Today we’re featuring Pennsylvania-based Gateway Specialty Insurance, a firm that specializes in providing insurance products for nonprofits and social services. A Berkshire Hathaway Company, Gateway Specialty was founded in 2009 to focus exclusively on these niche industries. We spoke with Phillip Reese, president of the company, about what sets Gateway Specialty apart from others and how they help retail agencies find opportunities in generating new business in the nonprofits and social services space.
Phil began in the insurance industry on the wholesale side in 1998 and later joined a retail agency until working for a national carrier for 10 years. He was asked to head Gateway Specialty when it was formed two years ago. “Basically, Gateway Specialty was created as a standard lines intermediary,” said Phil, “as opposed to an E&S non-standard type agency. We have an underwriting team that does nothing but social services and nonprofits, and represent markets that write on admitted paper and are committed to these specialized niches.”
Phil explained that Gateway Specialty’s philosophy is to help both the generalist and specialist in writing nonprofits. “We work with generalists, retail agencies that may see three or five social services accounts a year – those who don’t have a large book of business in this arena and need access to markets, expertise, and competitive pricing,” said Phil.
“We also work with specialists who may be looking to work on bigger accounts and have us handle the smaller stuff. Or perhaps they need our expertise in a certain class of business, or want to focus on prospecting while we handle submissions with the markets. Both the generalist and the specialist can trust us to know what we’re doing, and that we have the right market, with the right coverage at the right price.”
Gateway Specialty provides preferred insurance products from a number of A-rated companies for the following: Nonprofit BOPs, social services, child care, youth sports, house of worship, social/fraternal clubs, the arts, cultural institutions, community associations. The programs are available nationally and are on an open-access basis.
Being a specialist in this space is particularly important, especially when it comes to providing coverages that address the specialized needs and exposures inherent to nonprofits and social services. “The GL policy can exclude Abuse and Molestation coverage if you’re not careful, for example,” said Phil. “Or, you obtain the coverage but it’s not broad enough. Or, you write the GL but the client also needs D&O coverage. With Gateway Specialty, you know that the needs of the clients will be handled properly.
“What’s more, as an agent you want to make sure that your client is getting the best pricing available for the various coverages needed. With nonprofits, you obviously have a limited amount of funds and those dollars are shrinking as donations and contributions are down. The amount of disposable money they have is less than it was before. So, if you can save a nonprofit a fair amount of money with their insurance program, more individuals can get help from the services they provide and, for some organizations, the additional savings enables them to continue to offer their services. That’s a good thing, the way we see it.”
Phil further explained that those agents with only one direct market may not be getting the best combination of coverage and pricing available to them. Coming to specialists like Gateway Specialty opens up the business to an increased number of carriers to find the best program at the best price, which serves both the agent and the nonprofit.
In addition to setting the standard with specialized underwriting and accessibility to a number of markets for competitive pricing and broad coverage, Gateway Specialty provides agents with the experience, knowledge, and service needed to write this class of business. The staff prides itself on delivering service that makes a difference to an agency’s operation. This includes providing new business development, same-day response, fast quote turnarounds, and much more. The bottom line: Gateway Specialty delivers on what they say they will do.
Gateway Specialty’s marketing includes a multi-faceted plan, including face-to-face visits with agencies. “Our salespeople visit agencies to discuss our programs and markets,” said Phil. “We also do internal email campaigns to existing agents featuring our programs in addition to using the ProgramBusiness.com platform.”
What’s more, Gateway Specialty provides agents with assistance in prospecting for nonprofits. “We help agents looking for a new niche by identifying nonprofits in their area, providing expertise on the coverages most nonprofits need, and offering guidance on how to go about obtaining the business,” said Phil. “We can also provide customized literature to help the agent continue their story with the prospects.
“We want to assist agents going after nonprofits in any way we can.”