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U.S. Risk CEO: New Company to Bring Fresh Face to Reinsurance Brokering

Source: BestWeek


Posted on 06 Jan 2010

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The top officer of U.S. Risk Insurance Group Inc. said he wants to give reinsurance brokers a face again.

"I think the consolidation in the reinsurance broker industry has left a gap in the serving of smaller and specialty boutique reinsurance needs. Smaller companies, risk retention groups, self insurance funds and pools are just aren't being serviced properly by the big brokers, who are obviously focused on big accounts," Randall Goss, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Risk Insurance Group, told BestWire. "It's taking a faceless business and putting a face back on it."

U.S. Risk Insurance has launched Goss Reinsurance Brokers Inc., a specialty reinsurance broker focusing on small to medium insurance carriers, plus captives, self-insurance funds, risk retention groups, and other specialty insurance operations. Like its parent company, U.S. Risk Insurance -- a specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker -- Goss Reinsurance is headquartered in Dallas, but expects to open other offices around the country shortly.

Goss Reinsurance Brokers officially opened its doors in November, and is in the process of cherry-picking brokers to join the team, Goss said. He said it expects to expand in the Northeast in the first quarter.

"The majority of reinsurance brokerages are losing sight of the fact that the smaller boutique or specialty insurers really depend on that personal relationship, on that person they can trust," Goss said.

For instance, some big competitors send a team of brokers to visit a client, and that team can change year to year.

"That's OK if you're an AIG or Travelers, but when you are dealing with smaller, specialty companies or self insurers, they rely on an individual. That's what's being lost," Goss said.

Goss said he hoped the new company would foster "a relationship business, not an institutional one."

With a statewide lawyers insurance group, an individual reinsurance broker would know everyone on the board of directors, and has attended board meetings, so he'd know the group's special needs. They would even bring the clients to meet the reinsurers.

"They'd live through the good times and the bad times, the hard insurance markets and the soft markets," Goss said. "That board would learn to rely on that person to guide them through the difficulties of the insurance market. They aren't looking at a name on a wall or letterhead; they are looking at an individual."

Some of Goss' biggest rivals won't allow a single broker to visit a client, Goss said, but force them to go in teams to "institutionalize" the relationship. "I understand the desire of the big broker to do that, to try to capture the equity value of that relationship, but I think it's a failed strategy. The personal relationships that exist... I don't think you can ever do away with that. People who underestimate that are simply wrong."

The top officer of U.S. Risk Insurance Group Inc. said he wants to give reinsurance brokers a face again.

"I think the consolidation in the reinsurance broker industry has left a gap in the serving of smaller and specialty boutique reinsurance needs. Smaller companies, risk retention groups, self insurance funds and pools are just aren't being serviced properly by the big brokers, who are obviously focused on big accounts," Randall Goss, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Risk Insurance Group, told BestWire. "It's taking a faceless business and putting a face back on it."

U.S. Risk Insurance has launched Goss Reinsurance Brokers Inc., a specialty reinsurance broker focusing on small to medium insurance carriers, plus captives, self-insurance funds, risk retention groups, and other specialty insurance operations. Like its parent company, U.S. Risk Insurance -- a specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker -- Goss Reinsurance is headquartered in Dallas, but expects to open other offices around the country shortly.

Goss Reinsurance Brokers officially opened its doors in November, and is in the process of cherry-picking brokers to join the team, Goss said. He said it expects to expand in the Northeast in the first quarter.

"The majority of reinsurance brokerages are losing sight of the fact that the smaller boutique or specialty insurers really depend on that personal relationship, on that person they can trust," Goss said.

For instance, some big competitors send a team of brokers to visit a client, and that team can change year to year.

"That's OK if you're an AIG or Travelers, but when you are dealing with smaller, specialty companies or self insurers, they rely on an individual. That's what's being lost," Goss said.

Goss said he hoped the new company would foster "a relationship business, not an institutional one."

With a statewide lawyers insurance group, an individual reinsurance broker would know everyone on the board of directors, and has attended board meetings, so he'd know the group's special needs. They would even bring the clients to meet the reinsurers.

"They'd live through the good times and the bad times, the hard insurance markets and the soft markets," Goss said. "That board would learn to rely on that person to guide them through the difficulties of the insurance market. They aren't looking at a name on a wall or letterhead; they are looking at an individual."

Some of Goss' biggest rivals won't allow a single broker to visit a client, Goss said, but force them to go in teams to "institutionalize" the relationship. "I understand the desire of the big broker to do that, to try to capture the equity value of that relationship, but I think it's a failed strategy. The personal relationships that exist... I don't think you can ever do away with that. People who underestimate that are simply wrong."

Chris Turner, formerly of Towers Perrin, will serve as executive vice president of Goss Re, and James Epstein, formerly of EWI Re, will serve as executive director.

Recent mergers among reinsurance brokers include Aon Re Global, the largest reinsurance broker of 2007, merging with Benfield Group to create the largest reinsurance broker in 2008, Aon Benfield. Guy Carpenter & Co., the second-largest global reinsurance broker by 2008 brokerage revenue, according to Best's Review, acquired John B. Collins Associates Inc. in the second quarter of 2009.


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