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Let's Talk: Inland Marine Insurance supports storm resiliency and growth in the Northeast

Inland Marine Insurance is supporting storm resiliency and growth in the Northeast

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When Superstorm Sandy passed through AXL XL Inland Marine Underwriting Manager Jon Mosby’s Northeast region in 2012, it left in its wake more than $70 billion in damage. No one wants to see that level of damage again. That’s why Jon and his team are busy providing inland marine insurance to construction projects intent on helping businesses and communities throughout the region reinforce their properties and infrastructure to withstand future severe storms like Sandy. Here Jon explains more.

How is the region preparing to withstand storms of Sandy’s magnitude?
Mosby:
While it’s been almost seven years since the storm hit the region, many communities, public agencies including utilities and transportation entities have been involved projects to assure their operations can withstand future storms with a lot less damage and business interruption. State and federal funds were made available to storm-ravaged communities and they are making use of them to ‘harden’ infrastructure and properties, so they will be more resilient to future storms. For instance, utilities in the region have been working on hardening projects including installation of "smart" switches on its overhead system, submersible equipment that can withstand flooding and redesigned underground electrical networks. New Jersey, as another example, is working on a system of coastal anti-flood barriers to help protect cities along the Hudson River, like Jersey City and Hoboken, from the excessive flooding that we saw during Sandy. Right now, there is no shortage of construction activity throughout the region.

How is this keeping you and your team busy? What’s the demand for inland marine coverage.
Construction projects like this rely on inland marine insurance coverage like Builder’s Risk to insure property during the course of construction and, Contractor’s Equipment insurance coverage for those working on these projects. From bulldozers and backhoes to office computer equipment and hand-held power tools, this coverage protects property that moves with a contractor from jobsite to jobsite. It’s equipment that is, of course, very valuable to a contractor’s operation and others. According to the National Equipment Register (NER), somewhere between $300 million to $1 billion of construction equipment is stolen each year. Our policy’s coverage is very comprehensive and includes protection for theft and other risks that contractors might not know they have.

What risks might contractors overlook?
Given continuous technological developments, equipment owner’s needs have changed. For instance, drones are now commonplace. Plus, contractors are more dependent on computers and jobsite sensors for project management and other aspects of their day-to-day operation. It’s important that contractors are aware how these new types of property or equipment are protected under their current insurance coverage.

Also, to enhance their revenue stream and provide more value to their customers, contractors, like many other businesses, are performing additional tasks that could potentially expose themselves to additional, unintended liabilities. For instance, they may be transporting equipment of others or leasing or renting equipment to others. It’s important that they make sure that their coverage matches up to their activities. That’s why we were so intent on designing the most comprehensive coverage. For instance, we include sub-limits for 33 additional coverages that would traditionally require separate policy endorsements. Our product also automatically includes property that supports a contractors’ business including computer equipment, media, data, valuable papers, tenant's improvements and betterments, office furniture and supplies and other business personal property.

Is your book of business solely focused on insuring contractors and construction activity? What else is happening in your region?
While our business is largely construction based, we do have a strong focus on and large presence within the transportation and logistics industries. A quick ride up the New Jersey Turnpike shows that this region offers plenty of opportunity to provide inland marine insurance coverages like, Motor Truck Cargo and Logistics insurance, to transportation, warehousing and logistic businesses throughout the region.

As more e-retail companies try to meet customer demands for quick, even same-day, deliveries, NY and NJ continue to see growth in transportation and logistics businesses. NJ’s Economic development agency contends that a distribution center in the center of the state can reach more than 22 million consumers within a 2-hour drive. Additionally, the Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast, and the third-largest in the nation, handling more than 3 million containers, valued at nearly $200 billion annually.

Needless to say, there is ample opportunity to provide inland marine coverage. Moreover, we have what I consider to be the most comprehensive motor truck cargo and logistic coverages available in the market. As a result, we’re set on growing our book of business in tandem with the economic growth and opportunities we see throughout the region.

What are your growth plans for the region?
The greater New York City area is the largest opportunity to grow our inland marine book of business. While there are plenty of opportunities to help businesses in metropolitan NY and NJ, we are also anxious to extend our reach further in the Northeast Region – to the upstate New York and Boston markets.

We’re also intent on strengthening our relationships with our large regional and independent broker partners. In order to better focus on these strategic partners, we have continued to build out our team and suite of products to better serve this region of the country.

Jon Mosby brings 15 years of experience writing inland marine and ocean marine insurance to the AXA XL team. He’s focused his insurance career on providing insurance specifically to the construction and transportation industries. Have an inland marine coverage need or question? Contact Jon at jon.mosby@axaxl.com


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