Willis Group Holdings has announced the formation of a new Agri-Business Practice which is based in Lexington, Ky. A team of risk management and insurance professionals with experience in agriculture and animal mortality issues has joined Willis to drive business opportunities in this unique field.
This newly formed unit will provide risk management insurance services and consulting solutions for high net worth individuals, partnerships and corporations which have investments in, or wwnership in, agriculture related properties and operations. These will
include: Thoroughbred racing, training and breeding operations, large horse show facilities, working horse operations such as cutters and reining horses, working cattle operations, vineyards, wineries, dairy operations as well as crop growers and harvesters.
Heading the practice, Laura Koester brings 25 years of insurance and agri-business industry experience to Willis. She joins from the Kentucky office of Marsh where she served as practice leader for the Equine Farm & Ranch Unit which was a part of Private Clients Service’s Specialty Practice Unit for the past two years.
Prior to joining Marsh, Laura was founder and managing partner of her own insurance agency which specialized in the unique insurance needs of the equine industry. Laura has been a guest speaker for several Bar Associations where she discussed unique liability issues to the equine industry and offered advice on limiting these exposures.
Jeff Dungan, joining Willis as a producer, specializes in cattle operations as well as working quarter horse operations. Jeff joins from Marsh where he previously held the position of sales professional and cattle specialist. Jeff has over 20 years of experience in the cattle and quarter horse industries.
Brenda Harris, a client manager with Willis, will be managing all of the animal mortality accounts. Brenda has 18 years of experience in placing the unique coverages associated with animal mortality and will be working closely with Willis’ London offices to secure new and
innovative coverages. Brenda has placed coverages for large Thoroughbred breeding and racing stables, Olympic Show Jumpers, Quarter horses, Reining horses, Cutters, Saddlebreds, Standardbreds, as well as securing terms for exotic animals for several large zoos. She joins from Marsh where she most recently served as a broker/consultant.
Mary Lynn Stakelin joins Willis as a client manager to manage the property and casualty needs for farm and ranch clients. Mary Lynn has more than 20 years of experience in commercial lines and now specializes in the unique needs of our Agri-Business clients. Mary Lynn has been a senior commercial lines underwriter for the past 16 years for several large carriers, most recently as a senior underwriter with Ohio Casualty Group.
“This is truly an exciting addition to our growing number of key risk management specialties,” said Mario Vitale, CEO of Willis North America. “Our Lexington team will work closely with Willis
offices throughout the U.S. and around the world to develop risk solutions for agricultural related operations unique to every geographic area.”