Cyber Perspectives on Coronavirus

The next installment of our PL Perspectives on Coronavirus tackles the world of cyber. Gail Arkin, James Giszczak, and Jason D. Krauss discuss possible effects of COVID-19 on cyber security and cyber insurance in this recording. Stay tuned to the PLUS Blog for more recordings on how coronavirus is impacting different PL lines.

Listen here to Cyber Perspectives on Coronavirus:

Gail ArkinGail Arkin, SVP, General Counsel at Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions

Gail Arkin is the General Counsel of Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions, located in  Morristown, NJ.  Her responsibilities include the development of cyber insurance products and managing all regulatory, compliance, distribution and corporate legal matters. Gail has over 20 years of insurance experience, including over 15 years developing cyber products, and previously held the positions of senior vice president & general counsel for a financial lines division, general counsel for a wholesale and retail division, and a claims officer for professional and management liability lines of insurance.

James-J-GiszczakJames Giszczak, Member at McDonald Hopkins

James is a member at the law McDonald Hopkins. He is chair of the litigation department and  co-chair of the data privacy and cybersecurity practice group. He advises clients regarding data security measures and responding to security breaches involving sensitive personal information and protected health information. He works with clients in a myriad of industries to assess and implement appropriate data security safeguards. Jim also litigates matters involving data security and data privacy, including defending single plaintiff and class action lawsuits.

Jason_Krauss_HiRez_IMG_8898Jason D. Krauss, Cyber/ E&O Thought & Product Leader, FINEX North America at Willis Towers Watson

Jason joined Willis Towers Watson in 2016 as a Cyber/E&O Thought and Product Leader.  Jason is a resource on the FINEX North America Cyber/Tech E&O brokerage team, providing dedicated analytical support to the brokers on specific national accounts coupled with thought leadership and developing improved capabilities for the entire team.

Prior to joining WTW, Jason was with Arch Insurance Group for 12 years, where he served as an Assistant Vice President in Enterprise Product Development within the Corporate Underwriting Department and worked closely with underwriters in drafting policies and endorsements. While at Arch, Jason focused on a number of products including Cyber, D&O, EPL and Professional Liability including lawyers, real estate professionals, accountants, captive agents, broker dealers, and architects and engineers.  Before joining Product Development at Arch, Jason managed a claims team in adjusting professional liability claims.

D&O Perspectives on Coronavirus

Our PL Perspectives on Coronavirus series continues with the second installment of our D&O focused discussion. Listen to Kevin LaCroix, Carl Metzger, and Rob Yellen as they continue to look at possible effects of COVID-19 from a variety of D&O perspectives.

Listen here to D&O Perspectives on Coronavirus, Part 2:


KevinLaCroix2019Kevin LaCroix, Executive Vice President at RT ProExec

Kevin LaCroix is an Executive Vice President at RT ProExec, Beachwood, Ohio, a division of R-T Specialty, LLC. RT ProExec is an insurance intermediary focused exclusively on management liability issues. Kevin is also the author of the Internet weblog, The D&O Diary, which the New York Times called “influential” and the Wall Street Journal described as “widely followed.” Kevin has been involved in directors’ and officers’ liability insurance issues for more than 35 years.

Metzger_E_CarlCarl Metzger, Partner and Chair of Risk Management & Insurance at Goodwin Procter

Carl Metzger is a partner in Goodwin’s Financial Industry and Business Litigation practices and Chair of the firm’s Risk Management & Insurance practice and Chair of the firm’s Partnership Committee. His clients include both public and private companies, major insurance carriers and brokerages, private equity and venture capital firms and non-profit and educational institutions.

Rob YellenRob Yellen, Executive Vice President, D&O and Fiduciary Liability Product Leader, FINEX at Willis Towers Watson

With over 28 years of Financial Lines industry experience, Rob Yellen is a respected leader in the management and professional liability space. He currently works with Willis Towers Watson, FINEX NA brokers and claims advocates to identify and track developments in risk, coverage and markets, and with our business partners to develop innovative, best-in-class strategies and solutions. Rob joined Willis Towers Watson in 2015 from AIG where, during his 14-year tenure, he served in several key leadership roles–including Chief Underwriting Officer, Financial Lines, U.S. and Canada and, most recently, Head of Product Development for Financial Lines–globally and for the Americas Region.

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Past PLUS Presidents Heather Fox and Debbie Schaffel

In honor of Women’s History Month, PLUS would like recognizes its past women Presidents. PLUS has had three female Presidents in its history, with two of them, Heather Fox (2016) and Debbie Schaffel (2018) serving as President within the last four years. Additionally, moving forward PLUS will have female Presidents in 2021 – Susan Angelo, and 2022 – Jennifer O’Neill. Michelle Romano, who the first female PLUS President in 2002, has retired from the Industry. We took a few moments recently to catch up with Heather and Debbie about their experience in the industry and with PLUS.

Heather FoxSchaffel, Debbie

What is your current role?

Fox:  I serve three roles.  I am the General Counsel, managing ARC Excess and Surplus, LLC’s (ARC’s) legal department.  I also manage ARC’s Claims Department, advocating with carriers on behalf of ARC’s clients.  Finally, in my role as Chief Broking Officer, I act as a resource to all of ARC’s brokers with respect to complex placements and I provide support on emerging coverage trends.  I love the varied role because I am involved on the front end with the placement, as well as in the claims, making me stronger in both roles.

Schaffel: I joined Aon in 2003 as a manager in our private and nonprofit practice group and have been the national manager of that group since 2008.  I am responsible for a team of 42 people who handle all the management liability needs for Aon’s private and nonprofit clients.

How did you get started in the industry?

Fox:  I was practicing law in Boston and wanted to move back to NY.  One of my good friends from high school was working at AIG at the time and got me an interview.  I knew nothing about insurance at all and didn’t plan to stay in insurance, but I met a great crew of people at AIG and grew to love our business.  And here I am over 20 years later still passionate about our business!

Schaffel:  I needed a job.  When I was a senior in college, I spent most of my non-class time as editor of the Cornell yearbook which was pretty much a full-time job.  As a result, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to on-campus recruiting so missed a lot of on campus interview possibilities.  The ones I did attend convinced me that my original thought of being a financial analyst was a terrible idea and I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated.  As it got closer and closer to graduation, my father told me that I WOULD have a job when I graduated.  He knew someone who knew someone at AIG, and I interviewed with them.  I interviewed with their construction group and with their management liability group.  Luckily for me, the management liability group offered me a job first.  Of course, the day I started was the day that the person who was supposed to be my boss quit so it was an interesting start to my career in insurance.

How has the industry advanced in providing opportunities for women and what more needs to be done to open-up opportunities in the future? 

Fox:  The financial lines industry has made good strides in terms of the number of women with roles in middle management.  I think we need to work with women at the start of their careers to support them so that they have the same opportunities as their male colleagues at the critical early stages of their careers. Ultimately, women need more formalized support to achieve equity.  There are organizations, such as the PLUS Women’s Foundation and The Bridge that are offering this more formalized support through the efforts of both male and female industry colleagues.

Schaffel:  I think that having more women in leadership positions now has definitely helped open up the opportunities for other women who are joining or are newer to the industry.  When I was first coming up in insurance it was normal for me to be the only woman in a meeting.  While that still happens more often than it should, it is also gratifying to see that there are more and more meetings where the women actually outnumber the men.  I’m lucky to work at an organization now where many of our senior roles are held by women and advancement decisions are based on merit rather than gender. 

Do you have any advice for women newer in the industry? 

Fox:  Work hard and network, network, network. Look at every opportunity to strategically expand your network.  Don’t just network with other women.  Get outside your comfort zone at events by trying to move beyond talking with people you already know.  Ask the people you already know to introduce you to others.  Pay it forward.  Introduce others within your own network.

Schaffel:  Be yourself.  Don’t try to become someone you’re not.  Let your skills speak for themselves.

As busy professionals how did you fit it in and why did you feel it was important to volunteer with PLUS? 

Fox:  My early involvement in PLUS was important to me mainly for networking and education.  As I started to volunteer later in my career, as a co-chair of the D&O Symposium and then as a Trustee and President, I was more focused on giving back to our professional liability community and working to continue to evolve the amazing PLUS organization.  I pushed myself to accept the role of President (in addition to my day job) because I knew how important it was for a woman to have the President role, given that only one other woman had been President in PLUS’s almost 30 year history at that time.

Schaffel:  Honestly, I volunteered because I thought it would be fun.  And a great opportunity for me to meet other people and expand my network in the industry.  Both of which were true.  I think anyone can find the time for things if they think they are important enough to them to put forth the effort.  I spent a lot of time outside of normal work hours catching up on my “real” job because of the hours that I spent volunteering with PLUS and I don’t regret a minute of it.  It’s all about finding the right balance for yourself.

What was your favorite part of being the President of PLUS?

Fox:  I feel so fortunate to have worked with such a fantastic Board of Trustees and PLUS staff.  Some of my favorite memories are the laughs we had at our board meetings and especially our board dinners!

Schaffel:  Well, other than working with Robbie and the rest of the PLUS staff (who are all fantastic at what they do), my favorite part was actually the year before I was President when I was President Elect and Conference chair.  While I was petrified about getting up in front of a room full of people and giving a prepared speech, the ability to contribute to putting together our signature event was immensely rewarding and a ton of fun.  Filming the opening video for the conference took me way outside my comfort zone but, once I did it, it proved to me that I am capable of more than I previously thought I could do.  Once I moved on to President, being able to lead our organization forward and have a lasting contribution to our industry was equally rewarding and significant.