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FROM THE EDITOR
Compiled by staff from news and wire services.
Grace Under Pressure
One of the many privileges of
my position is that I have the
opportunity to interview insurance
business leaders who are impressive
I’d known about Allied World’s
Grace Meek for a while, ever since
we featured her as one of our
Executives to Watch in December
The numbers certainly said plenty.
The senior vice president, head of
U.S. Programs for Allied World is
credited with tripling Allied World’s
program business, from around $80
million in 2011, to more than $260
million by the end of this year.
Grace has the connections and
the business acumen to build an
insurance business, that much is clear.
But she is also an individual
blessed with enormous resources of
a different kind. Call it psyche, call it
spirit, call it simple strength.
Back in 2010, Grace Meek’s
husband suffered a seizure while
seeking treatment for alcoholism. He
passed away, leaving her with three
small children and a financial mess.
He died in August. Her then-employer, Delos Insurance,
terminated her that September.
Many people would be so crushed
by these sorts of setbacks that
they would have difficulty moving
forward. But not Grace Meek.
She demonstrated that being
smart is one thing. Being a good
people person is another. But few
of us have the complete toolkit that
she appears to possess. That being a
combination of intellect and drive,
humanity and ethics.
We’re proud to feature her on the
Oct. 1 cover.
D.C. FEDERAL COURT: NFHA CAN
FILE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM
The U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia issued an
opinion, allowing the National
Fair Housing Alliance to bring a
discrimination claim against Travelers
Casualty Insurance Company of
NFHA alleged that Travelers
refused to provide habitational
insurance policies for landlords renting
to tenants who receive Housing
Choice Vouchers. HCVs provide
financial housing assistance to low-income persons.
NFHA claimed Travelers, by not
writing subsidized housing policies
for voucher residences, had an adverse
effect on African Americans and
women in the community.
African Americans make up 92
percent of voucher recipients, while
81.5 percent are households headed by
women. NFHA claimed that Travelers’
policy was discriminatory on the basis
of race and sex. Travelers denied the
insurance discrimination claim.
The court ruled that NFHA has a
case and can pursue prosecution of a
civil rights claim.
SEQUEL ACQUIRED FOR $322M
Verisk Analytics, a N.J.-based risk
management and data analytics firm,
purchased London-based Sequel, a
private-equity-backed insurance and
reinsurance software company. Verisk
purchased Sequel from HgCapital, a
private equity firm that has owned it
The deal was worth $322.5 million.
This acquisition is set to bolster
Verisk’s commercial and specialty
Farmers Insurance embraces technology
to bring faster service to customers.
insurance business and closed during
2017’s third quarter.
Though Sequel is based in London,
the firm provides services in more than
20 countries, processing more than $15
billion in annual premiums.
Sequel, with thousands of software
users, provides a suite of broking,
underwriting, analysis and claims
management software to the insurance
FARMERS AND AMAZON ALEXA JOIN
Farmers Insurance will allow
customers to access policy and claims
information through Amazon Alexa.
Alexa is a voice activated, hands-free personal assistant that performs
a variety of tasks for owners, from
making calls to playing music — and
now, accessing policy information.
Policyholders with Alexa-enabled
devices can access policy and claims
information by saying “Alexa, open
Farmers aims to enhance its
customer service experience through
technology; in the last few years, the
insurer has released a series of digitally-
focused innovations like the Alexa
Farmers utilized an application
called Signal to monitor distracted
driving. A roadside assistance tool,
using tech to locate a person quickly,
delivers a rideshare-like experience if
Farmers’ customers are waiting for a
The insurer hopes to continue its
technology growth in the future, with
plans to create visuals for Echo Show
and provide bill payment options
through Amazon devices.
TRUDI BARTON JOINS THE CAPACITY
EPIC Insurance Brokers and
Consultants added Trudi Barton to its
firm as part of The Capacity Group –
an EPIC Company.
Barton enters the EPIC field with
20 years of operations and client
relationship management, most
recently with Key Insurance and
Benefits Services. She wears the title
of vice president of special projects at
EPIC and will report to Carl Gerson,
The Capacity Group is a team
of specialist companies focused on
delivering industry-specific insurance
and risk management solutions.
EPIC is a retail property & casualty
and employee benefits insurance
brokerage and consulting firm.
TV NETWORK HBO TARGETED IN
CYBER SECURITY ATTACKS
Studies show cyber security threats
HBO suffered multiple security
breaches in a matter of weeks this
summer. The network was hacked in
late July, losing 1.5 terabytes of data to
its unknown assailant.
Weeks later, social media accounts
run by HBO were hacked.
In 2016, 383 organizations suffered
at least one data breach, with the
average cost per breach equaling $4
Cyber insurance spending jumped
from $1 billion annually to $2.5 billion
since last year. The cost of cybercrime
is estimated to reach $2 trillion by
2019, according to Juniper Research,
an organization offering data analysis
on current market trends.