Rising Star Vara Pikor Cybart Shares How She Adjusts to Real Time Changes in the M&A Space
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 Vara Pikor Cybart, account executive at CAC Specialty and a 2022 M&A Power Broker finalist.
Risk & Insurance: What are the primary lessons that brokers, insureds and underwriters in the M&A space have learned over the past year amidst so much economic uncertainty?
VPC: Brokers, insureds and underwriters alike know how volatile the M&A space is and how the intricacies of each deal can change overnight. When we perform due diligence on a proposed transaction, it is critical to follow the changes in deal structure and adjust the insurance program in real time.
One of the differentiators at CAC Specialty is our in-house underwriting capability, which allows us to proactively manage the program structure and understand the risks holistically. By strategically managing the process and driving the narrative, we streamline the entire journey, focus underwriters, and avoid unnecessary back and forth with the deal team that need to zero-in on the transaction, not only [the] insurance.
With interest rate changes, revaluations and heightened scrutiny of technology security controls, we are proactive in ensuring that the risks are defined before presenting final terms.
R&I: If you look at the M&A sector, where do you see the most exciting growth opportunities, not just in terms of premiums written but economic growth overall?
VPC: One of the areas where we have seen tremendous growth within the M&A sector is in technology.
The tech sector accounts for more than 10% of the national economy — about $1.9 trillion. Bolstered by technological advancements and government backed initiatives, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, climate tech, fintech, enterprise software and other sub-categories are seeing exponential growth despite the current economic environment.
I recently transitioned into an account executive role on CAC Specialty’s technology practice, which focuses on supporting technology clients through understanding and structuring the best risk transfer solutions to meet the needs of scaling their businesses.
With experience handling private transactions pre- and post-IPO, this is an area of tremendous opportunity where CAC Specialty leverages its insurer relationships and analytics to drive the best outcomes.
R&I: What are the top things organizations currently considering a merger or acquisition can do to predict and prevent potential claims down the line?
VPC: Being proactive during the process of onboarding bolt-on acquisitions and new platforms is key.
One of the top non-starters that insurers are acutely focused on is poor cybersecurity controls. For example, if a company does not have MFA enabled on all devices, systems and networks, cyber and technology errors & omissions insurers will struggle to get comfortable with the risk, which can become a barrier to closing on a transaction.
Additionally, cyber insurance is a growing concern for reps & warranties insurance underwriting.
R&I: What’s the most impressive new insurance product that you’re aware of?
VPC: While not entirely new, CAC does offer an exclusive policy to our clients that essentially eliminates any finger pointing in a claims scenario for executive liability, cyber and E&O coverage lines. The policy coverage is all-encompassing and is easy to read, which is why clients love migrating to this structure.
We have a partnership with a leading insurer on this exclusive product to better serve clients who have intertwined D&O/E&O/cyber exposures such as, and not limited to, financial institutions, education companies and advisory service firms.
Two key benefits of this innovative product are 1) claims certainty with exclusions you can count on one hand, and 2) renewal relief given that the insurer focuses on the client’s true exposure change and developing a long-term relationship rather than tying premium to market trends.
R&I: How big of a role is mentorship playing as you continue to build out your career?
VPC: Mentorship has been a foundational piece of my career growth. It has given me the confidence to take on new projects and explore career opportunities that might seem out of reach or outside of my comfort zone. Having mentors who instill confidence in me has propelled me to build the career that I’m proud to have today and will continue to expand upon in the future.
I met my CAC Specialty mentor through a mutual interest we share in developing our diversity, equity and inclusivity initiatives. My mentor helped me to take on a larger role in CAC Specialty’s DE&I Committee, namely educating my CAC Specialty colleagues and providing tools for them to better understand the importance of DE&I and ways to celebrate and promote DE&I in our company.
My mentor advocates for me when I might not have yet developed the skills or even confidence to advocate for myself. She sets an outstanding example as a strong business leader who can command a room full of intelligent individuals and make a lasting impact.
I strive to attain the same level of grace and success — often thought of as an oxymoron in business — that she balances so beautifully. I also hope to be able to instill the same confidence and career success in future mentees one day. &