Posted on 17 Nov 10
Founded more than 30 years ago, NAS was formed when a Lloyd’s underwriter approached attorney Edward Robin about developing legal expense products which were not available in the States at the time. Over the years NAS became known for its innovation and ongoing commitment to developing specialty products. Today the Encino, California-based company has 45 employees and is led by Rich Robin, CEO, and Ed Robin, Chairman.
I recently spoke with CEO Rich Robin about NAS, its innovative track record, customized portfolio of products, emphasis on underwriting profitability, and focus on distribution. Rich oversees all operations of NAS, including underwriting, marketing, business development, and administration.
“We focus on specialty products and bring creativity and profitability to our offerings,” said Rich. “We ‘NAS-ize’ all of our products. No product is stagnant, and we’re always trying to find a new angle or a new way of distributing a product. For example, with our Miscellaneous Medical Malpractice Facility we have MEDEFENSETM endorsements available. With our Miscellaneous E&O coverage, we have Cyber Liability insurance available. When a broker gets an offer from NAS, if they’re looking at coverage, we’re generally providing something additional than the rest of the marketplace.”
Innovation has always been in the specialty underwriting manager’s DNA. Throughout the 1980s, NAS offered a number of different legal expense products — its best-known being Business Legal, which covered expenses for uninsured perils. “One consistent peril that kept popping up at that time was Employment Practices so we developed the first employment practices policy in the marketplace, written originally on a legal expense basis,” said Rich. “In the 1990s we began offering the coverage on a full-coverage basis and have remained a leader in EPLI with the same market support.”
MEDEFENSETM was also developed in the 1980s, serving as an accordion product, covering a series of different physician disciplinary proceedings. “We offer the product as a reinsured add-on for Professional Liability carriers via brokers in the open market,” said Rich.
NAS continues to develop new products, including cover for Sexual Misconduct and Molestation Liability. “There wasn’t much of a market for this product and we’ve been able to develop an excellent product and achieve a great hit ratio,” said Rich. Additionally, NAS developed a Regulatory Business Interruption product in response to demand in the marketplace. “We see this as only the beginning to a broader approach in writing reputational harm insurance, which we intend to develop in the next several months,” said Rich.
Profitability and growth during difficult market conditions is also part of NAS’ strategy in providing a full spectrum of specialty products on a wholesale, program, and reinsurance basis. “We’re a ‘go-to’ market for a broad range of products, whether it’s Cyber Liability, Miscellaneous E&O, Non-standard Medical Malpractice, or EPLI, all are affected by the soft market,” said Rich. “But what NAS does to counter this is provide our reinsurance add-on products. When individually underwritten products are seeing their greatest challenges is when commercial carriers are also challenged and feeling the need to distinguish their products. We answer that call by providing specialty products on a turnkey basis to carriers so that they can distinguish their product offering during a soft market. MEDEFENSETM is the strongest example of this. We also do this with our e-MDTM insurance, which is our Cyberspace Liability product for physicians. MEDEFENSETM and e-MDTM are products that are countering the market in significant ways.” We write add-on endorsements for more than 150,000 physicians throughout the country.
Profitability also means rewarding brokers. “We understand that our brokers need to be paid for their efforts,” said Rich. What’s more, excellent customer service is also key to NAS success. “We instill to our staff that 24-hour turnaround both externally and internally is critical,” said Rich. “You don’t know how many hands are going to be involved in a particular account but as long as we’re always ready to respond we’re going to provide better service.”
NAS has also invested in an online platform designed to deliver its products efficiently and to provide carriers and brokers with a high level of service and control. “This platform will help drive us forward in 2011 and beyond.”
The company has a proactive marketing approach with email blasts to brokers to keep them updated with new product offerings and enhancements, and extensive traveling to broker offices to meet with staff and support them. The NAS staff also attends various tradeshows, including PLUS, NAPSLO, PIAA, and NAMIC.
“Our pioneering approach, clarity of mission, and commitment to a high standard of service is recognized by our clients,” said Rich.
For more information about NAS products, you can contact Rich at rrobin@NASInsurance.com or Desiree Khoury, Marketing Executive Assistance, at dkhoury@NASInsurance.com. You can also see NAS’ complete product offerings at www.nasinsurance.com.