Rising Star Brian Burg, ARM, of Gallagher Recounts His Exploits in the Property Insurance Sector

Brian Burg of Gallagher shares his experiences in the real estate space, diving in on the property outlook in the next 18 months.
By: | October 13, 2021



Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.

Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds now and continuing into 2022.

Here’s a look at Brian Burg, senior director, real estate and hospitality practice leader – Midwest, Gallagher, and a 2021 Real Estate Power Broker and Rising Star.

Risk & Insurance: What’s your view of the property insurance market in your sector for the coming 12-18 months?

Brian Burg: The property market continues to present challenges for most asset classes in 2021 and particularly multi-family. That said, for risk with minimal CAT exposure and relatively clean loss history, we expect a leveling off of increases.

For those insureds that took significant increases over the past several years and restructured their insurance or risk management programs to satisfy underwriters, the expectation is that renewal increases should be more tempered over the next 12-18 months, depending on how active 2021’s hurricane season rounds out.

In the 10 years I have been involved in the insurance and real estate space, this is the most difficult it has ever been to describe the expected results in a market on a broad level.

Underwriters are focused on the quality of risk and detailed submissions with data to support pricing. They deploy their capacity and price risks accordingly.

While there will be leveling off for some, there is a keen focus in the underwriting community on the accuracy of data supplied to carriers and particularly the adequacy of valuations.

Underreporting of valuations is simply not an acceptable practice to save money anymore, and accuracy and transparency in selecting the right number is a key component of the type of result clients will get on their renewals.

R&I: What do you think the biggest risk is that faces owners of commercial real estate and why?

BB: We see social inflation and nuclear jury verdicts as a massive risk for commercial real estate owners.

The challenges in the umbrella/excess market, while difficult to comprehend for many given the pace of change, have an underlying cause. It’s the underlying reason that concerns many of our commercial real estate clients; and while we don’t speak directly for them, we believe there is a broader desire for tort reform, particularly in certain states where it has become very difficult or cost prohibitive to develop and operate commercial real estate.

R&I: What’s the most useful risk mitigation tool that’s being applied in your sector?

BB: We represent a significant number of multi-family developers on Gallagher’s real estate & hospitality team.

The use of monitored security systems is quickly becoming the norm for developers, particularly on large, single structure, combustible projects.

While the security systems can be costly, they can go a long way in preventing significant fire and water damage claims.

R&I: What’s the biggest lesson learned you picked up in the past 12-18 months professionally?

BB: If you put respect for people above all else in every professional and social dealing, we all win. The last 12-18 months has reminded many of us that every person deserves respect and dignity.

R&I: Which insurance professional made the biggest impact on your career and why?

BB: I have had the pleasure of working with many great professionals in my 10+ years at Gallagher, but one stands out.

A manager of mine early on in my career, who still works at Gallagher in a different office, believed in me from the beginning, even when I wasn’t so sure myself.

She gave me opportunity, guidance and the assurance that I was capable of accomplishing my goals if I worked hard and kept the client first.

It has made a big impact on my confidence and ability to be the best I can be for our clients.

In addition to this individual, the leadership role I have taken in Gallagher’s real estate & hospitality practice has given me access to some of the brightest minds in the real estate space.

I truly believe that as a team, we can solve any real estate client’s insurance problems, anywhere in the world. It’s an exciting time to be part of a great team and organization in this challenging market. &

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

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