From the Front Lines: D&O

FTFL_June

Mish Ganssle

Vice President
RMG Insurance
Easton, Pennsylvania

How did you get started at your agency?

I started in the insurance business as a marketing rep with underwriting authority, which was an ideal education. When I relocated back to my hometown, I joined a local agency and learned how to speak in non-insurance jargon. I am one of the founding partners of RMG Insurance.

After that, the opportunity to own my own agency presented itself, and I jumped at it. It’s so satisfying to give people the tools to make decisions, to empower them with an understanding of risk, and to explain the insurance they have or should have.

Why D&O insurance?

Most businesses or service organizations realize they need general liability insurance to pay for injury to others, or damage to others’ property they may cause in the course of their operations. But this type of coverage excludes claims by third parties who didn’t suffer an injury or damage to their property.

Directors & officers coverage is necessary because more lawsuits are being brought against organizations that allege things like financial loss, reputational harm, and failure to follow certain bylaws or implement appropriate policies and procedures to protect the public.

Biggest D&O insurance challenges?

In every organization, people make decisions, and those decisions have consequences. The mistake many businesses and organizations make is to think a management liability claim can’t happen to them. My challenge is to show them examples of where similar organizations thought the same thing, then educate them about the claims scenario that followed.

Biggest D&O insurance changes?

More nonprofit organizations are recognizing the risk of serving as a volunteer on a board or committee. D&O pricing has remained fairly consistent, which means I’m able to confidently ballpark the cost to the client. Unfortunately, the number of claims initiated under these policies continues to rise.

Future of D&O insurance?

Pricing is going to increase at some point. However unfounded a claim might be, it must still be litigated, which takes time, and legal costs aren’t decreasing. After a claim, D&O carriers are also raising retentions on many policyholders’ renewals.

D&O advice for a fellow agent?

If you want to protect your client’s assets, make sure you offer D&O protection. Don’t rely on the same insurer for every risk. And as your client’s assets grow, remember to remarket their coverage every couple of years—there are a lot of good D&O forms available, and pricing or terms can vary greatly.

Will Jones is IA assistant editor.