Delivering the right solutions for hard-to-place risks


Delivering the right solutions for hard-to-place risks | Insurance Business America

John Donahue on how MJ Hall meets the needs of customers and retail brokers

Insurance News


As MJ Hall celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, the company continues to develop good solutions for difficult coverages and improve its customer service, said president John Donahue.

MJ Hall is a generalist that offers a wide range of solutions, from commercial packages to excess liability, and insurance coverage for earthquake damage, trucking lines, restaurants, and cannabis businesses. Due to MJ Hall’s success in these niche sectors, Insurance Business recognized it as one of its 5-Star Wholesale Brokerages and MGAs this year.

It’s clear that MJ Hall’s priority is enhancing its relationship with customers and retail brokers.

“I think one of the things we do that helps to meet the customers’ needs is our teams are very entrepreneurial,” said Donahue in this interview. “Our brokers are commissioned brokers; they don’t make money unless they get the deal done for their customer. So, they’re very focused on finding the right solution for the customer.”

Donahue explained that MJ Hall’s lead brokers are supported by teams, which enable them to build strong relationships and respond promptly to retail brokers’ needs.

The business has grown considerably because of cannabis insurance, a niche where MJ Hall is one of the trailblazers.  

“If you go a few years back, [cannabis] was one of the few games in town, so we knew it and got a reputation for it. We understood what a good risk was and what a bad risk was and how to place it and who to replace it with and what coverages to [provide],” he said.

As the competition in this niche intensifies, Donahue has seen the emergence of more options for customers and better technology in the form of advanced rating and ease-of-use systems. Another trend he has observed is brokers’ greater understanding of the risks and retailers’ greater knowledge of the products. This allows companies like MJ Hall to develop coverage more accurately in response to consumers’ risk management needs.

In such a complex market with high reinsurance costs, MJ Hall remains optimistic about its capacity to address hard-to-place risks.

Donahue advises retailers to “be demanding about getting answers quickly …, especially in this market because you need to be. You need a lot of work done to place some of these more difficult risks.”


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