Posted on 07 Sep 10
This week we spoke with Stacy Brown, president and managing partner of Freberg Environmental Insurance (FEI), a managing general agency that specializes in the development, marketing and underwriting of environmental insurance programs. Founded by Mike Hill in 1991, Denver-based FEI has grown significantly in the last 20 years with a staff today of 38 that includes individuals who have a combined experience of 100 years in the environmental and insurance arenas. A wholly owned subsidiary of Willis North America, FEI has environmental programs with several carriers: Endurance, Arch, Ark Syndicate and First Mercury Insurance Company.
Stacy joined FEI 12 years ago when Founder Mike Hill asked him to develop programs for Site-Specific Pollution and Petroleum Storage Tanks. Stacy made the shift from environmental consulting to insurance having held positions with the U.S. Forest Service, a NY State solid waste agency and Dames and Moore (now URS), a large multi-national engineering firm. He is well versed in environmental compliance, auditing, and project management. Along with Mike, Stacy has co-authored two award-winning loss control books, Understanding and Managing Risk: A Handbook for Environmental Consultants and Contractors and Understanding and Managing Mold: A Handbook for Environmental Consultants and Contractors.
There are several key factors that set FEI apart and make them a partner of choice for agents and brokers, beginning with its staff’s environmental and insurance experience.
“Most of our underwriters have many years of insurance experience and a number of them hold degrees in environmental engineering or environmental science,” says Stacy. “They really understand risk and the operations of the insureds. And because they have also worked in the environmental consulting space, they understand how these firms work, so they’re much better able to understand exposures when presented in applications.”
FEI’s relationship with long-established carriers that have a good understanding of both the marketplace as well as the needs of the wholesaler and retailer, combined with its strong footprint in the industry for 20 years, is also a distinguishing factor. “We certainly understand how to respond to market requests and the established wholesalers/retailers know who we are and have come to rely on the top-notch level of service we provide,” says Stacy.
In addition, Stacy explains that FEI is unique in the MGA world. “There are very few MGA operations writing environmental coverage, and even fewer that write the number of products we write. We provide a wide range of environmental products, including a Site-Specific Pollution program with terms of up to 10 years; Environmental Engineers, Consultants, and Contractors with limits up to $16m; Environmental Impairment Liability, and a Hazardous Materials Trucking program. Providing the range of programs and quality of our markets is very unique in the environmental insurance space. There are competitors writing environmental coverages, but these days very few have the capability of writing the different lines that FEI can offer.”
Although FEI has had the capability to write Site-Specific Pollution for about nine years, the program is now gaining real traction. “This is a program with a bright future and tremendous potential for agents and brokers,” says Stacy, “especially in light of the BP oil spill and the keen awareness it has brought to facilities that handle hazardous materials and the need for those facilities to have proper environmental insurance in place. It’s clearly a very important risk management tool that’s frankly inexpensive relative to the risk posed by managing certain types of hazardous materials at facilities.” Stacy explains that having this coverage is a tremendous risk management tool, and that many companies in light of recent events are looking for ways to manage their exposures related to hazardous materials.
The class of risk FEI will write is unlimited. “There are very few types of risks we won’t consider. For example, we don’t write oil rigs, but any terrestrial risk other than a nuclear power plant is a candidate for coverage in our program,” says Stacy.
The loss control publications Mike and Stacy co-authored offer value added to agents/ brokers and their customers. “We’ve updated the publications several times and they have been well-received,” says Stacy. “They’re an excellent tool for consulting firms, contracting firms, and construction operations to provide to more junior staff to learn about risk management principles and loss control activities.”
FEI markets its programs through ProgramBusiness as well as through print advertising. Its most effective marketing, however, is the firm’s superior customer service. “We try very hard to provide a high level of service which translates into positive word of mouth in the industry,” says Stacy. “You can do all the advertising in the world, but if you can’t back up the product and services you’re offering with good customer service, agents and brokers won’t want to work with you. We focus on service and making sure our customers are being treated professionally -- from the submissions to issuing policies.”
To find out more about FEI’s programs, please call Stacy at: 800.377.4152, or contact him via email at: email@example.com