2016 Power Broker

Private Client

A Stalwart Adviser

Frank Godfrey Senior Managing Director Arthur J. Gallagher, New York

Frank Godfrey
Senior Managing Director
Arthur J. Gallagher, New York

One of Frank Godfrey’s clients endured the unthinkable.  Acting under what she thought were the emailed instructions of her high net worth client’s wife, she wired a large sum of money to an Asian country.

She’d been had. The fraudsters duped her by mimicking, to the letter, the way her client’s wife wrote her emails.

“They had it down to the three exclamation points behind every sentence,” Godfrey’s client recalled. “I thought I was going to lose my job,” she said.

Frank Godfrey was the one who came to her aid. Acting quickly, he provided her with risk management expertise from his teammates at Arthur J. Gallagher. He also informed her how much of the loss was covered so she could start to rebuild things with her client.

“I don’t know what I would have done without him,” she recalled.


For another client, the head of a family office service team, Godfrey and the carrier delivered stellar results on a claim.

A client lost a watch they bought for $9,500. The client provided a link to the carrier that said the watch was worth $6,500 used. Godfrey and the carrier got the client a check for $22,000 plus tax, the value of a new watch, which is what they confirmed the policy covered.

“I would say he is highly impressive on the claims front,” the client said. “The process has been very, very good and in some instances exceeding expectations,” this client said.

The client credited the respect the carriers have for Godfrey in getting those kinds of results.

Hands Across the Water

Mary Gust Senior Managing Director Crystal & Company, San Francisco

Mary Gust
Senior Managing Director
Crystal & Company, San Francisco

A yacht owner sailing the Pacific was heading into Japanese waters when they discovered that Japanese authorities were requesting advance notice of insurance coverage on the boat.

But the carriers on the yacht owner’s programs were not admitted in Japan. A broker in Florida had tried for six weeks to make the problem go away and couldn’t get it done.

What to do?

Call Mary Gust, a senior managing director with Crystal & Company.

With 72 hours to craft a solution, Gust used her London contacts to change the syndicates on the policy and got a stamped hard copy of the coverage mailed to Japanese authorities in time to allow the yacht into Japanese territorial waters without delay. Bam!

For another client, a family foundation taking on the public exhibition of a sculpture collection, Gust placed the necesary coverage but only after checking with the exhibiting artists to see if their existing connections might provide the better fit.

“Mary actively supported us when we thought we might be able to get better cover through another source,” said the client’s CFO, Edward Baker.

“Mary is incredibly responsive.  She keeps on top of everything about the family, the foundation and the business and is very proactive,” Baker added.

“She is very creative and she stays calm,” is how another client, Beverly J. Butler Symonik, describes how Gust manages increasing demands from her clients and helps shepherd them through times of crisis.

The Real Deal

Laura Sherman, CAPI Founding Partner Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners, Tampa, Fla.

Laura Sherman, CAPI
Founding Partner
Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners, Tampa, Fla.

It wasn’t until a high net worth client worked with Laura Sherman that he realized what he’d been missing.

She unearthed that he’d been paying for unnecessary coverage for his condominium in a coastal location for years.

The coverage was redundant because it echoed what the condo association already covered. Sherman was able to return five or six years’ worth of premium to the client.

“It was astonishing,” he said.

For another client, Sherman battled with some big name carriers to get him D&O coverage when his hedge fund was just a one-man shop.

Now he manages assets of more than a billion, and Sherman manages personal lines risk for his entire family; a family with international properties and complex coverage needs he admits is challenging to work with.


“I grew up with these people, they have houses all over the place, they have cars, they make bigger messes than I do,” the client said.

The client, who describes himself as something of an insurance junkie, was also thrilled when Sherman stuck her neck out to introduce him to some high level Chubb executives in Florida.

“She took that risk and she looked better for it but she didn’t have to,” he said. “She is just a very warm, caring human being.”

For another client, Sherman worked tirelessly to strengthen the engineering of a home being built on a barrier island so that the carrier would accept the risk. In the end the owner got the home they wanted, and peace of mind knowing that they were covered.

Knows Her Business

Tonya Stone Vice President, Personal Risk Services USI Kibble & Prentice, Seattle

Tonya Stone
Vice President, Personal Risk Services
USI Kibble & Prentice, Seattle

A very high profile, high net worth client got some nasty news from a carrier when it informed the client that it wasn’t going to pay a million-dollar claim for an extensive plumbing repair on their Manhattan residence.

The client turned to her broker, Tonya Stone with USI Kibble & Prentice.  Stone got the claim paid.

“I would tell you that she is fairly extraordinary,” the client said. For this client, who describes herself as “not easy,” Stone is once again engaged in battle on her behalf with a carrier.

This time it’s over storm window renovations to a home in the Hamptons, and the carriers’ refusal to honor a storm window installation credit due to a couple of skylights it wants removed.

“I tell you I will freak out if she moves or leaves and I have to go to somebody else,” the client said.

In the wealth management business, who you connect your clients to is paramount. Introduce them to the wrong advisor and it’s your own reputation that suffers.

“The thing that I like best about her is that you never feel like you are sitting in a sales meeting,” said Kim Hansen, a partner with Freestone Capital Management.

“We are very comfortable handing her over to clients because of our history with her,” Hansen said.

A First Responder

Krista Tankersley Managing Director Crystal & Company, Dallas

Krista Tankersley
Managing Director
Crystal & Company, Dallas

When her clients run into trouble, Krista Tankersley moves quickly — very quickly.

One of her clients, Brian Teichman, recalls coming back from a trip to Europe to see signs of water damage in his home.

He called Tankersley at 5 p.m. on a Sunday. She happened to be in the grocery store at the time, but the client said she “walked away from her buggy” as soon as he described his problem.

Within 30 minutes there were remediation contractors in his driveway. Tankersley also took immediate action to secure the couples’ wardrobe, and some of their most cherished holdings.

“She went above and beyond anything I have experienced,” Teichman said. Krista is the most knowledgeable broker that I have worked with.”


Teichman praised not only Tankersley but her teammates at Crystal & Company.

“They have the pulse of the market,” he said.

Yet another Sunday night call, yet another client. This time it was a stricken family in Maine whose boat sunk in a marina.

Forget the fact that it was Fourth of July weekend. Again, Tankersley went right to work. She got the boat retrieved from the water, determined that it was unsalvageable and got the claim paid promptly.

She couldn’t give the family their boat back, but she could restore their peace of mind, which is what this business is supposed to be all about.

Representative Wizardry

Kurt Thoennessen, CAPI Vice President Ericson Insurance Advisors, Washington Depot, Conn.

Kurt Thoennessen, CAPI
Vice President
Ericson Insurance Advisors, Washington Depot, Conn.

Kurt Thoennessen, a vice president with Ericson Insurance Advisors, is so good at what he does, he leaves his clients just scratching their heads, and singing his praises.

One client, an artist and illustrator, suffered a sizable loss when some audio-visual equipment was stolen from one of her properties.

The state police recovered the goods, so the insurance carrier adjustor said the company didn’t need to pay, right?

Wrong, said Theonnessen.  He went to work on the carrier and produced a check for $23,000 for his client.

This from a carrier the client was leaving for another relationship and — may we add — two years after the theft event.

“That was very nice, especially when you are leaving the provider,” a nephew of the artist  who assists her with financial matters said.

For the same client, Thoennessen shifted coverage on the artist’s creative space and where she stores her archives from a commercial policy to a personal policy. The better aligned and more appropriate coverage was more expansive and at a premium that was thousands less per year.

For another client, Byron Tucker, Thoennessen was able to create smooth sailing with the insurance carriers on some rental properties that Tucker owns. The carriers didn’t like the risk until Thoennessen talked some sense into them.

“I don’t know what-all he did behind the scenes,” said Tucker. “His responsiveness is quite extraordinary,” he added.



Lori Cataldi, CPCU Personal Risk Specialist USI, Meriden, Conn.

Lori Cataldi, CPCU
Personal Risk Specialist
USI, Meriden, Conn.

Angela Moody Senior Account Executive Aon, Fort Worth, Texas

Angela Moody
Senior Account Executive
Aon, Fort Worth, Texas

Lori Bassano, AAI Business Development Executive Marsh, Naples, Fla.

Lori Bassano, AAI
Business Development Executive
Marsh, Naples, Fla.

Joshua White Client Advisor Gulfshore Insurance, Naples, Fla.

Joshua White
Client Advisor
Gulfshore Insurance, Naples, Fla.

Jeff Kaplan Senior Vice President-Family Office Practice Leader-Northeast Risk Strategies, Boston

Jeff Kaplan
Senior Vice President-Family Office Practice Leader-Northeast
Risk Strategies, Boston

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Scenario

The Betrayal of Elizabeth

In this Risk Scenario, Risk & Insurance explores what might happen in the event a telemedicine or similar home health visit violates a patient's privacy. What consequences await when a young girl's tele visit goes viral?
By: | October 12, 2020
Risk Scenarios are created by Risk & Insurance editors along with leading industry partners. The hypothetical, yet realistic stories, showcase emerging risks that can result in significant losses if not properly addressed.

Disclaimer: The events depicted in this scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any corporation or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.


Elizabeth Cunningham seemingly had it all. The daughter of two well-established professionals — her father was a personal injury attorney, her mother, also an attorney, had her own estate planning practice — she grew up in a house in Maryland horse country with lots of love and the financial security that can iron out at least some of life’s problems.

Tall, good-looking and talented, Elizabeth was moving through her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania in seemingly good order; check that, very good order, by all appearances.

Her pre-med grades were outstanding. Despite the heavy load of her course work, she’d even managed to place in the Penn Relays in the mile, in the spring of her sophomore season, in May of 2019.

But the winter of 2019/2020 brought challenges, challenges that festered below the surface, known only to her and a couple of close friends.

First came betrayal at the hands of her boyfriend, Tom, right around Thanksgiving. She saw a message pop up on his phone from Rebecca, a young woman she thought was their friend. As it turned out, Rebecca and Tom had been intimate together, and both seemed game to do it again.

Reeling, her holiday mood shattered and her relationship with Tom fractured, Elizabeth was beset by deep feelings of anxiety. As the winter gray became more dense and forbidding, the anxiety grew.

Fed up, she broke up with Tom just after Christmas. What looked like a promising start to 2020 now didn’t feel as joyous.

Right around the end of the year, she plucked a copy of her father’s New York Times from the table in his study. A budding physician, her eyes were drawn to a piece about an outbreak of a highly contagious virus in Wuhan, China.

“Sounds dreadful,” she said to herself.

Within three months, anxiety gnawed at Elizabeth daily as she sat cloistered in her family’s house in Bel Air, Maryland.

It didn’t help matters that her brother, Billy, a high school senior and a constant thorn in her side, was cloistered with her.

She felt like she was suffocating.

One night in early May, feeling shutdown and unable to bring herself to tell her parents about her true condition, Elizabeth reached out to her family physician for help.

Dr. Johnson had been Elizabeth’s doctor for a number of years and, being from a small town, Elizabeth had grown up and gone to school with Dr. Johnson’s son Evan. In fact, back in high school, Evan had asked Elizabeth out once. Not interested, Elizabeth had declined Evan’s advances and did not give this a second thought.

Dr. Johnson’s practice had recently been acquired by a Virginia-based hospital system, Medwell, so when Elizabeth called the office, she was first patched through to Medwell’s receptionist/scheduling service. Within 30 minutes, an online Telehealth consult had been arranged for her to speak directly with Dr. Johnson.

Due to the pandemic, Dr. Johnson called from the office in her home. The doctor was kind. She was practiced.

“So can you tell me what’s going on?” she said.

Elizabeth took a deep breath. She tried to fight what was happening. But she could not. Tears started streaming down her face.

“It’s just… It’s just…” she managed to stammer.

The doctor waited patiently. “It’s okay,” she said. “Just take your time.”

Elizabeth took a deep breath. “It’s like I can’t manage my own mind anymore. It’s nonstop. It won’t turn off…”

More tears streamed down her face.

Patiently, with compassion, the doctor walked Elizabeth through what she might be experiencing. The doctor recommended a follow-up with Medwell’s psychology department.

“Okay,” Elizabeth said, some semblance of relief passing through her.

Unbeknownst to Dr. Johnson, her office door had not been completely closed. During the telehealth call, Evan stopped by his mother’s office to ask her a question. Before knocking he overheard Elizabeth talking and decided to listen in.


As Elizabeth was finding the courage to open up to Dr. Johnson about her psychological condition, Evan was recording her with his smartphone through a crack in the doorway.

Spurred by who knows what — his attraction to her, his irritation at being rejected, the idleness of the COVID quarantine — it really didn’t matter. Evan posted his recording of Elizabeth to his Instagram feed.

#CantManageMyMind, #CrazyGirl, #HelpMeDoctorImBeautiful is just some of what followed.

Elizabeth and Evan were both well-liked and very well connected on social media. The posts, shares and reactions that followed Evan’s digital betrayal numbered in the hundreds. Each one of them a knife into the already troubled soul of Elizabeth Cunningham.

By noon of the following day, her well-connected father unleashed the dogs of war.

Rand Davis, the risk manager for the Medwell Health System, a 15-hospital health care company based in Alexandria, Virginia was just finishing lunch when he got a call from the company’s general counsel, Emily Vittorio.

“Yes?” Rand said. He and Emily were accustomed to being quick and blunt with each other. They didn’t have time for much else.

“I just picked up a notice of intent to sue from a personal injury attorney in Bel Air, Maryland. It seems his daughter was in a teleconference with one of our docs. She was experiencing anxiety, the daughter that is. The doctor’s son recorded the call and posted it to social media.”

“Great. Thanks, kid,” Rand said.

“His attorneys want to initiate a discovery dialogue on Monday,” Emily said.

It was Thursday. Rand’s dreams of slipping onto his fishing boat over the weekend evaporated, just like that. He closed his eyes and tilted his face up to the heavens.

Wasn’t it enough that he and the other members of the C-suite fought tooth and nail to keep thousands of people safe and treat them during the COVID-crisis?

He’d watched the explosion in the use of telemedicine with a mixture of awe and alarm. On the one hand, they were saving lives. On the other hand, they were opening themselves to exposures under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He just knew it.

He and his colleagues tried to do the right thing. But what they were doing, overwhelmed as they were, was simply not enough.


Within the space of two weeks, the torture suffered by Elizabeth Cunningham grew into a class action against Medwell.

In addition to the violation of her privacy, the investigation by Mr. Cunningham’s attorneys revealed the following:

Medwell’s telemedicine component, as needed and well-intended as it was, lacked a viable informed consent protocol.

The consultation with Elizabeth, and as it turned out, hundreds of additional patients in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, violated telemedicine regulations in all three states.

Numerous practitioners in the system took part in teleconferences with patients in states in which they were not credentialed to provide that service.

Even if Evan hadn’t cracked open Dr. Johnson’s door and surreptitiously recorded her conversation with Elizabeth, the Medwell telehealth system was found to be insecure — yet another violation of HIPAA.

The amount sought in the class action was $100 million. In an era of social inflation, with jury awards that were once unthinkable becoming commonplace, Medwell was standing squarely in the crosshairs of a liability jury decision that was going to devour entire towers of its insurance program.

Adding another layer of certain pain to the equation was that the case would be heard in Baltimore, a jurisdiction where plaintiffs’ attorneys tended to dance out of courtrooms with millions in their pockets.

That fall, Rand sat with his broker on a call with a specialty insurer, talking about renewals of the group’s general liability, cyber and professional liability programs.

“Yeah, we were kind of hoping to keep the increases on all three at less than 25%,” the broker said breezily.

There was a long silence from the underwriters at the other end of the phone.

“To be honest, we’re borderline about being able to offer you any cover at all,” one of the lead underwriters said.

Rand just sat silently and waited for another shoe to drop.

“Well, what can you do?” the broker said, with hope draining from his voice.

The conversation that followed would propel Rand and his broker on the difficult, next to impossible path of trying to find coverage, with general liability underwriters in full retreat, professional liability underwriters looking for double digit increases and cyber underwriters asking very pointed questions about the health system’s risk management.

Elizabeth, a strong young woman with a good support network, would eventually recover from the damage done to her.

Medwell’s relationships with the insurance markets looked like it almost never would. &


Risk & Insurance® partnered with Allied World to produce this scenario. Below are Allied World’s recommendations on how to prevent the losses presented in the scenario. This perspective is not an editorial opinion of Risk & Insurance.®.

The use of telehealth has exponentially accelerated with the advent of COVID-19. Few health care providers were prepared for this shift. Health care organizations should confirm that Telehealth coverage is included in their Medical Professional, General Liability and Cyber policies, and to what extent. Concerns around Telehealth focus on HIPAA compliance and the internal policies in place to meet the federal and state standards and best practices for privacy and quality care. As states open businesses and the crisis abates, will pre-COVID-19 telehealth policies and regulations once again be enforced?

Risk Management Considerations:

The same ethical and standard of care issues around caring for patients face-to-face in an office apply in telehealth settings:

  • maintain a strong patient-physician relationship;
  • protect patient privacy; and
  • seek the best possible outcome.

Telehealth can create challenges around “informed consent.” It is critical to inform patients of the potential benefits and risks of telehealth (including privacy and security), ensure the use of HIPAA compliant platforms and make sure there is a good level of understanding of the scope of telehealth. Providers must be aware of the regulatory and licensure requirements in the state where the patient is located, as well as those of the state in which they are licensed.

A professional and private environment should be maintained for patient privacy and confidentiality. Best practices must be in place and followed. Medical professionals who engage in telehealth should be fully trained in operating the technology. Patients must also be instructed in its use and provided instructions on what to do if there are technical difficulties.

This case study is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a summary of, and does not in any way vary, the actual coverage available to a policyholder under any insurance policy. Actual coverage for specific claims will be determined by the actual policy language and will be based on the specific facts and circumstances of the claim. Consult your insurance advisors or legal counsel for guidance on your organization’s policies and coverage matters and other issues specific to your organization.

This information is provided as a general overview for agents and brokers. Coverage will be underwritten by an insurance subsidiary of Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd, a Fairfax company (“Allied World”). Such subsidiaries currently carry an A.M. Best rating of “A” (Excellent), a Moody’s rating of “A3” (Good) and a Standard & Poor’s rating of “A-” (Strong), as applicable. Coverage is offered only through licensed agents and brokers. Actual coverage may vary and is subject to policy language as issued. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Risk management services are provided or arranged through AWAC Services Company, a member company of Allied World. © 2020 Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd. All rights reserved.

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