Rising Star John Costello on How Insurtech Is Affecting the Construction Industry

Beecher Carlson broker John Costello talks construction, Insurtech and the opportunities for young people within the insurance industry.
By: | August 9, 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 we talk to John Costello, assistant vice president and property broker at Beecher Carlson, and a 2021 Construction Power Broker Rising Star.

Risk & Insurance: What was your biggest win as a construction broker in the past year?

John Costello: I would say our team’s success navigating a difficult wood frame builder’s insurance market.

That’s one of the most challenging submarkets within builders’ risk right now. Every time we get one of those, especially when they carry large values, there is a lot of pressure to make sure that we deliver the best terms and price to the client.

R&I: How did you get your start as an insurance broker? When did you realize this career path was for you?

JC: I got to start my start as a broker right out of college. I went to the University of Georgia’s risk management and insurance program. I sort of just fell into that as I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career.

There was no calling or anything like that, and I was just lucky enough to land a job at Beecher Carlson with some really good people with good leadership and experience. [It is] a team where the leaders in my group who sat near me were some of the best at what they do in this industry.

And so, just by chance, I was lucky enough to get a job here, right out of college, and I just haven’t really looked back since.

R&I: What about this work excites and challenges you?

JC: I think the most exciting part of the job is the community of people involved — from my own team within my company on the broker side to all the different underwriters that we get to work with and form relationships and friendships with.

And then also on the client side, we get to work with some smart people who are doing some impressive things across multiple different industries, and we get to help them solve complex insurance problems.

Building trust with those clients and building the relationship and friendship with them is also exciting and gratifying.

R&I: What do you think the most pressing issue for your clients will be for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022?

JC: The past two or three years, we’ve been in a challenging and hardening market, and it appears that we’re now entering a transitional phase where capacity is becoming available and the market is softening.

I think part of the challenge will just be timing and making sure that we’re exploring all our options in the market when we’re in a transitional phase like this. It’s a critical time to make sure we’re attacking our renewals head on.

R&I: What advice would you give to a young person looking to start a career in insurance?

JC: I think it’s important to be open minded about this industry. There’s a lot of great people throughout the industry, a lot of really smart people.

Insurance isn’t as boring as it sounds.

We deal with some really complex risks regularly, and we do a lot of important work problem-solving for our clients that need to protect their portfolio of assets. There’s a big world of opportunity within insurance.

So whether you’re on the broker side or the underwriting side or the client side, there’s something for a lot of different personality types. It’s just a matter of finding where you fit best and where your personality fits best.

I think another thing is that there’s a lot that’s going to change in this industry, particularly around analytics and Insurtech. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for smart, mathematically minded people to come into this industry and add a ton of value over the next 10 to 20 years. &

Courtney DuChene is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at [email protected].