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Power brokers: automotive.

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Marshann G. Varley

Senior Vice President

Marsh

Los Angeles

Marshann Varley's fans in the automotive risk management world are many and varied.

Supporters describe her as an innovator and an educator who, despite her standing in the industry, is not too busy to slow things down for a novice and explain the insurance process to them using baby steps.

The holder of an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Southern California has been credited in 2007 with an instrumental role in creating an automotive industry risk management roundtable.

The roundtable has met at least three times, and involves major automotive manufacturers from Japan and the United States and their suppliers.

The goal of the roundtable is to improve the management of business risks that are common to all automotive manufacturers and suppliers, be they the legacy benefits costs that have been such an issue for Ford and General Motors in 2007, or the global supply-chain risks that all manufacturers share.

At the same time, Varley is helping new automotive risk management executives better understand how their job is done in the industry.

"Her team has provided us with the education and the advice to bring us up to speed," said one automotive industry risk manager.

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Michael Stankard, ARM, CPCU

Managing Director

Automotive Industry Practice Leader

Aon

Southfield, Mich.

To hear one client describe him, when it comes to insurance brokering in the automotive sector, Mike Stankard is "the first guy I think of, hands down. No one is even close; he is the best in the business."

Stankard certainly got a chance to back up that glowing recommendation in 2007, as he led the charge in vetting the purchase of and arranging coverage for a major U.S. automaker that was being bought by a private equity firm.

Stankard, who has 25 years of brokering experience for the automotive industry alone, led a team of 50 Aon staff members who planned, negotiated and bound new property, excess liability D&O and liability programs for the new owner in less than six weeks.

Including past Power Brokers Joe Callanan and Carol Williams, the client called Stankard's Aon automotive team a "force to be reckoned with. They are very good at what they do."

Stankard seems to have taken aim at a career in the insurance industry from a very young age. He pulled down bachelor's degrees from Arizona State in insurance and accounting in 1980 and followed those parchments up with an M.B.A. in risk management from the University of Georgia in 1983.

He put the final polish on his fender chrome in an industry-specific advanced management program at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1997.

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Meredith Elvidge

Managing Director

Automotive Industry Practice Leader

Marsh

Detroit

Like her Los Angeles-based running mate, Marshann Varley, Detroit-based Meredith Elvidge is credited with creating an automotive industry roundtable that is casting aside competitive differences between U.S. and foreign automakers and their suppliers, and focusing on tighter risk management throughout the automotive industry supply chain.

Elvidge has also been a leader in implementing financial instruments that are helping automotive suppliers to improve their liquidity.

Using trade credit insurance, suppliers can offset their business concentration risk and expand their net loan amount.

Using TCI as a wrap on the supplier's receivables raises the supplier's debt rating to the minimum insurance requirement of A-, which helps the supplier's credit worthiness.

Elvidge carries with her 25 years of experience in the automotive industry as an industry practice leader and client executive.

This is the third year in a row that the Dartmouth College graduate has been named an automotive industry Power Broker by Risk & Insurance[R].

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Carol Williams, CPCU

Chief Operating Officer

Managing Director

Aon

Southfield, Mich.

Isn't it great when people do things that their competition said "couldn't be done"? That's exactly what Carol Williams was a part of in 2007 when, along with a whole raft of Aon team members, she helped to pull off a rapid turnaround on the design and development of property, excess liability and management liability for a newly formed, major automotive corporation.

With private equity buyers as clients, Williams and her cohorts soon found out that they weren't dealing with risk managers who had placed their insurance buying on cruise control. "These firms challenge everything, and it is imperative that a broker is flexible, but constantly engaged," is Williams' assessment.

Her client was a little more effusive. "We see her in the light of being arguably one of the best account executives that we have come across," said the client. This client has worked with as many as 50 insurance companies and said that Williams is "far and away an all-star ... specifically boiling things down to key issues and not getting caught up in the details so much, but is detail oriented when she needs to be."

This former Marsh broker has been with Aon for eight years and is a graduate of the former Lawrence Institute of Technology (now the Lawrence Technology University). In addition to her B.S. in management, she carries a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

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Anthony DeFelice, ARM, CPCU, CRM

Managing Director

National Casualty Practice

Aon

New York

Tony DeFelice was yet another industry veteran who was trotted onto the track to handle placements when a major U.S. automaker was purchased by a private equity company in 2007.

Put behind the wheel of the placement of the automaker's excess liability program, DeFelice had to place it within seven days of receiving the underwriting submission, which he did with expanded coverage and under budget.

"The placement involved the coordination of all worldwide capacity including domestic, London and Bermuda," according to DeFelice.

In the same calendar year, which saw Ford cede its No. 2 position in the United States to Toyota Motor Co., DeFelice was able to produce price reductions and policy enhancements for another major U.S. automaker, "all the while maintaining great relationships with the insurance panel," according to a director of risk management with that car manufacturer. "That pretty much sums up Tony," the risk management executive said.

A product of Rutgers University in New Jersey, DeFelice said he likes to get his "hands dirty," and he has ample opportunity to do that. The national casualty practice leader for Aon works under the insurance policy hoods of no less than five international automotive industry giants.
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Publication:Risk & Insurance
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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