In November 2015, JLT Group launched a marine specialty practice in the US as part of our strategy to expand our US capabilities. In this article, we meet John Betz, who heads up the new team as Senior Vice President.
Q. What was the attraction of moving your team to JLT?
We met a number of firms, but when we got to JLT, the decision was made easy. I was already familiar with the company, which has a great reputation and a solid balance sheet, and once we started talking about JLT’s commitment to the marine space and how we would be their US platform for marine business – as well as what capabilities and support they could provide – the decisionwas straightforward.
Q. What knowledge and experience does your team bring to clients?
Our team has more than 50 years’ insurance experience. I joined from Arthur J. Gallagher, where I led the Blue and Brown Water Marine practice; Chris Maro was a Partner for the Howden Marine Group; and Ken Fichtelman was an Associate Partner for the Howden Marine Group. As well as providing insurance expertise, Chris and Ken are US Maritime Academy graduates who sailed professionally, so they bring with them some very practical experience.
Knowledge and experience are only part of the value we deliver to our clients. Our business is built on listening to our clients’ challenges and providing them with superior service and competitive/ comprehensive insurance products.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing the marine industry in the US?
For our clients, the challenges are two-fold. First, there remains an overcapacity of ships, particularly on the dry bulk side, as a hangover from the shipping construction boom before the market crash in 2008-9. The tanker market is somewhat more balanced, but new construction can threaten this sector at any time.
Second, the world economy is distressed and China is in transition. As China is a big importer of commodities and exporter of products, shipping is deeply affected by the fact that this nation and their economy is struggling.
Q. What is it like working with the marine team in London?
It has been a fantastic experience so far. The London wholesale team is a very strong team; they stepped up instantly to the servicing of our account and have made this a completely seamless transition for us and – more importantly – for our clients. We are also collaborating with them on new business production.
In addition to working closely with our London colleagues, we are ably supported by a team in Houston who do a fantastic job for us.
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For further information, please contact John Betz, Senior Vice President on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 212-510-1854