December 2015

HUB International Southeast Keeping the Lowcountry Safe and Sound

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: John Brackett

Whether you realize it or not, risk management is a big part of your life. Concerned about getting the flu? Vaccinate. Mountain biking? Wear a helmet.

Spending a day at the beach? Slather on the sunscreen. There are individuals and organizations whose sole purpose is to protect you: the police officers keeping the peace at the annual Georgia vs. Florida football game; or the seatbelt law keeping you statistically safe in the seat of your car. Even your instructor on the bungee jump launch pad is in place to mitigate your risk as you prepare to engage in rather dicey behavior by leaping from a bridge, protected only by her words of wisdom, and the industrial rubber band designed to snap you back just in the nick of time before hitting the jagged rocks below.

While not particularly conspicuous or flashy, insurance is life’s quintessential risk manager, and HUB International Southeast, with offices on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, has been bringing their global insurance might to the needs of the Lowcountry with a local focus since 2011. “We’re a local hometown insurance brokerage with Fortune 500 solutions,” said Mike Williams, commercial insurance producer with HUB. With personal and business insurance lines, as well as employee benefits and risk services, the local team’s focus is to explore the best ways to protect a client’s assets, from an individual’s home, auto, or art collection, to a business’s equipment or fleet of airplanes, employee health insurance, life insurance, and wellness programs, or putting risk controls in place to assist operations run more safe and sound.

Based in Chicago, each of HUB International’s local agencies brings something to the table, providing resources and expertise benefitting the entire company.

“Combined, we have a large book of business, so we have more clout in the marketplace,” said Kristin Hayrinen, 21-year local insurance veteran and HUB insurance producer. “We do a lot locally, but we have the resources behind us; we have teams across the country that we can use to get knowledge, products, and companies. We’re able to use all the breadth of knowledge from all the markets across the country.”

The Lowcountry’s geographic locale and unique weather events make specialized knowledge a necessity to effectively serve clients. “Our market is very separate from what the rest of the country does,” Hayrinen said. “Many of the larger companies won’t include wind and hail. We use a lot of specialized markets.

They’re smaller, A rated companies that give us really good rates. A broker in another state wouldn’t have access to those companies. We have much more market availability because of where we are and because of how the insurance is structured. Coastal markets are unique, but everything is insurable.”

Utilizing the global resources of HUB International, local producers write policies not only specific to the Lowcountry, but for coverages in many states, providing most clients with a one-stop shop for their insurance needs. “We write all over the country,” Hayrinen said. “Let’s say a client has a house and autos in Michigan and the same in South Carolina. We can insure everthing and many times get a multi-policy discount. I had a customer from New York; I wrote a policy for his home here, his home and autos in New York, and his business in New York as well, giving him an attractive multi-policy discount as well as one call for all his insurance. We don’t have to be there to have the best markets.”

Often the first point of contact with clients, Hayrinen sees herself much like the quarterback on a football team. “Clients call me. I put everybody in the right market, get the right coverages, and once written, have eight different account managers who will handle their accounts on a regular basis. Once I’ve placed the coverage and set up policies, their account manager is right here.” The account managers at HUB make a point of being ready prior to renewal to make recommendations for the year ahead, Hayrinen said. “Upon renewal, as well as throughout the policy’s term, they are proactive and always looking for the best products and companies for their clients, oftentimes saving the clients premium.”

Counted on to have the most accurate bead on the local pulse, the HUB team members are experts at sorting out the ever-fluid flood zone and flood insurance environment. “The island is being remapped,” Hayrinen said. “The best advice right now is, don’t believe everything you hear, and get in touch with HUB. We will always be first in line when it comes to the latest news and regulations related to flood.”

“Insurance isn’t about making a phone call to get insurance, it’s about building relationships,” said Jessica Weaver, HUB Southeast’s employee benefits account manager, and individual and Medicare specialist. Part of that relationship building includes reacting quickly and being flexible enough to help clients find solutions to their unique situations. “On the health insurance side, there are a lot of disease management teams. So that if you have high claims related to a disease, you can get specialized coaching to help work through those claims.”

Working primarily with commercial operations, Williams had a client experiencing a high rate of slip and fall claims in his restaurant; by both staff and patrons. “Our goal was to reduce excessive worker’s compensation claims. As a service to our client, our risk management team went into the restaurant and completely redid the routes of the wait staff and it helped reduce falls.” Writing policies for a large number of area restaurants, Williams keeps his clients aware of industry and insurance news, along with periodic safety bulletins and tips for keeping safe and limiting claims.

It is all about community for the 37 team members of HUB’s Lowcountry offices. Sponsoring many local events, along with raising money for local charities by collecting donations from staffers who want to wear jeans on Fridays, area causes are close to their hearts. Personally, Williams coached youth baseball teams for several years; Weaver serves on a professional association board, and supports area hospice services; and Hayrinen continually works with many charities on an ongoing basis.

Much like the layers of bubble wrap used to protect a porcelain vase, the right insurance, provided by the right company, will wrap itself around your assets, inconspicuously minimizing your risk. HUB International Southeast is making that happen.

HUB International Southeast is located at 50 Palmetto Bay Road on Hilton Head Island (843) 785-2101 and 1160 Fording Island Road, Bluffton (843) 837-8000; or visit hubinternational.com

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