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Travelers credits its local expertise for multiple Buyers Choice accolades

Posted On: Nov. 25, 2012 12:00 AM CST

Travelers credits its local expertise for multiple Buyers Choice accolades

• Commercial property insurer service for small buyers
• Commercial property insurer expertise for small buyers
• Commercial property insurer overall for small buyers
• Commercial auto insurer service for small buyers
• Commercial auto insurer expertise for small buyers
• Commercial auto insurer overall for small buyers

Travelers Cos. Inc.'s scale of U.S. commercial insurance underwriting operations is a source of pride for the Hartford, Conn.-based company.

However, Travelers' value proposition for its clients is its ability to use its size to tailor its products and services at a local level, said Bill Cunningham, Travelers' executive vice president of business insurance.

That focus on localization, Mr. Cunningham said, likely is the reason Travelers took top honors in overall underwriting, services and expertise for small property and commercial auto buyers in Business Insurance's 2012 Buyers Choice Awards.

“We believe that this is a local business,” Mr. Cunningham said. “You can't just take national information and assume that it applies to every customer and every business around the country. We distribute these products and services at the local level, and our scale allows us to do that as well or better than virtually everybody that we compete with.”

Mr. Cunningham said Travelers' success in leveraging scale to meet local needs can be measured most readily by the insurer's response to Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the New York and New Jersey coastlines late last month.

Prior to the storm, the company committed more than 5,000 employees — many of whom were specifically tapped for their experience in hurricane-prone regions — to claims management and recovery efforts in the Northeast.


Travelers' ability to provide its property and commercial auto clients with access to in-house adjusters and other personnel even in the most extraordinary circumstances is a key difference between it and its competitors, Mr. Cunningham said.

“You look at a storm the size and force of Sandy, that can be a daunting and overwhelming situation for the folks in the industry, but we were able to very quickly to deploy a very large number of people locally to the affected region,” Mr. Cunningham said.

“We'd much rather have our people out here dealing directly with the situation and addressing those needs as opposed to having our clients go through third-party administrators,” he said.

Travelers' localization of its operations is further enhanced by its industry-specific approach to risk advisory services, underwriting and claims management, Mr. Cunningham said.

“If one of our clients is talking to someone who doesn't understand construction and how claims work in that segment, that's a huge disadvantage,” Mr. Cunningham said.

“Being able to leverage that scale of capability has put us in a position to understand the needs of each of these individual industries, and provide solutions as tailored as they can be. And I do believe that we're unique in that way,” he said.