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Ace Westchester Starts Up Product-Recall Underwriting Unit

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 28 Jun 2012 by Neilson

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AceAce Westchester, the U.S.-based insurance division of the Ace Group, is introducing a stand-alone product-recall underwriting unit. It will deliver insurance products to respond to the increased risks associated with product recalls, Ace said in a statement.

Florian Beerli will serve as senior vice president of product recall underwriting for insurance in North America, with overall responsibility for delivering insurance solutions in North America, structured to meet the needs related to product recalls. He will be based in Woodbridge, Conn., and report to Bruce Kessler, division president of Ace Westchester. He will work with the Ace branches to deliver crisis management services and first-party product recall insurance for consumable products, consumer goods, component parts, and food borne illness for restaurants.

“The exposures related to product recalls have become an ongoing occurrence in many industries, not just the food and beverage industry, and they pose a significant liability for a company’s balance sheet and overall brand reputation,” said Kessler in a statement. Research of the product recall market has "demonstrated the magnitude of the problem continues to grow, and there is a real need for a product that can mitigate the financial disruption caused by recalls.”

This new product offered by the wholesale-focused Ace Westchester will offer reimbursement costs for product recalls and covered third-party expenses associated with consultants, as the result of claims arising from the product recall.

Beerli joined Ace from Crum & Forster, where he served as vice president of crisis management. He also previously headed up the crisis management division for Catlin U.S., and held a senior underwriting position at American International Group Inc. in its crisis management unit.

Experts who follow food safety have been urging businesses from growers to retailers to study the new Food Safety Modernization Act and then get the insurance they'll need to face a radically altered regulatory landscape. The FSMA, signed by President Barack Obama, gives the federal Food and Drug Administration sweeping new authority to inspect, regulate and if needed, shut down any company along the food chain that is involved in product recalls and incidents of food-borne illness. It grants the FDA power to act if it suspects a "reasonable probability" of an outbreak occurring, and virtually unlimited authority in case of an actual outbreak.