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How concierge-style service is earning P&C newcomer Crestbrook a following among the affluent and their retail brokers and agents

Nationwide subsidiary Crestbrook Insurance arrived on the property and casualty scene less then a year ago, targeting the affluent market with a range of strong coverage offerings, an agent-friendly value proposition and a distinctive customer-centric service model. What’s behind the newcomer’s fast rise? What’s in store for the company in 2014? And how is it helping agents to make inroads with affluent clients? Here Crestbrook CEO Jim Pedersen sheds light on his company’s ambitious plans for the high net worth P&C market.

Q. As a relative newcomer in the P&C segment, tell us about the types of clients you’re targeting and what you offer them?

Jim Pedersen: Our products and services are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the affluent market. Affluent clients are attentive to risk management and open to recommendations and services designed to protect their valuable assets. They have worked hard to get where they are today, take pride in their accomplishments and have a deep desire to protect their assets. We built our coverages to exceed their expectations at a great value.

Q. What’s going on in the market that makes this the right time to launch a new affluent insurance product?

JP: This is a market that continues to see growth opportunity and represents a $60 billion share of the P&C industry, yet it has no dominant provider. Our team sees a significant opportunity to better serve the affluent market. We built our brand around the concept of “Unlocking Opportunities,” and that commitment is evident in everything Crestbrook has to offer, be it our products and pricing, our service, our concierge services or our claims experience.

Q. Who is your ideal client?

JP: We have positioned our products, pricing and services in support of the complete insurance needs of our clients. As a total account writer, we are able to consistently deliver on those needs with a brand promise to our agency partners and clients. An ideal Crestbrook client has a primary residence valued from $750,000 to $5 million; we will support the balance of their needs — auto, collections, personal excess liability, secondary residences and additional exposures.

Q. What makes Crestbrook different from some of its direct competitors?

JP: The “Unlocking Opportunities” slogan is the foundation of our company. By partnering with our brokers and agents, we work relentlessly to meet the distinctive coverage and service needs of our clients. We offer unique services like risk mitigation programs, ID theft, fraud recovery and travel assistance. We want to be known as a total account carrier, with a concierge-style approach to each of our clients. Crestbrook measures success by the relationships we build and the trust we earn. We want the market to understand our brand promise and see that our behaviors and actions will be consistent with our brand attributes: bold, authentic, intuitive and responsive.

Q. Crestbrook and Burns & Wilcox have formed an early partnership. What role do you see Burns & Wilcox playing in your success?

JP: I believe our early partnership was formed based on a natural fit between both companies. Great partnerships are mutually beneficial, where each shares value and opportunity. We are excited to form strategic partnerships, like this one with Burns & Wilcox, and to share in our collective ability to service the affluent market.

Q. What are some selling points Burns & Wilcox producers can use when talking with retail brokers and agents?

JP: We are in a business driven by people and relationships. While technology is critical, relationships are the true foundation for success. Our team will help producers and agents clearly understand our brand, products, pricing and service advantages. Finally, and this is an important point: we are a part of the Nationwide family of insurers. Nationwide is a company that has been in business since 1926, and holds an A1 rating from Moody’s and an A+ rating from A.M. Best and S&P. As a team, we are both proud and fortunate to have this financial strength dedicated to the needs of the affluent market.

Q. How did you become involved in Crestbrook? What attracted you to the company?

JP: The Crestbrook opportunity is such a unique one. To be a part of a new, talented team that has a startup mentality, with the backing of Nationwide and the support of the Scottsdale Group, is truly a dream opportunity, and one that does not come along often. I joined Crestbrook in February of 2013 and began working with the team to establish our brand, our culture, design highly specialized products and services and enable the entire offering with innovative technology. I was especially drawn to Crestbrook because I knew each aspect of the business would revolve around developing, enhancing and supporting strong relationships. My insurance career began more than three decades ago as a personal lines underwriter in the California market. Throughout my career, I have been blessed to serve in a variety of leadership roles, including distribution, technology and underwriting. As we launch Crestbrook, I look forward to delivering market leading products, underwriting expertise, a client-centric service culture, forward thinking technology and strong sales and marketing partnerships with our agency representatives.

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