Introducing the 2022 Power Broker Winners and Finalists
Question: What do you get when you combine a global pandemic with an insurance market that is transitioning to a hard market?
Answer: You get substantial business challenges.
Question: What do you get when you can find a professional sector that devotes itself full time to maintaining the financial foundation to support the economy, no matter what the environmental or financial conditions are?
Answer: You get Power Brokers.
This, the 18th year of the contest’s existence, finds us celebrating — yes, celebrating — the best brokers in the commercial insurance business.
It’s their creativity, their customer service excellence and their industry knowledge that sets them apart. Their work ethic is inspirational. Their devotion to learning and education set the standard.
Throughout their profiles, you’ll see more than 180 brokers who rose above their peers in a very competitive contest (we saw 15% more applications year over year) to win the praises of their risk management partners.
So many of them are systematic — dogged, really — in how they build plans and execute on them for their customers’ success.
Consider these excerpts from the Power Broker application of Jonathan Kosin, ARM, a Troy, Michigan-based Power Broker in the Construction category. At the time of this writing, Kosin was with Aon.
Kosin describes the hard market, the challenges mounted by the pandemic and social inflation that is hammering underwriters and insureds. “There is no silver bullet to fix this situation,” Kosin wrote in his application. “The key for me and my clients is the approach, the process and the execution.”
On the approach: “It is critical that the team [client and broker] are knowledgeable about the challenges, as well as being crystal clear on the goals laid but by the client,” Kosin wrote.
On the process: “With the current market environment, it’s hard to believe how quickly things can move when there is a due date that can’t be adjusted,” Kosin wrote. “Communication, and overcommunication, are a must throughout the process.”
Then Kosin points out three key elements to the execution of a plan to get the best deal for the client: client presentations, remembering the past and relationship building.
On client presentations: “My goal is to make sure the client differentiates themselves so the insurers will want to underwrite the risk.”
On remembering the past: “It is imperative that I review prior renewals and results with my clients,” Kosin said. “Presenting this data and referencing the past sends a positive message to the insurer that you are not only listening to their concerns but working with them to produce a positive mutual result,” he added.
And on relationship building and getting interest from new insurers: “With new interest brings new competition and with new competition brings the most competitive outcome for my clients.”
Consider now what Franz Wagner, a managing director with Conner, Strong and Buckelew, and a Power Broker® in the Transportation category, was able to accomplish for his clients.
Wagner helps to arrange insurance for a company that owns school buses and other transit. Volatile excess liability and auto liability markets meant that Wagner’s clients were facing premium increases of between 300 and 400% on some of their excess policies.
Think now that we’re talking about a company that is responsible for transporting our children to and from school. Few tasks could be more important.
Wagner and his team helped the client form a captive to own exposures in the excess layers and save the client millions of dollars in annual premium costs. The multi-year arrangement will save the client even more, provided it can deliver a favorable loss record. Karen Wallace, marketing director and vice president at Conner, Strong and Buckelew, called it one of the greatest accomplishments of Wagner’s career.
Is there a sector, amidst all the pain of the past 24 months, more beleaguered than health care? It’s hard to imagine one that might be. Enter Jenee Page, an account executive with Aon based in Chicago and a Power Broker® in the Health Care category.
“My functional title at Aon is account executive, however this past year my title has been that of a ‘market therapist,’ ” Page wrote.
“The hardening insurance market has shocked and frustrated clients, and for the health care clients I serve it has come at a most inopportune time, as client resources have been taxed due to the global pandemic,” she said. Managing end-of-life care for COVID patients while trying to understand a hard market has pressured health care risk managers.
Page focuses on finding solutions for clients, even when the news isn’t good. “I believe that when faced with a challenge or a setback, it is imperative that I present a potential solution, suggestion or alternative for my clients,” she said.
Being creative and finding solutions in good times is one thing. Being creative and finding solutions in times like these is quite another. What’s great about Power Brokers? They do it every year and in every kind of market cycle.
What is a Power Broker?
A Risk & Insurance Power Broker® is an individual who stands out among their peers for the exceptional client work they delivered over the past year. While brokers play many key roles in the insurance industry and risk profession, a Power Broker® award recognizes problem solving, customer service and industry knowledge.
Our goal is to broadly recognize and promote outstanding risk management and customer service among the brokerage community.
Who selects the winners?
Power Brokers are selected by risk managers based on the strength of the testimonials they provide to a team of 15 Risk & Insurance editors and writers.