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Beef processing plant case highlights the importance of maintaining contacts

A retail agent’s job is to produce results, not excuses, for their clients. So when an agent lacks the right primary market to place a complicated account, what he or she needs most is quick, seamless assistance. When an account is especially challenging, a strong wholesale brokerage may even put several brokers on the case to quickly help the agent find a carrier able to meet the client’s needs.

One challenging case was solved by Dan Brimer, Brokerage Manager at the Burns & Wilcox St. Louis office. Brimer received a submission for a large beef processing facility being built in South Dakota. The company was new and required a builder’s risk policy that would cover the construction period, initially expected to last about two years. The agent did not represent any insurers willing to take on the risk, so he brought it to a broker he knows at the Burns & Wilcox Minneapolis office, who tried at least six markets before seeking help from Brimer.

Brimer, an insurance industry veteran, tapped the additional markets to which he had access, ultimately securing the high limits, comprehensive coverage and equipment breakdown protection the client needed during the entire construction phase. After enduring a series of financial and regulatory delays, the facility was finally ready to begin operations this summer. However, in the often difficult transition from builder’s risk to permanent ongoing operations coverage, the existing builder’s risk carrier offered inadequate terms and high pricing that proved unacceptable.

During the first year of operation, a large manufacturing facility such as this often faces new challenges, particularly when electrical equipment and other aspects of construction are tested and its processes are tweaked. Oftentimes, problems emerge only after a facility is fully operational. Recognizing this, not every carrier will offer insurance to a new facility, Brimer explains. In the case of this beef processing operation, the size and the single location for all its operations made it even less attractive, further limiting the markets that would consider covering the newly completed facility.

Having served a stint earlier in his career as an underwriter in the national accounts division of a major carrier, Brimer fortunately had maintained the close relationships he forged there. So, he turned to his contacts at his former employer and found them willing to look more carefully at a risk presented by a trusted friend. The carrier sent loss-control experts to the facility, noting that its recommended changes were made. Now comfortable with the risk and the assurances from the broker, the new carrier was willing to provide the desired limits, terms and pricing to satisfy the account, recalls Brimer.

Throughout what has been a four year relationship, the client has worked only with the agent, the agent has worked exclusively with the Minneapolis Burns & Wilcox office, and the carriers have worked only with Brimer. That’s a seamless and mutually beneficial relationship indeed.

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