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Risk managers look to brokers, insurers for customized solutions: Advisen panel


NEW YORK — Insurers and brokers can better serve their clients by expanding the specialized risk advisory and educational services they provide, according to a panel of risk managers at Advisen Inc.’s Property Insights Conference in New York.

“As risk managers, many times it’s a non-risk transfer solution that we’re looking for, and I think both the insurers and the brokers have a role to play there in providing those resources,” said Timothy Bunt, chief risk officer at New York-based commercial property management firm CBRE Group Inc.

Panelists said insurance brokers in particular are often in the best possible position to offer thought leadership and risk advisory services tailored to the individual needs of their commercial insurance clients, yet are too often preoccupied with the transactional elements of their relationships with risk managers.

“I think what we need to see is a level of expertise that goes well beyond what I know, and gets to levels of specific niche intelligence that address all of the concerns that we have as an organization,” said Courtney Osborne, the New York-based vice president of insurance and risk management at EL AD US Holding Inc. “As my role becomes more strategic and more global, I need to be confident that our brokers have what’s necessary to step up to that plate.”

Insurers can also enhance their value to risk managers by providing advisory and educational services on emerging risks and loss mitigation best practices, panelists said, especially if those services can be customized according to specific operational units within an organization.

“There are a lot of educational resources and assets online, and they’re all good, but they’re not all relevant,” said Anthony Avitabile, the New York-based vice president of industry risk management for Major League Baseball.

Mr. Avitabile said the league and FM Global — one of its excess property insurers — are currently developing a customized risk management training program for stadium operators at each of the 30 MLB teams.

“This custom program gives us a way to educate our stadium operators on the recommendations that these insurance companies are putting out there in a way that’s relevant to the work they do,” Mr. Avitabile said.