Smaller and Regional Programs: Proven Exercises

December 4, 2005

Pumped for profit

Robin C. Brennan knows fuel dealers. She’s been handling their insurance needs since 1998. Brennan is a vice president with the Managing Agency Group in Hartford, Conn., a subsidiary of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs. As the program specialist arm of HRH, MAG has developed insurance programs on a national basis. However, through Brennan’s efforts, MAG also manages the regional PUMP Insurance Protection Program, which pumps a healthy $15 million a year in premium from 10 states (Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont).

Brennan has steered PUMP through hard and soft markets and changes in carriers’ appetites since 1998, when the agency was appointed a managing general underwriter for Great American and the program was one of five regional wholesale units in a national fuel oil dealers program. Prior to that, the program had been more of a retail operation utilizing several companies including Fireman’s Fund, Northbrook and CNA.

Great American stayed on the program until 2002. When Great American dropped out, Brennan took just the northern states’ portion and picked up W.R. Berkley’s Starnet Insurance to write it and got American International Group for umbrella coverage.

Eligible accounts are those whose primary operation is the retail and wholesale distribution of fuel oil or bulk lubricants and motor oils. The firms can have incidental operations such as gas stations, property ownership or propane distribution. The program fits firms with one to 50 trucks; any bigger and they tend to have different needs.

PUMP offers customized loss control including driver training and 24-hour claims and spill response services.

Knowing what is being written is key. “I’ve seen just about every company that comes into the program,” Brennan said.

For more information, contact Robin Brennan, at (860) 756-7367 or e-mail

Heavenly Program

Bunker Hill, a Houston, Texas-based specialty underwriting facility, writes a program for religious institutions that has been available in Texas since 1997. The program was developed after several agents came to Bunker Hill because they had several large church accounts but nowhere to take them, according to Caroline Nelson, underwriter and account executive. She said the agents asked if Bunker Hill would consider starting the program, “so we ran with that and developed it.”

With some 80-plus accounts located all over the state, the program, Nelson said, is “small but growing.” It generates about $7 million in total premium volume. The property coverage is written with Lexington Insurance and the rest of the coverage is written on admitted paper from Great Midwest Insurance Company.

Bunker Hill expects to soon expand it into other states, including Tennessee, where filings have been made but no business written as yet.

Nelson said it currently targets “larger” churches, those having at least $5 million in total property and contents coverage.

“It covers all lines-property, general liability, including professional liability and sexual misconduct coverage,” Nelson said. Church-affiliated day care, schools, commercial autos and vans can be covered, too. Bunker Hill also writes workers’ comp and umbrella coverages in Texas for churches.

In addition to religious institutions, Bunker Hill offers other niche insurance programs, including ones for nursing homes/assisted living homes/retirement apartments, home health and hospice agencies and supermarkets.

Bunker Hill is managed by Shel-Ray Underwriters Inc., a Houston based insurance management company. Shel-Ray also manages Great Midwest Insurance Company, rated “A” by A.M. Best.

For more information, contact Caroline Nelson, at (713) 935-7400, or e-mail

Transporting Autos

KBK Insurance Group, a managing general underwriter located in Harahan, La., just west of New Orleans, specializes in commercial auto and garage related programs. One of its newest is a program for automobile transporters. Spun off from KBK’s largest program offering-for tow trucks-the auto transporter program is offered in most, but not all states and currently is a “few million dollars” in size, said KBK President Ken Murray.

Murray said KBK’s experience with tow trucks led it to the transporter package. “We were writing that exposure in the tow truck program but we didn’t have the ability to write a pure automobile transporter,” Murray said. “And the risks are fairly similar. So we just broke that program out from the tow truck program. The experience in that class within our tow truck program was very profitable.”

An auto transporter moves cars from point A to point B, Murray said, usually from dealerships to auctions or vice versa. Tow trucks, however are less predictable and have more road exposure. They’re on police rotation and sometimes on call around the clock 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“We started the auto transporter program a little over a year ago, but it was on a very limited basis. We moved it to Stonington Insurance Company around April of this year and it opened it up a little bit. We weren’t in every state and we were only able to write a few power units,” Murray explained. Now the average insured has three power units.

Murray said KBK’s program covers auto liability, as well as general liability. “We do the on-hook form, which is inland marine, that’s like the vehicles in transit, which also includes cargo. It’s all written unlimited radius, and we do all of the state filings in house.”

As the managing general underwriter of the program KBK takes care of all aspects of the program except the claims.

Stonington Insurance Company is located in Addison, Texas, and is an admitted carrier licensed in all 50 states. Stonington’s ultimate parent is RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.

For more information, contact Ken Murray, at (800) 229-5927, or e-mail

Hospitality Solutions

Hospitality Insurance Solutions says its Hotel Insurance Program for hotels and motels developed when another program ended and there was going to be a time lag before the next one started. “Ultimately, we started this one from scratch” to fill the gap, said Greg Dennington, of the program he started four years ago. Working with carrier Discover Property and Casualty, Dennington says his company used its 20-plus years of hotel experience to build a program with $7 million in volume.

To be eligible, the building must be four or more stories and be 100 percent fire sprinklered; if more than 20 years old, it must have been updated in the past 10 years; must be in fire protection classes 1-6; and the building must show a historical loss ratio going back three or four years of 40 percent or less. The program is available nationwide, except in Alaska, Hawaii and Texas. GL, but not property, is available in Florida.

For more information, contact Gregg Dennington, at (866) 286-5889 or e-mail gdennington@

For the Children

The Child Welfare and Insurance Program administered by Child Welfare Insurance began because it was near and dear to company founder Rhonda Sciortino’s heart. Having been in the child welfare system from when she was six months old until age 16, Sciortino said she developed a program to assist child welfare organizations beginning in 1990.

The current program, available nationwide through Tudor Insurance Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Western World Insurance Co., provides general liability, professional liability, sexual misconduct, alienation of affection and adoption services liability coverage for residential care facilities for abused and neglected children, foster family agencies, counseling centers and non-public schools, among other social services that assist abused and neglected children.

Agencies are evaluated on a case by case basis. Premiums range from $5,000 to $1 million. As long as a broker is appropriately licensed and carries E&O insurance, she considers their business. “We want this program to be around for the benefit of really good child welfare organizations,” she noted.

For more information, contact Jennifer Evans, at (909) 484-3340 ext. 107, or e-mail

Compiled by Andrew G. Simpson, Stephanie K. Jones and Patricia-Anne Tom.

Topics Carriers Agencies Texas Auto Underwriting Property Insurance Wholesale Professional Liability Human Resources Church

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