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Chartis Inc.

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Chartis Inc.

Chartis Inc.'s expertise is borne of a longstanding business philosophy marked by prudent risk-taking, client responsiveness and a culture of innovation, said Peter Eastwood, president and CEO of the U.S. and Canadian regions.

That business strategy is supported by a corporate structure segmented by product lines, industry practices, client size and geography that fosters the company's expertise, said Mr. Eastwood, who is based in New York. “We're in 92 countries and have a broad geographic footprint.”

That structure enables Chartis, the global property/casualty unit of American International Group Inc., to have an in-depth familiarity with where its customers live, understand their businesses and know how they operate.

“We have the ability to understand risk better than others due to our segmented structure and highly qualified talent base,” Mr. Eastwood said.

Commercial insurance buyers surveyed for Business Insurance's 2011 Buyers Choice Awards are hearing Chartis' message. The insurer was singled out for expertise provided to large buyers and tied for the mid-market expertise honor.

The company reorganized this year, and Mr. Eastwood is part of the new management team led by CEO Peter Hancock.

Chartis is divided into two major global groups—commercial and consumer—each with its own claims, actuarial and underwriting functions. The principal geographic divisions are U.S./Canada, Europe, Far East and growth economies.

Through this reorganization, Chartis aims to globalize its businesses and product lines, and use its scale and expertise worldwide while remaining attuned to regional and local differences in the ways policyholders conduct business, Mr. Eastwood said.

Expertise also “is about the people we have in the company and the culture,” he said. “We have a culture of innovation and client responsiveness.”

One Chartis innovation is its reputational risk insurance policy introduced in October to address a growing need, Mr. Eastwood said. The Gulf oil spill last year, for example, demonstrated the vulnerability of corporate reputations and the need for skilled crisis communication and crisis management. The product, called ReputationGuard, covers the cost of avoiding or mitigating damage to a company's reputation or brand, and provides the services of two giants in the fields of public relations and crisis communications, Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli Inc.

Chartis' expertise has been tested and tapped “more than anything over the last 10 years by the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes,” Mr. Eastwood said, including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The natural disasters during a soft commercial insurance market have added to challenging times for insurers. Chartis has leveraged several tools to enhance its responsiveness to claims during such catastrophes, introducing the use of iPads in Japan to facilitate insurance adjustments and expedite claims payments after the March disaster, Mr. Eastwood said.

“Challenging times make it more necessary to have your expertise stand out—to differentiate one's company,” Mr. Eastwood said. “We have built sustainable business strategies for the long term that are tailored to understanding our customers and their individual environments, the uniqueness of industry-specific exposures and distribution on a global scale.”

View profiles of all the honorees here.