News and Media

Media inquiries – please contact Judd Cohen, Cohen Communications (203) 569-6676 judd@cohencom.net


You can report claims directly to your carrier. The sooner the carrier learns about losses, the sooner they can help. We have provided the claim numbers for your reference below.

You can also report claims to us online at https://www.ffbinsurance.com/contact-us/submit-a-claim/   and we will submit the claim to the carrier on your behalf.

You may also call us at 212.933.9050 x1803.

You may also fax the claim to 212.203.3612

Insurance Carrier Contacts

 

AIG

Claims: 1.877.638.4244


Chubb

Claims: 1.800.252.4679
Online: https://www2.chubb.com/us-en/claims/

CNA
Claims: 1.877.262.3727
Online: https://reporting.cnaasap.com

 

Philadelphia
Claims: 1.800.765.9749
Online: http://phly.com/aboutphly/Claims/default.aspx

 

Progressive
Claims & Billing: 1.800.776.4737
Online: http://www.progressive.com/claims

 

NJSBAIG
Claims: 1609.386.6060
Online:  froi@njsbaig.org

 

The Hartford
Claims: 1.877.805.9918
Online: http://www.thehartford.com/contact-the-hartford

 

Travelers
Claims: 1.800.252.4633
Online: http://www.travelers.com/claim/report-claim/index.aspx

 

WRM
Claims: 877 WRM A111
wrmclaims@wrightrisk.com

As Hurricane IRMA approaches the U.S., we wanted to make sure you are aware of important steps to stay safe and avoid damage.

Safety for Individuals

Create or review a disaster plan. Plan an evacuation route in advance and determine where you will go if told to evacuate.

Prepare a survival kit. Stock up on drinking water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit and medicine for everyone including your pet. Include extra clothing, blankets, batteries, flashlights, a portable radio and cash.
Secure outdoor objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture.

Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency.

During a heavy storm, power off and unplug electronics and appliances.

Locate important papers and documents, including your insurance policy and have them ready to take with you should you need to evacuate.

Leave promptly if ordered to evacuate.

Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant damage.

Remember to:

• Close and lock all windows and doors.
• Remove window air conditioners.
• Remove valuable items from your basement. If it’s not possible or practical to move some items, elevate them off the floor on pallets or concrete blocks.
• Clear exterior drains. Look for exterior drains at the bottom of basement stairs, in window wells, and anywhere sidewalks or driveways slope toward the foundation.
• Clear gutters of leaves and debris. This is also a good time to repair any damaged gutters.
• Make sure water can drain away from your foundation. Check that your downspouts have elbows and splash blocks to direct water away from the house.
• Check your sump pump. Pour water into the sump and verify that the pump is working properly. If it has a battery backup, test the battery backup by switching off the main power to the house at the circuit breaker.

Take extra precautions with portable generators.

Generators should be properly grounded and should never be operated indoors, in garages, basements or near windows or doors. Since generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), make sure you have working CO detector in your home. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet, which can “backfeed” into your home’s electrical system and endanger utility workers or anyone who comes near downed wires. Store generator fuel in an approved can away from the house, open flames and fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas appliances.

Safety for Businesses

The following precautions can help protect people and property and guard against disruption of operations:

Review your business continuity plan and communicate emergency evacuation and business interruption instructions to employees. If you don’t have a written plan, a template is available from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (http://disastersafety.org) An emergency plan includes a detailed procedure for evacuation, a checklist for shutting down processes and protecting buildings, contents and equipment, and yard storage. Procedures should include salvage instructions to follow post-event.

Back up critical data and computer records off-site so that operations can continue after a disaster. Consider keeping a backup generator and plenty of batteries on hand so your business can continue to operate after a power loss.

As a storm approaches, quick actions should to be taken to install temporary protection features including:

• Shutter or board up windows to protect them from flying debris.
• Clean out floor drains and catch basins to ensure maximum drainage.
• Anchor structures, trailers and yard storage so they are more likely to stay put in high winds.
• Fill emergency generator and fire pump fuel tanks.
• Shut down production processes safely.
• Shut off all flammable and combustible liquid and gas lines at their source.
• Shut off electrical power at the main building disconnect before the storm strikes.

Once the storm has subsided and it is safe to return, a salvage team should be assembled and repair work prioritized, assuring proper supplies are available and safety procedures followed.

New York, May 5, 2017

First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. (FFB) an independent insurance broker, has been awarded the insurance contract for The Mall at Stonecrest, a super-regional mall near Atlanta Georgia. The mall is one of the largest malls in Georgia, with over a million sq ft of retail floor area.

William McNeil, Senior Vice President, said his firm wrestled the account away from the world’s largest insurance broker by providing a superior program due to the dedication of the experienced insurance professionals at First Fidelity Brokerage.

“Majority of smaller and mid-size brokers are out of their depth when it comes to procuring complicated insurance programs for malls; and national brokers often pay little attention unless they are part of a larger portfolio or somehow tied into a national account.  FFB however has the experience and ensures that the appropriate resources are utilized to structure the optimal program based on the specific risk appetite of the client.  For the Mall at Stonecrest placement, FFB has negotiated the insurance program with forty three (43) insurance companies in order to secure the right program,” said Eugene Podokshik, Principal & CEO of the company.    “You just don’t see that kind of an effort from any other broker”, added William McNeil who lead the placement for The Mall.

“To simply put it, they did an amazing job.  FFB thought outside the box and delivered superior results”, said Craig Delasin, CEO of Urban Retail Properties, the company that manages The Mall at Stonecrest.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. is a leading property and casualty insurance broker and a specialist in industry specific insurance procurement for Real Estate, Construction, and Education.  Headquartered in New York City, FFB has access to over 200 insurance carriers and has binding authority for several leading insurers for select group of industries.

www.FFBinsurance.com

 

First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc has been selected as a distributor for an exclusive new General Liability Insurance program for Real Estate Owners and Managers. The Program provides a unique pricing structure that reduces premium costs and rewards clients who have a long-term record of superior loss results.

 

The program provides an incentive for the property owner to earn back up to 30% of the general liability premium.  The premium savings comes from an innovative approach by creating a pre-funded Self Insured Retention (SIR) account.

Click here to learn more about the program:

https://www.ffbinsurance.com/special-programs/real-estate-premium-return/

Contact William McNeil at billm@ffbinsurance.com (212) 933-9050 x 1804.

 

Saint Petersburg, FL, December 2016 – William McNeil has joined First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. as senior vice president, it was announced by Eugene B. Podokshik, principal and CEO of the firm, a leading property and casualty insurance broker.

As SVP, McNeil will be responsible overseeing new business production in the State of Florida.  “We’re very excited to have Bill join our growing firm and trust he will be successful in marketing several of our exciting new products,” added Podokshik.

Mr McNeil is a licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Broker with 27 years of professional experience in the industry.   Prior to joining FFB, Mr McNeil had been with Marsh & McLennan Agency for 8 years and with Wachovia Insurance for 4 years serving in production positions.  Prior to that he was a Vice President with Bouchard Insurance in Clearwater Florida for 10 years. McNeil is a member of the ICSC and has spoken at many events focusing on Risk Management in the Commercial Real Estate business.

Mr McNeil graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport Connecticut with a Business degree where he also played Varsity Baseball.  He has been a leader of the Pinellas County Toys For Tots charity and was named top contributor to the organization. He has also been a volunteer Ice Hockey Travel Coach with several Championship teams.

Mr McNeil resides with his family in Tarpon Springs Florida.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education.  The website is www.ffbinsurance.com

 

New York, November 2016 – Marat Kogan has joined First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. as senior vice president, it was announced by Eugene B. Podokshik, principal and CEO of the firm, a leading property and casualty insurance broker.

As SVP in the marketing department at FFB, Kogan is responsible for placement of new and existing middle market commercial accounts.  “Kogan is a welcomed addition to our marketing team, he brings years of professional client placement experience,” added Podokshik.

Kogan has 16 year of direct insurance experience, last 4 of which were spent at Hub International coordinating insurance placement for commercial accounts.  Previous six years Kogan was an account executive at Petschauer Insurance and for four years prior he was an underwriter at DJ Colby.   Kogan began his insurance career at The MONY Group as a risk analyst.

Kogan is a graduate of St. John’s University, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business with a BBA in Risk Management & Actuarial Science.   Kogan also received the ACSRC designation – Accredited Customer Service Representative in Commercial Lines, Designation, Accredited Customer Service Representative in Commercial Lines.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education.  The website is www.ffbinsurance.com

We are pleased to advise that a Principal of First Fidelity Brokerage, Eugene Podokshik, is to be recognized at Star Network’s Kings of Kings County Awards.  The Kings of Kings  honoree award honors the top Brooklyn men for their outstanding leadership and their contributions to the community.   The event is being held at The Grand Prospect Hall on November 17, 2016 and is hosted by Schneps Communications and the Star Network.

Past honorees and esteemed attendees have included Michael Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, Rosanna Scotto, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Judge Judy, Geraldo Rivera, and other outstanding business, political and community leaders.

Eugene Podokshik has been nominated for this award for his special service to the Brooklyn community as well as his ability to make a difference in the lives of the many people touched through his work.   Eugene is a volunteer board member at CIDNY ILS, a not for profit home care agency, a board member at the Brighton Ballet Theater, and is a founding member of Emergency Risk Management Association, also a 501 c3 not for profit organization.

 

Congratulations Eugene Podokshik!

eugene-podokshik

First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc is a proud supported of The Little Baby Face Foundation (LBFF) which held a Casino “Royale” Fundraising event at the Bohemian National Hall in New York City on October 27th, 2016.   “The event was an enormous success thanks to all the generous supporters.  We are now able to provide treatment for many more children and positively change their lives,” said Pauline Nicholls, the organizations Executive Director.

The Little Baby Face Foundation transforms the lives of children born with facial deformities through reconstructive surgery. More than 30 world-class surgeons and medical providers at New York City’s finest facilities (Lenox Hill Hospital & Northwell Health) volunteer their time to provide the best corrective surgery and medical care to children and their families in financial need worldwide. Lodging and travel to and from New York is provided for the children to undergo their life-transforming surgical procedures.

The Little Baby Face Foundation is at the forefront in the development of treatment protocols and standards for reconstructive case management by providing education of new surgical reconstruction techniques and utilizing the latest products to enhance the quality of corrective surgery. Since 2002, over 500 children’s lives have been transformed due to the Little Baby Face Foundation.

If you would like to make a donation to this organization you can do so on their website www.littlebabyface.org.

      

Christopher Amalfetano, of First Fidelity Brokerage, presented on the topic of Terrorism Insurance at the New York Real Estate Expo, held at the Hilton Hotel on September 29, 2016.

Providing information on what Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) is and why businesses may not be covered for terrorism insurance, even if electing to purchase TRIA, Mr. Amalfetano discussed what it takes for a terror event to be certified under TRIA. In order for the terrorism act to be considered “certified”, a decision needs to be made by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General of the United States based on the following criteria: it is violent or dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; it results in damage within the United States; it is committed by an individual or individuals, as part of an effort to coerce the US civilian population or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of the US government by coercion.

A TRIA claim has never been paid by any carrier, not for the losses suffered at the Boston Marathon, Charleston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, nor New York City.

Mr. Amalfetano further discussed the availability of private terrorism insurance. A standalone terrorism insurance product is made available by several insurers that provide coverage for terrorism without having the act itself to be certified. The products include coverage for sabotage and acts of terrorism for ideological, political and religious purposes.

For more information on standalone terrorism coverage, please contact Christopher Amalfetano at cam@ffbinsurance.com.

First Fidelity Brokerage will be exhibiting at the NYC Real Estate Expo on 11/11/2015 at the NYC Hilton Midtown.  http://www.nycnetworkgroup.com/   This is an event we have participated in every year and we look forward to another great event where we connect with our clients, meet with firms who want to learn more about us, and discover the latest trends in the real estate industry.

Eugene Podokshik will be speaking at the Murray Hill room at 9:45am  on the following topic:  Advance of Insurance in the Real Estate Industry.  This presentation will go over some of the not so well known but very useful insurance solutions for the real estate industry. Additionally, will review some of the technologies now available to assist property managers and landlords to screen tenants, and ascertain and track that properties and tenants are properly insured. We will also discuss the state of the Real Estate insurance market in New York City and what to expect for 2016.

First Fidelity Brokerage Launches ARMED FORCES and VETERANS PRACTICE

Location and Date: New York, United States
Date of Release: 09/24/2015

In an exciting turn of events for First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc., Richard F. Maynes is taking over as the new Senior Vice President of the firm. In his position of authority, he will be responsible for the firm’s newly established Armed Forces and Veterans Practice.

As announced recently by Eugene B. Podokshik, CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc., everybody is pleased to welcome Richard F. Maynes as the new Senior Vice President of the leading property and casualty insurance brokerage.

Richard Maynes is a licensed property and casualty broker with over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining First Fidelity Brokerage, he served at management and production positions at the Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services. He had previously been associated with the Allied World Assurance Company (AWAC), as the head of underwriting compliance. He also served as Senior Vice President at the Aon Corporation. As Senior Vice President of his new firm, Maynes will be responsible for structuring, overseeing and managing the newly established Armed Forces and Veterans Practice at First Fidelity Brokerage.

“We are developing a niche that is definitely underserved and we are pleased to have a former 1st Lieutenant in the US Army 101st to lead the practice”, said Eugene Podokshik. “We expect to continue to hire military veterans and establish a renowned national practice staffed by people who have served in the armed forces. I believe this is a beneficial approach, particularly for the military personnel who have a difficult time finding employment. We appreciate the sacrifice they make and understand the many benefits that military personnel offer to a private employer”, added Podokshik.

Richard F. Maynes is also a former Governor for the John Street Club, the premier insurance club of New York. He served in the US Army and is a former 1st Lieutenant in the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division. He is also the recipient of the Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Combat Infantryman Badge. Maynes completed his B.A. at the LaSalle University and had Graduate Studies at the Catholic University in Washington, DC. Maynes lives in New Canaan, Ct.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. The firm is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education and their newly established Armed Forces and Veterans Practice. Feel free to visit its official website for further information.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States and Canada, with nearly four out of five cases occurring outside a hospital. Bystanders–whether in a public gathering space or in a workplace–play an in important role in improving the chances of survival. In cardiac arrest, every minute counts, as was illustrated by an incident by our very own Brownsville Collegiate Charter School last month.

Michael Blake, Director of Operations of Brownsville, has found an employee of the school, collapsed in the hallway and not breathing. Michael, along with the help of Johnel Trammell, Special Projects Director (both CPR and AED trained) were able to revive her by performing CPR and using AED that was located on the premises of the school until the paramedics arrived. After 30 compressions and 2 breaths the employee began to breathe independently and was taken to the hospital. Thankfully, after a very brief hospital stay, the employee is at home resting.

Michael Blake
Michael Blake a few days after performing the CPR; and just days before his Alma Matter Duke wins the NCAA Championship.

All organizations benefit from CPR/AED training even though it may not always be required at your workplace. We encourage you to have at least some of your employees take CPR/AED and first aid training classes. The difference between knowing CPR and not knowing CPR could be life or death. Also remember that simply knowing CPR will give you a better sense of calm in dire situations and will allow you to make wiser and more thought out decisions when they are most important. When someone’s life is on the line, you will want all the skills and confidence you can get.

State of the Insurance Market

As published in the NYC Real Estate Expo 2014.

State of the Insurance Market

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NEW YORK, July 7, 2014 – First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. is excited to announce that Risk Analytics, LLC has selected First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. as a preferred distribution partner of its ground breaking advanced business viability analysis product, RiskOutcomes™. RiskOutcomes™ provides a high level overview along with a 12 page detailed report on business viability and credit qualifications of your applicants. By screening and applying business intelligence quickly, users will improve decisions on whether to invest into full underwriting. By entering basic financial data into a multi-step wizard, they will:

• Access UCA Cash Flow Statements, cash generation analysis and liquidity reports.
• See how new sales impacts working capital and impacts operations.
• Determine the available cash for debt service and continued capital investments.
• Identify measures to improve profitability and enterprise valuation.
• Learn whether accruals are manipulating results, discover whether executives are managing profits or cash flow. Identify potential problems before they arise.

Profits can be manipulated and cash cannot. By focusing on cash generation, working capital, leverage and operational processes, this system catches problems other reports miss.

“This is a valuable tool that will help manage risk and compliance, and reducing risk is our top priority,” said Eugene Podokshik, President and CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage. As a preferred partner, First Fidelity Brokerage is able to provide our customers with special discount programs to the already well priced $25 per report fee.

Click here to see sample report.

Click here for a Free Trial (will not ask for Credit Card info)

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

NEW YORK, March 5, 2014 – First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. a leading independent insurance broker, has been awarded a contract to insure the prestigious Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan.

Eugene B. Podokshik, President and CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage, said his firm competed against the global brokers for this iconic institution.

Thomas Lawrence, Senior Director Risk Management for WCMC said, “The terms secured by First Fidelity Brokerage were superior to those of the other brokers.”

In addition to the Weill Greenberg Center, Lasdon Biomedical, Niarchos / Harkness Pavilion and many other renowned NYC buildings, the new program includes the brand new, state-of-the- art Belfer Research Building, an 18-story structure devoted to research targeting the most difficult illnesses.

The Medical College was able to reduce its premium rate over the expiring policy even in a hard market and significantly improve coverage terms and conditions, according to Anthony Montimurro, First Fidelity’s Executive Vice President, who worked on the negotiations with the insurance carriers. “This is another example of First Fidelity’s ability to provide risk management and risk transfer solutions in the middle market and the higher education sphere,” Montimurro said.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

NEW YORK, March 3, 2014 – First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. (FFB) is a leading independent insurance broker, and a preferred distributor of AssureLease™, a program providing indemnity protection for property owners when tenants default on rent or leave the unit damaged.

First Fidelity Brokerage has been receiving a significant volume of inquiries from real estate firms and associations who are looking for a new program to replace the popular Rent Protect product, which according to website aonrentprotect.com has been terminated effective 2/28/14.

This release is to clarify some of the key aspects of the AssureLease™ program.

AssureLease™ replaces the hefty upfront security deposit a renter pays, making units more affordable and attractive. The insurance covers protection for up to three months’ rent if the tenant defaults or leaves with unpaid expenses or charges for damages as well as legal and eviction costs to recoup the payments. For commercial leases, the program includes 12 months of protection plus tenant improvement coverage. While tenant is still responsible for breaking the lease or property damage, AssureLease™, in effect, shifts the burden for collection to the insurer rather than the owner.

The product is offered as an insurance policy to property owners and managers. It is written through a national insurance carrier that is AM Bests “A-” Excellent rated.

For property owners AssureLease™ performs the following:
• Transforms security deposit administration from a cost center to a potential innovative profit center. The program can generate a dividend if losses are within the range of underwritten expectations. It can also reduce administrative costs.
• Allows owners to recoup the premium in small monthly increments added to the rent.
• Mitigates owner’s risk due to tenant insolvency or failure to pay damage.

We are currently actively working only with firms that own or manage several thousand residential units, however we are in the process of lowering the size requirement to only 200. For the commercial product, we work with owners and managers that lease out 1M square feet. If you meet the above initial criteria, please contact us at service@ffbinsurance.com or (212) 933-9050 x1801. More information can be found at https://www.ffbinsurance.com/special-programs/tenant-default/

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

NEW YORK, March 3, 2014 – First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. (FFB) a leading independent insurance brokerage, has been awarded the placement of a three-year insurance contract by the Affordable Construction Company for a $70-million renovation project in the Bronx.

“We competed against a national broker who had the power of incumbency, which is always challenging, said Eugene B. Podokshik, President and CEO of First Fidelity. “But our results are driven by our expertise in NYC construction and our relationships with the construction insurance underwriting community, and our clients clearly see this value with dollars and cents.”

Dennis Hasher, President of Affordable Construction Company, said, “we selected First Fidelity because they delivered an alternative solution to the standard approach and it saved us significant premium dollars.”

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, and education. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

The Cooperator published an article written by First Fidelity Brokerage.   Here’s the link to the article http://cooperator.com/articles/2678/1/Contractor-Liability/Page1.html.

Eugene Podokshik a Featured Speaker at the New York Real Estate Expo

Discusses Improperly Insured Contractors

New York, Oct 2013 –  Eugene B. Podokshik, Principal and CEO First Fidelity Brokerage, a leading independent insurance brokerage, was a featured speaker at the New York Real Estate Expo at the Hilton Hotel on October 8. His topic was “Beware of Not Properly Insured Contractors: A Brief Guide for Owners, Boards and Managing Agents.”

First Fidelity also had a booth in the exhibition area of the expo, one of the leading real estate conferences in New York.

In his presentation Podokshik discussed the antiquated New York Labor Law 241 and its effect on the availability and cost of insurance coverages for contractors.  The law imposes liability on property owners and their contractors for injuries to contractor employees resulting from falls, falling objects, or for the failure by responsible parties to control hazards.  Recently, owners have pushed the liability down to the contractors who are then pushing it further down to the subcontractors, who often can’t afford the skyrocketing insurance premiums. The negative effects of this law, however, are compounding and are having real and serious consequences on New York real estate industry costs and business practices.

The result is that all too often owners, co-op and condo boards and managing agents are put in jeopardy of being held liable in the event of an accident on their premises.  “Contractors and subcontractors in many cases are just not obtaining the proper insurance and the property owners don’t have the mechanisms or the manpower to make sure the contractors are in compliance.  The certificate of insurance provided by the contractor doesn’t give details of the policy and that’s what most managers and property look at,” Podokshik said.

How can owners, boards and agents protect themselves? Podokshik said they should start by implementing procedures for dealing with construction projects and having the contractor provide full copies of their insurance policies. An attorney or insurance broker with experience in such contracts should review the policies to make certain all the necessary information and riders are included.There are companies, such as First Fidelity Brokerage, that offer this service for a fee or as part of their insurance brokerage services.  First Fidelity also has a sample agreement that our customers can view at www.ffbinsurance.com/constructionagr1.

If after a review of the contractor’s policies it is found that they are not in compliance, the contractor and subcontractors should not be allowed on the site until they have the proper coverage or a new contractor is selected who has the proper insurance.

# # #

First Fidelity Brokerage Exhibits at NY Real Estate Expo on October 8 at the Hilton

First Fidelity Brokerage had a booth at the New York Real Estate Expo held on October 8 at the Hilton Hotel.  Meeting with prospective clients were from left: Randy Davison, John Dispaltro, Anthony Montimurro, David Rowe and Aleona Dyment.  First Brokerage President Eugene B. Podokshik was a featured speaker at the event.

Real Estate Expo October 2013

# # #

First Fidelity Brokerage Joins

Higher Education Insurance Association

NEW YORK, July 2013 – First Fidelity Brokerage and its President and CEO Eugene Podokshik have joined the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA), the leading organization ofuniversity insurance executives and brokers.

URMIA is dedicated to advancing the principles of risk management in higher education through advocating sound risk management practices in all aspects of operations and providing the best and most complete information for institutions of higher learning.

“Education is one of the primary niches for First Fidelity Brokerage,” says Podokshik. “URMIA is the leading advocate for the profession and promoting the highest quality standards in risk management in higher education.  We share its goal of promoting quality risk management services and maintaining high ethical standards  and look forward to actively working with the association and its member institutions.”

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits broker. First Fidelity is headquartered  in New York City and has a niche specialization in education, real estate, construction,  not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

# # #

Anthony Montimurro, First Fidelity Brokerage EVP,

Played Taps at Memorial Day Ceremony

RYE, NEW YORK, May 2013 – Anthony J. Montimurro, the executive vice president at FirstFidelity Brokerage,playedtaps at the May 26 observance of Memorial Day at Rye Playland.  The ceremony andpicnic was sponsored by the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency.  More than 150  attended.

Montimurro, a Vietnam War veteran, has been playing the trumpet since age 11 and is a member of an organization called Bugles Across America, whose volunteers play taps at  funerals for veterans and at ceremonies, such as Memorial Day events.  Montimurro also plays trumpet in local bands.  He is a resident of Stamford, Connecticut.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology. The website is www.ffbinsurance.com.

Below are links to photos of Montimurro at the ceremony from newyork.newsday.com.

http://newyork.newsday.com/entertainment/things-to-do/memorial-day-celebrations-white-plains-rye-playland-congers-1.5333736#25

http://newyork.newsday.com/entertainment/things-to-do/memorial-day-celebrations-white-plains-rye-playland-congers-1.5333736#30

Video Featuring First Fidelity Brokerage Wins Award

 Focus Is on Strategic Thinking Required inInsurance and Chess

NEW YORK, April 2013 – A promotional video commissioned by First Fidelity Brokerage has received a 2013 Telly Award for its innovative approach to showcasing the strategic emphasis of First Fidelity by linking it to chess.

Mad Bear Productions produced the video.  In its 34th year, the Telly Award is the premier award honoring the finest in video and film production across several platforms.

In the video, Eugene Podokshik, President and CEO of First Fidelity, is shown playing chess and then having lunch with a client as he describes the need to think strategically in both chess and insurance.  He highlights the company’s service-oriented philosophy and approach to managing risk for clients.

“The Mad Bear team googled me and saw that I was once a chess champion,” Podokshik said.

Glenn Zimmerman, president of Mad Bear, said, “Themes are an important part of any story. Given First Fidelity’s approach to insurance from a strategic standpoint chess just made sense as a way to visualize insurance.”

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology.

The award-winning video can be seen at https://www.ffbinsurance.com/about/the-company/

First Fidelity Brokerage to present at the New York Finance 2013 Expo

             NEW YORK, March 2013 – Eugene B. Podokshik, Principal and CEO, First FidelityBrokerage, a leading independent insurance brokerage, will be a presenter at the New York Finance 2013 Expo.  The title of the presentation is “Alternative Risk Transfer Solutions for Finance and Real Estate Entities via Insurance Captives and High Deductible Programs.” Please see announcement at http://nycfinanceexpo.com/speaker/eugene-b-podokshik-cpcu-cris/

The panel is geared for companies that spend $250,000 and more in insurance premiums. The discussion will include alternative methods to secure insurance and the various forms of captives, what exposures can be insured by the captives, and the process of formation, from feasibility to implementation.

The second annual expo will be held on April 4, at the New York City BarAssociation. Attendees can obtain half-price tickets through First Fidelity Brokerage by entering promotional Code “FFB” when registering on www.nycfinanceexpo.com

Podokshik has worked in insurance product development and in various positions serving middle market and national accounts. Prior to heading First Fidelity Brokerage, he was an EVP for a national insurance broker where he led insurance due diligence, program placement and portfolio aggregation programs for private equity firms.  He has transformed First Fidelity from a general insurance broker to a specialist provider for a select group of industries including financial services and real estate.

Click here to see the pdf of the article

Click here to see the article on the magazine’s website

Micro-Cap Company Insurance Column

Most articles written about  the insurance needs for Micro-Cap companies focus on changes created by The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the resulting additional responsibilities and the shift in corporate protective measures.  This column, however, aims to inform C Suite executive officers, company board members, and shareholders  regarding important and often overlooked insurance aspects of corporate well being and financial  protection.   I will be highlighting important insurance products, going over some common mistakes, providing general insurance strategies, and also offering some do’s and don’ts of coverage.

Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance is purchased to protect personal assets of directors and officers as well as to protect the assets of the firm. It serves to provide reimbursement to the organization, to indemnify Ds and Os for their losses, and to help the firm monitor and provide defense costs associated with responding to lawsuits or investigations.

The basic D&O policy includes coverage for the entity as well as the Ds and Os on an aggregate basis, but can leave the Ds and Os exposed should the entity use up the limits of liability and not have the means to indemnify the Ds & Os for their defense and indemnity expense. A popular D&O derivative product is Side A “DIC” policy. This is basically the same D&O coverage, except it only applies to Ds and Os (no entity) and  is non-rescindable by the carrier. Many SME’s and Micro-Caps already purchase this type of a program, however,  I’d like to introduce another D&O derivative product, the Personal Director’s Liability Insurance (PDL).

Product Highlight Personal Director’s Liability Insurance (PDL).

PDL is essentially an individual personal liability policy for independent directors serving on one or more boards.  It’s unique  as the limits are not shared with other directors or with the organization and the policy can be tailored for the individual to cover one, all, or any combination of boards a director serves on.  Insured directorships can be with publicly traded, privately owned, or not-for-profit organizations.

This policy is an excess policy over any other D&O coverage that may be available containing drop-down and limited difference-in-conditions (DIC) features. In other words, PDL activates when indemnification is not available from any source, and losses are in  excess of other D&O liability insurance, or losses are not paid by underlying D&O liability insurance and certain drop down or DIC features of the policy are triggered.  Limits available are generally up to $10 million.

Some positive features of PDL policy are:

  • No deductible
  • Freedom to choose defense counsel with carriers consent
  • Spousal coverage included
  • Bilateral extended reporting period
  • Dedicated PDL claims professionals are available to guide insureds through the claims process even if the policy is not triggered.
  • PDL responds as primary Insuring Clause 1 coverage  if a loss is not paid under the underlying insurance because of financial impairment of all underlying insurers, claim denial due to a materially false warranty made by any person or organization (other than the insured person), or if all underlying insurance is rescinded.

Why consider a PDL policy? If you’re a Director or Officer of any company, it’s definitely worthwhile to consider this type of program, especially if you have assets worth protecting. Here are few of the common scenarios that a D and O can encounter with their traditional D&O policy:

  • D’s and O’s run the risk that large claim(s) settlements can exhaust D&O limits
  • Entity or individual directors can erode coverage protection for D’s and O’s
  • D&O program can be tied up in bankruptcy estates and defense costs may not be provided for many years (i.e. a U. S. bankruptcy court has ruled that all underlying insurance and its proceeds are assets of a bankruptcy estate and unavailable to pay any covered loss)
  • The D&O policies can be rescinded by the carrier for various causes
  • Poorly structured severability provisions can expose innocent directors 

Common Insurance Mistakes:

When providing insurance reviews, I often find that a great deal of time was spent on D&O insurance, but very little time was spent on the other coverages.  If not structured properly, these other coverages may not respond to a claim, which can have a significant impact on the company’s balance sheet, income, and if severe enough, can even result in bankruptcy.  Carriers are unforgiving when it comes to using the fine print in their policies to disclaim coverage. Someone needs to make sure that you have the right coverages, and that they are written correctly from a technical standpoint.  Take a look at your insurance program to see if you can find some of these common insurance mistakes.

  • Missing names on the named insured schedule
  • Missing locations
  • Limits are too low (building, contents, liability)
  • No flood  or earthquake insurance, no utility service interruption coverage
  • Insufficient business income
  • No hired/non-owned liability coverage
  • Improper classifications / Exclusions for your business activity
  • Professional liability definition of your services is too narrow or incorrect
  • Your broker, or a lower level employee  completed your insurance application
  • The excess policy does not follow from the primary or underlying policies
  • You didn’t purchase the proper coverage – you can see a listing of common coverages purchased by Micro-Cap companies here www.ffbinsurance.com/microcap

General Insurance Procurement Advice:

Here are some of the generic takeaways that might be of benefit to know relating to insurance procurement.

  • If your insurance premiums are over $200,000, ask your broker to net out their commission and instead negotiate a service fee with them.
  • The name of the game is to be prepared.  You need to dedicate a professional to be responsible for risk (insurance) management.  For most Micro-Cap companies, this falls on the shoulders of the CFO.  Whoever it is, please make sure that adequate time is spent on exposure review and analysis.  Hire a consultant or engage your insurance broker to perform this service if you cannot dedicate the time or do not possess the expertise. Your broker relies on the information you give him/her, and your insurance carrier can use the submitted application to deny coverage if they find misrepresentation.
  • Engage an insurance broker who can provide risk management services and act as an extension of your firm, rather than just be an insurance vendor.
  • No matter how solid your relationship is with your insurance provider, we recommend that you engage a third party to “check” your program at least once every three years.  There may be significant gaps in your insurance program and you may not be utilizing the optimal risk transfer structure for your operations.  Reviews can be confidential.
  • Meet your underwriter.  If there’s a claim, you want to know the underwriter personally.  He/she is the only one (other than your attorney and broker) that can go to bat for you when you have a questionable claim.
  • Understand your indemnification relationship with your company.
  • Read and understand your policy. Well, that actually may not be realistic, the understanding that is.  It is better to hire an attorney who is familiar with insurance policies and have them liaison with your broker to secure the appropriate coverages. This additional expense will be a tiny fraction of the premiums you pay, but you will be in a better position when the claim does arrive.  If you don’t want to rely on your corporate counsel who may not have this expertise and need a recommendation, please contact us, we have put together a panel of various insurance attorneys.

 

First Fidelity insurance rate projections for 2013:

Below is a general guide to what is expected to take place in commercial insurance in 2013. The actual rates  will depend on the specific exposure changes, carrier appetite changes, carrier rate increase mandates, loss history of the insured, class of business, and many other factors.

Coverage* % Increase
Property 7% to 12%
Casualty 2% to 8%
Excess Liability 3% to 12%
Workers Compensation 3% to 15%
Directors & Officers 5% to 10%
Errors & Omissions 4% to 6%
Employment Practices 3% to 12%
Employee Benefits 3% to 10%
*Assumes good loss experience.

I hope this information was useful.

Until next time.

Click here to see the press release

SBA * Consulting LTD chooses First Fidelity Brokerage to provide Insurance & Risk Consultatives,  February 13, 2013

Bellmore, NY – February 13, 2013: SBA * Consulting LTD selects First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. (FFB) (www.ffbinsurance.com) as the preferred vendor for commercial insurance and risk management consultative services.   As many businesses suffer from severe uninsured losses from natural or business disasters, prudent business management requires inclusion of insurance and risk review.

SBA * Consulting has now added this specialized area; the Insurance and Risk review service to its 360 GAP Analysis program(http://www.sbaconsulting.com/gapanalysis.html) with the aim of reducing the possibility of client uninsured losses in the future.

“When providing insurance and risk reviews, we often find that a great deal of time was spent on looking for the lowest premium, but very little time was spent on understanding the details of coverages purchased,” said Eugene B. Podokshik, CPCU, CRIS, Principal and CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc.   If not structured properly, the insurance carrier may not respond to a claim resulting in a devastating impact on the company’s balance sheet, income statement, and even possibly bankruptcy.

Podokshik emphasised, “Carriers are unforgiving when it comes to using the fine print in their policies to disclaim coverage. Someone needs to make sure that the program provides the right coverages, and that they are written correctly from a technical standpoint.”

The vast majority of insurance programs that FFB has reviewed contain exclusions that the policyholders were not aware of.  What’s more troubling is that more than half of the programs reviewed contain simple clerical errors that will void coverage if presented with the loss.  Some of the common errors that we see time and time again are a) missing names on the named insured schedule, b) missing locations, c) no flood or earthquake coverage, d) and no utility service interruption coverage, e) improper classifications and d) exclusions for your business activity.

“We are very fortunate to be able work with the insurance coverage technicians from First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc.,” said Wayne Spivak, President of SBA * Consulting.   “Their technical expertise is complemented by their use and reliance on attorneys in the review and procurement of insurance programs.”  Podokshik calls their unique service – “the game changer in insurance procurement™.”

We are also excited about the www.insureflood.com program they have recently established to assist businesses and homeowners with procurement of flood insurance.  Floods are not just on the East Coast; but on every coast, the Great Lakes, on our major rivers as well as minor lakes and can occur in countless other areas and scenarios.  The website provides a graphical illustration of several type of flooding that can occur.

The partnership between First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. and SBA * Consulting LTD is structured to provide this additional value added service at no additional cost to the client.   In addition to the coverage and risk reviews, this new service will allow SBA * Consulting clients to see if their premiums are in line with the marketplace, and as well as what additional coverages should be considered to better protect the business.

About First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc.

First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. (FFB) is a full service commercial insurance broker with specialty focus on Real Estate, Construction, Education, Public Entity/Not For Profit, Financial Services, Healthcare and Technology niches.  FFB’s niche-focus approach is to provide client-centric service by talented brokers who are knowledgeable about a client’s business and provide the gamut of risk management and risk transfer services including advocacy from legal professionals experienced with insurance procurement.  FFB has access to over 200 insurance carriers and has in-house binding authority with several national insurance carriers for certain business classes.

About SBA * Consulting LTD

“Growth is Good”

– We understand your problems.

– Are you ready for the solution?

– Our outsourced CxOs are prepared to help!

SBA * Consulting focus is a global based company providing CxO’s (CFO, Supply Chain Management, Chief Marketing, Chief Information, Chief Operating Officers as well as Human Resource and other consulting professionals. Our market-space now includes mid to large businesses.

What makes us unique to the consulting market is our philosophy to identify the most troubling problems (chief complaint) via using comprehensive GAP Analysis techniques; then help solve these problems. We then assist our clients in implementing change, and empower employees to facilitate the GAP Analysis cycle themselves, without our direct on-site assistance; to discover new areas of improvements and implement the changes required to correct those problems. In other words, we are there to facilitate and teach the client, not take up residence.

Published in Yahoo Business and others – Click here to see the published article

 First Fidelity Brokerage Creates Flood Insurance Website To Facilitate Obtaining Coverage at Low Cost

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
While Hurricane Sandy has created a new recognition of the need for flood insurance, even in areas where the risk might seem minimal, many homeowners and businesses are unaware that flood insurance is not part of the basic insurance policy. It must be obtained separately, either from an insurance company or from the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program. Many insurance companies do not provide flood insurance.

What does it cost, what does it cover and how do I get it are questions many homeowners and businesspeople ask.

Now, there is an easy, cost-effective way to obtain flood insurance via www.insureflood.com. The site provides information about flood insurance and has a link to estimate flood damage based on the height of the water. It also links to the federal program.

Best of all, a homeowner can fill out a simple application online or downloadable, and obtain a quote. The applicant receives terms from several different insurers and programs. After reviewing the quote and the terms, which may vary in price and coverages, the homeowner or businessperson can quickly obtain coverage via the internet. No high pressure selling; there is no obligation to purchase coverage by filling out the application.

The site is for homeowners and businesses in low and medium-risk areas as well as high risk areas.

For the federal program, www.insureflood.com provides charts showing the cost for premiums to cover various levels of damage and also for personal property with a link to the National Flood Insurance Program to obtain that coverage.

“Many homeowners and businesses erroneously believe their policies cover flood damage,” says Eugene B. Podokshik, Principal and CEO, First Fidelity Brokerage, owner of www.insureflood.com “The site provides information about flood insurance, allows homeowners to calculate what their losses could be and has a link to the government program. Most important, it provides easy access to get customized quotes and obtain coverage.

“With the increase in unpredictable weather and damaging storms in recent years, more homeowners and businesses should, at the very least, consider having some level of flood insurance.”

Eugene B. Podokshik Serves on Trade Association Committee

Eugene B. Podokshik, Principal and CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage, served on the organizing committee for the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Metropolitan Awareness Program (MetroRAP) held January 31 at the New York Marriott in Brooklyn.

The daylong event included education seminars, a trade show, awards luncheon as well as an evening reception.

The MetroRap committee awarded Jim Romanelli, Senior Vice President of the Northeastern Zone and Vice President of the New York City Branch, the Executive of the Year.

The PIANY is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees in New York State.

First Fidelity Brokerage, founded in 1994, is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker headquartered in Manhattan. It has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology.

Eugene Podokshik Featured on Panel Discussing Insurance for Contractors

Eugene Podokshik, Principal and CEO of First Fidelity Brokerage, participated on a panel to discuss “The Insurance Market for Construction and Development in 2013 and Beyond.” The event was sponsored by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce;nearly 100 construction executives and allied professionals attended.

Podokshik pointed out that the cyclical insurance market for the construction industry is hardening and small and medium size companies will see increases primarily driven by state labor laws which permit owners to pass along liability to the general contractor who in turn can then hold the subcontractor responsible for work-related injuries. The general contractors are requiring provisions that the subcontractors can’t exclude their employees from coverage.  Podokshik also noted that issuers of umbrella policies are requiring higher underlying limits and the pricing for this insurance is “going through the roof.”

Joining Podokshik on the panel were: Jason Samuel, Farell Fritz P.C.; Robert T. Riccobono, Rockville Risk Management Associates; and moderator Anthony Kammas, Skyline Risk Management, Inc.

Helenic Construction INs. pc.Picture1

Real Estate Weekly Article Published– Click here to see the published article

State Labor Laws Leading to Skyrocketing Insurance Premiums for Contractors

by Eugene B. Podokshik – Principal and CEO, First Fidelity Brokerage

Contractors doing business in New York should brace themselves as insurance premiums across the board are skyrocketing. Fewer insurance carriers are writing coverage in New York, and the coverages offered are more restrictive. It is not uncommon for contractors’ insurance costs to go up 200, 300, or even 400 percent at renewal.

At the heart of this issue are the antiquated New York State Labor Law Sections 240, 241 and 241A, and a lot of opportunistic plaintiff attorneys who are exploiting the system. The NYS Labor Law imposes liability on property owners and their contractors for injuries to employees resulting from falls and such incidents as a worker being struck by a falling object, or for the failure by responsible parties to control hazards.  Normally, if employees are injured on the job, their sole remedy against their employer (with certain exceptions for gross/intentional negligence) is to file a claim for Workers Compensation benefits. Workers Compensation is a no-fault system that provides medical benefits as well as lost wages for injuries that occurred on the job without having to bring action against the employer. So when workers are injured on the job, they will collect Workers Compensation benefits from their employer’s insurer.  However, injured workers involved in construction due the sited Labor Law may also seek to receive compensation from the property owner of the job site by claiming that the owner failed to provide a safe work environment.

Owners have become more educated and have attempted to contractually transfer the risk of suits from injured workers back the general contractors or subcontractors.  This is done via carefully drafted hold harmless and indemnification language. The owner has the general contractor contractually agree to accept the exposure, and the contractor in turn requires the same of subcontractors. Thus, when a worker is injured and brings a claim against the property owner, the property owner tenders the claim to the general contractor and the subcontractors for defense and indemnity. In effect, the general contractor and subcontractors are forced to assume responsibility to defend the lawsuit and look to their own General Liability policy to provide defense and indemnity.  This is not supposed to happen. The General Liability policy is intended to provide protection from allegations of negligence by third parties not the insured’s own employees.

The carriers who offer General Liability coverage to contractors now have to either accept that they are being brought into these types of claims and charge the appropriate premium they believe will cover the risk or attempt to exclude coverage for this scenario, or exit offering liability coverage in New York State.  Currently, only a handful of quality carriers offer General Liability and Umbrella coverage without the injury to own employee exclusion and are accordingly pricing the premiums with substantial increases.

This limitation is severely affecting small and midsize contractors. For larger contractors– those that can accept $250,000 deductibles and can cover such losses — the insurance market is still vibrant and their rates are for the most part constant while the operating cost structure for the small and midsize contractors is increasing.  This translates to higher bid prices for new projects making them less competitive. It’s now just a matter of time before the larger contractors start winning most of the jobs and squeezing out the small and midsize contractors.

As a specialist broker in the construction industry, First Fidelity Brokerage has had to adapt to the changing insurance environment. To help mitigate the increases, we are also taking a more hands-on approach to marketing the insurance programs, often getting carriers to pre-inspect the accounts and having underwriters meet the contractors for face to face discussions.  This particular important to one of our direct construction markets, The Travelers, who still remains committed to the NY marketplace.    We also created several guides for our contractor clients to help with their daily risk management.  In addition, we noticed that many attorneys drafting construction contracts had issues with the insurance and the indemnification language and that the construction agreements often did not line up with the insurance policies purchased leaving contractors exposed to significant losses. To address this we created a new position of Lead Counsel of Quality Assurance and brought on board a high-ranking construction attorney.

Yet, many challenges remain and premiums will increase.  While the idea behind the Labor Laws was good, it is significantly hindering small to midsize contractors. If we want the small and midsize contractors to survive in New York, the only feasible long term solution is to have legislative reform.

First Fidelity Brokerage Purchases Flood Insurance Website

Site Facilitates Obtaining Coverage at Low Cost

NEW YORK, January 1, 2013 – First Fidelity Brokerage has purchased the website www.insureflood.com from Premium Savings of America for an undisclosed amount, according to Eugene B. Podokshik, CEO and Principal, First Fidelity.

Insureflood.com is a user-friendly site that provides flood insurance quotes and information about flood insurance for homeowners and businesses nationwide.  It has a link to estimate flood damage based on the height of the water. It also has a link to the federal program.

“The need for homeowners and businesses to understand flood insurance and whether it is needed has been magnified by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy,” Podokshik says. “This has created a new awareness of the need for flood insurance, even in areas where the risk might seem minimal.”Many homeowners and businesses, he points out, are still unaware that flood insurance is not part of the basic insurance policy.  The insurance must be obtained separately, either from a private insurance company or from the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program.

Using insureflood.com homeowners and businesses can fill out a simple application online or download it to obtain a quote.  The applicant may receives terms from several different insurers and programs. After reviewing the quote and the terms, which may vary in price and coverages, the homeowner or businessperson can quickly obtain coverage via the internet.  No high pressure selling and there is no obligation to purchase coverage by filling out the application.

This is for homeowners and businesses in low and medium-risk areas as well as high risk areas.  Flood insurance pricing from the NFIP program for homes and businesses located in low risk flood zones are shown right on the website without the need to complete an application.

“With the increase in unpredictable weather and damaging storms in recent years, more homeowners and businesses should, at the very least, consider having some level of flood insurance,” Podokshik says.

 

We at First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. express our most heartfelt sympathy to the Newtown, Connecticut community at this most difficult time. We know that we join the entire nation in sharing your grief and mourning your loss.

Our staff have provided insurance and risk management services to public school systems, private and charter schools, and colleges for many years.  We will continue our efforts toward helping our current and future educational clients to install and maintain emergency preparedness and disaster prevention plans. All who can must help to prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again.

 

October 31, 2012

Dear clients, colleagues, and friends,

While we lost power in our New York and Brooklyn locations for several days, our virtual offices remained open, and our telephones and emails fortunately were not disrupted. We have been working around the clock to reach all of our customers to report claims and to answer questions. If you have not spoken to us yet, please call us, we want to hear from you.

First Fidelity Brokerage remains committed and ready to support clients in discussing your coverage, quantifying and presenting property and business interruption claims. If you have questions concerning your policy or claims process, please contact your account executive for immediate guidance.

For those who suffered wind damage, there is some good news. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York homeowners will not have to pay potentially large hurricane deductibles on insurance claims stemming from damage caused by Monday’s storm. This appears to apply to commercial policies as well, but we have not yet received clarification from the Governor on this.

We have compiled information that may be helpful to those affected by Sandy. Please click on the relevant links below.

  • Expanded Insurance Carrier and Disaster Assistance Contact Information
  • What to do after a loss
  • Summary of Aid Programs available for those affected by Sandy
  • Relevant Government Disaster Loan programs for Businesses and Individuals
  • FEMA Help After a Disaster – Applicants Guide

Our hearts go out to all the victims of this massive storm. Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Eugene B. Podokshik, CPCU, CRIS
Principal & CEO

October 28, 2012

Dear clients, friends and colleagues:

As storm Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S., we wanted to make sure you are aware of important steps to stay safe and avoid damage.

Safety for Individuals

Create or review a disaster plan. Plan an evacuation route in advance and determine where you will go if told to evacuate.

Prepare a survival kit. Stock up on drinking water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit and medicine for everyone including your pet. Include extra clothing, blankets, batteries, flashlights, a portable radio and cash.

Secure outdoor objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture.

Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency.

During a heavy storm, power off and unplug electronics and appliances.

Locate important papers and documents, including your insurance policy and have them ready to take with you should you need to evacuate.

Leave promptly if ordered to evacuate.

Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant damage.

Remember to:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Remove window air conditioners.
  • Remove valuable items from your basement. If it’s not possible or practical to move some items, elevate them off the floor on pallets or concrete blocks.
  • Clear exterior drains. Look for exterior drains at the bottom of basement stairs, in window wells, and anywhere sidewalks or driveways slope toward the foundation.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris. This is also a good time to repair any damaged gutters.
  • Make sure water can drain away from your foundation. Check that your downspouts have elbows and splash blocks to direct water away from the house.
  • Check your sump pump. Pour water into the sump and verify that the pump is working properly. If it has a battery backup, test the battery backup by switching off the main power to the house at the circuit breaker.

Take extra precautions with portable generators.

Generators should be properly grounded and should never be operated indoors, in garages, basements or near windows or doors. Since generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), make sure you have working CO detector in your home. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet, which can “backfeed” into your home’s electrical system and endanger utility workers or anyone who comes near downed wires. Store generator fuel in an approved can away from the house, open flames and fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas appliances.

Safety for Businesses

The following precautions can help protect people and property and guard against disruption of operations:

Review your business continuity plan and communicate emergency evacuation and business interruption instructions to employees. If you don’t have a written plan, a template is available from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (http://disastersafety.org) An emergency plan includes a detailed procedure for evacuation, a checklist for shutting down processes and protecting buildings, contents and equipment, and yard storage. Procedures should include salvage instructions to follow post-event.

Back up critical data and computer records off-site so that operations can continue after a disaster. Consider keeping a backup generator and plenty of batteries on hand so your business can continue to operate after a power loss.

As a storm approaches, quick actions should to be taken to install temporary protection features including:

  • Shutter or board up windows to protect them from flying debris.
  • Clean out floor drains and catch basins to ensure maximum drainage.
  • Anchor structures, trailers and yard storage so they are more likely to stay put in high winds.
  • Fill emergency generator and fire pump fuel tanks.
  • Shut down production processes safely.
  • Shut off all flammable and combustible liquid and gas lines at their source.
  • Shut off electrical power at the main building disconnect before the storm strikes.

Once the storm has subsided and it is safe to return, a salvage team should be assembled and repair work prioritized, assuring proper supplies are available and safety procedures followed.

Claim Reporting

You can report claims directly to your carrier. The sooner the carrier learns about losses, the sooner they can help. We have provided the claim numbers for your reference below.

You can also report claims to us online at https://ffbinsurance.com/mobile-friendly-forms/submit_claim_mobile and we will submit the claim to the carier on your behalf.

You may also call us at 212.933.9050 x1803.

You may also fax the claim to 212.203.3612

Insurance Carrier Contacts

Chartis (AIG)
Claims: 1.877.638.4244

Chubb
Claims: 1.800.252.4679
Online: http://chubb.com/businesses/claims/chubb1304.html

CNA
Claims: 1.877.262.3727
Online: https://reporting.cnaasap.com

Philadelphia
Claims: 1.800.765.9749
Online: http://phly.com/aboutphly/Claims/default.aspx

Progressive
Claims & Billing: 1.800.776.4737
Online: http://www.progressive.com/claims

NJSBAIG
Claims: 1609.386.6060
froi@njsbaig.org

The Hartford
Claims: 1.877.805.9918
Online: http://www.thehartford.com/contact-the-hartford

Travelers
Claims: 1.800.252.4633
Online: http://www.travelers.com/claim/report-claim/index.aspx

WRM
Claims: 877 WRM A111
wrmclaims@wrightrisk.com

FFB Exhibits At Real Estate

New York, October 18, 2012

First Fidelity Brokerage, a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker, participated in the New York City Real Estate Expo, one of the leading industry trade shows. The event was held on October 18 at Columbia University and included panels and presentations by industry leaders as well as an exhibition area.

First Fidelity’s booth featured two products specifically geared to the real estate industry:

  • The recently introduced, innovative Tenant Default Insurance Program by Assurelease™. First Fidelity is one of only five brokerages nationwide to distribute this product which benefits both renters and building owners. The program provides indemnity protection for property owners when tenants default on rent or leave the unit damaged. Renters pay a monthly fee rather than a hefty upfront safety deposit.
  • InsureMyUnit.com, which simplifies the purchase of insurance for property owners and managers by providing insurance quotes online.
    “The NYC Real Estate Expo was a wonderful opportunity to meet with potential customers and show the products we offer geared specifically to real estate,” said Eugene Podokshik, principal and CEO, First Fidelity. “The show attracts major players in the industry and we were very excited about the excellent response.”

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. It is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in the real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services, and technology industries.


Kevin J. Connelly Joins First Fidelity Brokerage As Lead Counsel of Quality Assurance

New York, October 9, 2012 – First Fidelity Brokerage has selected Kevin J. Connelly to serve as lead counsel of quality assurance, it was announced by Eugene B. Podokshik, principal and CEO of the firm, a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. Connelly, an attorney, is experienced in coordinating insurance coverage in various industries including construction and real estate.

He will be involved in structuring coverage specifications, assisting with claims negotiations and coverage disputes, and will oversee contract review for First Fidelity clients for insurance, risk transfer and indemnification issues. He will also liaison with clients’ counsel on various legal issues.

Connelly joins First Fidelity from Anderson Kill & Olick, where he was a shareholder and principal handler of technology transactions. He worked closely with the real estate group to deliver integrated construction/risk management solutions for various clients. Prior to that he was counsel at Zeitlin & DeChiara, where he developed and implemented risk management programs, and a partner and construction department head at Duval & Stachenfeld.

“We are fortunate to have with Kevin Connelly onboard so our clients can engage his services,” Podokshik said. “We are not a law firm, and do not practice law, but we believe it is important that our clients can avail themselves of someone with Kevin’s legal expertise. This improves the risk protection caliber of polices we deliver.”

Connelly graduated cum laude from Fordham University and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. He has written and spoken extensively on a variety of topics including managing risk in construction, security and privacy law.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology.

AssureLease™ Selects First Fidelity Brokerage to Distribute Tenant Default Insurance

Innovative Program Provides Added Protection for Rental Property Owners; Reduces Initial Outlay for Renters

New York, October 1, 2012 – First Fidelity Brokerage has been selected by AssureLease™ as a preferred distributor of its patented tenant default insurance. The program provides indemnity protection for property owners when tenants default on rent or leave the unit damaged. First Fidelity offers the product to multi-family rental properties, commercial properties, and to student dormitories in all 50 states.

AssureLease™ replaces the hefty upfront security deposit a renter or student pays, making units more affordable and attractive. The insurance covers protection for up to three months’ rent if the tenant defaults or leaves with unpaid expenses or charges for damages as well as legal and eviction costs to recoup the payments. For commercial leases, the program includes 12 months of protection plus tenant improvement coverage. While tenant is still responsible for breaking the lease or property damage, AssureLease™, in effect, shifts the burden for collection to the insurer rather than the owner.

The product is offered as an insurance policy to property owners and managers. It is written through a national insurance carrier that is AM Bests “A-” Excellent rated.

For property owners AssureLease™ performs the following:

  • Transforms security deposit administration from a cost center to a potential innovative profit center. The program can generate a dividend if losses are within the range of underwritten expectations. It can also reduce administrative costs.
  • Allows owners to recoup the premium in small monthly increments added to the rent.
  • Mitigates owner’s risk due to tenant insolvency or failure to pay damage.

“There are just so many benefits this product brings to the table that provide significant advantages for both owners and renters,” said Eugene Podokshik, Principal and CEO of First Fidelity. “We are very excited to be one of five companies selected nationwide to partner with AssureLease™ and are eager to get this in front of our clients.”

Anderw D. Loughrane, AssureLease’s President, cited First Fidelity’s experience in two areas as significant factors in their selection. “First Fidelity’s experience in both real estate and education, along with their ability to get our product in front of the right audiences, was instrumental in our selecting them.”

About First Fidelity Brokerage – Founded in 1994, First Fidelity is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services, technology and construction industries.

About AssureLease™ – AssureLease™ created a tenant default insurance product that replaces the need for landlords to take security deposits from their tenants. The management of AssureLease™ comprises of seasoned insurance, real estate, legal and risk management executives who have combined their various skills in the development and design of the AssureLease™ product.

Anthony J. Montimurro Joins First Fidelity Brokerage As Executive Vice President

New York, Oct 2012 – Anthony J. Montimurro has joined First Fidelity Brokerage, Inc. as executive vice president, it was announced by Eugene B. Podokshik, principal and CEO of the firm, a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker.

As EVP, Montimurro will be responsible for structuring, overseeing and managing the Education, Public Entity and Not-For-Profit practices at First Fidelity.

Montimurro is a licensed property and casualty broker with 38 years of experience. Prior to joining First Fidelity, he served in management and production positions for Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services in the tri-state region. Previously, he was with Marsh & McLennan’s Agency Group and USI. He also was a producer and manager with Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Montimurro specializes in the management and servicing of major accounts for colleges and universities, public entities and institutions, religious and not-for-profit organizations as well as large commercial accounts with an emphasis on alternative markets, self-insurance, and risk management products and concepts, along with traditional insurance programs.

Montimurro has lectured on risk management at several colleges and universities, including Cornell University and Ithaca College, as well as speaking before numerous industry and trade associations.

He served in the US Army in Vietnam where he received several awards and medals including two Bronze Stars. He is a graduate of New York University with a BA in political science. Montimurro lives in Stamford, Ct.

Founded in 1994, First Fidelity Brokerage is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. First Fidelity is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in real estate, construction, education, not-for-profit, healthcare, financial services and technology.

FFB Participates in NY Chamber of Commerce Expo

New York, September 20, 2012 – First Fidelity was among more than 80 of the attendees at the 20th Greater NY Chamber of Commerce Expo held at the Hilton-New York. FFB exhibited, participated in discussion and networked with other local business to explore the latest issues and developments in the NYC small business community. The conference was conducted by the NY Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by various large corporate businesses looking to reach out to small business owners.

The Chamber Expo drew a variety of small and large corporate business representatives from throughout the NY Metro area. The Expo’s purpose was to help stimulate and educate New York’s small business and civic leaders in their navigation of the post 9/11 economy. Working with a longstanding membership base, the Expo is an ideal opportunity not only for business owners to expand their client base, but also to allow them to connect with leaders of government agencies and elected officials from New York, Albany, Washington and beyond.

FFB’s participation resulted in various business opportunities and transactions with other local and corporate businesses. The exhibit was a success and a great learning experience for the newly launched company. Given the success of the Chamber Expo, FFB has decided to participate in the NYC Real Estate Expo in October. This expo will target on one of FFB’s main market niche; real estate.


First Fidelity Brokerage Restructures Under New Leadership
Insurance Industry Innovator Eugene Podokshik Takes Helm

New York, September 14, 2012 – First Fidelity Brokerage has restructured from a general insurance broker to a provider serving specific industry segments under the leadership of new Principal and CEO Eugene B. Podokshik, CPCU, CRIS. The firm will focus on the education, not-for-profit, healthcare, real estate, construction, financial services and technology niches.

The company is rebranding under the name “FFB” and has introduced a new logo of a shield with profit bars representing FFB’s commitment to protect the balance sheet of its clients.

“We are eager to put in effect a new vision of what an insurance broker should be. I know all of our clients, prospects and producers will welcome this new approach.” said Podokshik. FFB’s niche-focused approach is to provide client-centric service by talented brokers who are knowledgeable about a client’s business and provide the gamut of risk management and risk transfer services including advocacy from legal professionals experienced with insurance procurement. The addition of legal expertise in insurance procurement is what FFB refers to as “The game changer in insurance procurement.” ™

As part of the restructuring, Podokshik has added experienced brokers, administrators and producers.

Michael Kravchenko, FFB’s CFO, said, “The company is transitioning from a regional player to a national player with admirable international capabilities. Thanks to our carrier partners, we are now able to place local coverages directly in 87 countries and administer the policies and billing from within the U.S., a capability maintained only by a handful of international brokers.”

Founded in 1994, FFB is a leading property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee benefits insurance broker. FFB is headquartered in New York City and has a niche specialization in education, not-for-profit, healthcare, real estate, financial services, technology and construction industries.

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