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Risk managers must adapt to unique risks of each merger

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NEW YORK — While risk managers are concerned how mergers among underwriters and brokers can shrink marketplace insurance choices, they also may be affected by mergers in their respective industries, panelists said Tuesday.

“Each acquisition is very different,” said Kathy L. Schroeder, Boca Raton, Florida-based senior director-global risk management at Office Depot Inc., which does business as Office Depot OfficeMax.

Ms. Schroeder has been involved in mergers and acquisitions as a risk manager for both the acquiring and the acquired company.

Office Depot last year proposed merging with office supply competitor Staples Inc., which is being fought by the Federal Trade Commission. In January, Office Depot and Staples Inc. agreed to merge. The union has been delayed to allow resolution of the FTC litigation.

Insurance can play a role in the M&A process as well, said David S. De Berry, CEO of Concord Specialty Risk, a New York-based unit of Ryan Specialty Group L.L.C. For example, presentations and warranties insurance can help protect the parties in a transaction from liabilities stemming from inaccuracies in information made in the merger and acquisition agreement. Contingent liability coverage can also play in role in situations such as patent disputes, he said.

Craig J. Nelson, managing partner of risk at Centennial, Colorado-based risk management consultant Prevail L.L.C., moderated the panel discussion.