Expansion, Innovation & Collaboration: How the first construction focused, US/CAN cross-border broker ensures global success
By American GlobalHealth & Safety
In today’s challenging market, a knowledgeable, reputable, and innovative broker can serve as a valuable business partner and key strategic advisor. So, what differentiates one broker from another? Michael Marino, Chairman & CEO of American Global believes it begins, in large part, with a company’s culture.
In 2014, he set out to build a brokerage where collaboration is a core value and diversity of experience is a major differentiator. In less than ten years he has done just that, assembling a team of experts that span borders and oceans. Already one of the largest, privately held construction insurance and surety brokers in the United States, American Global has proudly become the first construction focused, US/CAN cross-border broker. So, how does their ‘culture of collaboration’ translate internationally and truly benefit the client?
Collaboration in a flat, non-siloed organization like American Global, encourages teammates to actively engage their colleagues—regardless of where they reside—in order to leverage knowledge and gain insight that adds value for their client. Many of these employees, what American Global calls ‘non-traditional’ resources, may be fairly new to the brokerage business but have a deep understanding and focused background in key areas of the construction industry—be it law, accounting, financial modeling, or even engineering. These resources work in tandem with highly experienced brokers who collaborate across the entire international platform, diving deep into a clients’ business to deliver meaningful business advice and innovative solutions… brokers like Kent Peters, newly named President of American Global’s Canadian operation.
Kent brings more than 30 years’ experience delivering complex surety, performance security and credit products to some of the largest contractors working in Canada. His commitment to ensure that clients have the best access to markets, advice and services, aligns perfectly with the values and expectations of American Global. Kent, together with the team of risk management professionals he will soon lead, will be able to offer a full suite of surety and insurance services to the Canadian construction market. Just as Kent’s new colleagues will benefit from his extensive P3 knowledge and regional relationships he has established, he too will gain value from them. With cross-border collaboration, clients who work in any geography benefit from the talent of American Global teammates located in every geography.
Thinking outside the box
This commitment to collaboration also extends externally to the broker-client relationship, where the ‘team’ mentality promotes early engagement with frequent and transparent communications. Honest communication empowers American Global to think outside the box for their clients, unwilling to accept “the status quo.” Their team of attorneys, engineers, CPA’s, financial analysts, and experienced brokers, thrive on reviewing contracts, introducing potential JV partners, discussing risk allocation between parties, and other best practices, to generate different results and help clients grow profitably.
Creative thinking is a driving force for success and one reason American Global attracts talent like Kent Peters who has worked to create innovative performance security and credit products for the growing P3 space in Canada. Kent also played an instrumental role in the promotion and acceptance of surety bonds, in place of letters of credit. For global clients who operate in multiple countries, unfettered innovation and open communication becomes even more critical.
Local knowledge, global assets
As a broker ‘without borders’, American Global’s flat structure provides yet another benefit: the ability for clients to work with a local, regionally based leader in one of many locations across the U.S., Canada or Europe, while having access to the full breadth of global assets.
Contractors who operate across North America will enjoy seamless transactions with support and regional resources on both sides of the border. With Kent at the helm in Canada, clients can tap into his breadth of knowledge about performance security solutions or seek advice on credit and indemnity agreements or risk transfer solutions. Contracts, such as P3s or alternative energy contracts, involve multiple stakeholders such as project sponsors, equity partners, design teams, and lenders — each with their own interests—and each supported by their own legal, financial and risk advisors. These counterparties and advisors will rely on their experience of how transactions are achieved in their specific region. Therefore, having a globally aligned risk and performance security advisor by your side is critical. With expertise across different geographies and business cultures, American Global works as one team, toward a single goal, helping clients achieve optimal results with the least amount of friction.
Project complexity, whether due to project delivery model or technical aspects, requires even greater diversity of experience from risk advisors, and bringing the requisite knowledge to the Canadian market will be important going forward. In Canada, multi-national JVs will be the standard for infrastructure contracts (such as public transit expansion) for years to come, and a broker who can foster introductions and help forge lasting relationships will hold the key to success. Additional opportunities are sure to come from the team being assembled in Canada, along with their expertise in other insurance products and services, such as captives, SDI, risk engineering, claims and project solutions.
Working with a flexible, forward-thinking international broker is particularly advantageous for a growing business. As clients take on larger projects or expand into new geographies, insurance, surety and performance security needs change. American Global is fully equipped to grow with their clients, providing greater global resources and extensive experience with complex placements and alternative delivery programs, all while clients maintain the relationship they’ve built with their existing American Global service team.
American Global’s collaborative culture has clearly proven to be a win-win scenario, as they successfully serve clients across North America, Europe and Latin America. While their growth has been exponential, it has not been accidental. The decision to grow organically and methodically is in accordance with another core value of American Global, ‘one client at a time, one colleague at a time.’ As they proudly expand across the border into Canada, the call to add ‘one country at a time’ to that mantra, seems appropriate.
Kent Peters noted, “At American Global Canada, I’m excited to adopt the same business philosophy and cultural ideals that have been employed successfully throughout the rest of the company, in order to replicate their outstanding results in the Canadian market. I am in full alignment with my global, multi-disciplinary teammates, who are exclusively dedicated to serving those in the construction and infrastructure sector.”
As American Global continues to revolutionize the insurance industry, they want to remind owners, developers and contractors in Canada and around the globe, that it’s time they begin to “expect more from your broker.” Learn more about American Global at www.americanglobal.ca or contact Kent Peters, President-Canada at: firstname.lastname@example.org.