Posted on 04 May 10
Last summer we featured long-time Storefront, Dayton, Ohio-based Norman-Spencer, a leading provider of property and casualty insurance services to retail and wholesale, agent and consumer clients nationwide. We spoke with company Vice President Brian Norman about the firm’s overall business philosophy and its various programs, including Pumpro, which provides coverage for concrete pumping operations; and Ready Mix, for companies that manufacture and/or transport ready mix concrete to construction jobsites around the country.
Norman-Spencer also has a significant presence in the heavy construction industry with its Crane Operations Program, which provides coverage for those niche segments that include: crane, equipment rental, steel erection, and millwright contractors operating specifically within the construction industry. Recently, Norman-Spencer acquired the operations of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based JC Stevens, a program underwriter focused on the crane industry. In so doing, Norman-Spencer has expanded its footprint to offer cover to accounts that are smaller in size. “JC Stevens has built a strong reputation as a quality underwriting and service organization,” says Brian. “Their success in the crane industry made them a natural fit with our existing programs for concrete pumpers and cranes.”
Norman-Spencer’s acquisition of JC Stevens’ crane book of business also puts the already trendsetting company in a better position to fulfill the needs of its retail agency network. “We’re excited about the ability to continue to bring product to our retail agents throughout the country. This acquisition provides us with yet another vehicle to put revenue in their pockets,” says Brian. “What’s more, we’re excited to bring additional product to the JC Stevens agents. When we looked at the acquisition, there was not a great deal of cross-over from an agent’s perspective. Their clients are different from ours so now we have this huge cross-selling opportunity and we’re working hard to get out in the marketplace, making sure JC Stevens agents are aware of all our programs and vice versa.”
Heather Frain and Megan Rose, Program Directors at JC Stevens, underscore Brian’s sentiment: “Norman-Spencer is a large, well-recognized company offering a comprehensive array of insurance programs and products. We are excited to join the Norman-Spencer team and bring these additional programs to our agents,” says Heather. “Norman-Spencer provides us with an opportunity to reach new heights through its expansive distribution network,” added Megan.
About JC Stevens and Its Crane Program
Heather and Megan, sisters and third-generation insurance specialists, run the JC Stevens crane/construction programs. Heather, who has been in the insurance industry for more than 14 years, heads the Inland Marine program; and Megan, who began her insurance career in servicing the crane sector seven years ago, runs the General Liability program. “This is our niche,” says Megan, “where our focus is, and where our knowledge, expertise, and experience lies. Our reputation and in-depth knowledge in this industry is what our agents have come to rely on and what distinguishes our program from others.”
“We concentrate within a box within a box in the industry,” continues Megan. “When you talk about the crane industry, you’re talking about a very large box — from tower cranes to very small boom trucks. While we focus on all heavy equipment within our Inland Marine side, our General Liability program focuses on the narrower box. Our underwriting tools and approach make our program what is — viable and profitable for our agents and us. What’s more, if a crane doesn’t fit our program, we will provide other solutions. We’ll find a home if it doesn’t fall within our program.”
Service is also key in JC Stevens’ success. “Agents need us to respond quickly,” says Heather. “We can provide same-day quotes, so that our agents can deliver to their clients. We take pride in the fact that we are always reachable. Annually, we work with more than 450 agents and we’re always there for them, providing them with what they need to service their insureds.” Megan expands on this, saying that “building long-lasting relationships with our agencies is a strong commitment of ours. We want them to be assured they have someone who has their back.”
Underwritten primarily by specialty lines insurer, Markel Insurance Company, the JC Stevens Crane Program offers an insurance package tailored for small cranes, with or without operators. A nationwide program, the package includes coverage for: General Liability, Inland Marine, Auto, and Umbrella. “We’re a one-stop shop for crane entities,” says Heather.
The program offers specific coverages including: over-the-road coverage for mobile equipment; on-hook riggers coverage for items being lifted; overload and boom collapse coverage; enhancement coverages for crane attachments, substitute equipment, miscellaneous tools, rental reimbursement, and newly acquired; and much more. You can visit http://jcstevensins.com/programs/crane-operations to get a detailed list of the coverages and limits available.
Many small crane operations are “mom and pops”, family owned businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting their assets. “They wake up each morning looking after their business, taking care of their equipment,” says Megan, “and we’re here to help protect that business. As a once family owned business and now a part of a bigger family with Norman-Spencer, we identify with protecting family operations. With the agent we’ll go through what exposures need to be insured, and what can potentially happen with a particular risk. This is extremely beneficial to the agent when speaking with insureds, and ultimately in protecting their clients’ businesses.”
“We’ll review an operator’s contracts to ensure he or she is getting the proper coverage that the GC requires,” says Heather. This is critical as many times insureds don’t realize that they’re extending themselves risk-wise for a potential claim in which they aren’t negligent.”
Another differentiator with the JC Stevens’ program is that it’s not just for crane operators, but involves the crane use, as well. “We can break out the program,” says Megan. “For example, tree arborists may not be able to get crane coverage on their Liability policy. Or a towing company may use cranes for recoveries. The crane may be a separate entity of the business and needs to be insured separately. Our program will provide this cover. This also helps the agent retain the client if he or she is writing the other business.”
JC Stevens’ seasoned staff keeps their finger on the pulse of the crane industry, staying up to date with changing laws that affect the sector. “We pay close attention to OSHA laws, federal legislation, state and local laws, and operator certification standards, which are changing often,” says Megan. “We are not just underwriting the business, we are entrenched in very aspect, learning all that we need to, and passing that knowledge to our agents,” says Heather.
To find out more about the JC Stevens Crane Program, please call Megan Rose at 215.809.2160 or email at MeganRose@jcstevensins.com or Heather Frain at 215.809.2161 or email at HeatherFrain@jcstevensins.com.