Friday, 20 November 2009

A new chapter

It's been 10 years since I worked for a company with more than 400 employees. Today with the sale of AgencyPort, which was bought by a large ($270m in sales) global services and software company (Sword Group), I'm part of a company with over 1,800 in staff globally.

I'm looking forward to it actually. The role is a good one for me, and Sword operates in 50 countries, I enjoy working in different markets. We get to keep our team together, we pick up the US operations in the insurance industry and other software complementary offerings for our target market.

I'll still be working on strategy, selling new products, selling in new markets, doing product marketing and other means of growing the top line. Sword does $77.5 million in insurance with the acquisition complete and we are targeting $96 million in 2010. Clients get the combination and value our larger footprint (meaning our balance sheet story just got stronger and it's easier for buyers to reccommend us), and the feedback about the announcement has been great.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Social Media & Insurance?

Watching a solid social media hype video which has some interesting factoids, I started thinking about adoption in the insurance industry. My knee-jerk reaction was to say the insurance industry would be 10 years behind the times again, but insurance professionals are already using some social media tools.

Tons of Job Finding is done through LinkedIn, Twitter, online job boards, etc.

But Travelers is on Twitter for auto insurance news/promotion; The Hartford is also on Twitter including a recent Tweet about their new CEO's podcast (very web 2.0...)

FaceBook is used by some insurance companies for Groups (discussions/Q&A type of stuff). GEICO is pretty clever with a "Page" and some groups around their cavemen characters. GEICO also features FaceBook on its home page so that policyholders can recommend GEICO to others.

Obviously ACORD believes in video, as does AgencyPort. But most use of YouTube is for re-runs of tv ads like those by Hiscox.

Blogging works, even in large commercial where the D&O Diary is a good example of a niche that Kevin covers really well.

If traditional marketing agencies don't offer social media as a skill-set to insurance company clients, boutique providers of such services will inevitably crop up. As the video says, it's not a fad, it's here to stay.

I'm not going to be talking about D&O anymore, not for a lack of love for all things litigious, but instead because I have a new crush - I've fallen for insurance distribution technology. Who knew that agent portals or commercial auto upload was so hot? I've joined AgencyPort and am blogging about automating insurance transactions.

Lastly, it's my nephew's birthday today and he asked "Can I do dangerous stuff now that I'm 4?"

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Aon, Insurance Information Institute and Swiss Re join Advisen on Webinar

We're going to hold a webinar tomorrow (Wed May 13th) at 3pm EDT (sorry to our friends overseas, scheduling all panelists mandated this time). Early registration means attendance will likely exceed the most popular webinar of the year which was Madoff. We might hit our max of 1,000 on the conference call, who knows.

The discussion will revolve Advisen’s latest briefing "The Insurance Market in 2009: A Market Poised for a Change" that examines the forces at work on commercial insurance premiums, claims and investment income in 2009. Download this new Briefing, free of charge, at

Register for free here.

While the briefing groups together findings of several recent Advisen reports, there are several points that are new - see the breakout of trends by coverage on page 4, a discussion of broker consolidation to come - on page 5 (we are going to publish a full piece on this soon), and the implications of the new Obama administration on page 7.

Jim Blinn of Advisen will moderate a panel including:
  • Eric Andersen, CEO-Aon US Retail
  • Dave Bradford, co-founder and EVP of Advisen
  • Bob Petrilli, Head of Swiss Re’s IRI Americas
  • Steven Weisbart, Chief Economist for Insurance Information Institute

Buyers, brokers and underwriters of all major lines will learn from the report and the webinar discussion. If Property, D&O, GL or Workers Compensation insurance are important to you, we urge you to register for the free webinar here.

We'd love to see you on the call and answer your questions. The best way to get your question answered is to submit them to in advance.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Climate Change, a D&O Loss Event?

Firms on the wrong side of the environmental movement have seen an enormous amount of suits filed against them, and plaintiffs have sought compensation from many forms of insurance policies, including directors & officers insurance.

Advisen Front Page News (here) carried an interesting article this week from the Chief Counsel to ACE Professional Risks, Carol Zacharias, who recapped the state of play in climate change litigation and how it increases the exposure to companies and their directors and officers.

Excerpting from the article:

The new cases address the adequacy of a company’s assessment of the financial
consequences of climate changes and the adequacy of disclosures to shareholders
of that financial impact. Since questions regarding disclosures to shareholders
raise the prospect of management liability exposure, these developments present
liability risks to directors and officers that should be considered.

Click here for the full article.

So I searched Advisen's large loss database for "climate change disclosure" and found a match on a case where Xcel Energy settled with the Attorney General of New York. Excerpting from our case profile:
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the first-ever binding and
enforceable agreement requiring a major national energy company to disclose the
financial risks that climate change poses to its investors. Cuomo's agreement
with Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) ("Xcel") comes as many power companies, including
Xcel, are investing in new coal-burning power generation that will significantly
contribute to global warming emissions.

Certainly climate change disclosure is not going to decrease under the Obama administration.

To get your hands on this case or other cases you want to follow, click here and indicate you want everything we have on climate change or whatever search criteria fits your needs.