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Let's Talk: Construction boom boosts demand for expanded contractor's equipment coverage
December 10, 2019
Shawn Langenegger says, “Building a business is an adventure.” Since joining AXA XL in 2014, he and his Inland Marine team have been on a five-year adventure, growing AXA XL’s Inland Marine business year after year and building out underwriting resources locally for more personal attention. Here’s how they are doing it.
What’s prompting growth in your South Central inland marine book of business?
Langenegger: My territory includes Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi. Texas alone is ranked as one of the fastest-growing areas in the US, according to NPR’s 2019 population data. Between 2017 and 2018, more than 50,000 housing units were built in Texas. The NPR data also cites a staggering statistic: more than 1,000 people a day are re-locating to Texas. That means a lot of construction and no end in sight for construction builders’ risk insurance and contractor’s equipment coverage.
What products make up the bulk of your business?
All this construction activity is obviously driving a need for builders’ risk insurance and contractor’s equipment coverage. Recently, in May this year, we’ve seen growth in our territory fueled by AXA XL’s new, comprehensive Contractor’s Equipment coverage policy. I, personally, think it is the best in the marketplace.
Most Contractor’s Equipment coverage forms have been around for years. Very few modifications have been made, forcing buyers to purchase separate policies for property or separate Inland Marine coverage forms. In contrast, our new Contractor’s Equipment coverage form includes 33 additional coverages including drones, rigger’s liability and occurring and void service contract or warranty.
How’s AXA XL’s Contractor’s Equipment coverage different than other policies in the market?
We recently enhanced our coverage. What makes our Contractor’s Equipment coverage so popular with our clients is that today they utilize a much wider range of sophisticated equipment to get a job done and it addresses these advances.
For example, drones are commonplace in the construction business, but are seldom mentioned or covered in most Contractor’s Equipment policies. Contractor’s equipment is also becoming more and more specialized. Along with specialized equipment comes escalating costs of repairing or replacing some of these new pieces of equipment, increasing the importance of purchasing warranties.
Another area of importance to contractors includes transporting equipment of others and coverage for leased, borrowed or rented equipment. Special exposures include equipment rental and sales and inflation protection, which we can insure by endorsement.
Additionally, project management software is increasingly important to optimize production, deliver materials just-in-time, and reduce worker injury. But what if the laptop used by the insured at the job site that houses these data is stolen or damaged? How many contractor’s equipment policies automatically cover computer equipment, data, media, and valuable papers? We insure these items along with several other types of property under a sublimit called “Property That Supports Your Business”. This is really a major step forward in protecting our clients.
How are you and your team managing your clients’ growth and your own growth?
Attentive, local service. Many contractors have ambitious growth plans and fortunately, as part of AXA XL, we can help them tap into our network to address their coverage needs wherever they may do business.
But we’re also here. We’ve built up a local team so that our brokers and clients have local access to inland marine underwriters that are familiar with local industry. Being in the same time zone as our clients or brokers helps in other ways. Contractors face immense competition and time constraints. Because of the importance of the construction business to the economies in our region, our clients don’t have the luxury of chasing after a broker to get a quote or issue a certificate of insurance.
For instance, in Oklahoma, a lot of construction projects are focused on building manufacturing, industrial and data centers facilities whereas in Texas we might be serving contractors doing more oil and gas service-related work. And Texas is a big place. Our underwriting staff are disbursed throughout the territory, most of whom work remote. This helps us to be in tune with local market needs, e.g. Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.
As believers in old-fashioned underwriting, all of us on the Southwest AXA XL Inland Marine team are veteran Inland Marine underwriters. We believe in cultivating long-term broker and client relationships, anticipating coverage solutions and responding quickly.
Shawn Langenegger and his Inland Marine underwriting team are in expansion mode – and plan to remain in that mode for the near future. To discuss AXA XL Inland Marine capabilities in this region, Shawn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org