A Fast Mover
When one of Jay Brancaleone’s clients sees something they like, they tend to buy it and pay cash. Whether it’s a car or an investment property, the clients move quickly and they ask a lot of Brancaleone in making sure the correct coverages are in place.
“Off the charts,” is how the client described Brancaleone’s professionalism.
“I’d give him a 10,” said another client of Brancaleone’s level of customer service.
For one particular client, Brancaleone came through in a big way. The client’s wife discovered a crack in her 3-karat, $75,000 engagement ring. The problem was the ring wasn’t covered under the client’s jewelry policy.
Undeterred, Brancaleone researched the client’s high net worth homeowner’s policy. Catching his eye was the phrase “special limits of insurance.” Brancaleone filed a claim under that policy. The claim was initially denied, but Brancaleone wasn’t done.
He escalated the claim to the vice president of claims at the carrier and got it paid in full as a contents loss. Adding to the client’s delight was the fact that the $5,000 deductible was waived because the size of the loss exceeded $50,000.
Yet another client benefited when Brancaleone went to bat for him and resolved a water leak claim in excess of $150,000.
This client to tends to buy and sell things at a quick pace.
“He can stop and start as I require him to do so,” the client said.
When the situation demands it, Steve Kent can vault back and forth between private client and commercial work and deliver great service in both disciplines.
Witness what happened when Kent’s high net worth client, who also owns a music festival, experienced a business loss when poor weather punched a hole in the festival revenues.
An initial look from a commercial broker pegged the losses at around $200,000. The client thought her loss was higher than that but wasn’t sure; then Kent jumped in.
Using his Crystal & Company colleagues as resources, Kent engaged a forensic accountant and helped the client recoup more than $1 million.
“I would rate him extremely highly,” said a family office risk manager who has authoritative knowledge of the high net worth insurance carriers and the brokers that work with them. “He has been instrumental in managing our accounts,” the risk manager said.
“I would say that we are very reliant on him,” said a client. Kent provided excellent service to the client’s wife in managing insurance considerations after the death of an in-law as well as with an unrelated incident, a residential fire.
“He is very attentive and responsive,” said yet another client.
That same client said that Kent displays an in-depth knowledge of the insurance carriers and their products.
Using data to determine the likelihood of loss and to properly price coverage makes perfect sense. So why not use data to benchmark high net worth exposures and programs, reasoned an executive with a large family office.
Executives at Marsh asked themselves the same question and put Kelly Nash on the job. She brought in Marsh Global Analytics to create CAT modeling for the family’s multiple property locations. She also pioneered a family office benchmarking study, which provided her clients with the first-ever comparisons of family office insurance coverages, claims and standards.
Rate her customer service on a scale of one to 10, we asked a senior risk analyst.
“It is probably a 20,” responded the analyst, who in a former life worked on the agency side. “She is always willing to try things even though the request may be untouchable,” the analyst went on. “She is one of the main reasons we are with [Marsh],” she said.
“I have always been impressed by what she does and am confident that my customers will be taken care of the way I would like to be taken care of,” said an executive with a wealth management firm who never hesitates to put Nash in touch with her clients.
A businessman who has seen his company and his wealth expand over the years trusts Nash to identify coverage gaps and bring him up to speed on the latest products.
He also knows she is there when he needs her.
“She is immediate,” he said.
A Winner, Twice Over
This is our second year naming Power Brokers from the ranks of private client brokers, and it’s Laura Sherman who’s hit the winners’ circle twice.
Sherman, a founding partner of Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners, is revered not only by her clients, but also by her peers.
A client who knows just enough about insurance to be dangerous thought he was doing the right thing by canceling the flood insurance on his mother’s Long Island, N.Y., property 30 days in advance of selling it.
You can guess what happened after he canceled the policy, can’t you? Superstorm Sandy and massive flood damage to the house.
Sherman talked the panicked client off of the ledge by letting him know that the federal flood insurance program has a 30-day grace period. Just reinstate the policy and cut your premium check and you’ll be good, she counseled. And so it was.
The money saved — which nearly came right out of the client’s pocket — amounted to more than $75,000.
“Laura Sherman came to the rescue,” said the adoring client.
“She exceeds my expectations by far, she is far and away the best,” said another client, singing Sherman’s praises.
“All I can say is that if it weren’t for Laura I would be in a world of hurt,” said yet another client. “She does not know the word ‘no,’ ” he said.
Among the Best in the Business
An executive in the Midwest saw a bad dream come true when a wicked storm blew through his neighborhood and sent a tree crashing down into his house.
Others in his neighborhood, who had also suffered damage, endured push-back from the insurance carriers when they filed their claims. Not him.
He credited Kimberly Lucarelli and her associates at Oswald Cos. with handling his claim smoothly and professionally, and very importantly, with no chop from the underwriter. “Which has been great,” he said. “She made a great result for me.”
Lucarelli also proved her worth to this client by consolidating his insurance program and saving him money in the bargain. As a businessman, this client worked with many insurance brokers over the years on the commercial side and the personal lines side, and rates Lucarelli highly.
“She really knows the carriers and their products inside and out,” the client said.
A carrier executive who is in a position to know rates Lucarelli among the top five in the business.
Lucarelli’s value is to the carrier as well as the insured. The executive said that Lucarelli gives the carrier candid feedback about how their products are working for clients and how they could be improved.
“It’s very helpful for me and most agents don’t take the time,” the carrier executive said.
It Got Handled
An executive with a family office faced a dilemma. Their client owned more than a dozen properties and sought a more tailored approach than having to hold separate policies for each property with renewal dates “all over the place,” as the family office executive put it.
“Makes sense, but no one offers it,” is what a couple of brokers told him, and left it at that. Not Marsh’s Diane Giles. She said it makes sense, no one offers it, but let’s get it done anyway.
And that is what she did. The result was a blanket policy with cheaper pricing and loads of coverage. Pull a property out, the blanket policy resets. Put one in, it resets again. One premium. One limit.
“Our principal thought it was a spectacular outcome,” the family office executive said.
An insurance executive who works in the personal lines space said Giles is one of the top brokers in this area, and is aided by the fact that she was on the carrier side before she was on the agent side.
“She is very much about customer service and putting together solutions for her customers,” the carrier executive said.
“She never mismanages your expectations,” added the family office executive.
He said Giles expertly walks that line between giving him space and giving him the information he needs to keep his client informed and trusting.