Declaration of Independents: Laura Deeley Bren

DOI-revisedLaura Deeley Bren

Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley
Willards, Maryland

The Eastern seacoast plays a leading role in Laura Deeley Bren’s life. “Blessed to live at the beach,” this second-generation agent says a perfect day begins surfing with her family at Assateague State Park and continues with a coastal property insurance deal at her Best Practices agency.


I am a nerd about coastal property. I get embarrassingly excited about building a layered property deal and figuring out how to optimize the value a client receives for each dollar spent.


Develop yourself as a resource. Our agency bustles with new talent, and it’s fun to watch how each person can shine as a resource no matter how long they’ve been on our team. The newest client adviser may not know the nuances of a business income worksheet, but they can teach a colleague how to research underwriting data on a public database.


This industry has been so good to me, and it’s a privilege to attract the next generation of professionals. I get to share the secret: The insurance business is awesome. We have initiatives reaching across departments to develop the next generation. I lead a biweekly “Nerd Out Session” where associates from all levels simply read insurance policies and discuss how the contracts respond.


I have an amazing group of mentors in my MarshBerry agency peak performance exchange group. MarshBerry connects us twice a year with other agencies committed to optimizing their agency’s value. This group has challenged us, celebrated us and encouraged us to make tough decisions to realize our potential.


I really, really like to win. But most important, connecting people—personally and professionally. I try to keep my head and heart open to people and opportunities.


I love sitting across the desk from entrepreneurial people who have exceled in their work. Our firm has been a coverholder for Lloyds of London since the mid ‘80s, and we’re fortunate to place a great deal of business with those programs. It has been fascinating to see how business has evolved as catastrophe modeling and technology have changed the way underwriters look at this business.

Photo by Jonathan Timmes