Interview with LAMP Alumni: Part 2

Our LAMP alumni interview series continues with responses from Eric Tu on his experiences in the industry, PLUS, the the LAMP program. For more content on diversity & inclusion from PLUS, you can read posts here on the PLUS Blog, watch our member webinar series, or attend the upcoming PLUS Foundation webinar, An Open Conversation About Race in the Professional Liability Industry, on Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. ET. You can register for this webinar on the PLUS website here.

Mr. Eric Tu currently serves as Assistant Vice President within AXIS Capital’s Professional Lines Division. In this role, he oversees the profitable growth of a market leading specialty insurance portfolio, specifically in Financial Institutions and Executive Risk. Eric works with a broad array of FI and commercial clients ranging from private enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations. In his five years at AXIS, he has helped develop innovative risk solutions to his clients as well as AXIS’ trading partners. More recently, Eric is supporting a company-wide initiative at AXIS in partnership with the organization’s D&I committee. As part of the advocacy team, they’ll provide Unconscious Bias training to AXIS employees focused on promoting diversity and inclusivity in and out of the workplace.

What was the most valuable aspect of the programming (e.g. orientation, webinars, mentor, attending PLUS events, relationships with your cohort)? Why?

LAMP has so much to offer, it’s tough to pick just one. The value of the program comes from a combination of various facets to maximize each candidate’s exposure. Through networking, mentorship, formal training, peer evaluations, the most valuable aspect is its multi-dimensional approach to provide a well-rounded experience.

What takeaway(s) from the program have you implemented in your own life/career and how has it benefitted you?

A major recurring theme revolved around taking ownership of your path both personally and professionally. Being self-aware of your own competencies, aspirations, and formulating an action plan to accomplish your goals becomes second nature. Holding yourself accountable is an effective reminder of this. 

How has LAMP changed your career path?

One of the program’s many benefits includes access to PLUS’ continuing education resources. LAMP emphasizes the importance of technical proficiency and supports its members in their pursuit of this knowledge. There is no substitute for sound expertise and this experience enabled me to further my learning.

Cybersecurity Litigation Review

This blog post was submitted in dialogue with the recent PLUS webinar “Cyber Risk is a D&O Risk.” You can view the recording of this webinar and past free webinars on the PLUS website here.

If you have blog content you’d be interested in submitting, please reach out to Katie Campbell at kcampbell@plusweb.org.

John Cheffers was hired to be a Director of Research for Watchdog Research in 2019 and creates content that is featured on the company blog.  He obtained his J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law in Naples Florida in 2019, where he was a member of the Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. Prior to that he worked for Audit Analytics as a Research Analyst.

Cybersecurity has gone from a niche concern to a hot topic in the D&O insurance world.  On September 23rd, this week, PLUS hosted a webinar on how companies can strategically handle cybersecurity concerns.  The speakers offered tremendous perspective on this dynamic and growing area, and we encourage everyone to listen to their fascinating conversation.

We are an independent research provider that uses an extensive database of public information to create easy-to-use reports for over 4,500 publicly traded companies.  Since we track cybersecurity incidents and all material litigation for public companies, we thought we could use this as an opportunity to provide a little color to the important discussions concerning cybersecurity.

Overview

We began by looking at incidents that occurred at companies listed on the NYSE and Nasdaq over the past ten years, and the growth rate of cybersecurity incidents is alarming: 

*The graphs and tables in this post were created by Joseph Burke, PhD, and derived the Audit Analytics database.

In 2010, only 0.1 % of companies reported a cybersecurity incident. In 2019, 2.2% of companies reported a cybersecurity incident. The growth of cybersecurity incidents over the past five years has been incredible and it is not clear when it will slow down. 

Another interesting facet is that the risk of a cybersecurity incident is much higher at a large company that it would be at a small company. Attacks on large companies are driving much of the growth in these numbers.

Cybersecurity Security Class Actions

A cyberbreach at a company creates all sorts of problems, including litigation. We identified all the security class action suits that were brought over cybersecurity issues and calculated the likelihood of being named in one of those suits. Unsurprisingly, the last ten years has shown significant growth in the risk of being named in a cybersecurity related lawsuit.

It is important to note that these percentages are for all companies.  Large cap companies have a significantly probability than is represented in the graph because they are both more likely to be the victim of a cybersecurity incident and are generally more likely to have a securities class action suit filed against them.  

Cybersecurity as a Leading and Covariate Indicator

Two of our researchers, Joseph Burke PhD and Joseph Yarbrough PhD, wrote a research paper calculating when particular flags from our reports were associated with an increased risk of securities class action litigation for 2014-2018. Companies with a cybersecurity incident were almost three times as likely to get named in a securities class action lawsuit the year that the incident occurred.

Additionally, cybersecurity incidents were one of the six leading indicators of securities class action suits.  An event is considered a leading indicator of litigation if the occurrence of that event is associated with an increased risk of litigation for the following year. 

Conclusion

The chance of being involved in a cybersecurity securities class action lawsuit is still relatively low, but it is increasing rapidly. Additionally, the risk profile is far higher for large companies, which are more likely to be a victim of a cybersecurity incident and more likely to get named in a securities class action lawsuit. 

If company boards wish to prevent having their company victimized twice (by hackers and by lawyers), then they need to make wise and strategic decisions to confront this growing threat.

Interview with LAMP Alumni

This is the first in a series of interviews with LAMP alumni on their experience in the industry, PLUS, and the program. For more content on diversity & inclusion from PLUS, you can read posts here on the PLUS Blog, watch our member webinar series, or attend the upcoming PLUS Foundation webinar, An Open Conversation About Race in the Professional Liability Industry, on Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. ET (registration opening soon).

Jeremy J. Zacharias

Jeremy is a member of the Professional Liability Department of Marshall Dennehey where the focus of his practice is representing and defending attorneys, accountants, insurance producers, corporate directors and officers, and other licensed professionals.

Jeremy is an active member of PLUS where he is an alumni of the Leadership and Mentoring Program (LAMP). Through PLUS, Jeremy also completed training at PLUS University and served as a member of a PLUS task force to revitalize the curriculum of PLUS University to address current trends in the professional liability insurance marketplace. Jeremy also currently serves on the Future PLUS committee and the PLUS Conference Content committee.

In 2011, Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a co-concentration in Finance and Business Law, graduating magna cum laude from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. In spring 2014, Jeremy earned his juris doctor from the Rutgers University School of Law, graduating cum laude and in the top 15 percent of his class.

Jeremy is admitted to the bars of the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is admitted to practice in federal court in the District of New Jersey.

How did you get your start in professional liability insurance?

I began my career in the professional liability insurance industry as an Associate for Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. in Mount Laurel, NJ. I focus my practice in representing and defending attorneys, accountants, insurance producers, corporate directors and officers, and other licensed professionals.

How did you hear about LAMP? What made you decide to apply?

I became a member of PLUS one year before I decided to apply for the LAMP program. I saw the wide network that PLUS offered and knew that as an Indian American attorney, I was under-represented in the legal and insurance community. I saw LAMP as an opportunity to learn more about the professional liability insurance industry and to connect with my peers in different avenues to grow my network. Through LAMP, I have made countless contacts and expanded my network with people across North America. Without LAMP, I would not have had this opportunity.  

What was the most valuable aspect of the programming (e.g. orientation, webinars, mentor, attending PLUS events, relationships with your cohort)? Why?

For me, the most valuable aspect of the LAMP programming was the relationships formed with my cohort and expanding this network with each incoming cohort. Each cohort includes individuals that are ambitious in their careers and include like-minded professionals. LAMP offers a diverse group of individuals that share a commonality to transcend the professional liability insurance marketplace.

What takeaway(s) from the program have you implemented in your own life/career and how has it benefitted you?

The key takeaway that I took from LAMP was to see beyond merely practicing law. As a member of the professional liability insurance industry, I now see my role as a defense attorney as a collaboration with other professionals, including insurance claims representatives, brokers and underwriters.

How has LAMP changed your career path?

LAMP has allowed me to expand my network within the professional liability insurance industry while learning more about this industry. In turn, I am a more effective lawyer and advocate for my clients since I now understand the case reserving mindset and appreciate the insurance and claims strategies utilized.

How do you think LAMP has, or will, impact the PLUS community? Impact the industry?

LAMP has impacted that PLUS community by placing a focus on diversity and gave a voice to under-represented insurance professionals in the industry. The landscape in the professional liability insurance industry is changing, and under-represented professionals offer a unique voice and mindset to any company. LAMP has placed a spotlight on this and this program continues to effectuate change and acceptance within this industry.

What else do you think companies and individuals should be doing to bring about change?

Companies, in order to stay competitive in the market, must promote and celebrate diversity and must focus on the value professionals adds to an organization, regardless of race, color, or religion, among others.

What advice would you give to someone from an underrepresented group who is thinking of entering professional liability insurance? Someone who is in the field but looking to advance their career?

I often advise individuals new to the professional liability insurance to get involved with as many opportunities as possible. PLUS offers various opportunities at the local and national level to stay engaged with the current insurance trends and to fine-tune your professional network. I joined PLUS not knowing how useful my membership would be to my career as an attorney. However, getting involved with LAMP and later taking on a leadership role with PLUS has allowed me to maximize my membership benefit. I would encourage anyone seeking to learn more about this rewarding industry to get involved with PLUS and volunteer to offer a unique insight into this growing industry.