Posted on 15 Apr 09
One of the country’s leading independently owned professional insurance organizations, NIF Group, Inc. is a full-service program administrator and recognized as a pioneer in non-profits. Founded by Michael Orlando in 1976 and headquartered in Manhasset, New York, NIF has a total of 120 employees in six locations: two in New York, and one each in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, and California – a recent acquisition to broaden its servicing on the West Coast. Its programs are available nationally.
We spoke with Nancy Williams, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at NIF, about the company’s programs and expertise. “Our cornerstone program is in the non-profit social services sector, insuring entities such as mental health facilities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, Goodwill operations, women's shelters, counseling and crisis centers, emergency shelter care, senior day care, Headstart programs, among many others,” says Nancy. “Additionally, we have extended our programs for non-profits to include performing arts, museums and libraries, student organizations, environmental conservation organizations, philanthropic organizations, fundraising, public foundations, and more. “With the expansion into more than 70 classes of business in this field, we’re an industry leader in non-profit,” says Nancy. We are the sole distributor for Liberty Agency Underwriters for non-profits.
NIF’s other main program focus is in insuring the diverse needs of public entities and special districts including but not limited to water, sewer and housing authorities and property for school districts. “We distribute this product for Praetorian Insurance Company, a QBE Company in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Tennessee,” says Nancy. “We just expanded this program to New Jersey and Connecticut, making the program even more robust.”
When it comes to both public entities and non-profits, Nancy explains that it’s critical to have in-depth knowledge of the exposures and to keep up to date. “Both niches are a bit off the beaten path,” says Nancy, “and both sectors run on budgets that rely on government funding or private donation, and as such, they are required to maintain proper insurance.”
The challenge for non-profits goes even further when writing their insurance program. “Non-profits rely heavily on their brokers,” says Nancy. “Because these entities are so focused on serving their client’s needs, they tend to be less insurance-savvy and count on their broker/agent to ask the right questions, to make sure that solutions are put in place for risks that they may not consider. That’s where we also come in…in providing our experience and knowledge to the broker/agent and ultimately the client.”
For example, in some facilities there is medical staff, physicians and nurses who administer medicines, provide treatment, which account for unique exposures. In other facilities, there is also the issue of potential abuse when it comes to organizations that provide services to this segment. “These unique exposures require diligent underwriting to provide the necessary coverage for these exposures,” says Nancy. “We look at every aspect of the organization, to make sure that we’re providing the appropriate coverages as well as strategies to mitigate and minimize losses.”
Nancy also explains that the staff at NIF keeps updated with tort law and changes and how these changes affect an entity or organization in terms of their overall insurance and risk management program. “We need to know what is going on and how changes in law can affect risk and the coverages provided,” says Nancy.
NIF has been insuring non-profits for more than 30 years, and public entities for 10 years. The company delivers its programs exclusively through independent agents and brokers. Some of NIF agents/brokers may specialize in writing non-profits and/or public entities, while others may write one or two accounts in one of both of these areas. NIF provides the marketing support to help these agents and brokers offer its programs to these sectors. In addition, NIF is committed to providing its agency partners with ongoing information to help them address the exposures that make these niches unique. The “NIF NonProfit Advisor”, an on-line publication, provides non-profit intelligence and solutions for brokers and agencies in this field, including news and updates.
“We realize that we’ll only grow if our agencies grow,” says Nancy.
NIF can also provide coverages to fill in a gap when its main program doesn’t respond to what’s needed. “As a wholesale brokerage, we can step in and provide other solutions when a client doesn’t fit into one of our programs,” says Nancy. This can help an agent/broker keep or gain an account.”
To find out more NIF and its program, visit the company’s storefront or its website at: www.nifgroup.com.