The 2019 Real Estate Power Brokers

Morgan Anderson, CPCU, ARM
Area Senior Vice President
Gallagher, Dallas

Morgan Anderson, Area Senior Vice President, Gallagher

Morgan Anderson simplified the insurance program at the Interstate Equities Corporation, where, until recently, its coverages for more than 20 properties were scattered all over the place.

“Morgan consolidated all of our policies under one master policy with a single renewal date,” said Miles Hofmann, the manager of transactions at Interstate.

“It is a much more efficient structure, as the way it was handled before, policies expired based on the anniversary of the acquisition of each property. It created a new policy renewal pretty much every week.”

Another client, Raintree Partners, stumbled on a complex overlapping of insurance contracts while looking at an acquisition. With only 24 staff members, the firm has limited internal insurance expertise. But Lee Pacheco, Raintree’s director of accounting & administration, said Anderson handled the situation with remarkable efficiency.

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“Morgan is a valued member of our team,” Pacheco said. “He has helped us to set up coverages for employment practices, fidelity, E&O and earthquake insurance, and he provides us valuable counsel on safety and bonding as well.”

Michael Ortwein, a principal at Focus Real Estate, stressed how important it is for a broker to show an actual interest in the health of the client’s business.

“Another broker might say we need all kinds of coverages for all our properties,” he said. “But Morgan sits down with us, explains to us the pros and cons of each kind of policy in each kind of situation, so we do not pay for redundant costs.”

David Christian, ARM
Senior Broker
Aon, New York

David Christian, Senior Broker, Aon

David Christian employed a variety of strategies to reduce the impact of last year’s hurricanes on policy renewals faced by clients.

Chris Eng, EVP and CRO, Summit Hotel Properties, stressed how Christian helped the company to obtain favorable conditions on a multi-layered, complex property program that had significant exposures in Florida.

By restructuring the layers of the program and feeding information to carriers about the hurricane affected assets, Christian was able to generate competition for the program and to obtain flat rates at its renewal.

In the case of Apollo Management Holdings, Christian suggested the client strive to lock in terms and conditions while the market was soft.

“We thought long and hard about it, assessing what would happen if the market moved in our favor,” said Albert Kim, Apollo’s managing director and risk manager. “We ended up hedging a proportion of our premium, although not all of it, which required David to negotiate with the carriers. It turned out to be the right move.”

More importantly, perhaps, was the fact that Christian had previously directed the client to develop its contacts with carriers, creating an environment that would pay off when negotiations got tougher.

“He provided us with an insight into the market that has been very useful. We have been able to explain current trends to our managers and partners and to think more strategically how to set up our insurance portfolio in the years to come,” Kim said.

Kate Simons Delmedico, ARM
Property Broking Leader
Aon, Chicago

Kate Simons Delmedico, Property Broking Leader, Aon

If adding value for clients is what brokers must aim for, Kate Simons Delmedico did more than enough to earn a Power Broker® award this year. Delmedico assisted a large retail group by filling the gaps of a property insurance program at the eleventh hour, ensuring that a big loan deal was closed.

The loans amounted to several hundred million dollars, borrowed against a group of properties owned by the client. According to the firm’s risk manager, the operation had hit a snag when the lender concluded the master property insurance policy did not match its own insurance requirements.

“Probably because of her reputation in the market, and because Kate is so good dealing with people, she was able to get a Bermuda-based carrier to fill the gaps of our overall program, and the deal went through,” he said. “And it took her barely a week to get it done.”

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Delmedico was also praised by the risk manager of an investment advisory firm for obtaining better rates for CAT-exposed policies than originally proposed by carriers. In January 2018, underwriters asked for a 50-percent increase to renew property insurance for several Florida locations. The demand shocked the company, as the properties had been barely affected by the hurricanes of 2017, and loss ratios were kept below 30 percent.

“Kate then engaged with carriers, and by February, we had slashed the rate hike to 15 percent. At the renewal, in April, it had fallen to single digits,” the risk manager said. “It was a remarkable job.”

Alexandra Forcucci, ARM
Assistant Vice President
EPIC, New York

Alexandra Forcucci, Assistant Vice President, EPIC

After the leader of her team left the company, Alexandra Forcucci took over some difficult accounts during one of the most challenging renewal periods in recent memory. And she helped clients navigate through a difficult situation in a remarkable way.

“Ally had to step up and basically do all the negotiation in a very complicated renewal,” said one director of corporate risk and insurance.

“Originally, we believed we would continue with our incumbent carrier, but it wanted to double the price, because we missed our loss ratio by a little bit. We had to go to the market at the eleventh hour, and Ally really did a nice job. We had a very robust coverage and very good prices, and Ally managed to replicate it with the new carrier.”

Another client faced a particularly tough renewal after significant losses during the hurricane season in 2017.

“It was a very tall order; we did not know where we would land. So I was quite impressed with how Ally’s contribution took us through the finish line in that contract,” said Jhenelle Andrade, the group insurance vice president at Barclays. “It was a December renewal, and Ally worked on the contract the final day of the month, when many brokers are usually on holiday.”

Another client, the risk manager at a real estate management company, stressed that young brokers like Forcucci can add value in different ways as well. He said when Forcucci took over the company’s program, she introduced new tools such as data analytics to enhance the account.

Alexandra Ranney, CLCS
Account Executive
Gallagher, Cincinnati

Alexandra Ranney, Account Executive, Gallagher

Early in 2018, Panther Pressure Testers was shocked when its brokers at the time presented a sloppy insurance plan barely two weeks before renewal. Company vice president Steve Reeves contacted Alexandra Ranney in a last-ditch effort to fix the plan.

“In 10 days, she was able to put together a plan that covered the very complex insurance requirements we have and saved us a substantial amount of money,” Reeves said. “Her emails started at 4 o’clock in the morning, and she would go on until 10 in the evening, all days of the week.”

Stacey Johnston, the director of risk management at the Southern Land Company, faced a similar situation while trying to bring together builder’s risk and property policies for several different construction projects.

For years, brokers said it could not be done. Ranney made it happen.

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“I never saw anyone work so hard,” she said. “Alex put the new policies together so well and so quickly that we decided to drop our previous broker after a 12-year relationship.”

For his part, Alexander Jacob, the president of A. Jacob Masonry, was struggling to convince his bank to adapt its flood insurance requirements for one of the company’s properties. The bank demanded the insurance policy cover the full value of the property, but Jacob argued that a large portion of the value was linked to the land rather than the buildings.

“Alexandra worked with my bank to explain the situation, they accepted it, and the result is that we are saving some thousand dollars a year in that property,” Jacob said.

Brian Taich
Senior Vice President
Alliant , Chicago

Brian Taich, Senior Vice President, Alliant

Jessica Minton, project manager at DRW Real Estate Investments, had several different policies issued by various carriers to cover a portfolio of properties.

Expiration dates were all over the place, and she wanted a program that would catch all the properties, both on the property and the liability sides. She gave Brian Taich this mission in August, aiming at a November renewal.

“We wanted a program that was limited to a couple of carriers to make our lives easier,” Minton said. Brian pulled it off, and also reduced rates in both property and general liability.

“He got rid of certain exclusions and increased certain limits, and we have been able to line up all the carriers, so we do not have excess umbrellas sitting over our primary layers.”

Barry Howard, the CFO of Core Spaces, said Taich strives to get good coverages for the company while keeping its global strategy in mind. Taich helped Core Spaces reduce gaps in coverages and has contributed to the company’s processes in other ways, too.

“Brian created a template where all the key metrics and data points of our projects are put into a spreadsheet,” Howard explained. “Brian can go around the different carriers and talk about quotes based on only one core document. He saw there was a problem in communication and solved it on his own initiative.”

Jennifer Albert, the CFO at LG Construction + Development, also highlighted his communication skills: “He is very knowledgeable and can explain insurance issues with patience and very thoroughly.”

The complete list of 2019 Power Broker® winners can be found here.

Finalists:

Will Giambalvo, ARM
Senior Director, Global Real Estate & Hospitality
Gallagher, Greenville, S.C.

Fred Zutel, CIC
Head of Corporate Risk & Broking, Florida
Willis Towers Watson, Miami

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]