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View from the top: Gary Brown, McLarens

Gary Brown has spent nearly 35 years at McLaren and its predecessors and has been the CEO of the Atlanta-based loss adjuster since 2016. After starting his career in London, he was based at several international venues, including an extended period at Jamaica. He moved to the United States 25 years ago. He recently spoke with Business insurance Editor Gavin Souter on changes in the claims sector and the company’s strategy. Edited excerpts follow.

F: You always think of loss adjustment as a practical job. How have the restrictions over the past two years changed the business?

A: From a work practice point of view, half of our business was already working remotely for most of the time, on the road to inspecting complaints and adjusting losses, but we have had to turn around in recent years during the other half of the office-based business. . As we move forward, we will definitely return to offices where there are market concentrations ̵

1; New York, London, cities where that insurance business is still often run personally. In some of our other areas where the offices were less relevant to the market, we will adopt a more flexible work environment.

F: What about the actual inspection of allegations during the pandemic?

A: There were very different reactions in different geographical markets. In the markets where there were the most restrictions, we developed video inspections. We’ve got new tools now that allow us to meet and talk and inspect places through iPhones and things when we are restricted from entering. But for the type of work we do, it is not something that will be anything more than an assistance. The ability to physically inspect and meet will always be important.

F: What prevents it from becoming the norm?

A: There are many nuances in insurance claims. Each situation is unique, and I believe there will never be a real compensation for the benefits of meeting people in person, building strong working relationships, seeing the damage on your own, touching it, smelling it. We make much better progress and it leads to much better results for all stakeholders if we can meet and inspect and visit and work with the contractors and the people responsible for the repairs.

F: What specialty strategy do you follow?

A: The risks become more complex. Failures are becoming more significant and people continue to want to put structures on the edges of waterways and in areas that until now were not necessarily safe to build. So the prevalence of complex risks will increase and as a result, specialists in these complex risks or in these niche exposures will become increasingly important and we see real value and leverage in getting groups of like-minded experts to come together to solve problems.

Our first specialization, which was more than 10 years ago, was our aviation business. Most of these people are aviation industry experts who have become loss adjusters, so having more experts available for a specific industry that is grouped and working together is really useful and it really drives better service, better results for our customers.

F: How do supply chain problems and inflation affect the insurance claims sector?

A: The effect on insurance claims not only affects the physical cost of repairs, but in the event that a company suffers some form of loss of revenue or business interruption due to the lack of materials at any cost, it delays the incidence of repairs and the ability for companies to recover which, in many cases, also prolongs the loss of income.

F: How do you do take care of it?

A: Where possible, we try to use our global network and our tentacles at the local level to accelerate the delivery of materials, such things.

F: Last year, you hired Kirsten Early and brought in a team to develop a third-party administrator business. What are your plans for that business?

A: TPA has always been an important part of our business, but it has been in pockets around the world, and we have not had a consistent offer that has been led, especially in the context of specialty stores, by professionals who spent their careers in that area. And I think it would also be fair to say that our technology so far has not been strong enough to offer a truly global proposal, so together with Kirsten and her team, who have that level of expertise, we are investing very heavily in our software and our damage management platforms in order to then be able to deliver products in the way that our customers want these products delivered and data mined in a way that they now want them.

F: There seems to have been a lot of consolidation in the claims sector in recent years. Are you involved in it and how do you see the trend?

A: There has been a great deal of consolidation in the industry from those who take risks to those who help to serve that risk, and the scope for adaptation is no different. For us, consolidation makes sense where it leads to a greater depth of service in markets that could otherwise be underserved, but I do not think it is necessarily just a matter of getting bigger. McLarens is of a size where we can conveniently meet the regulatory requirements of the industry and our customers. We are of a size where we can operate in all global markets that our customers need us to, and for us that consolidation closes some gaps that we may have in our business on an industrial or specialty basis, sometimes geographically, but we are already approaching the geography that we believe is optimal for the industry

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