WIN - Spring 2011 - (Page 40)
WINner’s WIN Circle
A Discussion with Patricia Roberts, President/CEO, General Star Management Group
WIN: How did you enter the wholesale insurance channel? Roberts: In May 1977, I graduated from George Mason
University with a B.S. in business administration. Within the next two weeks I got married, moved to Chicago and showed up for my first day of work as a casualty facultative underwriter trainee with Gen Re. Fifteen months later, I learned about an underwriting opportunity with North Star Reinsurance Corporation, another Gen Re subsidiary. They wrote business on a reinsurance basis through intermediaries as well as E&S excess insurance through wholesale brokers. The job was in New York, which is where my husband John and I wanted to live, and the job was exactly what I wanted. The business was unusual, the deals that we saw required unique solutions and I was in love with the brokers we dealt with from the start. So I took the leap, and never looked back. It just suits my Type-A personality to a T. prior cycles. The AAMGA recognized this and provides a platform through its annual Insurance Automation & Technology Management Conference to help AAMGA and NAPSLO members traverse the market. Significant investment has been made to increase efficiency as well as to drive business through the wholesale channel. General Star is in the process of totally replacing our legacy system and expects to be done in 2012. In today’s environment, an incremental upgrade just does not cut it. Keeping up with the amazing leaps and bounds in technology is a constant challenge for every CEO. Whether your role in the wholesale channel is broker or carrier, the ability to quickly analyze data and results by line, by class, by zip code is unparalleled. This is both a blessing and a curse. Clearly it takes a more sophisticated ability for E&S insurers to understand what class codes need corrections or can take a price reduction than in the past. CAT models and increasingly complex rating tools put more science into the wholesale channel. There is clearly more science in our business than when I started. Model changes can clearly be felt throughout the market as both carriers and their reinsurers recalibrate their pricing tools after each upgrade. General Star continues to fine tune its rating and management reporting tools to maximize the ability to compete in the market. One thing that hasn’t changed though is our business is built on strong relationships, solving problems and providing prompt claims service in the event of a loss.
WIN: What’s been the most significant change in the wholesale channel since you took the helm in 2001? How did it affect how General Star conducts its business? Roberts: Probably the most significant change is the barrier to entry has been lowered. If you reflect back to the World Trade Center losses, the global property casualty industry losses were about $40 billion. The industry raised $45 billion in less than 10 months. Fast forward to 2005, the industry lost $55 billion of insured losses in claims arising out of hurricanes Katrina/Rita/ Wilma, and subsequently raised about $10 billion by December of 2005 and about $35 billion within a year after Katrina struck. Access to capital coupled with a change in the rating agencies’ willingness to waive seasonality with sufficient capital and an experienced management team meant the number of rated competitors ramped up quicker than in prior cycles. Technology has also had a significant impact on the industry overall as well as the wholesale channel. Technology drives our industry, helps analyze results and provides a more sophisticated approach to pricing and managing the business than in 4 0 | vi ew t his iss ue at | www.naylornetwork.com/amg-nxt
WIN: What’s the biggest challenge facing E&S insurers in the next 24 months, and how are you tackling it? Roberts: The biggest challenge is navigating the final innings of the current soft market and making sure we’re in great position to respond to the turn. I don’t think there are any shortcuts or gimmicks on how we get that done; a healthy balance sheet, disciplined underwriting, solid recruitment and retention of our professional staff, a loyal and aligned client base, and solid technology – the list is pretty familiar to every CEO. The tackling part >>
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of WIN - Spring 2011
WIN - Spring 2011
Table of Contents
Welcome to “WIN”
Hold, Fold or Double Down
Underwriting the Customer Relationship
Report From Capitol Hill: Fasten Your Seatbelts
Interview With La Insurance Commissioner James Donelon
Regulatory Reform: Incremental Improvements or Exercise in Frustration?
Are You Swimming Naked
In the Winner’s Circle: Patricia Roberts, General Star Management Group
2011 Wholesale Insurance White Paper Winners
Sustaining the Wholesale Insurance Industry
Index to Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
WIN - Spring 2011
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