Posted on 11 Apr 2011
Richard Mattei founded managing general agency Mattei Insurance Services in 1979, initially focusing on providing insurance for the Forest Products industry and later adding its Waste & Recycling and Moving & Storage programs in the early 1980s. In 2006, specialty insurer Economical Insurance Group of Canada acquired Mattei, providing the backing and resources of one of Canada’s leading insurance companies while allowing the MGA to maintain its commitment to providing a full range of insurance services to defined business segments.
These segments today include: Forest Products, Landscapers, Moving & Storage, Waste & Recycling, and most recently a wide range of Brokerage Services. Mattei has 80 employees operating from two full-service customer service centers in Seattle and Sacramento, a branch office in Wasilla, its claims TPA in Portland, and loss control in Chicago.
We spoke with Barry Gilway, President and CEO, about the company’s culture and some of its key programs. Barry’s career in the insurance industry spans more than 40 years, beginning with INA in 1970, and later having held high-level executive positions with Crum & Forster, Berkley Corp, and Maryland Casualty. He also served as CEO for Zurich’s Canadian companies for four years until returning to the U.S. to serve as the carrier’s U.S. M&A liaison and to head its Operations Division. Most recently and prior to joining Mattei two years ago, Barry spent time with Mystic Capital Advisors.
“With more than 30 years in most of our programs Mattei’s roots run deep in terms of the experience and knowledge we provide for each of our product offerings,” said Barry. “Our underwriters, UAs, and claims and loss control professionals have an average of 27 years of experience. We simply have the best people in the business,” said Barry. Mattei’s service-oriented culture provides the responsiveness and professionalism that fits the way an agency wants to do business to meet the needs of its clients.
“What’s more, we offer a total solution for a company partner,” said Barry. “We provide not only the underwriting, processing, and billing but also have a highly rated TPA with claims experts for all of our programs, a loss control organization with industry leading expertise in Waste and Forest Products, and are one of the few MGAs with a chief actuary on staff,” continued Barry.
In addition, Mattei has pricing and underwriting management tools that are unrivalled. “We can either use our carriers’ platforms or our own,” said Barry.
Most of Mattei’s employees have a strong company background, which serves the MGA well in aligning itself with its carrier partners and focusing on underwriting profitability. “This is essential,” explained Barry, “in providing a stable, long-term market for our agency customers and our company partners.”
Among its newest programs, Mattei’s Landscapers product specializes in commercial insurance for the landscape construction and maintenance industry, and is written with Great American Insurance Company. The program provides virtually all coverages, with plans to add Workers Compensation within several months. The target classes include: lawn care services, landscape installation and maintenance, softscape, hardscape, all sizes of landscape and lawn care business, weed control and prevention, decorative tree trimming, seasonal landscape activities, and interior and exterior services.
Coverages include General Liability, Property, Commercial Auto, Inland Marine, Crime, etc., as well as specialized coverages, such as Landscape Construction & Arborists E&O, limited Pollution, Specialized Equipment, among others. “We also offer some very unusual coverages that are normally not available, such as Snow Removal,” said Barry.
Barry explained that there’s a tremendous opportunity for agency partners to grow in the Forest Products business segment, Mattei’s oldest program. The target classes include: falling, yarding, and loading operations; log lumber and chip haulers; timber cruisers and scalers; reforestation operations; and thinning and fuel reduction operations.
Coverage includes all lines: Property, General Liability, Commercial Auto, Equipment, Cargo, Umbrella, and Logger’s Broad Form Property Damage. “We will also be adding Workers Compensation to this program by year-end,” said Barry.
Waste & Recycling
An industry leader since 1986, Mattei’s Waste & Recycling program caters to the needs of small, medium, and large insureds in the lower 48 states, including operators of collection, recycling and transfer stations, haulers of regulated medical waste, scrap metal dealers, providers of shredding services, and liquid waste operators. “Our world-class service, claims and loss control are well known in the Waste industry,” explained Barry. “We provide competitive products in General Liability, Property, Inland, Auto, and Umbrella. And as with the other programs, we’ll be offering Workers Compensation at the end of the year.”
Each of these programs is available nationally (excluding Hawaii), and on an open-access basis.
Mattei recently launched Brokerage Services with appointments with ten A to A+ carriers in order to respond to a broader range of business submitted by its agency partners. “With our Brokerage Services, we’re providing innovative products and solutions outside our current portfolio definitions,” said Barry.
“Additionally, in the second quarter, we will be launching two new programs both on Great American paper: Garage and Cell Towers.”
Mattei’s marketing strategies include focusing heavily on writing business for agencies that may only have a few accounts that fit the MGA’s programs. “We have the expertise in house to help agents understand and place the business,” said Barry. “We have no minimum premium commitments, and are steadfast in expanding our distribution in the various business segments.” This includes promoting Mattei’s programs through ProgramBusiness.com, which Barry explained, is an important and successful part of its distribution strategy. “We have written business directly through ProgramBusiness.com, but by far the greatest benefit for Mattei is using this platform as a source for agents interested in working with us to develop business for our programs. It’s proved to be an exceptional prospecting tool in parts of the country where we’re unrepresented or under-represented, helping us to meet our new agency appointment objectives in those areas.”
Mattei is also very active with many associations. “In the Forest Products arena, we jointly sponsor booths with our agents at association events,” said Barry. “And you’ll often find Gary Irwin, our loss control lead for Forest Products, jointly sponsoring log truck inspections on the weekend. In the Waste and Recycling space, our loss control manager, Bruce Hooker, is on the safety committee of the National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA).” Bruce is frequently asked to speak at Waste Expo, the biggest waste convention in the country, and for the past six years has been writing a bi-monthly column for Waste Age magazine.
Mattei has more than 1,400 agents appointed and gets a solid flow of business from about 500. “We have four business development managers located across the company who work directly with these agents in addition to our production underwriters who work with agents on specific risks.”
What’s more, the MGA is quite active in electronic marketing, working with Leavitt agencies and SIAA to market its products through their internal intranets.
To find out more about Mattei’s programs, please visit their storefront or website. For more information, you can also contact Mattei at email@example.com or toll-free at 866.665.7253.