Rising Star Jennifer Drake on How She Thrives in Finding Reps and Warranties Solutions for Clients
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 throughout 2023.
Here, we’re talking to Jennifer Drake, a senior vice president with Aon and a 2022 M&A Power Broker winner.
Risk & Insurance: For starters, how did you get started in insurance, Jennifer?
Jennifer Drake: I think I’m like many people in that I sort of fell into it a little bit. I was practicing at a law firm on the litigation side, and I had a friend who was working at an insurance brokerage who connected me with someone at Aon to discuss an interesting new role.
Insurance wasn’t an industry that I was familiar with at all. I really had no idea about the potential for a career in this industry.
But once I met the team and the people I’d be working with and understood the role, I realized there was a lot of potential within Aon as a company and in the industry more generally.
It wasn’t something I’d planned when I was thinking about my career path, but now that I’ve worked in insurance for a while, I think it’s turned out to be a great pivot. I’ve been very happy with it.
R&I: And how did you end up working in the reps and warranties space?
JD: I first came into Aon in another role, and it was through colleagues internally, who were working in the representations and warranties space, that we connected because of my legal background. We started talking about what they were doing and it became something I was interested in. When a position opened up on Aon’s Transaction Solutions team, it seemed like a really good fit and a good transition from where I was.
R&I: You mentioned in your Power Broker application that we have seen a significant uptick in claims related to representations and warranties policies. Can you elaborate on that?
JD: Since I started in this space in 2019, we’ve seen a real growth in the use of the representations and warranties product. For a number of years, we’ve seen the claim rate on our policies in North America remain around 20%, so as the number of policies being placed has increased, the number of claims has as well.
We’ve seen more than 800 claims reported in North America since we started tracking them, and more than $820 million paid out so far. So it’s definitely a busy space.
R&I: You also produce a report on claims activity, which I believe you oversee.
JD: That’s correct, with help from some of my colleagues.
R&I: Based on what you see, if you wouldn’t mind helping our readers out a little bit, what are some tips you’d offer about how to manage these policies?
JD: My first tip is don’t delay submitting a claim notice. When you understand you have a problem, it’s usually better to get your broker and your insurer involved early on if you think there might be the potential for insurance coverage.
We always want our clients to be calling us if they have a problem, even if they don’t know whether it’s something that is a legitimate claim. We would always rather talk about it prematurely than hear about it too late.
There is typically no downside to reporting a claim and it is best to make sure you’re not doing anything that could jeopardize your right to coverage.
I think another thing that’s important to a successful claim process is to pressure-test your claim prior to submission. Representations and warranties insurance claims tend, by their nature, to be complex, so you want to spend time to confirm that there is a breach, and if so, the best way to calculate the loss arising from the breach. Sometimes this involves bringing in outside experts to assist.
R&I: Having gone into insurance and working in this part of the industry, what about this work gives you the greatest sense of personal or professional satisfaction?
JD: I really enjoy the problem-solving nature of this role, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping our clients achieve a successful resolution. Representations and warranties claims are often very complex, so when we get to a successful place in the end, and the client gets a fair payment, that’s the part I really enjoy. &