The following interview with A.M. Best’s John Weber took place on March 21st of 2016. It’s an excellent way of learning about the CHART Exchange.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the organization.
A. A cover holder is a specific term for somebody who has a binding authority or is tribunalized with Lloyd’s of London and risk taker is a specific term used in London for a syndicate. So to be a risk taker you have to be a London syndicate, of which there are 93. Cover holders and risk takers [forms] the acronym to build face-to-face communication between those two groups.
Q: So what’s the objective for the organization and for the members?
A: The basic objective is to do more business in the U.S. with London. We are all experienced as program managers. Some of us access those markets, some of us don’t. This is a teaching organization to build the community so that more business happens between us.
Q: How many members do you have at this point?
A: Actually, members, not many. Our first year was an experiment. We had a year where we had an early adopters’ meeting to test our concepts and ask our friends what they thought of the idea. From there we went to London and met with some Lloyd’s personnel to get their permission to do what we’re doing. The way we decided to do the business was to hold a big event in October 2015 to test the concepts that we thought would work, with the face-to-face contact.
Q: Why the London market?
A: The London market, because it’s the market of great dependence on the U.S. Forty percent of Lloyd’s of London is business in the United States. A huge part of that business is what they call binding authority, where there’s an agent-program administrator who’s got an expertise in a certain line, has a big block of business and the bent to do business with London.
It’s a mystery to some people but to the folks who live in it and spend a lot of time in it, it’s a mystery that’s worth unraveling. Once you do it gives you some competitive advantages in the marketplace.
Q: What constitutes a Lloyd’s coverholder?
A: You have to be officially tribunalized. It requires a background check, financial checks. Do you have the right systems and methodology to do the reporting? There’s an ethics and character check in that type of deal.
You’ve got to possess the expertise and be able to deliver on the promise of what your deal is. There’s a lot more to it than just a casual meeting.
You’ve got to qualify. Part of what we do for Lloyd’s is do that qualification process for them, to make sure that folks in our group would know what the barriers are and what you’ve got to do to overcome them and what expertise is required to get there.
Q: How many syndicates have you formed business partnerships with?
A: There are 93 syndicates. Now tomorrow it might be 94 or it might be 92. That changes. In our first CHART exchange meeting, we had 18 of them represented. These syndicates were more dependent upon U.S. binding authority. Some of the syndicates don’t have that as part of their model but a large part of them do. Our target for syndicates, within that 93, is about 45 of them.
Q: Are you seeing tangible results at to this point?
A: We had a great first meeting. We had over 150 face-to-face meetings that were preset by our London brokers partners and the risk-taking community.
We did a lot of prequalification of the folks, making match-ups with the right markets. Just coming back from London two days ago, I was there all last week, we have over 25 new potential coverholders coming to the market that qualify. We’ll have already done the background checks, so we’ll have very, very tangible results.
Q: How do you get more agencies, syndicates and coverholders involved in the organization?
A: We just hired a couple of staff members. Last year was pretty much “dialing for dollars” and advertising and a lot with my previous contacts and some previous experience I’ve had in this space, where people knew that we were people who put people together. What we’re doing this year is going from an experiment where now we have 330 eyewitnesses to how we conduct business.
No one can define us now because we have 330 witnesses of who we really are. All we are about is new business. We’re not trying to take anybody’s old accounts out of London or cannibalize anything that’s already over there. But have those eyewitnesses, they become evangelists for you to go and recruit friends. Anyone who went to that first meeting became what we call an early adopter.
It takes so many people for something like this to happen. The early adopters are the 330 that came to our meeting. We hope to manage that to 500 this year. We’re not trying to be the biggest organization. We’re just trying to be the best at what we do. Our message is very, very simple. We’re London-centric. We’re not about markets. We’re about doing more business with London and the reasons that you should or might consider doing so.
Please send any questions you may have to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (t.) 302-765-6004, or
email@example.com (t.) 302-765-6016