1. News Articles
  2. Related News Articles
News Article Details

FEATURE: Offering Programs with Underwriting that Goes the Distance in Responsiveness and Coverages

Posted on 04 Mar 2011

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Google

We recently spoke with Mike Hanuschak of Harbor America Specialty Brokerage about the company and the creative, innovative products it’s offering in the marketplace. There is nothing cookie-cutter about what they do. Harbor America is a national insurance brokerage and program manager formed in 2005 by four partners.  The genesis of the company was to facilitate and enhance Harbor PEO, providing clients with risk management, accounting, payroll processing, human resource, and business management. Insurance services were later added which gave birth to Harbor America Specialty Brokerage. Headquartered in Texas, there are also offices in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Oklahoma.

With more than 44 years in the industry, Mike has worked in the areas of underwriting and marketing, and for a number of years was involved in running a group of insurance companies in addition to having had a consulting company focusing on the rehabilitation of insurers. He is referred to as a “Cover Holder” for London, with the authority to hold the pen for a Lloyd’s of London syndicate if so elected.  Mike works in the Florida office and runs the specialty division at Harbor America Specialty Brokerage.

One of Harbor America’s key programs is Professional Liability for the Marine and Transportation industries through the London market on a surplus basis. “Professional Liability is provided for naval architects, aircraft design, rail system design, marine surveyors, ship brokers and agents, among many others on a worldwide basis,” explained Mike. “The attractive part of the program is that it’s underwritten by some of the most successful underwriters in London. The program is referred to as a club in which basically everyone who takes out a policy becomes a member and a shareholder. Once the policy premium is set, provided there are no significant changes in exposures, that premium will remain the same renewal after renewal. Additionally, club members share in the profitability of the program and each year upon the renewal receive a Loyalty Bonus, which can be between 10-30%, based on overall program profitability.”

In addition to providing monetary benefits to policyholders and an incentive to keep losses down, for agents a key part of the program is Harbor America’s responsiveness and ability to get coverage when needed. “I got a call from an agent in St. Louis who had a renewal coming up the following day at midnight,” explained Mike. “The incumbent underwriters advised the agent that they were eliminating property damage and bodily injury under the policy because the client had a claim due to some design work performed on a crane that resulted in cutting part of a structure that ended up severing a man’s foot. The renewal was eliminating coverage for this type of loss. The agent sent me the application at 3:30 pm and by the next morning at 10:30 I had a quote and got it to him. His response: ‘This is great service.’”

Mike underscored that a big advantage in dealing directly with the underwriters in the London market rather than going through a maze of underwriters, is that when we convey the agents’ and clients’ needs, they listen. “It’s not cookbook underwriting. I don’t get answers such as this can’t be done because it’s not in the underwriting guide. I may get an answer that we may not be able to do it exactly the way you want it, but here’s how we can do it,” said Mike.

The success of the Professional Liability for the Marine and Transportation industries program also lies in the fact that it does offer Bodily injury and Property damage coverages, which many companies do not provide as part of Professional Liability. “The BI and PD in our program have to be as a consequence of a professional service,” explained Mike. “But we can also provide General Liability as well with both the PL and GL written through sister companies, which satisfies the agent’s total needs instead of having to shop all over the place.”

Harbor America also offers Product/Food Contamination – Food Borne Illness and Contamination, which covers product contamination, product tampering, and extortion on a worldwide basis. “In today’s marketplace where banks are making loans to all types of manufacturing companies, this coverage is key,” said Mike. “What would happen to that loan if a major manufacturer had to basically shut down, throw out their entire inventory because of a product recall, and start from scratch? They would not be able to service their loans. This policy would come in and act as protector for the benefit of anyone making that loan to that manufacturer. It would pay for the loss so that the manufacturer can pay off the loan.”

Coverage is available for virtually anything that’s processed and turned out for distribution. “The importation of fresh vegetables and fruits is not available because of water issues outside the country, but if the product comes into the U.S. and is then processed by a plant here, the underwriters would be interested in this class,” explained Mike. “The underwriters know this industry inside out.”

Recently kicked off in Florida at the Wellington Equestrian Center, one of Harbor America’s newest national programs is Equine Mortality and Major Medical, which focuses on companion horses. “This type of coverage has been in the U.S. market for years, but was not done as well as it could have. We have created an HMO-type program through Lloyd’s, which includes preferred professional providers across the country who give us preferred rates as opposed to usual and customary. It’s more difficult to qualify for this program because the veterinarian certificate is much more detailed. For example, gray mares are subject to skin cancer, therefore, one the questions included is whether the horse has been checked for melanoma. We’ve also structured the program for a preferred group of clients at current market rates and, if the program is successful, at the end of the year the policy owners will share in the profitability,” said Mike.  Additionally, under the program, if the horse is not treated for a specific illness within a certain number of hours, it will be sent to one of 15 preferred treatment centers around the country. “This doesn’t mean that the horse may not die, but at least we know it’s getting the best treatment.”

Harbor America will handle almost anything an agent brings them, and have provided coverage for everything from Prize Indemnification to Event Cancellation Insurance to Loss of Reputation policies to Cruise Cancellation insurance.

 “We offer a big advantage in service to agents,” explained Mike. “As a Cover Holder at Lloyd’s I can quote, bind, and issue the policy. And we do a lot of accommodation for agents who don’t handle certain size risks. Some are too small for certain accounts, but we want to support an agent on the larger and smaller risks. Furthermore, if an agent has an issue with an account, I’m available to help. Pick my brain.”

For more information on any of these services, please fee free to call Mike at 561.504.4564, or email him at: Also, you can visit Harbor America’s website at: