Ask a broker what they can do for you and they will tell you. But let’s ask the risk manager. What do risk managers really need in a broker? And what do the best brokers do to help risk managers ucceed in their jobs? Risk managers say it’s a broker who helps them look knowledgeable and prepared to their bosses. It’s someone who sweeps in like a superhero with an
ingenious solution to a difficult problem.
Risk managers want to see brokers bring forth better products year after year.
They want a broker who shows up at renewal time with new ideas, not just a
Great brokers embed with the risk management team and learn everything
they can about the company and its leaders. They help risk managers prepare and
keep tabs throughout the year on changes at the organization with an eye towards
planning the future.
“There’s the broker that sees themselves as just a hired ‘vendor,’ or I should say,
somebody that basically just does the job at hand,” said Chet Porembski, system
vice president and deputy general counsel at OhioHealth Corp.
“And then there’s the broker that views themselves very much as a business
partner. They truly bring added value to the relationship.”
These brokers look at the tough issues the risk manager is facing and bring
in the resources to try to help their client in ways even the client might not have
thought about yet. They also do advanced planning that makes the risk manager’s
job easier when a problem arises.
“That’s the kind of broker I want.” Porembski said.
And that’s the kind of broker many risk managers need more than ever.
That’s because risk managers are under increasing pressure these days. They
carry more weight as corporations shrink their departments to cut costs.
Climate change, cyber threats and geopolitical shifts are turning what were
once unthinkable losses into risks that are almost commonplace. And this is all
happening in an under-insured risk environment, according a study by PwC
entitled Broking 2020: Leading from the Front in a New Era of Risk.
Thankfully there are good brokers out there, risk managers say, who can bring
more value to a client today than ever before and help ease that fear.
Brokers — the traditional intermediary in the risk transfer chain — do in fact
have a tangible and growing role in developing viable and innovative solutions for
the risk manager, according to PwC’s study.
They are the “global risk facilitation leaders.”
“[Whatever] organizations are doing in the short term — be this dealing with
market instability or just going about day to-day business — they need to be
looking at how to keep pace with the sweeping social, technological, economic,
By Juliann Walsh
Risk managers reveal what they value in their brokers.
environmental and political (STEEP)
developments that are transforming the
world,” PwC said in the report.
ADVISORS THAT ARE GETTING IT
Cyber risks are just one growing
challenge that all organizations grapple
Frances Clark, director of risk
management and insurance at Sentara
Healthcare, remembers when her broker
first suggested that she hold a leadership
tabletop cyber drill.
Clark said her broker kept saying,
“I know this is going to be a painful
experience, but you are going to come
Her broker was right, and went so
far as to help arrange a system-wide drill
that included representatives from the
legal, finance, security, communications,
marketing and medical teams.
They reviewed the many ways a cyber attack can happen and then practiced a
“We benefitted greatly from that exercise,” Clark said.
When Doctors on Demand developed a telemedicine app to offer mental
health services through mobile devices, the company ran up against insurance
limitations across state lines. All states require that the physician giving the advice
be licensed in the same state where the patient is located.
The concern was for patient encounters where the patient actually crossed state
boundaries during the encounter, due to the utilization of a mobile phone. The
patient may have started with a properly licensed physician in the original state,
but then crossed into a neighboring state where the physician was not licensed.
Larry Hansard, a regional managing director at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and
a 2017 Power Broker®, worked to secure medical professional liability coverage
without the traditional licensure exclusions placed on medical professionals by
The initiative he helped develop actually changes how health care can be
delivered to patients. It allows the emerging telemedicine sector to now offer
services around the world.
Michael K. Sheehan, (left)
Managing Director, Marsh
and Grant Barkey, Director of
Risk Management, Motivate