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Declaration of Independents: Lanie Raphael

Raphael began her insurance career in an operations role. Across more than 20 years in the industry, she has worked in risk management, product development, marketing and a higher-level operations position before moving to an independent agency in 2019 where she specializes in high net-worth personal lines.
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Declaration of Independents: Lanie RaphaelLanie Raphael

Senior Vice President, Practice Leader

B. F. Saul Insurance, Inc.

Bethesda, Maryland

Raphael began her insurance career in an operations role. Across more than 20 years in the industry, she has worked in risk management, product development, marketing and a higher-level operations position before moving to an independent agency in 2019 where she specializes in high net-worth personal lines.

She describes this career path as a lattice which has enriched her career from all angles. In the high net-worth market, Raphael relies on this breadth of experience, as well as rich and long-lasting relationships with carriers, underwriters and clients.

Career Advice?

Take advantage of opportunities in your organization to expand your knowledge in areas that you haven't had any experience in. Take a risk. Do something that is not directly in your lane. If you develop a breadth of knowledge in the industry, you'll be able to better serve your clients.

Why High Net-Worth?

The market has a complexity that I truly enjoy. It's not just about finding a standard product to solve a solution. You need to get creative and dig deep to find the right solutions. The other part for me is that it's about relationships. Most high net-worth clients truly value your advice and look for recommendations from you, the expert. They consider the holistic approach to their insurance and seek advice for ways to minimize their risk.

Challenges?

Talent is a key challenge, especially in the high net-worth industry. It's truly a niche industry. My experience is that not all candidates who are in personal insurance can easily transition. Someone with limited experience or is completely new to the industry often has an easier ramp-up to learning high net-worth insurance because they don't have to try to unlearn everything else that they know.

Another challenge for me is balancing my enjoyment of client interaction with the rest of the responsibilities of my role, which means making sure that I'm able to find time for our strategic initiatives and be able to find the right talent as we go forward.

Career Highlights?

Early in my career, I had a position that I truly enjoyed, which was risk management. From the high net-worth perspective, that meant going out to visit clients and determine the replacement costs of their home. Clients were genuinely accepting of the reason that I was there and very helpful by sharing their information with me to complete the replacement cost of their home accurately. It was a great experience to be out in the field and meet directly with clients face to face.

High Net-Worth Service Skills?

Service acumen, as well as empathy and not being intimidated by people. Oftentimes you can have the best customer service rep or account manager in the world, but if they are not able to truly relate to the client, they don't have that empathy at the time of loss. That can be a little bit of a challenge. Also, when staff members don't live in the same arena as our high net-worth clientele, they can be intimidated by the net worth alone. We need to remember that this client is looking for our advice and we are the expert in our arena and need to be able to provide that with the utmost confidence.

Changes?

New entrants to the market that have been disruptive and pushed the envelope on coverages, risk management, solutions, claims and service. Within my career, I've seen some incredible advancements because these new entrants have been willing to push the envelope and challenge the norm.

This is where relationships with your carriers are critical to be able to know about the changes before theyre released or where they're going to expand the coverage. This helps you strategically decide how you're going to offer that to your current clients and how that will affect the rest of your book. 

Will Jones is IA managing editor.

15366
Monday, August 3, 2020
Personal Lines