Risks

The following are examples of the risks we work on.  If you would like to talk about a particular risk – whether we talk about it below or not – please get in touch; we would love to chat…

As you will see from the listed risks, we focus on specialty casualty risks.

Sexual Abuse and Misconduct (SAM) Liability

We currently work more on SAM than any other risk.  We help organizations to manage SAM risk as well as they can.  If you would like to know more about our SAM risk management services, please visit this page.

In terms of insurance, we spend so much time on SAM risk because the SAM liability market is hard and getting harder.  It is because of this market hardening that we developed our SAM risk management services.  Organizations don’t only want to manage SAM risk well, they also need to be able to demonstrate they are managing SAM risk well, so their insurers will offer reasonable terms.  Being able to demonstrate SAM risk is well managed to all other stakeholders is also valuable.

The hardening is driven by a combination of how poorly abuse risk was once managed, continuing indications of past cover-ups, variable SAM risk management – even today, movements like #metoo, extreme cases of abuse like US gymnastics, deteriorating credibility in some formerly unassailable institutions, and State Attorneys Generals’ increased focus on abuse. 

These influences mean all carriers offering abuse coverage are becoming more selective about who they will insure, many are materially reducing limits and increasing premiums, and more than a few are so restricting coverage, their policies are functionally worthless.

We pioneered stand-alone SML coverage for religious entities over 10 years ago and continue to develop SAM liability capacity today.  Though some kinds of entity remain challenging – fostering and mentoring for example – we have been successful at developing coverage for most organizations that have approached us.

Cyber

We focus on cyber risks for organizations that provide information products and services. 

We don’t like the term ‘cyber’ because there are so many different elements to ‘cyber’ and everyone has their own view of the space.  We prefer ‘Information & Technology Risks’ and then to break the exposure down into the appropriate risk types.  While data breach has driven adoption of cyber coverage, we expect that intentional disclosure of data – but in ways the people the data is about haven’t authorized or appreciated – will be the next ‘big thing’, along with physical damage following a security breach.  We have also previously argued, and still maintain that, where property and various forms of liability coverage have been the mainstays of the insurance industry in the past, information and technology risks will come to take centre stage once the insurance industry has figured out what its customers need and how insurers can manage the accepted risks.

Professional Liability

We focus most often on professional liability placements for organizations that have had an unusual frequency or severity of claims. 

For most professional services firms, professional liability insurance can be one of the biggest items on their annual budget – sometimes second only to employee costs.   It goes without saying that cost is a major consideration but, given how important the coverage can also be in helping a firm survive a damaging professional liability claim, the coverage grant is at least as important.  Note that, though ‘damaging’ is most frequently thought of in terms of the size of a claim, reputation or disruption issues also need to be considered.  And after cost and coverage, there are also structure, claims handling, and complimentary policies to think about…  

M&A

M&A is, like ‘cyber’, one of the few growing areas of insurance – and, like cyber, it is also one of the least understood. 

M&A insurance can cover a number of scenarios from enabling a transaction to proceed (for example, adeadlock between the parties – such as an identified tax risk), so a seller can utilize their sale proceeds (for example, allowing investment funds to make distributions to investors and to avoid escrows) or toenhance a bid.  There are other scenarios too, obviously.  

We are putting together an M&A insurance guide; if you would like us to send you a copy of this guide when it is available, please hit the button. Alternatively, you can also read W&I case studies by hitting the other button.

Specialty Casualty

Specialty casualty refers to general liability-driven risks for companies in a diverse group including manufacturing, energy, leisure, transportation, agriculture, construction, public entities, and not-for-profits.

The risks tend to be hard to place because the entity’s products or services, processes or operations are unusual.  We structure insurance programs to meet the needs of these complex risks.

Terrorism

Terrorism is another of those catch all terms which actually covers a range of exposures from sabotage, via terrorism, to full war cover.  We can access markets for the full range of these exposures, whether for direct insurance or facultative reinsurance, and limits up to $500m are readily available.

Hostile Environments

When organizations need to send their people or equipment into hostile territories, there is a range of specialist coverages and services we can help with.  The reason to be in the hostile environment may be short-term and it may not just be people going into the area; equipment can also be covered.   We can address the following exposures for organizations operating in hostile environments:  Professional Liability, General Liability, Employers’ Liability, Auto and Products/Completed-Operations Liability, Cyber, Information Technology and Technology Products Liability, Kidnap & Ransom, Personal Accident, Life and Medical Expenses, Medical/Political Evacuation and Repatriation.

D&O

We have been involved with D&O since it first emerged as a core coverage 30 years ago but have worked on it less and less over time as it has become increasingly diluted into other coverages – like packages in one direction and entity coverages in another.  

We believe D&O is such an important personal protection for a director or officer that diluting coverage is potentially extremely dangerous.  And given the cost of D&O at present, there rarely seems to us to be enough justification for dilution as far as a buyer is concerned, though we understand the competitive pressures that drive many sellers to seek to offer premiums as low as they can.

EPLI

EPLI is another coverage we have been involved with since it first emerged over 25 years ago.  We can remember when most companies didn’t believe there was any need to buy the coverage and so most insurers weren’t concerned to offer it.  How things have changed!

For some types of buyer, in some sectors, EPLI is a critical coverage; it should be a core coverage for any company – and it is commonly now made part of most package approaches, if not yet formally part of a BOP.

Most of our EPLI work now involves building the coverage into the package policies we develop for sellers, though in the past, we have worked on large, distressed risks (risks with lots of claims)…

Packages

E-commerce has transformed how everything is sold; so too with insurance.  Packages are the most obvious example of the more customer centric approach e-commerce has engendered.  The idea that customers simply don’t care how (or why) insurers segregate the coverages they sell into different policies took a long time to catch on but has now arrived with a vengeance.  The challenge for most sellers today is to find every faster and lower cost ways to deliver the broadest, cheapest coverage.  For example, one insurer now claims only to need the name of an applicant company to be able to offer binding terms…

Behind these efforts are a wide range of data and technology, with AI increasingly central to seller initiatives.  In the face of these initiatives, most small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have never found insurance buying so easy – as long as they are happy with the one size policy designed to fit all applicants.

We suspect data and AI will make customization genuinely achievable soon and that the really interesting initiatives will be around how to link enterprise insurance coverages with enterprise wide risk management for firms without risk managers.