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Financial R&R: Alliant Welcomes Steve Shappell

By Alliant Specialty

Ron Borys and Ryan Farnsworth, Alliant Financial Institutions, welcome Steve Shappell to the company and discuss the best way to represent clients in this challenging environment and how his expertise is going to be put to work.

Introduction (00:01):
Welcome to Financial R & R, a show dedicated to financial insurance and risk management solutions and trends shaping the market today. Here are your hosts, Ron Borys and Ryan Farnsworth.

Ron Borys (00:13):
Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us today on the first of hopefully many podcasts to come out of the Alliant Financial Institutions group. I'm Ron Borys and I lead the financial institution's vertical. I'm here today with Ryan Farnsworth, a colleague and partner with me here in the Financial Institutions group, and we're super excited to welcome and introduce the latest hire to our firm and our group, Steve Shappell. Steve, obviously, he's been someone we've worked with very closely for a number of years in a variety of capacities and we think he's going to be absolutely fantastic. Ryan, do you want to take the introduction here?

Ryan Farnsworth (00:53):
Absolutely, and we're thrilled to welcome Steve to our Alliant specialty team. Steve has spent the majority of his professional career managing legal and claims teams, across a variety of specialty insurance sectors with pre-claim, post-claim, advisory services, claims advocacy, insurance coverage, drafting and analysis, risk assessment, and other tools and services that are so critical to companies in today's risk environment. We're thrilled to have Steve join us. Steve, welcome.

Steve Shappell (01:24):
Thank you very much. I am so excited to be here at Alliant. It is a platform that just screams for me to join. I am an enormous proponent of specialty broking, particularly in this day and age, with the markets hardening as much as they have over the past year or two, it's never been a more important time for specialty brokering, for articulating and driving innovation for our clients and probably most important differentiating the risk of our clients, both in a pre-claim and post scenario. I'm thrilled with the investment and commitment that Alliant has to specialty and the growth of specialty. So, I'm very excited to be here and I'm appreciative of all the talent at Alliant that I'm going to have the honor of working alongside.

Ron Borys (02:21):
Now, Steve, we couldn't be more excited, and obviously sharing this with folks on the carrier side and starting to get the word out with clients has just been very well received. Obviously, as you know, one of the first questions you're going to get given your career and kind of the track record you've had is why did you choose us, right? I mean, obviously, Ryan and I know why you chose us and we're really excited that you did, but maybe you can talk a little bit about what our platform provides to someone with your skills and expertise.

Steve Shappell (02:53):
Yeah, and as many people have heard in the industry, as Ryan mentioned, I've been around a long time and I have articulated many times: it's easy when it's easy, and it's hard right now, right? These markets are hard and it's challenging and if we're going to be able to deliver a more rewarding way to manage risk, which is the philosophy of Alliant, that the specialty model is the way to do it. The underwriters are really bright and they're hardworking and they're spending a lot of time trying to differentiate risks and the Alliant model does that, right? I mean, it has incredibly talented individuals without borders across this nation delivering expertise, and that's what attracted me, is the commitment to investment into the talent of individuals, structure, and a model of specialty. I think that is, in my opinion, the most effective way to deliver value and resources to our clients.

Ryan Farnsworth (04:03):
Steve, it's been a tremendous year in the insurance industry, in the world, right there. Many of us would not have predicted we'd be here at the end of 2020. I think many of us are still asking the question we'd love to hear your thoughts and input on: how did we get here? Why is the market the way that it is and how long can we expect it to last?

Steve Shappell (04:25):
Yeah, and as many of us in the business saw, right, there was a flood of capital in the markets years ago, and it really drove down prices artificially. Almost without regard to the risk and the underwriters have, despite a great deal of discipline in the last few years of looking at the risk, and as we can see from the market, the severity and frequency of claims in the United States, in particular, has increased dramatically over the last five years. We have a frequency that we've never seen before, and you could pick an industry and I'll pick, for example, D & O because it has been impacted particularly hard with both rate and retentions. The D & O marketplace has seen a frequency of claims in the last three years, that’s unprecedented, double what it saw in the historic 10 years before that with severity in the same period increasing. While we continue to enjoy tremendous success from our clients in defending a lot of these D & O claims, when you have 400 plus D & O claims in a year, even if you have a 50% dismissal rate or greater, you still have a problem with frequency and severity - and so that's how we see ourselves here. As I mentioned, the underwriters have shown some discipline and because of this spike in frequency and severity, again goes back to my point of the critical importance of being able to put a spotlight on our clients to articulate why our clients are a better risk. It's never been more important to be able to differentiate the exposure and the risk for our clients.

Ron Borys (06:19):
Yeah, no. I think, quite frankly, Steve, when I think of all the things that you bring to the table here, I think the things, and I certainly don’t want to speak for Ryan, but what makes me the most excited about having you on our team is your experience in educating and sharing that awareness with clients and helping them navigate this environment, because now more than ever, our clients are relying on us, not only to help them understand what's going on in the insurance marketplace but also try to get out in front of this as much as possible because nobody likes surprises. Hopefully, this is the first of many opportunities that we have to get together with Steve in this type of format. We realize that sometimes everybody doesn't have time to get through the emails or read a lot of things that are constantly put out there by all the brokers. So, hopefully, this is a good way for us, going forward, to be able to communicate and get messages on critical and key developments happening in the insurance market out to our clients and underwriters.

Ryan Farnsworth (07:18):
Absolutely, Ron, couldn't agree more. We're thrilled to have Steve on board with us and we look forward to speaking with you all again soon. Look out for our next episode, and for more information, go to

Steve Shappell (07:30):
Thank you.

Ron Borys (07:31):
Thanks again, Steve, and welcome aboard.

Steve Shappell (07:33):
Thank you very much.


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