In The Public Eye: Alliant Welcomes Lauren Gregory
By Alliant Specialty
Daniel Howell and Carleen Patterson, Alliant Public Entity, welcome Lauren Gregory, Vice President and Director of Public Entity Infrastructure, to the company and discuss how her expertise is going to be put to work.
Welcome to the Alliant In The Public Eye podcast, a show dedicated to exploring risk management topics and challenges faced by today's public sector leaders. Here are your hosts, Carleen Patterson and Justin Swarbrick.
Carleen Patterson (00:18):
Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of In The Public Eye, a podcast series. I'm Carleen Patterson, and with me today is Daniel Howell, managing director of Alliant Public Entity. Welcome to the podcast, Daniel.
Daniel Howell (00:33):
Well, thank you, Carleen. I'm happy to be here today, but I'm especially happy because I'm here to introduce Lauren Gregory, who recently joined the Alliant Public Entity team as Senior Vice President, Director of Public Entity Infrastructure. I know that Lauren brings an extensive background in risk management and legal experiences and her experience, I think, is going to expand our capabilities to serve clients, and with that, I'd just like to ask Lauren to tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got here.
Lauren Gregory (01:07):
Thanks, Dan. I have 24 years of public entity risk management experience. I was a risk manager at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and I also have 15 years of experience on the broker side of the business. When I worked as a public entity risk manager, I was responsible for all insurance operations, as well as construction on the construction side - we had five-year capital plans that included multi-billion-dollar state-of-good-repair projects, as well as some very large single projects for new railroad lines and subway lines. For all those projects, we place owner-controlled insurance programs. Also, while I was at public entity, I went to law school. So, thankfully, I passed the bar and did that in 2000. Also, at the MTA, we created the first captive insurance company in the state of New York. So, I'm pretty familiar with captives and how they're used with public entities, but before coming to Alliant, I also worked on the broker side of the business, as I said, that was for a large global broker there. I was the construction practice leader in Metro, New York, and also, I was a senior client advocate for two of the largest public entities in New York.
Carleen Patterson (02:26):
Just need to go back a little bit and say really, I'm on the podcast with two lawyers, not just one. I don't know about that. So, Lauren, that's a lot of different experiences, both as a risk manager on the broker side consulting, you know, putting together captives, working with public entities, the way you have, what have you learned? You know, not only working for them but also within some of your other experiences, what do you think you've learned through that experience?
Lauren Gregory (02:57):
Well, actually, I've learned a lot of things. Service and communication, I believe are the key to working with them. When I was on the risk management side of the business, I treated my brokers like they were part of my risk management staff and that's the way I work right now on the broker side, I act as if I'm part of my client staff. Always communicate with your client as soon as possible, even if you don't have an answer for them right away, always let them know that you're working on it, and I think they appreciate that. Let them know that you're right there and you'll get them an answer as soon as possible.
Also, public entities have different policies and procedures. They need to follow things like different procurement rules, they have different timeframes to comply with board requirements, timeframes for processing invoices, how quickly they need renewal information for budget estimating purposes, all things like that, and knowing these things and following these procedures and also getting the underwriters to agree to these specific timeframes really make everyone's job much easier. So, that's important for public entities. Also, underwriters really appreciate hearing from a client, and hearing from public entities is no different, hearing what's new with the public entities and being able to ask them specific questions is really worthwhile. I mean, even if public entities aren't allowed to travel, some of them aren't, zoom calls or team calls are still worth it. So, I would recommend that.
Lastly, I would say that when extending policies, there can be specific language that should be avoided, and over the years I've become much more familiar with this type of language. So, I think just from my experience, that's something I always look for when dealing with public entities, like material variation, endorsements, and things like that, you have to be concerned about.
Daniel Howell (05:02):
Well, that's great information and a great background. I'm looking forward to seeing how you're going to bring all that and benefit our current and future clients. Do you have any thoughts there?
Lauren Gregory (05:14):
Well, I would say over the years, I worked on many of the larger infrastructure projects in New York, either from the risk management side or from the broker side, and in doing so I've dealt with many different types of issues that can arise. For example, I worked on the same project for over 20 years through both hard and soft markets having to do some project extensions through various delays in the project. So, I've learned a lot of things over those 20 years. So, I believe my past experience will help prevent many of the typical problems from occurring with servicing our clients because, basically, I've been there, done that. Right. You know, and I believe I know how to avoid a lot of those typical problems and I'll be able to address them when they come up.
Carleen Patterson (06:07):
Yeah. That's a really good point because you'll be able to proactively avoid those pitfalls as opposed to putting out fires, so to speak, after the fact. So that's a great perspective. So, what are you looking forward to most here at Alliant?
Lauren Gregory (06:30):
I'm looking forward to working with a great team in New York. Alliant is known for its public entity group out on the west coast and Dan leading that team. But we're now looking to build a team here on the east coast, and we're looking forward to showing the public entities here, what Alliant can do for them. Also, there are many large public entity infrastructure projects expected in the Northeast over the next few years, like the Gateway tunnel project and others. As a matter of fact, Governor Cuomo just announced a $306 billion infrastructure plan for New York. So, we are looking forward to having an opportunity to work on a lot of, hopefully, many of those, those projects as they come forth.
Carleen Patterson (07:19):
Lauren Gregory (07:21):
So that's what we're looking forward to.
Carleen Patterson (07:24):
Yeah, infrastructure is such a problem with our public entity clients. So, it's a perfect time for you to be joining our team.
Lauren Gregory (07:32):
Well, I'm very happy to be here and I'm looking forward to working with everybody.
Carleen Patterson (07:36):
So, many thanks to both Lauren and Daniel for joining me today. We look forward to getting back with you all, in the near future, to discuss infrastructure and how we can help our clients, and we recognize that this is a challenging time to be in public entity risk management, and we hope to provide continuing information and resources as we navigate 2021 and beyond. We hope you enjoyed this episode of In The Public Eye and for more information and additional podcasts, please visit www.insurance.alliant.com/inthepubliceye or www.Alliant.com.
Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.
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