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Feb 13 2020

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The 2019 Finance Power Brokers

Shane Hogan
Senior Vice President
Aon, New York

Shane Hogan, Senior Vice President, Aon

When you win an RFP to handle the insurance work for one of the largest insurance companies in the world, you know you’re doing something right.

Aon’s Shane Hogan is doing more than a few things right.

For the major insurer, he was able to lower its Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) while maintaining its breadth of coverage. He and his team pulled this off in a period of transition, as the company’s primary underwriter was undergoing an important staffing change.

“Shane Hogan is a Power Broker!” said an executive with the commercial carrier client.

“He keeps a line of communication open which is not limited to the insurance placement window; follows up in a timely manner on all communications, asks for feedback on himself, the team, and the brokerage house and then makes adjustments,” the client said.

For a personal lines insurer, Hogan navigated the handling of a very large claim, garnering advanced payments for the carrier while working hand in hand with his client to finalize the rest of the claims.

“Shane understands our business and our priorities – in our experience, far better than other insurance agents/brokers with whom we’ve dealt with,” said another client.

“Shane has consistently been able to provide insurance solutions that fit our business needs. Year over year we’ve been able to maintain our coverage and retention levels with acceptable premium increases,” the client said.

Jennifer Hustwitt
Vice President
Marsh, Los Angeles

Jennifer Hustwitt, Vice President, Marsh

One of Jennifer Hustwitt’s clients, KNØX Industries Inc., is an institutional-grade security platform for the storage of digital assets, which has developed proprietary hardware and software to establish new standards of security for cryptocurrency holdings.

Throughout much of last year, the specie insurance market at Lloyd’s has started to underwrite and retain the “offline” and “physical” aspects of the storage of digital assets, but they have not been as willing to address the network security components of digital asset storage systems.

Hustwitt identified and sourced a third-party security firm to support the Lloyd’s underwriting. In addition, she facilitated a process to write new, custom insurance policy language and also secured agreement and support from management at Lloyd’s to improve the overall process underwriting of digital assets.

“Jennifer Hustwitt is an amazing broker and thought leader within the cryptocurrency insurance marketplace,” said Jerry Chien, KNØX’s managing director, head of risk. Before KNØX started working with Hustwitt, the maximum amount of insurance coverage the company was able to access was $60 million, Chien said. But with Hustwitt, KNØX has identified a pathway to as much as $1 billion in possible coverage.

“This has provided us with an incredible competitive advantage, allowing us to offer our customers the most comprehensive and cost-efficient insurance coverage in the cryptocurrency marketplace,” he said.

Kevin Kirby
Associate Director
Willis Towers Watson, New York

Kevin Kirby, Associate Director, Willis Towers Watson

Kevin Kirby has a broad portfolio of clients including asset managers, banks, insurance companies and broker/dealers.

Having worked as a financial institutions underwriter at AIG for several years prior to becoming a broker, Kirby understands and appreciates the different sides of the brokerage business.

His expertise has served his clients well: Kirby has standardized Willis Towers Watson’s suite of client documents including renewal strategy templates, quote proposals and evidence of coverage letters tailored to the needs and expectations of financial institution clients.

Moreover, he constantly builds out the brokerage firm’s proprietary benchmarking databases across all financial institution industry subsets, which now include purchasing information on more than 400 peers.

He has been proactive at establishing internal policies and programs to ensure that all of the firm’s brokers have access to the best possible resources, including proprietary benchmarking tools covering each of the financial institution’s industry subsets.

Kirby serves as the financial institutions liaison with Willis Towers Watson’s internal risk and analytics group to fine-tune its modeling tools. He also provides training on presentation skills and best practices, alongside standardized templates to ensure consistency across the global team.

“Kevin Kirby is a superior broker,” said the head of product management at one client investment company.

John McCall
Senior Vice President
Aon, San Francisco

John McCall, Senior Vice President, Aon

John McCall often goes above and beyond for his clients.

“John makes extra efforts to arrange face-to-face meetings with the insurance underwriters so they can better understand our risks and how we manage the risks,” said Rahul Agarwal, CIFC Asset Management’s CFO. “This has been very helpful in getting the underwriters comfortable with the risk, enabling us to reduce insurance costs.”

A private equity firm client said McCall has led the effort on the professional liability insurance lines for a number of its businesses in the specialty finance, trust and custody, and wealth management sectors.

“John and his team have done a fantastic job delivering cost-effective structures while at the same time providing higher limits, competitive retentions and broader coverage than were previously in place,” the client said.

McCall “always does a good job,” said Susan Stuhr, managing director of corporate insurance at Charles Schwab.

“Our board hired a law firm to review the policies, and John was able to get what the attorney needed — but he was also able to push back on things that totally did not make sense, because [he] knows those coverage grants inside and out.

“It was all handled very well in a non-contentious manner, as he is the consummate professional while remaining personable and approachable,” Stuhr said.

Thomas Shashaty
Account Executive
Alliant, New York

Thomas Shashaty, Account Executive, Alliant

A financial services company approached Thomas Shashaty to determine if he could help them place the right insurance programs for all of its moving parts; the firm was in the midst of acquiring a number of different types of companies — all with different risk profiles and insurance policies up for renewal.

In just two days, Shashaty presented an insurance solution that addressed coverage gaps, provided ideas on manuscripted policy language, listed the possible insurance carriers and provided ballpark pricing indications.

Alliant affiliate Crystal & Co. was designated the company’s new broker of record, and the following week, Shashaty was successful in securing the proposed insurance program for the entire organization — hitting all coverage and pricing targets.

Furthermore, Shashaty used data analytics to demonstrate potential areas of risk that needed to be addressed.

“Tom’s extensive industry knowledge, level of services, professionalism and genuine care he provides to his clients should be epitomized,” said the controller of an alternative investment management firm.

“I appreciate Tom’s depth of knowledge and how he is able to explain things in an understandable way and how it relates to my business,” said the director of facilities management at a quantitative investment firm. “

He gives me examples of how the coverage would kick in in a situation like X. I’ve been using Tom for 16 years, and I have the option to change brokers at my discretion, but I’ve never had a reason to look anywhere else.”

Ben Zviti
Senior Vice President
Marsh, New York City

Ben Zviti, Senior Vice President, Marsh

Ben Zviti this year delivered a result for client Aegon “that will be hard to beat,” said Barry White, the company’s global insurance manager.

In what is a “very nascent market” for global cyber liability insurance programs, White set Zviti and his team some very significant targets: Not only to manage pricing but to also convert to a new primary policy wording that was easier to understand and broader in nature than what the company had in place.

“Ben managed the Marsh team and the relationship with the primary carrier in a fantastic fashion, providing great support to us as the client while also moving the market along with us to attain our goals,” White said.

Zviti, Marsh’s financial institutions cyber crime leader, arranged face-to-face market meetings in London, providing the Aegon team with “laser-like advice” on what types of information the underwriters needed to accept and price the risk.

“The policy wording process was exhaustive, with multiple iterations managed in an organized fashion by Ben and the Marsh team,” White said. “This was a tall challenge but Ben rose to the occasion and delivered a great result for us.”

Zviti gives “beyond superior service,” said another client, Trish Comiskey, vice president, risk management corporate insurance at Hancock Whitney Bank. “He has saved Hancock a significant amount of money, and he’s been able to enhance the terms and conditions in our cyber liability policy that we could never get before,” Comiskey said.

Finalists:

Michael Crown
Senior Vice President
Aon, San Francisco

Ryan Farnsworth
Senior Vice President
JLT Specialty USA, San Francisco

Ali Inan
Vice President
Aon, San Francisco

Greg Longest
Senior Vice President
Marsh, Richmond, Va.

Alexander Minier, CPCU
Vice President
Aon, Boston

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Sponsored Content: Allied World

Despite Rollback Talk, These Regulatory Trends May Increase Management Liability Exposure for Financial Institutions

Financial institutions — responsible for the personal information of thousands of customers — have long been heavily regulated by both state and federal agencies. As a result, the sector has developed a reputation for strong compliance programs.

“Their compliance regimes and spending on the IT necessary to protect customer information is very robust,” said Marc Berner, U.S. Financial Institutions Product Lead, Allied World.

Some have surmised that banks, insurers and asset managers might relax those regimes, however, amid promises from the current presidential administration to loosen its regulatory grip.

“There was an expectation that the regulatory environment would become more tepid. So far we’ve observed a mixed-bag depending on the type of regulator and class of business,” Berner said. “For example, it is widely viewed that the May 2018 rollback of certain Dodd-Frank provisions fell far short of unwinding the heightened regulatory framework for financial institutions that was put in place following the global credit crisis.”

In addition, ever-evolving cyber attacks and the rise of cryptocurrency represent blind spots in regulatory oversight, and as these trends evolve, they will challenge financial institutions to ensure their cybersecurity and cryptocurrency activities don’t fall afoul of regulators who are likewise trying to keep up.

Enforcement actions brought around these emerging risks may draw stakeholder lawsuits soon after and represent a significant professional and management liability risk. To stay a step ahead, here are the regulatory trends financial institutions should watch:

Some Regulators Scale Back, but the SEC Remains Vigilant

Marc Berner, U.S. Financial Institutions Product Lead, Allied World

Regulatory enforcement activity has varied slightly from agency to agency since the 2016 presidential election. A November 2018 research report by law firm Winston & Strawn reported that bank enforcement activity had declined 20% since January 2017, compared to the previous 20 months.

“When you look at some of the banking regulators — the FDIC, the OCC, the CFPB, the Federal Reserve — there’s been a decline in enforcement actions,” Berner said.

The SEC, however, remains as vigilant as ever. After a modest 4% drop from 2016 to 2017, overall SEC enforcement activity was up 8.8% in 2018. In particular, actions against investment advisors and securities broker/dealers rose sharply.

Overall, hopes of a more lenient regulatory environment have gone and likely will continue to go unfulfilled. But this hasn’t changed the way that U.S. financial institutions do business or approach risk management.

“It’s important to recognize that there hasn’t been a correlating diminishment of institutions’ preparedness,” Berner said. “We haven’t come across a risk where anyone’s decreased their spending and resource allocation to audit and compliance because of a perceived lack of regulatory enforcement.”

Emerging Cyber Regulations Will Raise the Bar on Compliance

In the cybersecurity world, the regulatory enforcement narrative looks slightly different.

“There has not been a lot of activity in the cybersecurity practices area,” Berner said. “Enforcement activity across various regulators at the federal level has been inconsistent.”

One notable exception, however, is the $1 million fine that the SEC levied against investment brokerage firm Voya Financial Advisors Inc. after a 2016 breach. Over a six-day period, scammers called Voya’s customer support line impersonating various company contractors, requesting to have their passwords reset. Using the new passwords, the hackers were able to create new user accounts, infiltrate the corporate network and eventually access the personal information of 5,600 customers.

According to the SEC’s order, Voya’s “failure to terminate the intruders’ access stemmed from weaknesses in its cybersecurity procedures, some of which had been exposed during prior similar fraudulent activity.” The agency charged Voya with violating the Safeguards Rule and the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, which together are intended to protect customers from unauthorized access to their personally identifiable information (PII) and subsequent identity theft.

“This was the first time the agency leveraged the identity-theft rule as a tool to bring an enforcement action, and could be a leading indicator that companies should be aware more actions are likely to come in the future,” Berner said.

State-level action has generally been more aggressive on the cyber front. “State regulators are not necessarily impacted by high profile federal politics, so they’ve had more freedom to pursue cases against financial institutions following a breach,” Berner said.

The New York State Department of Financial Services, for example, released a set of comprehensive cybersecurity rules in 2017. These require all covered institutions to implement a detailed cybersecurity plan and enact a cybersecurity policy, designate a chief information security officer and create an ongoing reporting system for cybersecurity events.

“All 50 states have some form of a breach notification law, but New York State is a good example of a strict regulatory regime for financial institutions. It’s possible more states will follow suit,” Berner said.

Crypto Currency is a New Regulatory Target

The regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, but various regulators do have a stake in more closely controlling this volatile asset, including the SEC, CFTC, IRS, Treasury and State agencies.

“I think the notion behind cryptocurrency when it started was that it wouldn’t be regulated. But it’s become such a big phenomenon that a lot of regulators are throwing their hat in the ring to make the investing environment safe for consumers,” Berner said.

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have attracted the attention of the SEC, which released an investigative report in 2017 concluding that tokens sold in ICOs are considered securities, and that ICOs can be used as vehicles to raise capital or participate in investment opportunities — thus falling under the purview of SEC regulation.

The SEC also cautioned that cryptocurrency is susceptible to “increased risk of fraud and manipulation because the markets for these assets are less regulated than traditional capital markets.” So far, the commission has brought roughly a dozen enforcement actions against various ICOs.

“The SEC’s stated approach is to balance investor protection with the need to encourage innovation,” Berner said. Demand for insurance protection against the risks associated with cryptocurrency currently outstrips supply, Berner added.

Though coin offerings are the biggest challenge for underwriters, “ancillary risks associated with asset management — i.e., managing storage facilities like crypto wallets — are more insurable. That’s where brokers have been more successful putting some capacity together,” he said.

Leverage Insurer Expertise to Address Emerging Risk

What does all of this mean for financial institutions as they try to fulfill their obligations to both customers and stakeholders while remaining in compliance in the face of new and emerging risks? The answer may lie in choosing an insurance partner with demonstrated expertise in financial services’ management liability exposures and a history of adaptability.

“The financial institutions business can be volatile. The credit crisis years have produced a lot of loss activity, and the cyclical nature of economics presents a difficult risk environment in the FI space,” Berner said. “For that reason, Allied World came into the market taking a very measured approach. Our strategy has always been to act conservatively and expand our product offerings as we grow, which we feel is the best way to adjust to shifting exposures.”

Allied World entered the FI management and professional liability space with its Side A DIC policy, but has continually updated the product to react to emerging risks. “We’ve revised that policy, called Executive ForceField®, four times to make sure that we’re on the leading edge of terms and conditions,” Berner said.

The insurer also has a broad appetite. “There are very few classes of business we won’t look at,” Berner said.

Claims coordination helps underwriters stay abreast of how emerging exposures impact the liability landscape and existing policies. “We also work closely with claims leaders across various departments — including our cyber practice — to get their insight on how various exposures interact and overlap. We have a vastly experienced claim staff,” Berner said.

This information is provided as a general overview for agents and brokers. Coverage will be underwritten by an insurance subsidiary of Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, GmbH, a Fairfax company (“Allied World”). Such subsidiaries currently carry an A.M. Best rating of “A” (Excellent), a Moody’s rating of “A3” (Good) and a Standard & Poor’s rating of “A-” (Strong), as applicable. Coverage is offered only through licensed agents and brokers. Actual coverage may vary and is subject to policy language as issued. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Risk management services are provided or arranged through AWAC Services Company, a member company of Allied World.

This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Allied World. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.

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