The national debate is focused on
health insurance and healthcare. But who insures the healthcare
In some form or another, healthcare as we know it will soon
Congress insists that reform legislation is not aimed at
dismantling the vast network of manufacturers, distributors,
vendors and providers of healthcare products and services. On
the contrary, such entities are reform’s crutch, even if
Uncle Sam decides to pick up the tab. Add to that a new
workplace culture of wellness coupled with the aging
population, and one can rationalize the pervasiveness of
healthcare and life science insureds.
Few understand this better than Sandie Mullen, life science
practice leader for Westrope, a large commercial wholesaler
based in Kansas City.
“Life sciences is an evolving industry segment. We see
it growing, especially with so much interest in
healthcare,” she says. “The pervasiveness of
healthcare news is responsible for the growth in demand that
has become more pronounced in the last eight to 12
Retail brokers who sense opportunity in the life sciences
arena are often overwhelmed by the depth of the risk. Most lack
the resources to assist the insured in identifying complex
exposures ranging from products containing excluded components
to international supply chains, contractual risk transfer and
“Some larger or specialized retailers have expertise
in-house. We work directly with those that may not have those
resources, often participating in direct contact with the
insured,” she says.
Retailers accessing the marketplace directly should be
certain that the product is the most suitable for the insured.
This requires investigating all available options, including
those that may be offered by a wholesale-only E&S
“This approach ensures the retailer has the best
program for the insured whether through one of their direct
carriers or through an E&S carrier and is not caught off
guard by another retailer offering a more competitive E&S
option,” Mullen says.
Westrope uses an established network of admitted carriers,
wholesale-only admitted carriers and E&S markets to broker
many coverage areas for life science and biotech companies.
“The insureds include organizations that design,
manufacture and/or distribute medical devices, diagnostic
instruments, pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins,
minerals and botanicals,” she says. Available coverages
address both FDA-regulated and non-regulated products.
From an insurance perspective, many of the risks associated
with life science products cause as much concern as the litany
of potential side effects.
“Many retailers may not have experience with insurance
products designed to address overseas risk,” Mullen says.
Clinical trials are a perfect example. They are often conducted
abroad. “[This is] common because of the litigious
environment and cost here in the U.S.”