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2019 US Insurance Awards: Starr Insurance, Insurance Underwriting Team of the Year (all property/casualty)

Posted On: May. 1, 2019 12:00 AM CST

Andy Robinson

Construction projects are inherently risky, but Starr Insurance Cos.’ construction division saw an opportunity to address a major insurance challenge for such projects and ensure continuity of coverage to mitigate obstacles to building construction and on-time completion.

Construction primary and excess liability coverages are typically purchased as separate products, leaving the potential for mismatch in terms and conditions. Rather than shy away from the challenge, Starr’s construction division sought to build a new product for the construction industry that combines primary and excess general liability coverages for single large projects.

The timing was right, according to Andy Robinson, senior vice president, primary and excess construction, with Starr in Boston.

“There’s a primary product and there’s an excess product, but they’re all very different in what they provide. Because of the complexity of project coverages … that could create problems down the road,” Mr. Robinson said.

Starr Construction started talking with brokers about how a program that combined primary and excess general liability coverages might be structured.

Building a new primary product that would align with existing excess coverage was no easy feat.

“We spent three to four months working with our key wholesale broker partners to design a product,” said Mr. Robinson.

The collaborative effort brought together underwriters on both the primary and excess business lines, claims professionals and legal expertise to develop a product that combined the different lines of coverage in a way that would also “protect the company adequately” so it wasn’t taking on too much risk, he said.

After a soft opening in September 2018 through an exclusive group of 40 wholesale brokers, the primary and excess general liability wrap-up, known as Starr CIP Enterprise, went from zero submissions on day one to a rolling inventory of 200-300 submissions within three months, with the product officially launching in November, Mr. Robinson said.

Starr’s challenge from company Chairman and CEO Maurice R. Greenberg to innovate meant the construction team was able to assemble this new wrap-up coverage and bring it to market within just a few months.

“It really energizes the organization top to bottom when we can do something like this,” he said. “This will spawn some other ideas.”


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