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Extra Mile

CRC takes a big step forward to build its wholesale business.

By  Kevin Amrhein

Is bigger better? CRC thinks so.

Big is having in-house counsel. Big is having your own database of claims research and advocacy. Big is comprehensive policy analysis created by in-house experts derived from years of collective experience.

Retailers on the cusp of big might need some help in the form of resources to level the playing field. This is why CRC Insurance Services is making a substantial investment to help retail partners grow. CRC is introducing a platform that will help brokers provide access to the types of tools typically enjoyed by the big boys.

They’re calling it “Coverage Tools and Services.” CRC is creating the infrastructure to phase in efforts over the next four to six months. One of the first moves was bringing Angela Petersen, senior vice president and coverage counsel into the wholesaler’s Dallas office.

“CRC has always had some excellent data and resources available but not in a centralized aggregated way,” she says. “A major reason they brought me in was to organize our resources and create a platform where it is most useful to our brokers.”

Petersen says the platform and services are currently centered on the wholesaler’s family of professional liability products, including E&O, D&O, healthcare, cyber risk and others. She says CRC will likely expand services to other property and casualty products in coming years.

The resources include comprehensive policy forms analysis on non-standard (non-ISO) coverages. “This is very helpful to our brokers who may be trying to narrow the product choices down. It helps them show their retailers important differences in the forms.”

Resources also include customized sales presentations, claims advocacy and access to a library of claims data. Brokers also have access to Petersen, an attorney specializing in professional liability, for assistance with legal interpretations of policy terms. “For example, the retailer may want to know more about the application of the severability provision in a D&O context or the specifics of a hammer clause in a duty to defend claims-made policy—highly technical stuff that’s relevant in the sales process and varies in non-standard policies,” she says. “Larger retailers often have the benefit of in-house counsel to help with this; many mid-sized and smaller retailers don’t. We believe access to our services helps retailers that work with CRC compete.”

There’s no charge for CRC’s retailers to use any of these resources. They are accessible through the retailer’s broker. The extent to which counsel and other resources are utilized in a transaction is entirely up to the broker.

Petersen describes the platform as two stages. The first stage, she says, is “a sort of online toolkit” for brokers that goes beyond typical account-specific support. “Here they can access as many resources as they wish to help win the account,” she says. “We don’t want brokers to get bogged down collecting data we may already have prepared. For example, we don’t want a broker to spend hours researching the latest class action info when we may already have an executive summary available they could use.”

Stage two is access to Petersen as legal counsel, if needed. Petersen says that in some cases, in addition to her own expertise, she may utilize a network of coverage lawyers from private firms for help.

“We are a distribution force. Our model is to help retailers win more often,” says Neil Kessler, executive vice president of marketing and sales for CRC.

He describes CRC’s efforts as a suite of tools for brokers. “This platform will be useful across the board on all professional liability coverages. Many other wholesalers don’t leverage resources this way, leaving them to rely only on their expertise and to spend countless hours preparing their own data and analysis. Our efforts will help our brokers respond more quickly and tap into the talent across the professional liability practice group.”

Kessler says CRC’s brokers are responding well to the efforts, especially when trying to sell new and emerging products like cyber liability. “Many of these policies have no standardization; for CRC to lead the way on this, we need to have knowledge and resources readily available to our brokers.”

As market conditions continue to force retailers to re-evaluate relationships with wholesalers, Kessler believes it’s more important than ever for a wholesaler to establish real value that goes well beyond spreadsheet quoting. He believes the creation of this platform matches the need expressed by retailers looking to stay competitive. “CRC is making a substantial investment in resources that help our retailers sell more professional liability products. They’re getting the collective knowledge of more than 30 professional liability brokers from across the country, online tools and a staff attorney. This is how we believe CRC can help many of our retailers that don’t have these sorts of resources level the playing field with those retailers that do.”


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