
Toffolon’s team kept the client in the loop at each step, and developed a plan that included utilization of the global marketplace for both lines of coverage, along with continued deep analysis of the program using Six Sigma tools and methodologies.
They were able to bind both lines of coverage at full limits using capacity from around the globe, with terms and conditions that were advantageous to our client.
“Steve Toffolon by far is the most organized account executive that I’ve dealt with,” said the client.
“That sounds pretty boring, but when you’re trying to manage complex moving parts, having someone help put it in perspective and help keep a good timeline on what has to get accomplished next week or next month, is very important. I rely on him a great deal.”
“Steve is our client advocate and he really maneuvers his brokering team to get things done and to service the customer,” said the director of risk management at a life sciences firm.
“He is a problem solver — he really gets deep into the issues to find and assess the source of the issue, which is absolutely critical.”
Katie Underwood, Executive Director, Aon
For a multinational investment bank and financial services company, Katie Underwood was successful in obtaining both the lowest-priced placement and a Basel-compliant policy — “a bit of a moon shot!” said the director of group insurance for the firm.
“Katie has shown herself to have the relationships with London and European underwriters and the ability to utilize those relationships to help us achieve our best-in-class pricing and coverage,” the client said.
“Katie is super responsive, which for me is of utmost importance,” said another client, the head of risk management at a real estate investment trust company.
“She is also very conscious about cost savings for her clients, but always keeping in mind that a very broad policy can’t be sacrificed.
“Her knowledge in her field is so impressive,” the client said. “Katie has amazing relationships with the markets and that really goes a long way. Her demeanor is wonderful, she always has a smile on her face and rarely gets ruffled — she is an extreme pleasure to work with.”
Underwood is client focused, said a third client, a managing director at another multinational investment bank and financial services company. “You can see that she’s very close to the syndicate markets and is respected and very well liked by those underwriters,” the client said.
“She’s also pragmatic — she knows how to manage my expectations and she knows how to deliver tough messages.”
Shawn Walsh, Senior Vice President, Aon
One of Shawn Walsh’s clients, Associated Capital Group, was in the process of raising capital via a special purpose acquisition company, specifically targeting European companies.
However, given the uncertainty of industries and Associated’s limited flexibility in the process, the challenge for underwriters was that they had limited knowledge on what they were ultimately underwriting.
Walsh and his team were successful in negotiating favorable terms and pricing and in coordinating with international insurers to place the special purpose acquisition company’s IPO, as well as the prepaid run-off coverage once the merger commenced — a feat especially noteworthy considering there were insurers that were not as familiar with the set-up of such a company.
To overcome the additional challenge of needing the policy to also be in English, Walsh and his team had the foreign insurers’ U.S. counterpart separately draft a policy mirroring the local policy for the international board.
“Shawn was able to liaison with the European carriers very effectively, with a very quick turn-around getting coverage for the entity,” said Francis Conroy, Associated’s CFO. “His service was above and beyond.”
“Shawn Walsh and his team are thorough, responsive and are solution-oriented in their efforts,” said another client, Michael Weiner, chief legal officer at Ares Management Corp.