2016 Power Broker

2016 Power Broker® Winners

R&I profiles the accomplishments of the 2016 Power Broker® award winners, with an index to each category.
By: | February 22, 2016 • 2 min read

Now in its 11th year, the Risk & Insurance® Power Broker® contest recognizes the best commercial property/casualty brokers in more than 20 industry categories. In this month’s issue, you will see dozens of examples of the stellar work done by your colleagues and your rivals, perhaps even someone you’ve mentored or been mentored by.


The key factors we consider in picking these Power Broker® winners are their creativity in finding solutions for their clients, their responsiveness and dedication to customer service, and their industry knowledge.

An index to R&I’s profiles of the 2016 Power Brokers is below.

Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few tips from our descriptions of how these winning brokers handled thorny placements, or earned the love—yes the love— of their clients through their tireless customer service.

What might not be so readily evident is how extensive and rigorous this search is. The application process, which can be accessed at www.riskandinsurance.com starts in earnest by mid-summer of the prior year.

Applications are due by mid-October, but every year we find it necessary to extend the deadline by a week or two for some of the applicants. We do that because we understand how busy brokers are and how busy the risk managers, who kindly serve as their references, are also.

Consider for a moment just how robust this effort is. With hundreds of applicants listing a maximum of three references per application, the number of calls and e-mails our judging team sends out to those references for this contest runs to well more than 1,000.

We know that there are some very talented, innovative brokers who will not appear in these pages; at least this year. They’re either too busy to apply or perhaps suffer from an overabundance of modesty. I do want to emphasize that although we do pick up some applicants by word of mouth, the vast majority of the winners here were self-nominated, were nominated by their brokerage, or were nominated by an admiring risk manager.

This may sound like a sweepstakes pitch, but the fact is you probably won’t win Power Broker® if you don’t enter or your brokerage or risk management partner doesn’t enter you.

In past years, we’ve identified a group of Power Broker® winners and finalists who are under the age of 40 by the publication date. Look for them in March, as we’ll list the pictures of these Rising Stars, as they will now be known, along with their brokerage affiliations and industry specialty.


Of this last group, I can only say that they amaze and humble me. I interviewed one of them, Marsh’s Herman Brito, a winner in the Marine category, and I was wowed by his humanistic, clever approach to doing business. He is all of 26.

So look for special mention of Herman and the rest of the Rising Stars next month. In an industry focused on its talent pipeline —and rightly so — this group of under-40 high-achievers gives us all something to feel hopeful about.

Congratulations to all of the talented professionals who, according to the clients they serve, are truly deserving of the title Power Broker®.

Index to 2016 Power Broker winners:

At Large


Aviation & Aerospace






Employee Benefits


Financial Services

Fine Arts

Health Care




Private Client

Private Equity


Public Sector

Real Estate






Workers’ Compensation

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

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]