Multiple Acquisitions? No Problem. How Jan Berger Centralized Jacuzzi Brands’ Risk Management Strategy

This veteran risk manager consolidated a risk management program as his company grew rapidly.
By: | July 25, 2022

Jacuzzi Brands went through a significant period of acquisition growth between 2010 and 2019.

During that time, the company, which is a global manufacturer and distributor of branded baths, hot tubs, pools and saunas, acquired Sundance Spas, Hyrdopool, Dimension One and ThermoSpas.

But the problem was that each brand had multiple risks across different programs with different renewal dates, managed by up to seven different brokers. That meant the company’s overall global risk management strategy was decentralized, fragmented and siloed, making it difficult to manage, inefficient and costly in servicing and premium terms.

That’s when Jan Berger came in.

Appointed director, global risk management in October 2019, he quickly got to grips with the program’s structure and devised a two-year plan to consolidate all the program’s administration under one broker.

Berger proceeded to align the risks under three main renewal dates for property, casualty and management liability. That way, he was able to align all the renewal dates within each category on the same date.

To achieve better pricing, Berger’s intent was to eventually move the property program’s renewal date to the spring just before the hurricane season; the casualty to the fall when it set its financial forecasts; and the management liability to the end of the year when the board approves the directors and officers coverage.

Initially, he worked with the company’s principal broker, Aon, and then with Marsh, to simplify the program by consolidating all the risks under one global program and removing the other smaller brokers involved.

On top of restructuring the program, in October 2019, Berger also had to secure property coverage for the company’s worldwide assets, including its principal spa manufacturing plant in Tijuana, Mexico after that site had incurred losses from a fire in August 2018. When the incumbent had denied cover prior to the renewal in May 2019 due to concerns over risk controls, the company arranged a 90-day coverage extension, followed by another extension until November 2019.

After quickly engaging Aon to find every insurer interested in writing the property risk, Berger put together a presentation that explained the company’s risk control measures, and how much money had been spent on it and where.

Despite securing coverage at a higher premium with less favorable terms and conditions in November 2019 and a flat premium renewal the following year, he negotiated an extension to March 2022 at the current policy rate.

“By the time I had left the company in November 2021, 90% of my two-year plan was complete,” said Berger, who is now senior director, group risk management at APL Logistics.

“During that time, working with the principal broker, at the last renewals, we managed to reduce the property premium by more than $200,000 and achieved annual savings of more than $1 million on the casualty program.” &

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Alex Wright is a UK-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected].

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