The Talk of the Town
Scott Marting, director of risk management, Palm Beach County BOCC, knows what it’s like to live through a hurricane.
As a risk manager in Florida, Marting said he needed a broker who not only understood the frequency of hurricane events but also the scope of damage that can be done, like property destruction, mold growth, extended loss of power and more.
“We were able this year to increase our wind cover and drive down our deductible,” said Marting.
And it was Power Broker® Judith Arenz who was instrumental in that process. She increased wind cover from $80 million to $115 million in the last two years. In 2017, Arenz helped drop Palm Beach County’s deductible from 5 to 4 percent as well.
“Judy will get the answer. She’ll work closely with us before, during and after a hurricane,” said Marting.
And her talents don’t stop with fixing damaged property; Arenz is also knowledgeable in building towns from scratch.
One client aimed to build an entire community fueled solely by solar power. They needed someone with knowledge of both real estate and the public sector to succeed.
Arenz provided them with utility coverage for wastewater treatment; coverage for retail stores, restaurants, office space and a charter school; a program for waste management; and coverage for a sightseeing vessel for the town’s lakes.
Master of R&W
Ashland Global Holdings Inc., was in the middle of an acquisition that represented a significant growth opportunity. As the company moved toward closing on the deal, they realized the seller would not be able to provide protection for breaches of reps and warranties.
In the eleventh hour, Allyson Coyne came through in the clutch.
“She came in late in the process, but she did a great job at reading the room for major concerns,” said Asad Lodhi, director of enterprise risk management and insurance. “Allyson did a terrific job at helping us find the right partners — in this case, an underwriter.”
Coyne was a brand-new face for the Ashland team. With a large, fast-moving transaction on the table, this would appear a daunting task for both broker and client.
But not for Coyne. She hit the ground running, determined to educate her client about a new R&W product that the underwriter was offering and helping to solve policy and coverage issues.
“In a couple weeks, she was able to get us all at a level of comfort and assist in a successful closing” with the R&W product in place, said Lodhi.
Another client had concerns around including reps and warranties coverage at all. The company did not see the value in such a product when it came to M&A opportunities.
But Coyne reviewed the coverage with them and demonstrated how vital it was in the underwriting process. They were convinced, and later put the coverage to use in successfully closing a deal.
Insuring Far and Wide
The Department of Defense deploys people around the world, often in dangerous places. To insure their safety, Kerry H. Walters, director of contracts, finance and administration for engineering consultancy Darkblade Systems, needs defense base act coverage.
And to do that, he turns to Katie Crowe.
“She separated herself from the crowd,” he said. Walters’ old broker believed no one would underwrite the DBA coverage he was seeking because of how risky it was. Another broker found the coverage but at an extremely expensive premium.
Crowe was convinced better solutions existed; she brought down the policy premium from $120,000 to $20,000.
Another client, Laureate Education Inc., has a global network that spans 25 countries, 70,000 employees and 1 million students at its higher education institutions. Amanda Chittenden is its director of risk management.
Crowe came on board two years ago, a transition Chittenden said was easy because Crowe dove right in.
Laureate was switching to a new database that collected information around its potential risk exposures. While Chittenden worked to get the Laureate team trained with the new system, she saw that she needed a way to reconcile the old data with the new.
“There was no electronic way to do that. Katie went through the data with me, line by line, to view when and where things changed.”
Advocating for the Client
Lowell Crow, city manager, the City of Freeport, Ill., has worked with Jessica Govic for many years. When he stepped into the city manager role, he brought Govic on board immediately.
“Jessica was able to work with the community. She got on our public risk fund and saved close to $300,000,” he said.
In addition to big savings, Govic showed Freeport she was working for their best interests by acquiring cyber coverage and a $5,400 safety grant.
“She, by far, has the best customer service,” added Crow. “She never tries to sell products to us that we don’t need. She gives us options to go forward and decide.”
Mark Rooney, village manager, Village of Carpentersville, Ill., said Govic goes to bat for his town as well.
“Her team worked to help us find a more service-oriented coverage for workers’ comp,” he explained. “That wasn’t even her area, but she was able to get us an outstanding program. She facilitated that.”
In addition to workers’ comp, Govic helped get Carpentersville’s P&C premiums well below $150,000 in less than one year, and she saved the village $35,000 per year by bringing them on board with Gallagher’s risk management training. Before, said Rooney, the village would use a third party to conduct training programs.
“She’s thorough, professional, responsive, solid, committed and reputable,” said Dane Bragg, village manager, the Village of Buffalo Grove, Ill.
The Man on the Ground
Jeff O’Connell and the executive board he is vice-chairman of oversee a 190-school-district pool in the suburbs of Chicago. Michael McHugh is instrumental in getting those schools what they need.
In 2017, O’Connell and the other members decided to put together a presentation on predatory behavior in schools. McHugh did not hesitate to jump in.
“He put the program together in three weeks. He got the legal team together and got us what we needed,” O’Connell said. He added that the best part was McHugh’s willingness to be a part of the training.
“Michael and his support team came out and provided training. He really wanted to be that man on the ground for us.”
“Michael leads the financial analysis of our co-op on an ongoing basis,” said Ron Chilcote, treasurer, Collective Liability Insurance Cooperative.
For the co-op, a handful of legal firms throughout the state of Illinois vie to be a part of the CLIC legal panel. McHugh, said Chilcote, has a methodology for choosing which firms would best serve the co-op’s needs.
“He is very cognizant of our needs and represents our members, understanding that certain legal firms have different areas of expertise. What I see as Michael’s best attribute is his ability and willingness to mentor others. Michael is not afraid to share his knowledge for others to grow,” Chilcote said.
Analyze, Review, Succeed
“As far as Harry’s knowledge — he is insurance savvy. Property is really his specialty,” said Jennifer Luckern, CEO, Florida Housing Authorities Risk Management Insureds (FHARMI).
Aon’s Harry Merker is the main property broker for FHARMI. Despite the continuously changing nature of the insurance industry, he strives to stay on top of the markets and get his clients what they need when they need it. To perform at a high level, he works to review and change his strategy with the times.
For example, in this last year, Merker was tasked with reviewing the Florida Housing Authorities’ coverages and found a few discrepancies. Altogether, FHARMI had more than $40 million in property coverage, and Merker had to make the coverages consistent and streamlined.
Luckern said Merker is especially fluent in the ins and outs of property markets in the state of Florida, which helped him go above and beyond in the course of “correcting our scope of coverage [and] reviewing the policies that back those coverages.”
Luckern added that Merker has saved them at least $1 million in the last two years they’ve worked with him.
In addition to helping them save big, Luckern knows that Merker stays on top of emerging risks and new products.
If she ever needs cover for flood or cyber or crime or any other exposures not within the authorities’ scope of coverage, she can call Merker, and he will connect her immediately with the right service.