We recently caught up with our long-time storefront, Program Brokerage Corporation (PBC), a wholesale subsidiary of Hub International, a Top 10 MGA/wholesaler in the U.S. according to Business Insurance 2011. Headquartered in New York City, PBC was founded in 1993 and today has 125 employees and operates with four main units: General Wholesale, Professional Liability, Environmental, and Program Business. We spoke with Gary Shapiro, one of the first employees at PBC, and Senior Vice President responsible for the firm’s program business operation. Gary shared with us PBC’s history, what they offer in the marketplace, and what differentiates the MGA and wholesaler from others.
“We began as a division within the retail brokerage then known as Kaye Insurance Associates (now HUB International Northeast), which wrote programs for the restaurant and real estate industries,” explained Gary. “In 1993, we realized that we wanted to expand beyond those niches and open up our programs to the entire brokerage community, so we decided to form PBC, an MGA/wholesale operation.”
PBC introduced their programs in the New York tri-state area (NY, NJ, and CT), and grew the business tremendously over time to now handle a book that represents approximately $225 million in premium volume. Their initial goal of serving the smaller broker who was dependent on the wholesaler for access to markets still holds true today. “It was a real partnership and, once we had the relationships, we decided to develop a General Wholesale unit to write the true E&S business, including tough products, large property schedules, auto-driven risks, and contractors,” said Gary. In addition to forming PBC’s Wholesale unit, now headed by Cindy O’Brien, PBC then branched out to form additional divisions solely dedicated to Environmental risks, headed by John Butler, as well as a Professional Liability unit, which is run by Maria Treglia.
When discussing PBC’s strategy, Gary explained that their unique agency force has been a major reason for our success. “While most of our competitors focus on the larger agencies, we find our greatest opportunities is in working for the smaller, under-served agencies. We have spent the past 18 years developing and strengthening relationships with these agents, many who consider PBC an integral part of the Wholesale, Professional Liability, and Environmental arenas. “ PBC specializes in both standard markets and surplus lines placement of commercial Property/Casualty business. Typical accounts include construction, manufacturers, real estate, wholesalers, distributors, and other non-frequency, non-Main Street business. For the most part, premium range per coverage line is from $10,000 to $250,000 and up.
PBC’s Program Business unit has always been known as a powerful resource for agents and brokers. “We are also a partner for insurers reaching out to the commercial buyer in an innovative and cost-effective way. We set up programs and pioneered risk-purchasing groups,” said Gary.
Their national programs include: Pest Control, Landscapers, Elevator Maintenance, Nursing Homes/Senior Living Facilities, Rental Equipment Dealers, Fine Art, Umbrella for Residential & Commercial Real Estate, and Nightclubs. Additionally, they have several regional specialty programs in the Northeast for a variety of other risks.
Part of what makes PBC so successful is that they have experts in each of their units. “With PBC, you get focused individuals who are dedicated to delivering superior products in each unit and helping our agency partners grow,” explained Gary. He adds that their General Wholesale unit consists of a team of former underwriters responsible for marketing who have their pulse on what the carriers are looking for in accounts. The Professional Liability team focuses primarily on E&O, D&O, EPLI, Allied Health and are well versed on all other professional lines, serving as a “branch” for the broker. “They’ll get on the phone with a particular broker and his/her client and help sell an account by explaining the coverages in greater detail,” said Gary. “The Environmental unit has been a pioneer in identifying key risks and uncovering different offerings unique to PBC for a wide variety of perils including pollution, lead paint, and mold to name a few. Throughout the entire PBC operation, our priority is to serve as a resource for our clients, continuously going out on appointments with the brokers and doing whatever it takes to get the business written for our partners.”
PBC works with A-rated carriers in each of its units. “We take pride in the relationships we’ve built with our carriers and underwriters in order to make the marketing process as seamless as possible.”
For more information about PBC and each of its divisions, please contact Gary at 516.496.1346, or email at: GShapiro@programbrokerage.com. You can also visit PBC’s website at: http://www.programbrokerage.com/ or storefront at: http://www.programbusiness.com/SFD/Program-Brokerage-Corporation.