Rising Star Jordyn Arons Rosen on M&A’s Property Challenges and Innovating Client-Centered Solutions
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Here’s our conversation with Jordyn Arons Rosen with IMA Financial Group Inc., and an M&A Power Broker finalist for 2023.
Risk & Insurance: Tell us about how your career trajectory led you to focus on M&A?
Jordyn Arons Rosen: I started on the carrier side with CNA. Anytime there was an M&A deal with an international component to it, I was the underwriter.
In addition to all the business I was doing, I ended up getting a lot of exposure to the M&A deals by way of being the international underwriter on all of them.
From there, I went to Willis Towers Watson on the M&A team, so because of that work I had been doing and the exposure I had with Willis, when I moved out to Dallas I was recruited.
R&I: What special challenges are presented by PE firms and how do you rise to meet them with your clients?
JAR: There’s the deal timeline itself and the fact that we’re one of many diligence providers, and there’s often deal fatigue.
When we’re working on the due diligence side of what we do in our practice, you’ve got that very tight turnaround time and a completely different set of acronyms and deal terms and things that come up from a coverage perspective — new coverages, some tail and runoff coverages. A lot of that is specialized within the world of transaction liability insurance, reps and warranties, and other specialized coverages.
Additionally, from a general standpoint, their investment timeline is different. They buy a business, and they might hold it on average for five years versus a regular insurance and benefits client that might just be your client forever. Here you have an average of a five-year hold, so what can you do not just on the deal side but within that average five-year timeline to maximize value to drive that value upon exit when the private equity firm turns to exit the investment.
This isn’t always the case. Some family offices for example might not have an investment horizon where they have to sell the investment and return the proceeds.
A lot of the world that we play in [involves] lower and mid-market private equity firms buying family-owned businesses that really need the cash and capital for the business immediately. You can’t necessarily think about insurance solutions that would hold up that cash, so you have to find ways to be able to close out claims, drive down claims, cut premiums, or unique solutions with guaranteed cost programs that don’t need collateral.
There’s some alternative risk financing things that you can do for that. We know that both the private equity firm and the portfolio company need the cash for that business more than other businesses might or other clients might. You have two buyers on every account that you have.
In our world you have the CFO or CHRO and the PE firm — so two customers to please, and sometimes they don’t [agree].
R&I: What is your brokerage philosophy writ large?
JAR: The customer comes first.
Everything we do is to serve our clients. Whether it’s finding a new way to do that, we’re nimble and entrepreneurial in the space.
We’re unique versus larger places I’ve worked where you have to do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. As a company we have one P&L and we’re all employee-owners in the business, so I think that translates into always doing the right thing for our clients even if it means it’s not maximum profit on our side.
R&I: How do you stay informed about happenings in the market in your areas of expertise? Do you share your knowledge with your clients in a particular way?
JAR: I’m involved with a number of private equity and M&A industry organizations. We’re the insurance and benefits category sponsor for the Dallas chapter of AM&AA, and we’re involved in ACG and the Women’s Finance Exchange.
Additionally, I follow my prospects and clients on LinkedIn to see what they have going on, whether it’s announcing a new deal or that they’re hiring.
Podcasts — I’m a huge podcaster. Since we’re going back into the office, I use that commuting time to listen to podcasts, lots of insurance and private equity podcasts, not as much time for murder mystery.
I also read competitors’ reports all the time. We had a client come out and ask us for insurance-related reports. We take a more specialized approach than the big five brokerage firms; we issue risk-in-focus or market-in-focus reports.
R&I: What is the biggest challenge facing the market right now, and how can we meet it as an industry?
JAR: Finding a way to wrap our heads around creative ways of insuring property. Property is probably the hardest piece of what we do now.
When our clients, M&A or not, are talking about tough renewals, it’s always property. Global warming, natural disasters, and the frequency and severity of those, are not going anywhere. You can’t keep charging more for the same regular insurance, so finding new ways to cover it is going to be really important.
Another challenge, because we can be so antiquated in this industry, is using AI in the right way. There are solutions but none of them meet all of the needs, so it’s a challenge but also a really exciting opportunity. &