2018 Power Broker


Inventive with Coverage

Christopher Goodrich, CPCU
Senior Broker
Aon, Atlanta

After a series of acquisitions, a client of Aon’s Christopher Goodrich had outgrown its program. Goodrich and his team worked with carrier engineers to get clarity on the occupancies of the client’s key locations and their hazards, and were able to confirm the consistency in similar operations at the remaining locations.

The team used the information to appraise key locations, extrapolating it to similar locations, resulting in accurate valuation across the schedule.

Goodrich also obtained a much clearer picture of the client’s business interruption and inventory exposures. Finally, he transitioned the outdated policy to a broker manuscript. The client’s total cost of risk fell by 18 percent in the first year and 31 percent in the second, while providing drastically improved coverages.

“Christopher has put together market expertise to get the most comprehensive coverage available, and has allowed us to perfect our data on business interruption through his resources, which ultimately gave us premium savings,” said Gloria Brosius, director, risk management and insurance, Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings.

“Christopher assisted us in a review of our construction quality at 80 locations, which significantly improved our windstorm modeling results” and “enabled us to negotiate a decrease in our deductible,” said the chief financial officer of a nonprofit.

The client estimates savings of several hundred thousand dollars on its claim for Hurricane Irma damage as a result.

Greater in Grocery

Nick Lano
Area Vice President
Gallagher, Bloomington, Minn.

After his initial program analysis of a supermarket chain, Nick Lano found that the client’s coverage for different locations was not uniform, creating various uninsured and under-insured areas.

Lano streamlined the program and consolidated the policies. At the same time, he reduced the client’s total cost of risk by addressing the coverage gaps in the program. The end result was better terms and conditions, along with a 26 percent reduction in overall program costs.

Lano continually works to stay abreast of the latest trends within the supermarket industry, including participating in both local and national supermarket associations and regularly reviewing various industry publications.

Additionally, he partners with various “centers of influence” within the grocery industry — supermarket-specific CPAs, a supermarket-specific attorney and grocery wholesalers throughout the U.S. This enables Lano to stay up to speed with all aspects of his clients’ business operations.

“We have a great relationship with Nick Lano,” said Jessa Theis, owner, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods.

“He’s very knowledgeable about our industry, and he makes sure our needs are met. He’s also very responsive when we have questions. We are happy to have Nick in our corner ensuring we receive the best rates with the best insurance providers.”

“Nick Lano does a great job for us,” said Chris Thienes, director of human resources, Knowlan’s Super Markets Inc.

Teaching Risk Management

Mark Miller
Managing Director
Marsh, Chicago

One of Mark Miller’s wholesale clients wanted to build out the risk management processes within its finance department, and Miller helped the client create a risk management cross-training program.

The brokerage team tutored the client’s finance team all the way up through a Risk Management 301 regimen. Miller worked with finance leaders to develop a plan on data gathering, risk assessment and decision making.

That effort graduated a team of five who all have a solid grasp on brand and balance sheet risk management and how to collaborate on risk topics.

For another client, Miller put together analytics that illustrated the cost benefit of moving from a fleet safety program to an allowance program, as well as the required procedures and training. The move reduced fixed costs by 38 percent and reduced brand risk as well.

Miller helped a third client create a risk management due diligence checklist that could be implemented with their global acquisition/operations team.

This not only allowed Miller’s team to provide recommendations, but it also helped the client’s team understand the impact risk management can have on the ultimate purchase agreement and sale price.

“Mark Miller and his team have worked hard to help us understand best practices,” said Michelle Dahlke, team leader, treasury, Schreiber Foods.

“The information he provides is usable and understandable by those who have limited knowledge of insurance. Improvements in processes, and in coverage, have been attributed to his knowledge and expertise.”

Organic Intelligence

Ben Von Obstfelder, ARM
Senior Broker
Aon, Chicago

Since traditional benchmarking is limited in its capacity to predict umbrella and excess pricing, Ben Von Obstfelder mastered the Python programming language so that he could tap into machine learning algorithms to predict pricing with specificity.

For a retail client that acquired a smaller firm, Von Obstfelder used machine learning to determine how much the acquisition should cost the client in its lead umbrella. When the insurance market quoted an amount $100,000 above his estimate, Von Obstfelder utilized his analytics to negotiate a significant portion of that increase out of the program.

“Ben Von Obstfelder’s use of analytics and machine learning to predict our casualty rates based on our unique exposures allowed Ashley to see additional savings,” said Wallace Jones, director of global benefits and insurance, Ashley Furniture.

“Ben’s committed to mastering his skill set in casualty insurance brokering, and he’s always up for the challenge to find new ways to perform new metrics to give us the best outcomes,” said the AVP, insurance and risk management, of a hair salon chain.

“Ben researches and comes up with phenomenal ideas and does tremendous benchmarking, putting together actuarial-like models to assist us in making the right decisions in the purchase of insurance.”

“The things that Ben Von Obstfelder brings with analytics really add a whole lot of value to the insurance renewal,” said the senior risk manager of a national retailer.

Providing Clarity

Brian Sebold, CIC
Senior Vice President
Aon, Dallas

Brian Sebold reviewed the existing casualty program of a new food service distribution client and uncovered 170 opportunities to correct, clarify or enhance coverage. Rather than waiting until the renewal, Sebold worked with the carrier’s leadership to address the items mid-term.

The result: 69 midterm endorsements with an agreement to discuss the remaining items at the upcoming renewal. Sebold then restructured the program by reducing the client’s deductible by $2 million — with no change in premium.

Separately, Sebold developed a unique “gap insurance” solution so that suppliers could meet the client’s contractual insurance requirements. Further, he negotiated another 57 coverage enhancements, as well as a two-year rate and collateral agreement guaranteeing the program through 2020.

“Brian Sebold has been an exceptional and detailed broker working on 7-Eleven’s account, which has resulted in more robust coverage at a comparable rate,” said Dorina Hertner, director of corporate insurance and risk management, 7-Eleven Inc.

“I know I can count on Brian to ensure our policies are tailored to the specific needs of our business and provide the broadest coverage available at the most competitive price,” said the director, risk management at a beverage company.

“Brian is always looking for opportunities to improve our insurance program. He consistently delivers great recommendations,” said another risk manager and client.

A Star in Retail

Kristi Whistle, ARM
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Louisville, Ky.

Marsh’s newly-formed Restaurant Center of Excellence team, led by Kristi Whistle, completely overhauled a new client’s outdated insurance program, delivering a 28 percent overall reduction in rates while improving coverages.

Moreover, the workers’ comp program was moved from a guaranteed cost to a large-deductible program, which is projected to eliminate hundreds of thousands in annual total cost of risk.

To satisfy the client’s objectives as part of his enterprise risk management strategy for the upcoming year, Whistle identified a carrier partner and a crisis firm that were willing to come onsite to conduct a table-top exercise at no additional charge — something atypical for the restaurant industry.

Overall results included $1 million in total cost of risk savings and a highly satisfied risk manager and C-suite.

“[Whistle’s team] worked hard and helped RMH save over a million dollars in the first year of moving to a loss-sensitive program,” said Jay Gates, director of risk management, RMH Franchise Holdings Inc.

“We’re getting the benefit of Kristi’s expertise from all of her food and beverage clients and that helps in a variety of ways, including helping underwriters appropriately price the account,” said the director of risk management of a restaurant chain.

“Kristi Whistle’s service over this past year has just been stellar,” said Patrick Sterling, senior director of risk and legendary people, Texas Roadhouse Inc.


Kate Simons
Director, Chicago Property Broking Leader
Aon, Chicago

John Vanasco
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York




More from Risk & Insurance