The Crichton Group is a privately-held insurance brokerage firm headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Launched in 1979, Crichton is Middle Tennessee’s largest independent insurance agency, and is an Assurex Global partner. The Crichton Group creates all lines of coverage for clients, from personal to commercial and specializes in developing client-focused custom insurance solutions.
Bud Curtis is the director of alternative risk solutions at Crichton. “I’ve been in the alternative risk space since about 1980,” says Curtis, who has been putting risk plans together ever since. “I’ve worked with self-insurance funds, a Bermuda-based captive, and I’ve even been part of a group that owns a captive,” he says, adding, “I’ve worked with captives most of my professional life.”
The Crichton Group specializes in alternative risk solutions, and offers enterprise risk captives, as well as group, property and casualty, and benefit captives.
“Our typical client or prospect is a financially sound privately-held company with revenue in the range of $60 – 500 million, and at least 150 employees,” says Curtis. “Of course, there are exceptions to the rule depending on what kind of coverage a client needs, but typically the costs involved with an enterprise risk captive require a baseline of revenue in order to make sense for the client.”
Curtis stresses to his clients that captives are first and foremost a risk management tool used to protect the corporate treasury. “Captives are designed to provide coverages for clients who either can’t purchase the insurance they need in the market, or where purchasing insurance on the market is too costly to the client to make sense.”
Insuring your business
Recently, Curtis worked with one client to self-insure against physical damage to their fleet of tractor-trailers. The client ultimately elected to put that coverage under their captive. “Another client with whom we worked wanted to cover earthquake exposure they have in eastern Tennessee, and wind exposure for their presence in the Gulf Coast,” says Curtis. “We were able to roll those coverages into their captive, and the company’s CFO and CEO said, ‘Wow, we can now provide coverage where there wasn’t any before.’ When I get that kind of reaction, I know we’re offering value to our clients.”
As Crichton continues to work with captives, Curtis finds himself talking to his colleagues and clients more often about captives as an effective risk management tool for business owners. “This is such a good tool for companies that use it correctly” says Curtis.
Doing it right the first time
As an industry veteran, Curtis scrutinizes potential partners carefully, and found Intuitive to be a solid partner for his firm. “Intuitive has a high degree of integrity. I’ve vetted several providers for enterprise risk captives, and Intuitive has the best model,” says Curtis. “Intuitive doesn’t control the money – the captive owner does – and their reinsurance model (C-REX) is strong.” Curtis feels that the service Intuitive provides to captive members is excellent. “Intuitive is very transparent with their business, and they manage their captives with a heavy emphasis on underwriting to provide better coverage and ensure profitability and sustainability.”
Setting captives up properly and managing them well is a key factor for Curtis. “I’ve done this a long time,” he says, “when I put an insurance program together, I want to make sure that it’s structured properly on the front end so we don’t have to go back and make excuses. I like to do it right the first time.”