The 2019 Transportation Power Brokers
Maron Impagliazzo, Vice President, EPIC
Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, growers and distributors have a hard time building their businesses, because few insurers want to take on their commercial auto exposure. The potential for theft combined with federal prohibition of cannabis makes transporting the goods a risk endeavor.
But Maron Impagliazzo and his team “don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Scott Heirshberg, VP of Operations for cannabis distributor Rise Logistics.
“We are required to obtain a motor carrier permit and as such are required to find commercial auto insurance willing to do a filing with the state.”
Most underwriters balked, but Impagliazzo and his team “ended up finding us a policy through the Assigned Risk Pool. They held our hand through the application process, which was much more difficult than your typical auto policy, and were able to get a filing and by extension a permit.
We are now among the first distributors in the state to receive one,” Heirshberg said.
When Barnett Transportation, a heavy-haul trucking company, wanted to purchase a construction company early in 2018, Impagliazzo made sure insurance didn’t stand in the way.
“He went over and above transferring the insurance from the old owner to us, and we couldn’t have done it without him,” said Nicole Barnett, VP and controller, who is also impressed with Impagliazzo’s deep knowledge of the transportation industry. “He accompanied me to a safety workshop to get a sense of the risks and how we approach them. He has an excellent understanding of our company and the industry in general.”
Jeff Maconaghy, Agency President, AssuredPartners
When his clients want to grow, Jeff Maconaghy helps to make room by reshaping insurance programs to create savings while maintaining coverage.
“Jeff has worked with our firm, as we have scaled our business to find solutions, providing us with exceptional coverage while managing our overall cost of risk,” said Matthew Bates, president, ENC Holdings.
“I have called on Jeff to provide acquisition due diligence with little advance notice and on tight deadlines. Identification of coverage gaps in acquired business has allowed us to avert uncovered losses.”
“He’s very good at what he does, and I’m very proud to be associated with him. Insurance is one of our largest controlled costs, and without the help of a good broker, our margins would be that much smaller,” said one trucking company president.
Another trucking company wanted to retain its deductible but reduce the collateral required. Maconaghy created a loss-pick alternative based on the company’s “empty” miles — when trucks carry no freight — that he used as a negotiating tool to bring the collateral down by 50 percent. This freed up millions of dollars in the company’s budget.
For another freight company, Maconaghy helped the organization identify third-party alternatives for managing safety and compliance, which made them into a more favorable risk in the eyes of underwriters. “He did think outside the box, and his team was able to add a lot of value,” the company president said. “They are a very special organization.”
Taylor Mitcham, Senior Account Executive, Aon
One provider of specialized freight transportation and environmental services has a risk profile that many insurers have little appetite for.
In 2018, the company’s incumbent carrier decided to leave the space, and right around renewal time, they took on a significant loss. The company’s risk manager turned to Aon to for help going to market to assemble a new program. Taylor Mitcham and his team had to go into full marketing mode, but secured a good outcome for the company.
When the company went through a large restructure, Mitcham was there to help guide them through, keeping them covered amid the change of control.
Mitcham’s industry relationships help him secure optimal outcomes for all his clients.
“[Taylor and his team] have an endless amount of connections in the industry and know individuals to assist with every problem. On more than one occasion this year, I have requested introductions to individuals for issues expanding beyond insurance, and they always deliver. Their value far exceeds being our broker,” said Chase Welsh, EVP of risk management and general counsel for Celadon Trucking.
“I also go to them for recommendations for contacts outside of insurance but still in the transportation industry. They are an all-around great resource,” one risk manager said.
Liam Murphy, Managing Director, Aon
When Liam Murphy can’t find a solution that solves his clients’ problems, he creates one. Such was the case with FreightRover, which builds technology solutions for fleet management, motor carrier payment, supply chain financing and more. It also wanted to provide insurance for carrier fleets.
Murphy pulled in multiple markets to build a sponsored insurance program for drivers, charging premium based on driving behavior. By structuring the program as a risk retention group, he secured discounts that enabled FreightRover to offer competitive overage while also incenting safe driving.
“Liam was able to work across the various groups within Aon and externally to find the perfect partner for our need. He was then able to structure the product to fit perfectly within our rapidly growing solution,” said Eric Meek, CEO, FreightRover.
Chase Welsh, EVP of risk management and general counsel for Celadon Trucking, lauded Murphy’s persistence and creativity: “The team takes a mentality that there is a solution for every problem, and at times the problem requires a very creative solution. We have explored and utilized different insurance vehicles (e.g. captives, RRGs, etc.) and have traveled both domestically and internationally seeking additional capacity.”
Murphy’s clients also praised his availability: “Liam is the type of partner who will always pick up your call or quickly respond to an email request. If there are follow-up items needed, he is the first to take responsibility for circling back with the group,” Meek said.
Joseph Peiser, Executive Vice President, Willis Towers Watson
Between 2015 and 2018, one of Joseph Peiser’s railroad clients experienced several significant accidents. Though safety improvements were in the works, company leaders feared it was too little too late to mitigate big premium increases.
Peiser took a proactive approach, communicating benefits of new safety features and their anticipated impact on loss trends. He also orchestrated a competition among three lead markets, making them do the work of arriving at a competitive price.
By taking a higher deductible and leveraging the company’s captive to insure excess layers, Peiser kept the premium increase reasonable without sacrificing coverage. Peiser also brings his expertise to bear in helping clients manage claims.
For one life sciences company dealing with a complex batch claim, Peiser’s involvement lead to full recovery from insurers, even after a previous broker failed to make progress: “His understanding of life science exposures, risks and policy forms is unparalleled,” said the company’s director of risk management and insurance.
“He also understands that he does not have every answer to every question; his skill lies in knowing exactly what resources we require to get the job done. He always follows through to make sure we get what we need.”
Another client said Peiser’s strongest quality as a broker is his integrity. “At my firm, one of our values is ‘do the right thing.’ Joe shares this value. He stood by commitments to our firm, even though it may not have been in the best interest of his brokerage.”
Sanju Rajan, Broker, Aon
A poor loss history will make renewals challenging, but undergoing an operational restructure accompanied by budget cuts at the same time? Finding affordable coverage would seem all but impossible.
That’s the scenario Sanju Rajan faced with a client with a loss ratio above 360 percent for the policy term, pending claims and a restricted insurance budget to work with.
Rajan worked with the client to develop a stringent risk management strategy, maximizing available resources and marketing to carriers beyond the incumbents that were hesitant to renew. Rajan was able to retain full coverage limits with only nominal increases in rate — a result far better than the company expected.
“Although he does our property insurance, he has become familiar with our liability program and our cyber needs so that he can provide comprehensive advice and understand how all of our programs fit together — thus, he provided unique perspective during our meetings in the market,” said Jonathan Broder, VP, corporate development and chief legal officer for Rajan client Conrail.
Kevin Busath, VP, strategic planning for Iowa Pacific Holdings, said Rajan “held his hand” through a difficult transition period when Busath was thrust into a risk management and insurance role following the exit of a colleague.
“I asked a multitude of really, really basic questions, and Sanju was very good about setting up conference calls with various Aon people to give me a crash course in insurance policies and procedures.”