Sophisticated solutions and support for a wide range of client insurance needs
Merriwether & Williams has more than 20 years of industry and marketplace experience in the design, placement and servicing of diverse insurance programs and products. Resourced and experienced enough for complex accounts, we are also small enough to provide highly responsive and personalized service. We offer property and casualty brokerage services for public agencies, utilities, construction, businesses of all sizes and types, non-profits, independent contractors and special events.
No cookie-cutter approach here
Each of our clients is unique, which is why we offer tailored insurance and risk management solutions. Whether it’s for a world-class yacht race, a major metropolitan civic center, a small start-up, a manufacturing company or a non-profit community program, we take the time to get to know our clients and understand their risks and needs, so that we can develop cost-effective solutions to protect their interests and support their ongoing success.
Photo 1 above: by Donan.Raven (CC by-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Photo 2 above: Courtesy of Moscone Center (Public Domain)
As the largest conference and exhibition center in San Francisco, the Moscone Center is the chosen venue for numerous major events each year, including technology, medical and other high-level conferences. In response to the City of San Francisco’s call for budget-minded insurance proposals, Merriwether & Williams conducted an intense underwriting assessment and was able to negotiate a client-specific general liability program which saved the City 41 % in premium savings.
While their prior provider had lumped the Center in with much higher-risk venues, we took the time to accurately assess their individual operations, risk management protocols and the sophisticated nature of their events to get them much more favorable consideration. Although specialty programs for homogeneous risk can be beneficial, it’s important to compare options for individual insurance placement where the merits of good loss experience and effective risk controls may deliver more competitive terms and pricing.
Photos: Courtesy of Moscone Center (Public Domain) (click on photos to enlarge)
Our professional team takes a global perspective to developing strategies and solutions with the greatest cost benefit to our clients. For example, in order to create cohesion of purpose rather than conflict of interest, we can craft stakeholder insurance requirement language between numerous parties with shared but separate interests and responsibilities. This approach helps to avoid duplicative insurance by combining diverse insurable interests into a single policy or insurance program. Our twenty years of experience serving clients with very unique situations allows us to tailor our consulting to fit your specific dynamics. When insurance is the best risk management solution, we negotiate in the insurance marketplace on your behalf and in alignment with your needs and goals to reach the most favorable outcome for you and your stakeholders. Whether you are planning a major event, own a multi-national corporation, run a non-profit, or are just getting started in business, your best interests are our top priority.
34th America’s Cup
When the City & County of San Francisco was selected to host the 34th America’s Cup, they asked Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services to handle the myriad of unique risk exposures and logistical challenges for this historic event. We negotiated with all parties involved and created community partnerships to be able to provide strategically tailored insurance coverage and contractual indemnifications under one Special Event Liability Insurance Policy (SELIP), simplifying the process, eliminating redundancy and resulting in considerable savings for all the stakeholders.
We also provided our consultative expertise to address the event’s complex workforce development, traffic, and public safety needs. The America’s Cup brought in as many as 2 million spectators to multiple points along the San Francisco Bay shoreline, many of whom patronized nearby businesses, which brought additional economic benefit to the surrounding communities.
First Photo: by D. Ramey Logan (CC by-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Second photo: SF Planning Department NOP (Public Domain) (click on photos to enlarge)
Because we care about our clients and our communities, Merriwether & Williams believes in building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. Many of our clients provide valuable services and resources within our communities, while also relying on those same communities for support or patronage. This creates a symbiotic relationship in which the success of one is interdependent with the well-being of the other. Our level of engagement with our clients and within our communities coupled with our expertise in the insurance and risk management industry enables us to effectively facilitate and align different and sometimes competing interests to simplify complex processes, save costs, and achieve “win-win” results.
Community-Minded Development: UrbanCore Development, LLC
Focused on public-private real estate development in minority, transitional and downtown neighborhoods, UrbanCore specializes in affordable, mixed-income housing and mixed-use projects. Having completed over 30 projects in the Bay Area, totaling more than $800 million in the last 25 years, UrbanCore has created hundreds of work opportunities in surrounding urban communities, consciously reaching out to other local and minority contractors – from specialized firms to construction subcontractors.
With a shared commitment to inclusion, equity and building collaborative networks between small and minority-owned businesses, Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services has provided community-oriented guidance, specialized insurance services, builder’s risk and wrap-up insurance programs for UrbanCore’s many development projects.
Photos: Courtesy of Urban Core LLC
“Merriwether & Williams’ desire to make a positive difference within the communities they serve and to foster the success of small and minority-owned businesses has been instrumental in helping my business grow. Over the past 15 years, their expertise in providing insurance and related support for the construction industry has enabled me to take on increasingly larger-scale projects. They consistently look out for my best interests and provide the best value.”
– Michael Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of UrbanCore Development, LLC
Property Coverage: Electronic Data Processing – City and County of San Francisco
For the City and County of San Francisco’s multitude of departments, Merriwether & Williams developed a single, master insurance program to cover hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of electronic and technological equipment – from computers to police radios -as well as associated data loss and data recovery costs. This customized blanket coverage provides for more flexibility and simplified administration while generating considerable cost savings for our client through economies of scale. From city agencies to tech start-ups, our team’s holistic approach allows us to create cost-effective, multi-faceted coverage programs to address complex insurance needs.
First photo: by DustyDingo (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons,
Second photo: by Dsv (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons,
Public Art: Fancy Animal Carnival
Taiwanese artist Hung Yi was referred to Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services (MWIS) by the City & County of San Francisco Arts Commission for coverage of the artist’s complex “Fancy Animal Carnival” public art exhibit to take place at San Francisco’s heavily-frequented Civic Center Plaza.
The biggest challenges to insuring this project were that coverage had to include both the installation process and the art itself and that the artist, not a subcontractor, would be setting up the sculptures. The artist had already approached three different insurers, one of which had backed out at the last minute, so MWIS had less than 24 hours to negotiate with the Chinese government, the artist, Civic Center representatives and the San Francisco Arts Commission – but we managed to successfully craft and secure comprehensive coverage, making this internationally-renowned artist’s fascinating exhibit available to the Bay Area community.
First photo: From artist Hung Yi’s public proposal to San Francisco Arts Commission, with permission
Second photo: by Shelly Prevost (Creative Commons) via Flickr (click on photos to enlarge)
Major utilities providers are unique in their operations in many ways, and their greatest priority is to prevent interruptions in service at all times, under any circumstance. In addition, they must be able to closely manage exposure to loss and risk, transfer or fund risk, and above all, avoid risk wherever possible. Merriwether & Williams has been a long-time broker provider to public utilities and our team is well-versed in addressing the coverage needs of energy innovators and providers.
Powering Southern California: Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy
Southern California Edison: One of the nation’s largest electric utilities, they deliver power to 15 million people in 50,000 square‐miles across central, coastal and Southern California, excluding the City of Los Angeles and some other cities.
Sempra Energy: Through its San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas, Sempra Energy serves more than 20 million consumers.
Energy builders, innovators, and providers to millions of customers, these Southern California-based public utilities have needed tailored high-risk insurance to ensure that the energy they provide never stops flowing. As one of their insurance broker providers, Merriwether & Williams has been able to negotiate the most cost-effective coverage for these vitally important public utility companies.
First photo: by Visitor7 (CC by-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Second photo: by Genevieve Bell (CC by-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Because non-profits often handle society’s most challenging issues, many insurers consider them higher risk, making it more difficult for them to get insurance coverage. Our commitment to social responsibility paired with our risk mitigation and risk management expertise means that we work hard to create customized strategies to help non-profit organizations get the best insurance coverage at the best value, enabling them to provide the valuable services our communities need.
Non-Profit Community Services: The Bayview Hunters Point Foundation
Founded in 1971, the non-profit Bayview Hunters’ Point Foundation for Community Improvement has expanded from providing legal services to low-income African American men in San Francisco to partnering with health care centers, schools, vocational programs and other local organizations to provide a range of community services to residents of southeast San Francisco. These collaborative services offer health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health and other support programs for at-risk children, youth and adults. Merriwether & Williams has been a multi-coverage broker provider to The Bayview Hunters Point Foundation. Given the broad range of community services provided by the agency, it’s been critical to ensure that their insurance program remains in lock-step with the diverse and evolving aspects of their operations.
Photo and logo: Courtesy of Bayview Hunters Point Foundation
“The Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement has been a client of Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services for over 20 years. The team at Merriwether & Williams is extremely efficient and has always provided us with the best available coverage. They always go above and beyond the call of duty, keeping our organization’s best interests at heart and delivering more than expected.”
– Lillian Kim Shine, Executive Director, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement
Special Events and Artisan Tradesman Contractors (SPARTA)
Since 2011, public entities have relied on Merriwether & Williams to address their need to provide access to affordable venue-usage and special event coverage for their constituents. In addition to our “user-friendly” service, our ability to provide a “master policy” solution means that our public agency clients need only review the terms of the master policy once – yet, they have the assurance that each constituent event policy issued from their master policy is inherently in compliance with their requirements. This master policy approach saves them valuable time and cost by eliminating the need to have their staff review and verify coverage compliance for each constituent policy issued.
Public entities also serve and support local small business constituents with contracting opportunities. Standard insurance requirements can be cumbersome and challenging for small business owners, as policies are often geared toward much larger companies. In serving as a resource for our public entity clients, Merriwether & Williams also provides their small business contractors with assistance in obtaining affordable insurance while still meeting the requirements of the contracting entity. Typical coverages offered include: Commercial and Excess General Liability, Non-Owned Auto Liability, and Professional Liability coverage for tradesmen, artisans, contractors and tenants.
First photo: by Katsu Nojiri (CC by 2.0) via Flickr; Second photo: by U.S.D.A (CC by 2.0) via Flickr;
Third photo: by Kurman Communications, Inc. (CC by 2.0) via Flickr
“Your insurance program should support your growth, not stifle it. This means it’s important to find the right insurance partner with a strong appetite for managing risk and with enough flexibility to support the changing dynamics of your organizational or business needs .”
– Ingrid Merriwether, President & CEO