The 2021 Annual Meeting and Golf Outing will be held on August 12, 2021 at Topgolf Columbus, 2000 Ikea Way, Columbus, OH 43240. This is a fun, networking event for members and their guests. There’s no pressure to have a good golf swing or score a lot of points. It’s all about everyone having fun.
11:00 – Board Meeting. All members and guests welcome to attend and/or participate.
11:30 to 1 p.m. – Lunch and guest speaker.
1 to 4:00 p.m. – Golf
Cost: $150 Lunch, Program and Golf. $50 for lunch and program.
Please donate gifts for the raffle.
Registration and Sponsorship Information coming soon!
OAPSLO in conjunction with OIA presented a webinar on Navigating the Hard Market – Designing Top Quality Submissions on Dec. 9, 2020. Seventy-one agents were educated on this topic!
OAPSLO Panelists Ken Kukral, Jason Stoermer, JB Civille, and Andy Hamilton were joined by Judy Sivy (OIA) to provide valuable information to OAPSLO and OIA members. If you were unable to attend you can access the recording by clicking the link below.
Graydon Spanner, CLCS Branch Manager WESTERVILLE, OHIO, MARCH 2021 – JM Wilson is pleased to announce the addition of Graydon Spanner as Branch Manager of their Westerville, Ohio office. Graydon is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Westerville office, managing the staff, and developing relationships that foster growth with new and existing independent insurance agents in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining JM Wilson, Graydon was a Risk Management Consultant for USI Insurance Services LLC. An Ohio State University graduate, Graydon earned his Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Urban Analysis. He also earned his CLCS (Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist) designation and is currently working towards his CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation.
Founded in 1920, J.M. Wilson is a Managing General Agency and Surplus Lines Broker providing independent insurance agents access to specialty markets. J.M. Wilson can provide coverage for standard and hard-to-place Commercial Transportation, Property & Casualty, Brokerage, Marine, Personal Lines and Surety. For more information about J.M. Wilson, call (800) 666-5692 or visit www.jmwilson.com.
Towerstone, a Dallas-based wholesale insurance division of IMA Financial Group, has acquired Jacobs & Associates, a general agent and excess and surplus lines broker based in Strongsville, Ohio.
The transaction was effective April 1, 2021.
The partnership opens new markets for Towerstone and Jacobs, while also creating new offerings for the companies’ retail broker partners and specialty risk clients.
Jacobs will join the IMA Financial Group and will retain its name. Its six team members will continue to operate out of the company’s office in Strongsville.
The acquisition is IMA Financial Group’s tenth in the past 12 months and serves as a springboard for Towerstone’s growth within Texas and beyond, the company’s announcement said. Towerstone has specialized in wholesale insurance products and services for the oil and gas industry for three decades, and serves additional industry verticals, as well.
OAPSLO held its first quarter membership meeting on March 18th with guest speaker Tiffany Andersen, Product & Business Development Manager with the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office. Tiffany shared information about the Surplus Lines Information Portal or SLIP.
Mr. Lonneman began his 41-year career with Great American as a casualty underwriter in the Agricultural Excess & Surplus Lines operation. He later joined the Home Office Underwriting Department in 1985 and held positions of increasing responsibility in underwriting management roles.
In 2010, Mr. Lonneman was named Divisional President of the Specialty E&S Division. He assumed his current role in 2018, when he successfully led the merger of the Specialty E&S Division and American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company to form Great American Risk Solutions.
Mr. Lonneman will be succeeded by Brian D. DeSoto, Divisional Senior Vice President of Great American Risk Solutions. Mr. DeSoto joined Great American in 2008.
Great American Insurance Group’s roots go back to 1872 with the founding of its flagship company, Great American Insurance Company. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the operations of Great American Insurance Group are engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance, focusing on specialty commercial products for businesses, and in the sale of traditional fixed and indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions, broker-dealer and registered investment advisor markets. Great American Insurance Company has received an “A” (Excellent) or higher rating from the A.M. Best Company for more than 110 years (most recent rating evaluation of “A+” (Superior) affirmed October 20, 2020). The members of Great American Insurance Group are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG), also based in Cincinnati, Ohio. AFG’s common stock is listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFG.
Andy joined Arlington/Roe in December 2020 as the Transportation Manager. He has prior experience as the branch manager of the Ohio office at J.M. Wilson Corp., and he has a wide variety of experience on the company, agency and E&S sides. He was responsible for all production in several states, and he led a team whose majority of premium was in transportation business.
Before moving to Columbus in 2017, Andy was the sales and agency relations manager for J.M. Wilson in Indiana and Ohio. He also has experience as a territory manager in Indiana with Liberty Mutual/Safeco and as a risk management consultant with the Henriott Group. He holds a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.
A native Hoosier, Andy hails from Knightstown, Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and a minor in Spanish.
Andy’s favorite aspect of his chosen career is the people he has met. Given his varied career path, he says he has met some of the most amazing people and shared in their success. He is also fascinated by the continually evolving nature of the insurance industry, and he enjoys finding new solutions for the risks that emerge as a result of the changing world.
Andy and his wife, Rachel, have a seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. He says that any free time he gets to spend with his family is compound interest in his life. He is a homebrewer, he loves to play guitar, and he stays very active with running, the occasional triathlon and lifting weights. He is also an avid Dodgers and Hoosiers fan!
Gov. DeWine announced the appointment today of former Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court Judith French as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI). Justice French left the Court earlier this month after losing her re-election bid to Jennifer Brunner.
Judi French will bring a unique and extensive experience to ODI. She has had a remarkable career serving in Ohio’s judicial system on the Supreme Court and the 10th District Court of Appeals. Director French authored a number of cases on insurance issues and has much familiarity with the industry.
Please contact Carolyn Mangas, OIA’s Government Affairs Manager for any questions or thoughts on this appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 552-3051.
Social inflation is an issue that continues to gain intensity – but what does it mean for our industry? The term describes the convergence of societal and legal trends to the tune of increased litigation, broader definition of duty to care, legal decisions tipping in the plaintiff’s favor, and larger jury awards.
In turn, we’re seeing an increase in both frequency and severity of liability claims, impacting insurers all the way at the top of the tower as they try to cover the growing losses. This trend is not only driving up the cost of claims, but also contributing to rate increases across the board.
To date, social inflation has had the most pronounced impact on large corporate risks in the umbrella and excess liability space, commercial auto, medical malpractice and directors & officers. The average general liability combined ratio was estimated at 104% for 2019, the sixth consecutive year of underwriting losses. The 2019 auto liability combined ratio was 110%.1
This article explores the issues driving social inflation, mitigation strategies and what the future holds for impacted sectors, particularly transportation.
Four Key Shifts Driving the Rise in Claims
1. Jurors perspective. A main driver of social inflation is the anti-corporate sentiment dating back to the 2008 financial crisis. These new attitudes mean that injured parties are more likely to bring litigation against companies – and win. Jurors today are often biased toward the plaintiff in the name of social justice. They strive to hold big companies responsible and make statements with their actions. According to The National Law Journal, 42% of jurors say they would decide a case based on what they believe is fair.2
2. Litigation funding. Claimants are receiving help from outside investors to bring their cases to court. These investors pay legal fees and expenses (primarily towards a top-notch plaintiff’s attorney) in exchange for a stake in potential awards and settlements.
3. Plaintiff’s bar. The bar is a well-organized and sophisticated group willing to invest in advertising, social media, technology and expert resources to drive damage awards.
4. Normalization of nuclear verdicts. Across state courts, caps on punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering are being raised or eliminated entirely. This breaks the ceiling on what plaintiffs can ask for and be awarded.
Over the past several years, there have been numerous instances of trucking firms involved in an accident where logical reason would not find the firm to be negligent. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In May 2018, a case was brought to the Texas state jury involving a Houston family and a tragic collision between their vehicle and a truck owned by Werner Enterprises Inc. The jury found the trucking company responsible for the 2014 accident, which resulted in the death of a seven-year-old boy, the paralysis of a 12-year-old girl and extensive brain damage to a third child.
The accident occurred during dangerous winter road conditions including freezing rain and subsequent “black ice.” The plaintiff’s vehicle lost control on a divided highway, crossed over the median and crashed into a Werner-owned truck that was allegedly not equipped with proper safety features. The jury awarded $90 million to the plaintiff.3
Strategic Response to Social Inflation: Choosing the Right Partner
Insurance coverage is just one part of the equation in battling social inflation. Educating your clients and managing expectations is a critical first step. Risk mitigation strategies should also be implemented to make your client’s risk best in class. These include effective safety programs, good maintenance of property, leases that properly transfer risk to other parties, and adequate security.4
Retailers should partner with a wholesaler who not only understands the insured’s risk profile, but also has access to leading insurance carriers and understands their claims philosophy. Things to look for in a carrier include the following.
A comprehensive approach. The best results come from a proactive strategy to prevent litigation.
Claims specialists that apply thoughtful, creative solutions to each situation.
Cutting-edge evaluation tools and analytics.
Intentional litigation strategy where all parties work in sync, using a total cost of claim philosophy and following an agreed-upon strategy to save money, time and resources.
Continuously monitor predictive data to anticipate future decisions and measure operational metrics, backfill historical litigation data, perform legal audits, use advanced analytics and adhere to our quality assurance program. This data provides insights that control costs, guide strategy and lead to the best possible outcomes.
Experienced adjusters with a flexible approach to early resolution, core bodily injury and complex teams, that are poised to handle high-profile claims in an efficient and timely manner.
Early intervention. While it’s important to prevent litigation, it’s always best to be over prepared.
Utilize mock juries to test themes, arguments, liability damages and issues. This provides critical insights that teams use in and out of the courtroom.
Identify challenging and unfavorable cases early.
What Does the Future Hold?
Thanks to COVID-19 causing a backlog in court proceedings, we may experience a temporary pause in nuclear verdicts while the juries are out. Many plaintiffs realize that it could be years before their case sees a trial and are taking the settlement amount offered by defendants.5 However, given the varying degrees of uncertainty, its unknown what to expect long-term. Social inflation could get worse before it gets better.
In the commercial transportation industry, the influx of new technology – including sensors, cameras and autonomous tech – is giving transportation firms greater control in their legal defense. By providing an accurate snapshot of what happened in the incident, technology has the potential to be a vital resource when it comes to settling claims. However, while the benefits are clear from a safety perspective, technology has yet to make a material impact on the harsh legal environment and nuclear verdicts.6
Social inflation is adversely impacting capacity offered on umbrella towers and significantly increasing pricing. It’s difficult for carriers to quantify or underwrite based on these societal attitudes regarding distribution of wealth and perceived sense of justice. The verdicts being awarded are crippling business owners and insurance companies alike, and also impacting the overall economy. Commerce will suffer if this continues to the point where trucking companies cannot afford their insurance premiums and are forced to close their doors. The specialists at AmWINS are here to help you provide a risk management plan for your clients during these challenging times.
About the Authors
Andrea Dickinson – Branch leader, executive vice president and transportation insurance specialist, AmWINS Brokerage of Tennessee.
Meg Sutton – Senior Vice President, U.S. Casualty, Global Risk Solutions (GRS) North America, Liberty Mutual Insurance.
To learn more about how AmWINS can help you place coverage for your clients, reach out to your local AmWINS broker. If you do not have a contact at AmWINS, please click here.
Legal Disclaimer. Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Discussion of insurance policy language is descriptive only. Every policy has different policy language. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. Please refer to your policy for the actual language.
Congratulations to the 2021 OAPSLO Board of Trustees elected at the Dec. 16, 2020 Annual Business Meeting! We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead under their leadership, and being your voice for the specialty and surplus lines insurance industry in Ohio. Go to oapslo.org to renew your membership or join today.
President – Ken Kukral, CIC, International Excess Program Managers, Beachwood
Vice President – Terry Quested, Associated Risk Managers of Ohio Agencies, Westerville
On Nov. 23, Gov. DeWine signed House Bill 404 into law. This legislation includes an immediate extension for licenses that are set to expire on or before April 1, 2021 and allows them to remain valid until July 1, 2021. This is the second license extension that the Ohio General Assembly has granted. If you recall, an extension was provided earlier this year for licenses that expired during the state of emergency Gov. DeWine declared on March 9, 2020 until Dec. 1st. With the pandemic still impacting our daily lives, the Legislature has again offered an extension.
This extension applies to any individual or business entity that holds an active license with the Ohio Department of Insurance. This includes major lines agents; limited line agents; title agents; title insurance marketing representatives; managing general agents; public insurance adjusters and agents; reinsurance intermediary brokers and managers; surety bail bond agents; surplus lines brokers; third party administrators; and viatical settlement brokers.
Bottom-line: Insurance agents with a license expiration date that falls on or before April 1, 2021 will get an extension to renew their license until July 1, 2021. All late fees will be waived and license-holders do not need to take any actions to receive the extension. This extension also applies to driver’s licenses. Note that ODI issued Bulletin 2020-06 earlier this year directing insurers to “temporarily suspend certain actions which they would otherwise be permitted to take due to the expiration of the driver license of a name insured or other covered family member.”
As a result of the extension, ODI will periodically adjust expiration dates within their computer system and the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). While the adjusted expiration dates may appear to be sooner than the extension given, that is only to ensure that your access to NIPR is continuously available. ODI will continuously adjust the license expiration dates of affected licenses until the extension granted ends.
Continuing Education Requirements
Due to the extension of expiration dates, the deadline for completing CE requirements is also extended. CE providers are still offering courses, both online and in other distance learning formats, and agents are encouraged to complete as much as possible to prevent the system from being overwhelmed once the license extension period ends. Additionally, while license-holders will have extra time to renew their licenses, ODI encourages renewals to be completed prior to the extension ending to ensure timely processing.
Should you have any questions or concerns, contact Carolyn Mangas at email@example.com or (614) 552-3051.