Risky Business

As Beecher Carlson prepares clients for unfortunate events, Scott Tofil maximizes the insurance and risk management brokerage firm’s growth by streamlining operations and harnessing the power of its data

Scott Tofil is part of the management team that successfully ignited Beecher Carlson’s explosive growth within the last ten years. Annual revenue that stood at $10 million in 2005 grew to $100 million by 2013. Staff at the commercial insurance brokerage firm nearly tripled in size, and the number of weekly payments to carriers grew by a magnitude of ten. In some cases, the amount of payments to individual carriers increased twenty-fold. In 2013, the company also became a subsidiary of Brown & Brown, one of the leading independent insurance intermediaries in the United States.

Scott Tofil, Beecher Carlson
Scott Tofil, Beecher Carlson

As Beecher Carlson’s chief financial officer and chief accounting officer as well as Brown & Brown’s senior vice president, Tofil contributes to such proliferation by unifying the company’s expanding sales, IT, and administrative networks to maintain an impressive level of overall customer satisfaction.

Tofil helped reach these milestones by focusing on two key strategies. First, build on Beecher Carlson’s expertise in several key markets: energy, finance, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. Secondly, create products and services that leverage that expertise to streamline all customer interactions with the company.

“Customers can always find a lower premium, especially in a soft market like we’re experiencing now,” Tofil says. “What we provide, regardless of market conditions, are innovations that help clients better understand and proactively manage their exposure to risk. From there, we use our insight to develop options that balance their insurance needs and business objectives.”

Some of the company’s solutions for supporting this customized approach include ZOOM, an analytics tool that identifies areas of the greatest risk and steps to reduce risk, prioritizing outstanding claims; LiNK, an application for allocating clients’ premiums and risk exposure across multiple properties; MARA, a modeling application to assess risk of securities class action lawsuits; PULSE, a self-service solution for managing medical malpractice accounts and quotes; and NOVUS, a browser-based tool to increase the transparency and efficiency of the application process and issuing policies.

Beecher Carlson was also the first company to develop a cyber calculator to assess companies’ risk of cybersecurity-related liability. “One client had done extensive research into what a potential cybersecurity breach might cost,” Tofil says. “Using our cyber calculator, we asked a few questions and within minutes we were able to come up with the same answer it had taken them months to figure out.”

As with any insurance broker, data is one of Beecher Carlson’s key assets. To put it to best use, Tofil, with the help of trusted vendor partners like Vertafore, implemented a number of new systems to ensure seamless integration, ease of access, and the greatest possible efficiency throughout the organization.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve applied automation solutions to agency management, document management, and analytics for various lines of business and industries,” Tofil says. “That’s helped get everyone on the same platform and rowing in the same direction. It’s also made our data a more powerful resource since it’s available at the click of a button.”

The efficiencies made possible by this unified IT infrastructure have paid off in very tangible ways. In the company’s Atlanta office alone, digital document management reduced the footprint of paper file storage by nearly 65 percent. This translated into $7,500 to $10,000 in monthly rent that can be devoted to space for generating revenue instead of storing file cabinets.

Streamlined processes and greater transparency have also maintained the company’s annual customer retention rate at more than 90 percent throughout its recent expansion. Tofil points out that another critical element of Beecher Carlson’s success has been the culture of cooperation that exists throughout the staff and all locations.

“We never use revenue splitting or geographic P&Ls [profit and loss statements]—that can result in ‘turf issues,’” Tofil says. “We always bring in the best people with the best, most appropriate expertise for a client regardless of where they’re based. Everything is structured to keep moving forward and do what’s needed to service the customer.”

Looking to the future, Tofil indicates that market fluctuations will continue to present the greatest ongoing industry challenge. However, Beecher Carlson’s growth, business intelligence, and the added reach made possible by being part of the Brown & Brown network will provide many opportunities for new successes. In particular, Tofil points to an expanded portfolio of healthcare products that can help meet demand created in the wake of the Affordable Care Act.

Even though Tofil advocates for automation to move data through the system faster, smoother, and easier, he reveals Beecher Carlson’s secret to true success in the industry of risk. “Behind all the technology, the biggest tool in our arsenal is the talent of the people I work with,” Tofil says. “That’s how we meet customer demand, stay ahead of the issues, and continue to do so well.”