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Archive for category: BLOG

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J B Boda Group Hosts RIMS

As they embark on their 75 Years of Service to the Insurance Industry, the J B Boda Group hosts the RIMS Conference.  With this announcement you will see information on the RIMS Conference and you can view more about our TechAssure member’s anniversary on their website.

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TechAssure Names New Member Firm in Kansas, MO

CHARLOTTE, NC – Jan. 9, 2016 – TechAssure, the international nonprofit association of insurance and risk management experts for technology-related risks, has named Brush Creek Partners as a new member effective immediately. Based in Kansas City, MO, Brush Creek Partners is an independent, full-service insurance brokerage firm that specializes in assisting middle-market technology and life science industry clients with their insurance needs.

“Kansas City has a vibrant and growing tech scene and we are pleased to have a high-caliber firm like Brush Creek Partners in the region,” said TechAssure Executive Director, Garrett Droege. “Brush Creek Partners is a great addition to our international network of specialist brokers.”

Brush Creek Partners is dedicated to managing the full range of personal and business risks, including data breach and cyber liability, D&O, E&O and more. Founding Partner, Travis Holt, added, “We’ve considered ourselves thought leaders and innovators in the technology risk management and cyber liability insurance space for a long time, but to have a group like TechAssure validate that is powerful.  We’re excited to bring even more value and resources to our clients with technology-related risks.”

MORE ABOUT TECHASSURE
TechAssure is a unique consortium of risk management experts serving innovative industries, such as technology, telecommunications, life sciences, clean tech, as well as the venture capital and private equity firms that fund them.   Comprised of 22 specialist firms located in strategic locations across the world, TechAssure members collectively serve over 4,000 clients and represent over $3 Billion in premium volume.    The association also produces a proprietary annual benchmarking report for the industries it serves. TechAssure is currently celebrating its 15th year.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact H. Garrett Droege, CPCU, CIC at 704-997-3238 or email at garrett@techassure.com.  Or visit www.techassure.com or on Twitter @TechAssure

Brush Creek Partners: Travis S. Holt – Travis.Holt@brushkc.com

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Mark Ware Elected as Chairman of TechAssure Association

Denver, CO, January 1, 2017 – IMA, one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokers, announced that Mark Ware, Senior Vice President of IMA was recently elected as chairman of TechAssure Association Inc., a consortium of independent insurance agents and brokers who focus on technology-related risks and has demonstrated advanced expertise in managing the technology, life sciences, clean tech industries, as well as the firms that fund them.

In his role as Chairman, Mark will work directly with all TechAssure committee chairs and strategic alliances ti ensure that the association’s goals and objectives are reached.

As the leader of IMA’s Technology Practice, Mark has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, and has been with IMA since 2002. Mark has been involved with TechAssure since 2004 and has previously served as Chairman of the multinational trade association. “Mark is one of the true leaders in the technology-risk space and has been a vital part of TechAssure for over a decade,” said Garrett Droege, Executive Director of TechAssure Association. “Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role and I am personally excited for where his leadership will take us in 2017.

“TechAssure is one of the most progressive and respected member-driven associations in the insurance industry and I am honored to serve as Chairman for a second term.” said Mark Ware. “We continue to evolve and prosper by expanding our global footprint while bringing world class resources, education, and technology to our members.”

About The IMA Financial Group

The IMA Financial Group, Inc. (IMA) is a diversified financial services company specializing in risk management, insurance, employee benefits solutions and wealth management. It employs nearly 700 associates at offices in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, New York and Texas. The IMA Financial Group is comprised of IMA, Inc., the ninth-largest independently owned retail insurance broker in the U.S.; Signature Select LLC, a retail insurance broker subsidiary providing personal and  business insurance services for midsized organizations; Towerstone, Inc., a wholesale insurance broker; Eydent Insurance Services, a managing general underwriter specializing in niche solutions; CORnerstone Risk Solutions, an alternative risk services company; and TrueNorth, Inc., an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that provides professional asset management and investment consulting services.

About TechAssure

Established in 2000, TechAssure is an international not-for-profit association dedicated to advancing corporate insurance and risk management practices for companies with technology-related risks. The association is comprised of independent regional insurance brokers located across the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and India.

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5 Basic Steps to Get Started in Enterprise Risk Management

If you are an innovative firm, then managing risk is an essential part of doing business. There are no standard enterprise risk management (ERM) plans that fit every technology firm. Each innovative firm is different and an Enterprise Risk Management program has to be designed to fit the specific needs on an individual business.

But there are five basic steps that a technology firm can take when starting their Enterprise Risk Management program. The ERM program should reflect the company’s culture and particular structure.

1. Personnel – The first step to developing an effective ERM plan is to involve key company personal. A team has to be assembled that will be responsible for overseeing the creation of the ERM plan as well as its implementation. Who are the key people in your organization that will be involved in establishing your enterprise risk management program?

2. Preparation – ERM preparation requires a realistic approach. By now you should have taken the basic steps to identify the critical risks that your organization faces. The next step will be to better determine your level of acceptable risk retention. Implementing an ERM program can help you broaden your scope of methods for managing those risks.

3. Documentation – The research involved with creating a company’s ERM plan needs to be thoroughly documented. This may involve interviewing key managers as well as conducting risk surveys and more. Sharing such documents among key personal can provide valuable ideas and provide resolutions for better managing those risks. The ERM plan should now be put together and reviewed. But keep in mind, an ERM program is always a working document. As your organization grows and changes, your ERM program will need to adjust.

4. Implementation – Once the ERM plan is created and passes the approval process, it is time to put it into place. All people involved with the ERM plan must be know their responsibilities. The plan needs to have event identification, risk impact response as well as defined actions that will be taken. An ERM plan without any implementation is not helpful in moving your organization to a higher level.

5. Monitor – Once an ERM plan has been created and put in place, it’s important it also be supervised. This can involve periodic audits, reviews, assessments and more. Effective supervision might also involve third parties to make certain the ERM plan is current and meeting all designated goals. Regular ERM monitoring will need to be done for the long term.

It’s important for companies in the technology and life sciences industries to manage all of their organizational risks. To do this properly may require getting assistance from industry experts. The members of TechAssure Association have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide expert advice for effective risk management. Contact us today to learn more.

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Life Science: Managing Risk throughout the Regulatory Process

Medical device product development is both a complex and highly difficult process. The developer must have a vision of the desired outcome before they conduct research, development and marketing of the product and begin regulatory compliance.

Because of their nature of use, regulation and approval of the product must be met before the product’s release. The FDA’s regulation process can include a number of production “kinks” at first. The public’s safety is the FDA’s number one concern and the efficacy of the device is the second. An approval process can include an evaluation of potential risk, manufacturing processes, potential harm the device may cause, pre-market evaluation and approval, and post market evaluation. The FDA will then classify the product as a Tier I, II, or III. The device then must be put through the IDE and IRB processes. The Investigation Device Exemption allows the device developer to test the unreleased product by using it as it has been intended. The data from this test will then reveal important information which will be evaluated by a review board before entering clinical trials.

After the review board sets up a comparable clinical testing environment, the trials can then begin. The clinical trial process is divided into two sets, pivotal and pilot. The pilot phase is less stringent, testing the basic safety of use of the product. The pilot phase sets the stage for the pivotal trials which use a larger group of testers with a more extensive type of safety testing and use testing.  After the product passes these regulatory phases mass development can begin.

Product launches are a key milestone and require a great deal of risk management strategy for success.  It is important to work with an insurance and risk management firm that is knowledgeable about the life sciences industry and understands how to make risk control an important component of your overall program.  Working with a TechAssure Association member can help your firm stay protected through the rigorous regulatory process of medical device development and a new device launch.  

Please contact us to learn more about developing a comprehensive insurance and risk management program for your product development and launches.

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Securities Class Action Lawsuits Against Life Science Firms on the Rise

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Executive liability is a large threat for all sizes of technology and life science firms.  In addition to litigation damages and expenses, companies face distractions, and loss of corporate opportunities.  Although a comprehensive executive liability insurance policy will go a long way towards reducing the exposures, they face greater exposures if they have no risk control practices in place.

Reviewing the Claims Data

Upon the release of this year’s Dechert Survey of Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuits, many Life Science firms have been forced to take a closer look at their risk avoidance strategies. The Survey showed that securities class action lawsuits against life science firms have continued to rise steadily since 2011. 

The survey showed that in 2012, 27 pharmaceutical, bio-technical, and medical companies faced security suits. This number represents over 18% of all securities suits filed during the year of 2012. During the year of 2011 only 17 companies experienced securities suits, reflecting a total of 9% of total securities claims. This information shows that from 2011-2012, securities claims nearly doubled.  Unfortunately, small cap Life Science firms continue to be targets for suits. Those with market caps under $250 million made up 50% of all claims against Life Science firms. In comparison, the survey showed in 2011 these firms accounted for 58% of total claims. 

Over 43% of the total claims dealt with misrepresentations of products and product safety.  In addition, insider trading still appears to be a common part of most of the complaints that are filed.  It is important to develop a comprehensive Directors and Officers Liability program that includes a solid risk control program. Smaller companies must be especially vigilant as the studies show they are at the highest risk.

Directors and Officers Liability and Risk Control

D&O insurance is designed to protect against claims made against them while serving on a board of directors or as an officer.  These policies are written on a claims-made basis, usually contain no duty to defend policy language and the scope of the coverage, pricing and underwriting criteria can vary. 

When a Life Science firm includes risk control into their comprehensive D&O program they can do a lot to reduce the threat of D&O claims.  D&O loss control programs specifically tailored to their company Includes risk control in areas of securities trading, antitrust compliance, financial integrity, managing conflicts of interests, bribes and kickbacks, board appointments and behavior, misappropriation of corporate assets and confidentiality. The goal of any D&O loss prevention program is to sensitize the company’s executives to exposures and place policies and procedures to minimize the exposures.

Working with a TechAssure Association member can help you develop a comprehensive D&O program.  A TechAssure member will help you customize an insurance plan, which will work seamlessly with your risk control strategy.  Please contact us for more information on how a TechAssure member can help your firm.

 Source: http://www.dechert.com/Dechert_Survey_of_Securities_Fraud_Class_Actions_Brought_Against_US_Life_Sciences_Companies_03-20-2013/