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Chubb Corp.

Chubb Corp.

In contrast with many large companies, middle-market firms typically approach risk management and insurance procurement in greater need of guidance and greater sensitivity to bottom-line cost.

From the early stages of its pursuit of mid-market buyers, Warren, N.J.-based Chubb Corp. recognized that underwriting for the middle market often means first educating clients on their risks and liability exposures. Through published materials, face-to-face interaction and online programs, Chubb has developed a battery of educational and advisory services that earned it a tie for top honors in the category of expertise provided to mid-market companies in the 2011 Business Insurance Buyers Choice Awards.

“What we've been able to do is educate the market on the risks that are out there, and especially how catastrophic those exposures can be to your business if you're not insuring against them,” said Jim Bronner, chief underwriting officer for Chubb Specialty Insurance. Mr. Bronner said the company's education initiative has been especially crucial in highlighting executive and employment liability issues, which often overlap and can result in devastating, multiclaim events.

“A loss on any one of those lines is going to have a much greater impact on a mid-market business than a larger firm,” Mr. Bronner said.

In recent years, in addition to more traditional published material, Chubb has rolled out several interactive Web-based tools designed to help companies comprehend the breadth of their risk profile, as well as provide access to in-house and third-party experts. In June, Chubb became the latest underwriter to contract with NetDiligence for its eRisk Hub platform, which can help firms identify the ways they might be exposed to a data breach or other hacking-type incident. Also, in the event that a client has experienced a cyber loss, the program provides access to experts who can guide them through mitigating the damage.

“We want our customers to not only be able to identify the risk, but to put them in the best possible position to transfer the risk,” Mr. Bronner said.

In recent years, the main challenge in providing expertise to mid-market clients has been the sluggish state of the global economy, Mr. Bronner said.

Even if they understand the risk exposures facing their companies, midsize buyers still are resistant to the idea of insurance purchases beyond what is required of them by law, he said.

“The fact is, a down economy might be the worst time for them to draw back coverage,” Mr. Bronner said “The economic stress can very well be the biggest risk facing the company and can result in all sorts of executive liability claims, crime and fiduciary claims and employment practices exposures.”

Mr. Bronner said Chubb's historical experience in the middle market, together with the breadth of its global footprint and coverage options, have lent it valuable insight into not only the market's exposures and insurance needs, but also how best to approach clients in that space.

“You have to recognize that the buyer, in many cases, for mid-market companies is different than in other segments,” Mr. Bronner said. “You're likely dealing with someone who's got a lot of other things on their plate besides insurance, and trying to get them focused on insurance issues is something that can be challenging.”

View profiles of all the honorees here.