Rising Star Lisa Duncan Details the Hallmark of a Good Broker Partner — and How She Strives to Meet the Standard Each Day

Risk Placement Services' Lisa Duncan is making waves as a broker in the M&A space. Here's how she's doing it with style.
By: | August 12, 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 Lisa Duncan, executive vice president, property at Risk Placement Services, and a 2021 M&A Power Broker and Rising Star.

Risk & Insurance: You’ve shared with Risk & Insurance® some of your insurance journey and how you got into this industry before. In that journey, what would you say was the most pivotal moment that made insurance stick for you?

Lisa Duncan: That’s a great question, because I don’t think there’s just one time — but I would say any time I am at a networking event that is not related specifically to risk management.

The ability to comfortably talk about almost any widely known industry (and even some obscure ones) gives a level of conversational comfort that is unmatched. I never feel like I don’t have something to contribute to a discussion, which, in turn, gets the other person speaking more intricately on a subject and BOOM! I’ve learned a bit more.

Insurance enables one to see behind the curtain in so many different businesses; it’s hard to find another career that does this so subtly and diligently.

R&I: The pandemic brought many challenges. How did you approach brokering during such an unpredictable time?

LD: Constant communication with my clients and vendors about anything other than the business at hand.

So many people, including myself, were starved for connection and needed reassurance that they weren’t alone. The constant virtual contact allowed for more humanity in our sometimes transactional business experience, and I believe that’s why my personal broking experience was consistent, if not better.

R&I: What is something you’ve accomplished in your career that you’re most proud of and why?

LD:I never thought I’d be in a position where junior employees came to me to solve a problem, and I had the relationships and ‘know-how’ to yield a positive, viable solution.

It takes time and patience to get to that point, and I know I’ll look back from where I am now in another 10 years and be wowed. It’s a great feeling — seeing measurable growth.

R&I: What would you say is the mark of a good broker, and how do you aim to meet that mark? Do you have any examples that come to mind?

LD: I believe the hallmark of a good broker is their ability to explain policy terms, conditions and mechanisms to any audience thoughtfully and concisely.

Having a client or colleague who does not feel that they understand how the insurance should work does a broker no good (especially in the event of a claim where emotions are heightened).

Personally, I aim to meet this mark through two channels: Continuing to ask more seasoned underwriters and fellow brokers what is the intent of a term, and/or their own personal claims experience, and reading about claims case law.

Sounds boring, but it helps you more readily understand why an underwriter may respond in a certain way to a request (home office is quite sensitive to precedents!), and it can also help you frame your response to the client by citing a real life example.

This doesn’t always apply for every situation, but it definitely adds color to your discussions and shows your client that you’ve really thought through their possible risk management concerns as a firm.

R&I: What does it mean to you to be recognized as a young, hard-working broker in the industry?

LD: I am humbled and flattered! Looking back to where I started to where I am now, and then knowing where I can go? What an incredible journey to be on! &

Autumn Demberger is a freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected].

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