BLISS & GLENNON
SELLING POINT FOR CARRIERS: “You don’t
need to be worried about a moral hazard,” says
program creator Tony Morgan. “People who buy
wine insurance take a lot of pride in their collections”—putting in all the loss-control protections
they need, such as proper cooling systems.
OTHER PROGRAMS: Mall Kiosks; Mobile-Home Transporters
COMMON THEME: Managing Director Bob
Abramson says the focus is on providing
better coverage because “we specialize” in a
class. “We know more about it than the guy
next door—it’s not just having a package that’s
cheaper than anyone else’s on the street.”
V3 INSURANCE PARTNERS
PROGRAM: Miscellaneous professional E&O
SELLING POINT FOR CARRIERS: “Smaller
accounts can make money in hard and soft
markets,” says CEO Susan Rivera, noting that
target insureds are consultants with average
premium sizes of $2,500—below most minimums of other E&O programs. “There are also
not many miscellaneous professional MGAs out
there,” she says, noting that others focus on real
estate or insurance agents, for example.
OTHER PROGRAMS: Calif. DIC, workers’ comp
written over the Internet, rural used car dealers
COMMON THEME: Small accounts offering
less volatility and better profitability in hard
and soft markets.
PROGRAM: Franchised auto dealers
SELLING POINT FOR CARRIERS: “We’re really
looking for agents who have skill, brand
and expertise and are willing to commit a
significant amount of controlled business,”
says President Dennis Kane.
OTHER PROGRAMS: Independent auto
dealers, franchised recreational-vehicle dealers, franchised motorcycle dealers, collision-repair facilities, mechanical-repair facilities
COMMON THEME: Leveraging the 57 years
of collective underwriting experience of
SeaFire principals in the automotive space.
NEW PROGRAM NICHES
continued from page 15
ing SeaFire to leverage existing infrastructure.
“We didn’t have to go out and spend $1
million on IT investment. We didn’t have to
hire a CFO. We could bolt onto their platform,” he says.
Farber and Treanor, with deep relationships
in the industry, introduced SeaFire entrepreneurs to at least 10 potential carrier partners.
Even without historical data to demonstrate
profitability, they used their expertise to understand the unique risks of auto dealers—like
open-lot exposure to weather-related claims—
as a selling point to entice the carriers.
Another valuable talking point is the use
of a limited-appointment distribution that
stresses expertise as well. “We’re really looking for agents who have skill, brand and expertise and are willing to commit a significant
amount of controlled business,” Kane says.
Carrier interest was high, and only two of
10 didn’t want to move forward with backing the management team. “The selection
criteria for us then became time to market,
systems, economics and channel conflicts,”
he says, reporting that Chubb ultimately
signed onto the deal as the primary carrier.
At V3, Rivera says the DIC program was
the biggest struggle in terms of getting carrier support. “It always takes a longer time
to get catastrophe capacity, especially as an
MGA,” she says.
For all four niches she works with, she says
she did some extra upfront work the summer
before V3 actually started hiring to ensure
ultimate carrier buy-in. “I probably visited 30-
40 company executives to validate my niches
before I actually built them,” she says. NU
Earthquake Demand Heats Up
BY SUSANNE SCLAFANE
DEMAND FOR earthquake coverage is heating up on the West Coast, according to two managing general
underwriters offering coverage for commercial and residential properties.
“We might need some more underwriters,” says Susan Rivera, president & CEO
of V3 Insurance Partners, which launched
its V3Antage EQ+ difference-in-conditions
program three weeks ago.
“We have over 800 submissions” for the
program, which targets small commercial
businesses with primary exposures in Cali-
fornia, Rivera says. “We are seeing a lot of
Tony Morgan, a senior vice president
for Bliss & Glennon, a Redondo Beach,
Calif.-based wholesale brokerage and
MGA, also reports growing interest in his
firm’s 10-year old residential and commer-
cial programs for Oregon and Washington
since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
In addition to the interest in his firm’s
Oregon and Washington specialty programs, Morgan says he’s seen a big jump in
applications for risks outside the boundaries of the two Northwest programs—for
nonprogram risks in California individually written on the wholesale side.
“We see a lot of people who typically
would not buy earthquake insurance now
buying it. It’s across the board” for all three
West Coast states, he says, noting that
concerns about tsunami threats are also
behind the surge of applications. “Typi-
cally, tsunamis are covered under the flood
portion of the policy,” he says.
Bliss & Glennon offers what Morgan refers to
as self-rater programs for residences in Oregon
and Washington, allowing brokers to answer
a few easy questions and fill out a short application by e-mail or fax to bind coverage.
“We knew that there was a good market
for quake in Washington and Oregon. We
also knew insurance companies had a lot of
capacity for those two states. Because they
had so much capacity, they were much more
open to the idea of finding a different vehicle,
like a program, to use that capacity,” he says.
Referring to the residential product for
Oregon and Washington, Morgan says total
insured values (TIV) could be as high as high
as $2.5 million. Premiums start at $400.
“Basically, if it’s built after 1950 and it’s
not on bay mud, and the TIV’s not more
than $2.5 million, you have coverage,” he
says, noting that total premium volume for
the program, written on London paper, is
For commercial, TIVs can’t be more
than $25 million and limits up to $10 million are available. Deductibles can be as low
as 2.5 percent. NU