By JACK ROBERTS, editor in chief of Risk and Insurance®, and
ERIN GAZICA, associate editor
Any list like the Power BrokerTM winners reflects some subjective judgments. We attempt, through interviews with hundreds and hundreds of risk managers, to make our decisions as objective as possible.
We have an elaborate judging process for the Power BrokerTM Awards that begins in the late summer and early fall. Initially, we send out e-mails to risk managers in the different industry categories asking them to submit names of brokers they think might qualify for the Power BrokerTM. With those suggestions, we ask brokers to complete nomination forms. Any individual broker or any brokerage firm can submit a nomination form.
The critical factor we use to evaluate a broker's application is the creative and innovative accomplishments the broker achieved with the client during the past year. Our profiles on each broker tell a short story about how a broker solved a client's problem. The sources of those stories are the clients, not the brokers.
By the fall nomination submission deadline, the research process begins in earnest. We either call or e-mail the references on each broker's form. We also talk with dozens of risk managers in the 25 industry groups. We ask all references and risk managers to name their best individual broker and explain why. We go out a second time to try to get brokers independently named by risk managers to submit an application if they have not already. Only brokers that file a nomination form are considered for the final listing.
If a broker cites a risk manager as a reference, we don't identify the broker to the reference so that we're sure we get candid answers. That's why almost none of the risk managers in the stories about the brokers (with few exception) are quoted by name or company. We want risk managers to be as open as possible about how well brokers performed for them during the past year. And, in almost all cases, risks managers are exceptionally open, telling us both the great experiences they have had with a broker and some of the shortcomings of other brokers.
After we receive the recommendations and feedback from risk managers, we decide which brokers have the highest ratings. Using those ratings and recommendations, we pick six brokers in each category to call Power BrokerTM winners.
This year the response was nearly overwhelming. We had to evaluate and research more than 1,500 entries in our 25 categories. Because the volume was so large, we also decided this year to list those brokers who almost made the cut as "finalists."
For example, in the construction category alone we had more than 100 entries. We list six construction Power BrokerTM winners and 10 finalists in that category and many others.
The effort requires a great deal of attention from our staff and contributing editors. For this special issue, researching and writing the profiles of the Power BrokerTM winners were Steven Yahn, Gregory DL Morris, Susan Gurevitz, Patricia Vowinkle and Michael Fitzpatrick, along with editors Dan Reynolds, Matthew Brodsky, Erin Gazica and Jack Roberts.
Erin Gazica coordinated the entire project, including application forms, the profiles and the photographs. Managing editor Cyril Tuohy oversaw the entire special issue and the production and layout of the Power BrokerTM edition.
40 UNDER 40 ANNOUNCED
One of the new features in this issue is our 40-Under-40 list, which is designed to spotlight the young up-and-comers.
We decided to shine the light on these brokers as they are the future of the industry. The list will help serve as a guide for risk managers who may one day need to call on the expertise of a new generation.
The list isn't meant to be exhaustive, and we know there are more young brokers out there worthy of consideration. We hope and encourage them to apply next year.
But this 40-Under-40 list, we hope, will start risk managers thinking about who they might want as their brokers to replace the veterans of the trade. Because remember, nothing lasts forever.
As veterans in their 60s, along with the rest of the baby boom generation, retire over the next several years, risk managers need to give some thought about who will take their place. The time to think about it is now.
Over the last few years, young brokers have continued to make their mark as competent, dedicated and (mostly) hard-working competitors or alternatives to the long-established experts in the field.
Clients who've worked with the young brokers not only commended the knowledge of these young stars, but their responsiveness and speed at which they solve problems as well. In some cases, the young brokers, just about all of them wired to the hilt and technologically inclined, are much faster than their older colleagues.
Take Max West, a 35-year-old senior vice president at Willis HRH. One client at a real estate investment trust referred to West as her "get-it-done guy," a broker who pulls through even when faced with a property sale that must get done in two weeks. "We are always able to pull through with great coverage in record-breaking time," said West's client. "He makes a lot of aggressive promises, but somehow he always delivers. We have a really good rapport with underwriters. It never really occurred to me that he's done so well so quickly in life. It's even more impressive."
February 20, 2009
Copyright 2009© LRP Publications