DETROIT, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Richard H. Smith, chairman, announced the formation of WestCongress Insurance Services, LLC, a newly created managing general agent ("MGA") for the specialty commercial insurance marketplace. WestCongress has completed the tribunalization process with Lloyd's of London, which authorizes the firm as a coverholder, thus providing direct access to the Lloyd's market.
WestCongress will focus on excess & surplus ("E&S") lines coverage in niche and underserved segments. The E&S market in the U.S. generates more than $40 billion in premium and represents approximately 14 percent of all commercial insurance business. Large carriers have a sizable portion of the E&S arena; however, producers and insureds are recognizing that these carriers are beginning to narrow their focus. As a result, there is a greater need to serve specific industry segments, where the admitted markets and large E&S carriers are no longer providing the insurance protection and service desired.
WestCongress' initial product offerings will be commercial general liability and commercial excess liability insurance solutions for targeted small and middle market risks in the energy, artisan contractor and security industries. These industry segments have been generally underserved by standard market insurers and large E&S carriers.
WestCongress has a wealth of experience, expertise and relationships in this burgeoning field. The four principals of the firm have been in the property and casualty ("P&C") insurance field cumulatively for nearly 100 years, approximately 70 of which have been directly involved with the E&S marketplace. All were part of the senior management team of First Mercury Financial Corporation and CoverX Specialty ("First Mercury/CoverX"), one of the top 25 E&S carriers in the United States. The principals of WestCongress are:
Richard H. Smith, chairman, is responsible for the overall strategic direction of WestCongress. He most recently served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of First Mercury/CoverX, which he joined in 1996. Mr. Smith began his insurance career in 1975 and held several senior leadership positions with Providian Corporation.
Edward A. LaFramboise, president, is responsible for the overall operations of WestCongress including carrier relationships, underwriting and risk management. He was senior vice president of corporate underwriting for First Mercury/CoverX, which he joined in 2007, and chief risk officer of Crum & Forster, a unit of Fairfax Financial Holdings, which acquired First Mercury/CoverX in 2011. Mr. LaFramboise began his insurance career in 2002 and held financial leadership roles with First Mercury/CoverX. Mr. LaFramboise is a certified public accountant (non-practicing).
Thomas B. Dulapa, executive vice president, is responsible for policy fulfillment, customer service, information technology and facilities. He served as senior vice president of operations for First Mercury/CoverX, which he joined in 1990. Mr. Dulapa began his insurance career in 1984 and held several financial and operational leadership positions with First Mercury/CoverX.
Michael W. Roskiewicz, executive vice president, is responsible for claims, corporate governance, regulatory matters and human resources. He was senior vice president and general counsel of First Mercury/CoverX, which he joined in 2008. Mr. Roskiewicz began his insurance career in 2001. Mr. Roskiewicz is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.
Mr. Smith observed, "We've seen a consolidation among carriers and MGAs in the P&C marketplace. This has narrowed the number of choices available in the U.S. specialty commercial insurance marketplace. Small and middle market businesses, now more than ever, need MGAs with deep distribution relationships and comprehensive product knowledge. They need insurance protection that requires a deep understanding of their risks in order to be priced right and serviced properly. WestCongress has a unique opportunity, inasmuch as we are extremely familiar with these markets and we plan to concentrate on specific segments where our expertise is unparalleled."
Ed LaFramboise added, "We employ individual account underwriting with a data-driven approach to fully understand the needs of our customers. As a result, our products truly match their business operations and risk exposures. Over the years and as a team, we have developed and honed our methodology. We think the marketplace is ready for a dedicated MGA to handle specific industry segments in an intelligent, agile and customized fashion."
WestCongress is developing market relationships in Lloyd's and domestically with the assistance of Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc. Aon Benfield is a long-standing advisor to WestCongress' principals and an industry leader in the (re)insurance intermediary marketplace.
WestCongress is headquartered in Detroit, MI.
WestCongress Insurance Services, LLC Corporate address: 151 West Congress Street, Suite 420, Detroit, MI 48226 Main number: +1-313-782-4156 www.westcongress.com