national broker can’t—because they have
to make sure stockholders are happy.
E ROUSSEAU: What are some of the growth
strategies your firms have found to be effective
in this long soft market we’ve been enduring?
DIETZEL: I like to describe our company as
“we sell insurance to people who use it.”
With our clients, there is a frequency of
claims—and we can add a lot of value in
the claims-management piece.
RICHARD BARTLETT: Working in the middle-market arena, we’ve differentiated ourselves
from other regional firms in terms of our
global accounts—being able to be on the
ground to service our clients where they do
business. We have a footprint in four continents around the world. Focusing on the
middle market also presents opportunities
because these types of accounts may not be
as well served by the bigger national brokers. We can offer a tailored service to meet
their needs in innovative ways.
E ROUSSEAU: How are you attracting new
business? What’s working to develop relationships with prospects you’d like to have
BARTLETT: On cold prospects, we have come
up with a video-marketing idea, which is
different and gets people’s attention. We
are running these video campaigns along
industry lines, targeting different niches. For
example, prospects in the technology sector
would receive a personalized card with a
“pick-up code.” They go to a unique URL,
they put in the code, and they will be greeted
with my smiling face and a pitch. In the video, we’ll bring in testimonials from clients,
and we’ll look to the carriers we’re working
with to use them in some of the campaigns if
we’re doing this as a joint partnership.
E ROUSSEAU: And you also offer prospective
clients free audits of their insurance programs.
BARTLETT: Yes, if we feel there is a good fit
between us and a prospective client, we
will offer them at no cost an audit that
will highlight any gaps in coverage and
whether we believe the pricing is right.
E M&A MAESTRO: Richard Bartlett’s firm
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E ROUSSEAU: What is at the top of your
clients’ list of emerging risks they are
COLLINS: Cyber-liability is the number-one
issue we’re talking about. There are a lot of
different forms and offerings. Probably the
biggest issue for our clients is going through
the application process and understanding
how their own systems are set up. And then
there’s the risk management they need to
start developing in order to cover the loss-control aspect. Buying the coverage isn’t
as much of an issue as clients beginning
to develop their own systems internally to
manage their own exposure.
DIETZEL: We tell folks if you don’t buy
the cyber-liability product, then [at least]
go through the application process. It is
E OPPOSING PROGRAMS: Robert Dietzel likes
competing against program business—the “next
step up from direct marketing” and an approach
that tends to put unique clients in uniform
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not that hard—there is usually a two-page
questionnaire with 25 questions. We find
that many times, the CFO gives it to the IT
department—and five out of 10 times, in
answering the questions, our customers will
find vulnerability in their system that can be
fixed very inexpensively.
We are spending a lot of time educating
clients on cyber liability—not educating
them that it is a risk because it is in the
paper every single day. Everybody knows it
is scary and expensive. But what they need
to understand is how it may impact them
and what is covered and not covered. So
we say, let’s break down the general-liabil-ity policy and understand what’s tangible
property versus intangible property. Data is
intangible property and not covered.
On the property policy, carriers are
doing a great job eliminating that risk. So
once clients understand data is not covered,
then we say let’s focus on how do you mitigate the risk and is it worth insuring.
E ROUSSEAU: While we’re on the subject of
specific lines: For a while now, there has
been an expectation, or a hope, that demand
for environmental coverage would skyrocket
among business clients—and that brokers
would see a surge in new business as a result. What is your assessment of the current
appetite for this coverage class?
COLLINS: I don’t think commercial clients
have any greater appetite for environmental coverage today than they did seven or
eight years ago. There are probably seven or
eight carriers that do an outstanding job in
environmental. It is a crowded marketplace.
For contractors, most of our clients now buy
pollution liability. That’s more typical today
because of the cost of the coverage—and the
breadth of the forms is much better than it
was five or six years ago.
E ROUSSEAU: Has the construction market begun to turn at all, or is it still a tough market?
COLLINS: No. That’s our biggest concern.
That’s 30 percent of our business. Most of
our major contractor clients have revenues
of half of where they were three or four years
ago. For the first time now, we are seeing in
renewals that they’re projecting revenue in-