The Environmental Advisor
Environmental Division / Great American Insurance Group
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John Reynolds, Environmental Division
Divisional President, Divisional Headquarters
Environmental Division 401 Plymouth Street, #100
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
100 Pine Street, Suite 2250
San Franciso, CA 94111
Welcome to the first edition of the Although new to Great American, our experienced
Environmental Advisor. We hope this team of 20 underwriters and claim professionals
periodic newsletter provides some useful are veterans in environmental insurance,
information for you and your business. currently averaging well over 15 years in this
specialty business. Our business model relies
The Great American Environmental on a strong commitment to superior client
Division recently celebrated its first service and customized products, delivered by
anniversary and we’ve had a very knowledgeable professionals. Our entrepreneurial
successful year. Our inaugural year organization is also designed to provide maximum
served as a great building block for accessibility to this unparalleled talent pool.
further expansion into the environmental
marketplace. Thank you for your support I personally hope we have had an opportunity to
and confidence in Great American as work with you and earned your confidence as a
we work to establish our business. trusted environmental insurance supplier. This
first newsletter will provide some introductory
These achievements have led to our opening information to help you get to know the Great
a regional hub in San Francisco, which American Insurance Group and its Environmental
expands our core business, and reinforces Division a little better. Future newsletters will touch
our firm commitment to the environmental on topical issues and developments. I hope you
insurance business. We will also be find it interesting and welcome any feedback.
expanding our product portfolio later this
year with the introduction of a combined
General Liability and Pollution Policy.
580 Walnut Street / Cincinnati, OH 45202 / GreatAmericanInsurance.com
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From the desk of the Mark Vuono earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
Earth Science from Kean College of NJ and a M.S. in
Environmental Engineering from Washington State
Chief Underwriting University. Upon graduation, he joined SCA Chemical
Officer, Services as an Environmental Specialist & Health and Safety
Division Officer. In this role, he developed guidelines and procedures
as required by RCRA and safety handling guidelines for
chemicals at a hazardous waste treatment facility. He joined
AIG’s Pollution Legal Liability Division in 1981 as one of its
original underwriters. Mark was responsible for coverage
and underwriting guideline development, supervision
and training of personnel, preparation of risk control
These are interesting times in the guidelines, reinsurance placement, and overall profitability.
insurance industry! It’s good to be
part of an organization that has In 1987, he joined ECS Underwriting serving as Executive
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Mark was
maintained a financial strength responsible for the overall operation of the company and he
rating of A (Excellent) or higher reported directly to the CEO. He developed and managed
from A.M. Best Company since the underwriting program written through Reliance
1908.* The Environmental Division National, which began with 300 accounts and $30 million
in volume and grew to 2,500 accounts and $250 million in
is also pleased to have a Chief volume. Between 2000 and 2003, Mark formed and led an
Underwriting Officer with over 30 operation that oversaw a number of commercial ventures
years experience with environmental including retail businesses, residential and commercial
issues. We’re glad to have Mark property management and management consulting.
Vuono on the Great American team! In 2003 he returned to the insurance business
* as of March 27, 2009 as the Managing Executive Underwriter for XL
Environmental’s Pollution unit. His duties included
business planning, product development, underwriter
training, underwriting audit referral and approval
of large or complex accounts and product lines.
As Great American Environmental Division’s Chief
Underwriting Officer, Mark is responsible for guiding
and monitoring underwriting quality and compliance
for all of the division’s products to ensure the division’s
profitability. He is deeply engaged with business
planning, setting the division’s risk appetite, product
development, training and audits. Mark also handles
complex underwriting referrals for the group while
maintaining his own book of profitable business.
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The members of Great American Insurance Unique Specialized Claims Unit
Group are subsidiaries of American Financial
Group, Inc. (AFG), based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Great American has been involved in environmental
AFG’s common stock is listed and traded on issues and claims for many years, While the initial
the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq focus was a result of legacy lead, asbestos and other
Global Select Market under the symbol environmental/pollution claims, our experience is
(“AFG”). AFG is engaged primarily in property not limited to these types of exposures. Today, the
and casualty insurance, focusing on specialty Environmental Claims Division is dedicated to addressing
commercial products for businesses, and a variety of environmental concerns with an experienced
in the sale of traditional fixed, indexed and staff of attorneys and claims professionals. Since
variable annuities and supplemental insurance the early ‘80s, Great American has managed large
products. The insurance operations are environmental claims, while remaining one of only a
comprised of about 25 niche businesses, with handful of companies to maintain an “A” (Excellent)
specialized expertise in the markets they serve. rating or higher from A.M. Best Company for the last 100
consecutive years. * In fact, Great American Insurance
Great American’s business model is founded on Company, the flagship insurer of Great American
an entrepreneurial approach that allows “local” Insurance Group, has been in business since 1872!
decision-making for underwriting, claims and
policy servicing in each of our niche operations. The Environmental Division's specialized environmental
Each business operation designs products, claims handling capabilities include claims managed by
builds relationships and creates distribution attorneys with extensive relevant experience, a 24/7/365
channels in the markets they know and serve. capability to respond to environmental emergencies
with access to a nationwide network of consultants
Despite a challenging year in the insurance and remediation contractors, and a proven network of
industry, AFG reported record core operating attorneys specializing in environmental matters. Claims
earnings per share of $4.08 in 2008, generating management by the Environmental Division provides
a strong return on equity of 17%. AFG’s portfolio the technical expertise needed for every claim situation
of specialty P&C businesses are committed in a cost-effective manner with the personal attention,
to customer service, proven underwriting professionalism, and responsiveness our clients deserve.
strategies and effective claims handling, all
of which have contributed to results that have * as of March 27, 2009
allowed these operations to outperform industry
averages for each of the last ten years.
For a complete copy of the 2008 AFG Annual For more information about the complete line of insurance
Report, please visit www.AFGinc.com. products and services offered by Great American Insurance
Group, please visit www.GreatAmericanInsurance.com.
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The San Francisco Team
As the Divisional Vice President heading the San Francisco
office, Robert Potter is responsible for broker development
and training, underwriting, hiring and development of staff,
marketing and corporate management. Prior to joining
Great American, Robert was with XL Insurance Company
Limited in London as a Senior Underwriter – International
Operations. He was responsible for the underwriting,
Environmental Division development and marketing of all environmental products
100 Pine Street, Suite 2250
San Franciso, CA 94111 Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
415-477-9400 Geology, with emphasis in aqueous geochemistry,
from San Francisco State University.
415-477-9401 Jenny Han joins us from ACE Environmental Risk in San Francisco
and brings experience from PES Environmental/Novato, CA and
jhan @ gaic.com AIG’s Environmental Division. Jenny is Assistant Vice President
with the Great American Environmental Division, responsible for
Steve Smith marketing and uderwriting of all product lines to Western Region
sjsmith @ gaic.com
brokers. Jenny will also assist with broker development and training.
cperez3 @ gaic.com
Jenny earned her Bachelor of Science degree in
415-477-9402 Geology from the University of California.
Steve Smith is an Assistant Vice President with the Environmental
Division, responsible for marketing and underwriting of all
product lines to Western Region brokers and clients and in the
development of underwriting appetite and guidelines. Steve
has worked with Tetra Tech/San Francisco, AIG/San Francisco,
Driver Alliant Insurance Services/San Francisco and Chubb
Environmental Solutions prior to joining Great American.
Steve earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental
Studies from San Jose State University and holds a Certificate of
Hazardous Materials Management from the University of California.
Carlos Perez is an Associate Underwriter II with the
Environmental Division, joining us from ACE INA/San Francisco
and AIG Environmental/San Francisco. Carlos will assist the
Underwriting staff with new and renewal business, marketing
preparation, quote production and broker relations.
Carlos earned his Bachelor of Arts degree
from the University of California.
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Bob Burkholder A large portion of the government’s recent stimulus
efforts have been geared towards improving the nation’s
infrastructure. This has led to an increased need for
pollution coverage for contractors involved with these
projects. Pollution coverage is now often specifically
required in bid specs. Listed below are a few claim
examples specific to these types of contractors.
Sandblasting Causes Lead Contamination
A subcontractor working for a street/road contractor
In future issues of our newsletter, performed abrasive sandblasting on a bridge located
Bob Burkholder and members near a residential area. Lead paint chips and dust from
the sandblasting became airborne and migrated onto
of our in-house claims group will
residential properties, requiring cleanup. The residents
offer interesting insights into the filed property damage claims against the street/road
world of environmental claims, contractor for the dust generated by the subcontractor.
including “real-life” claims
Vandals Cause Fuel Release
scenarios and current
A utility contractor was subject to cleanup costs
industry issues. after vandals opened an on-site mobile refueling tank
causing diesel fuel to be released onto virgin soil.
A street/road contractor was subject to cleanup costs and
third party business interruption expenses when work
ruptured an unmarked petroleum pipeline. The contents
were released into the subsurface soils and groundwater.
Construction Activities Impact Waterway
A street/road contractor was required to pay for
cleanup costs and natural resource damages when
inadequate erosion control measures implemented
during construction of an abutment for a highway
overpass resulted in petroleum-impacted sediment
to be deposited into a pristine waterway.
Please feel free to contact any of our underwriters if
you have any questions about exposures your clients
may face if they are involved with street, road or bridge
work, excavating or other kinds of utility work.
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Great American Insurance Group has recently
been named one of the Healthiest Companies
in America by Interactive Health Solutions,
the nation’s premier provider of health awareness
and preventative care programs for U.S. employees.
Great American’s innovative incentives to encourage
its employees to change unhealthy lifestyle habits
debuted in 2008 and has proven very successful!
Great American is sponsoring its second corporate
GreatHealth Challenge to promote the health and
well-being of its employees. One way employees
can participate is by purchasing pedometers with
Pete Pantalone the goal of walking 1,000,000 steps by September
30th. To date, Pete Pantalone has led the charge
for the Environmental Division, logging more than
314,399 steps. That’s like walking 129 miles—
nearly the distance from our Plymouth Meeting
headquarters in Pennsylvania to Baltimore, MD!
Pete has logged more than
314,399 steps on his pedometer,
as of June 3. That’s like
walking 129 miles—nearly the
distance from our Plymouth x
Meeting headquarters in
Pennsylvania to Baltimore, MD!
Keep up the good work, Pete, but don’t get too
comfortable! After spotting you a one month
lead, Bill North, Jenny Han and Doug Stepenosky
have now joined the Challenge and the chase is
on! We’ll keep you posted on our progress.
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The Plymouth Meeting Team
401 Plymouth Street, #100
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
On left, back row: On right:
Mark Vuono, Bill North, Ken Snyder, Kevin Troutman,
John Reynolds, Barry Geisler Shelli Hamilton, Doug Stepenosky and
On left, middle row: Not pictured: Trish Shippee
Christal Dove, Kirk Davenport,
Pete Pantalone, Kelly Gubanich
On left, front row:
Patrick Mahoney, Pat Roeckel