There are few things more exciting than watching a power-hitting, sure-footed rookie in action.
Risk & Insurance's all-star rookie team achieve that recognition for two reasons: (1) They are making the Power BrokerTM list for the first time, and (2) they are young and exceptionally talented.
Take Integro Insurance Brokers' Jenny Gallagher, 33, who serves financial institutions, based in New York. First, to the delight of many of her male clients, Gallagher packs a wallop on the golf course. Her aggressive style on the links carries over to her work, they say.
"She's got an impressive can-do attitude. She's not afraid to take a leadership role," says Paul Buckley, vice president of risk management at Tyco International Ltd.
"She's very high energy," adds another client.
Her clients agree that during the past year her major accomplishment has been the successful execution of exceeding client expectations for Mergers & Acquisitions advisory and due diligence services provided to private equity firms, their portfolio companies, other alternative investment firms and strategic acquirers.
"She has done a ton of M&A work for me," says Tyco's Buckley. "She now understands our strategic vision and is involved with us on a daily basis."
Says another client: "Jenny is a tireless worker and she is a very creative thinker--she thinks one step further than most brokers I've dealt with." This same client also notes that "in almost every instance" Gallagher has won better pricing than larger brokers.
Gallagher says that the most positive feedback a broker can receive is three-fold:
Repeat business. Approximately 75 per cent of her M&A clients have called Gallagher and her team on multiple transactions this year.
Individuals at private equity firms who have moved to other firms have called her to work on transactions with them.
Clients who are asked for referrals for insurance advisory services mention Gallagher and her team.
Adds Gallagher about her team's approach: "We strive to be thorough and technical in our analysis, but concise and easy to understand in our delivery of the message; always available to respond to questions and requests; and professional, reasonable and ethical."
Now let us introduce Ryan Isaacs, 29, who covers the public sector for Arthur.J. Gallagher & Co., based in Itasca, Ill. Several state of Indiana officials credit Isaacs with a remarkable feat:Isaacs and his firm were contracted by the state insurance commission to manage a pool of last resorts for municipalities. "Ryan in essence managed this fund, the Indiana Political Sub-Division Risk Management Commission," says current state insurance commissioner Jim Atterholt. Others join Atterholt in extolling the terrific job Isaacs did in managing this pool.
"He was an excellent researcher," says Atterholt. "He always knew what our needs were and how to serve us. When we decided we needed reinsurance, he provided it." Again, the excellent job he did on that front is confirmed by others.
Over the past year, Isaacs provided substantial intellectual capital and expertise to the Indiana Department of Insurance and other state regulatory bodies to help facilitate and draft the final proposed rules and regulations that will allow public school corporations and independent colleges in the state to form pools/trusts for property and casualty insurance.
Until now, pooling for public school corporations was prohibited by Indiana statute. The intellectual capital Isaacs provided has helped create a registration system and set standards for the conduct of insurance trusts. Concerns and recommendations made by Isaacs to the Indiana Department of Insurance found their way into the final draft of new rules and regulations, which have been submitted for publication in the Indiana Register.
Isaac's talent and tenaciousness does not surprise Steve Avila, department of finance and insurance at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Isaacs was one of Avila's star pupils and they are in touch to this day, often consulting on projects together.
"Ryan was always creative," says Avila. "He was very knowledgeable and he was passionate about helping entities in the public sector. He's very sharing. He will share knowledge with me if I need it."
Avila describes Isaacs as very sincere, down-to-earth and helpful. "He's a good citizen," Avila says.
MASTERS AND TEACHERS TOO
Another star rookie is Mary Rosbarsky, 26, who covers technology and hardware for Marsh & McClennan Co's Inc. and is based in that company's San Francisco office.
"She really has the personality and aptitude for what she does," says one admiring client. "Unlike some brokers who are specialists, she has an exceptional grasp of a broad range of coverages--worker's comp, casualty, directors' and officers' (D&O) and errors and omission (E&O), among others."
Rosbarsky's excellent client skill set makes her extremely responsive. "One telephone call and the problem goes away," says one client.
Although her entire career has been but four years at Marsh, she is, among other major accomplishments, the team leader for Linear Technology Corp., a Milpitas, Calif.-based firm that manufactures and markets a broad line of high-performance integrated circuits.
"I chose Mary to be the team leader," says Linear's Treasurer David Wilkins. "She was in the difficult position of replacing somebody who had led the team for 20 years and who passed away. Mary exudes a lot of confidence, and she has built a team that is cohesive and confident. They are always thinking a couple of steps ahead."
Further, says Wilkins, "I like to throw out ideas, and they're not afraid to say, 'That's not such a great idea.' Or, 'Maybe there's a better way to go about things.'"
Wilkins also likes the fact Rosbarsky gives any project one last shot. "You get the feeling they're really working for you."
Rosbarsky herself notes that within the technology sector most of her clients have made a major acquisition within the past year. "We must respond promptly with our recommendations for integration as well as address any additional insurance costs associated with them. With each of my clients, I have led this process to ensure a seamless integration."
In the past year, Rosbarsky also had the advantage of working one day a week with the risk management department of one of Silicon Valley's largest companies. "Through this experience, I was able to greatly assist them with an extremely important renewal."
Even though she is only 26,Rosbarsky is "heavily involved" in the recruiting and training of new talent at Marsh.Marsh's graduate training program recruits college graduates and trains and develops them in the insurance industry.
Next in this all-star lineup is Michael White, 31, who covers real estate for Hilb Rogal & Hobbs, out of their Atlanta office.
Sayss one key client of White: "Mike has developed great relationships with underwriters. He does a great job of understanding our business, which is complex and spread out over several continents."
This client credits White with "knowing how to put all the pieces together" in the London and Bermuda markets and taking her and other officials at her company with him on trips to those major insurance centers.
He is also adept at managing personalities, this client says.
"He really knows how to get insurance people in those markets to check their egos at the door."
With White's help, she added, her firm has "far exceeded the market," with property insurance by far the largest share of insurance costs. But White does not sacrifice long-term considerations for short-term gain. "He sees the big picture in the long run," she notes.
White is known for his ability to leverage technology--knowing the market's catastrophe modeling inside and out--and knowing who the key markets are. Clients agree with White when he says: "I pride myself on knowing who the key markets/underwriters are for a given risk and if I don't, I ask my peers. Not every market has the same appetite for each and every class of business. This is especially true in a 'hard' market."
Christian Ryan, 29, covers real estate for Willis Group Ltd., out of their Dallas office. Ryan, who has been in the insurance business for five years (the first three with Marsh and the balance with Willis), is known as unstoppable.
"He knows his insurance, and his attitude is that going the extra mile is nothing for him," says Ira Kirschner, vice president of finance at Seminole Gaming of Hollywood, Fla."He's an extraordinary combination: he's young and full of youthful charm but he's also very knowledgeable."
Like Mike White with his team, Christian Ryan recommended that Kirschner "go on the road" with him, and that has led to excellent results, says Kirschner.
Adds Kirschner: "Christian and his team are very creative. They are capable of working way out of the box. For example, when the news broke about dangerous lead in toys made in China, Christian called me and says, 'There's lead in your chips. Do you think there is any danger?' There wasn't, but that's how far outside the box these guys will go."
Kirschner says he's particularly impressed with how far Ryan and his team go because they work on a fixed-fee basis.
In the post-Katrina environment, Ryan and his team were successful in placing a large gaming account with extensive wind exposure. The success of this property program resulted in increased capacity of $60 million at no extra cost. Additionally, Ryan and his team were able to secure a long-term policy which allowed the client to move their expiration date out of the wind season.
With regard to the service of Ryan and his team, Willis conducted a client satisfaction survey in which his team received the highest marks.
Personality-wise, Kirschner says Ryan is as decent and honorable as they come. "He's open and engaging," notes Kirschner. "He brings people together. He's the kind of guy I'd like one of my daughters to marry."
Finally, in our line-up of R&I rookie all-stars, there is James DeCourcey, 31, who covers healthcare for Integro, based in Boston.
DeCourcey is known for his brains and his brawn. "He's a bright guy and he's an extremely hard worker," observes Edward Christiansen, vice president, chief risk officer, Boston Medical Center. "He's a creative guy who always has good ideas. He's great at coming up with options."
Christiansen says he is struck by the fact that DeCourcey really loves his work. "There are some guys who like to come to work to go to lunch. James is not like that. He is a very organized, brainy, creative guy who likes to put his ideas into action."
DeCourcey's love of insurance started in college. He studied healthcare administration at Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass., and he decided that spending a summer internship with the Johnson & Higgins healthcare team would benefit his background, develop healthcare contacts and help to build a credible resume.
"Ultimately, what I discovered was that insurance brokering work was very interesting and professionally rewarding," he says.
Over the course of the past year, DeCourcey reviewed and restructured several of his clients' program structures based on changes in litigation practices over the past few years. The process that was followed was: (1) analyze claims trends within specific markets (2) compare the trends to the existing limit structure terms and conditions (3) use the data collected to run analytics, and, most importantly (4) ultimately approach the market with structure suggestions as well as the data to back up the rationale behind the suggestions.
The result: The approach has successfully delivered superior terms, conditions and financial returns?even compared to other soft-market pricing and term changes common in the market over the past 12 years.
That holds true for other R&I all-star rookies, as well. Their passion for their work, combined with deep industry knowledge and outgoing personalities make them stand-out performers on any field of play.
February 14, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications