Quick Tips for Navigating the Insurance Marketplace

Written by: John Burkhalter, Vice President at AssuredPartners Colorado


The insurance marketplace can be confusing and counterintuitive. To help make sense of the confusion, I’ve put together a quick list of tips to help make the process a bit easier to navigate.


Find a SPECIALIST in your industry to be your Broker.

  • If you are trusting someone to protect your company by placing appropriate insurance products, they should demonstrate that they understand the work you do and the risks you face.
  • Research potential Brokers: Review their LinkedIn account and Website, ask for Referrals, and interview them.


Experiment with deductibles and ask your broker to perform loss modeling to determine how your E-MOD will respond.

  • If your state is a Net Reporting state, like Colorado, this can cause drastic changes to your risk profile.
  • Depending on the size and complexity of your business, ask for creative options for insurance structuring, including recommendations and accompanying explanations.


Determine if your company is eligible for insurance discounts that are available in many states, usually based on implementation of “Best Practices” and safety programs.


Broker Selection is more important and impactful than Marketing.

  • Choosing an insurance Broker you trust and having only them leverage insurance carriers/markets is a far more effective way to ensure competitive pricing and coverage.
  • The “Red Ocean Effect” is created by a marketing blitz, where insurance markets see numerous Brokers “blasting” submissions for the same company.  Markets are much more competitive in controlled and intentional processes, which puts the purchaser at an advantage.


Ultimately, insurance is a tool that, when used correctly, protects your company’s balance sheet and ensures business continuity.  The partner you choose to provide these services and products should earn your business through expertise and be allowed to use all outlets available to put your company at a competitive advantage.

News Brief: Popular Heart and HBP Drug Recalled Due to Carcinogen Concerns

On Friday, July 13, 2018, the FDA announced a voluntary recall of medications that contain valsartan, which is a popular drug used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure (HBP). The recall was issued after a possible carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) was found in the recalled medications.

Services Team

Aaron Mendoza
Direct: 303.228.2151

Alec Wray
Direct: 720.510.9514

Alex Noyes
Direct: 303.226.0178

Bethany Haight
Direct: 720.726.3220

Billy Shearer
Direct: 303.228.2208

Bonnie Montoya
Direct: 303.228.2150

Cameron Morrison
Direct: 303.226.0176

Cassie Huckleberry
Direct: 303.228.2148

Dana Moore
Direct: 303.974.2361

Daniel Jobs
Direct: 720.726.3226

Danielle Aronoff
Direct: 303.228.2142

Erica Marshall
Direct: 303.328.2863

Evelyn Wagner
Direct: 303.228.2213

Hudson Howard
Direct: 720.510.9505

Jamie Falvo
Direct: 720.726.3234

Jeff Richards
Direct: 720.510.9504

Jennifer Dear
Direct: 303.228.2158

Jennifer Martin
Direct: 303.850.4769

Jennifer Westphal
Direct: 303.974.2301

Jessica Abt
Direct: 303.974.2395

Jill Walsh
Direct: 719.354.4304

Joe Szabo
Direct: 303.228.2209

Jon Elmore
Direct: 303.228.2206

Joyce Sullivan
Direct: 303.226.0177

Kaelyn Weber
Direct: 720.510.9508

Lynn Beshany
Direct: 303.226.0173

Nadiya Gibson
Direct: 303.512.2159

Neida de Quesada
Direct: 720.726.3229

Renee Posey
Direct: 720.510.9502

Sharla Leary
Direct: 720.510.9507

Shauna Carruthers
Direct: 303.228.2154

Shawna Guerrero
Direct: 720.510.9509

Sue Kroeber
Direct: 303.228.2145

Tina Bertsch
Direct: 720.726.3231

Tracy Pettersen
Direct: 303.850.4785

Valerie Perrenoud
Direct: 303.850.4766

Vicki Willing
Direct: 303.226.0172

William Mack
Direct: 303.228.2153

Zach Kalthoff
Direct: 303.228.2157

Allan Crumbaker, VP Commercial Lines

Contact Information

Office: (303) 228-2205
Email: allan.crumbaker@assuredpartners.com


Allan has a diversified book of business that includes Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers of varying sizes.  He is also endorsed by the Society of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (SME) and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG).  He specializes in Professional Liability and additional lines specificially designed for Engineers, Geologists and related fields and also works on general business accounts.  Allan has been with AssuredPartners Colorado since 2005.

Allan is a long time back-country skier and mountain biker, and a native Coloradoan.


Society of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (SME)
American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
American Alpine Club


Life/Health Insurance License
Property and Casualty Insurance License


Hawaii Pacific University – Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration
University Of Colorado Boulder – Environmental Studies

Mark Pells, VP Commercial Lines

Contact Information

Office: (303) 228-2155
Email: mark.pells@assuredpartners.com


Mark has worked in the insurance and risk management field for over 35 years, specializing in property and liability risk management including contractual risk analysis, professional and management liability for businesses, non-profit organizations and high net worth individuals. Originally a small Denver independent agency started by his grandfather over 80 years ago, expanded by his father over 50 years ago, and under his leadership for the last 15 years, his firm merged with AssuredPartners Colorado (AP CO) in 2011. This merger brought to AP CO one of the largest independent financial services firms in the Rocky Mountain Region, more than 100 years of experience and expertise in insurance and risk management.  Mark provides his service and expertise, both on a brokerage and consulting basis, to clients across the nation.

Mark lives in the Denver area and enjoys spending time with his wife and children as well as being involved in the community. Mark also enjoys photography and has a small local studio.


Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado
National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research


Life/Health Insurance License
Property & Casualty Insurance License
Insurance Consultant License


University of Colorado at Denver – School of Business
University of Colorado at Boulder – School of Arts & Sciences
Certified Risk Manager (CRM)
Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)


As one of the premier risk management, property & casualty and employee benefit providers in the Rocky
Mountains and throughout the United States, AssuredPartners Colorado (AP CO) wants to thank you for
engaging our organization.

AssuredPartners agencies are licensed as insurance producers by the various states where we are
transacting insurance. This may include the solicitation, sale and servicing of insurance business, as well as
advising on the relative benefits of certain insurance policies and risk management programs.

We typically receive compensation from insurers in the form of commissions paid as a percentage of the
premiums due to the applicable insurance companies. Commissions can vary by insurance carriers, by
volume of business placed with that company and/or the profitability thereof, among other factors. In other
cases, and depending on various state laws and the capacity in which our agency is acting, we may receive
other forms of compensation from insurers, insurance intermediaries, premium finance companies and other
vendors. These can come in the form of contingents, overrides, profit-sharing, premium finance fees,
expense reimbursements, producer subsidies, award trips, meetings and other incentives. We may also
earn interest on premiums we hold until it is time to pay the applicable insurance companies. Further detail is
provided below:

Commission Income: Commission, calculated as a percentage of premium or as a flat rate, is paid by the
insurer to distribute and service your insurance policy. Our commission is included in the premium your
organization pays. Individuals at AP CO, who place and service your insurance, may be paid compensation
tied to this commission.

Contingency Income: AP CO may also receive income through contingency arrangements paid by certain
insurers. They are called “contingent” because, in order to qualify for payment, AP CO must meet certain
criteria. These qualifications are primarily related to providing better service and underwriting which benefits
both our clients and the insurance companies. For this reason, the individuals involved in placing or servicing
insurance are rarely, if ever, compensated directly for the contingent income that we receive. In addition,
these contingency payments are tied to the overall performance with an insurance company and thus we
cannot measure the impact that a single client may have on any contingency payment.

Supplemental Commission: Some insurance companies have replaced contingent commissions with
supplemental commissions. These amounts paid by carriers follow the same overall process as contingency
income but are normally determined in a prior year and are paid as a percentage of total premiums placed
with a carrier in subsequent years.

Fees Paid by Clients: When agreed to in writing by our clients, a fee may be negotiated for placement of
insurance coverage or additional services in lieu of commissions.

Other Compensation and Benefits: AP CO may receive revenue or benefits from our insurance brokerage
activities in other ways. This can include insurance company promotional events, promotional marketing
and/or employee training and development, fees or a percentage of the interest paid to us for the
administration of premium finance contracts, interest paid to us by financial institutions earned on fiduciary or
trust accounts, and other compensation paid by third party companies.

Our overriding desire is to provide greater customer service so you, our client, trust we have earned our
compensation. We believe in full disclosure of our compensation. Accordingly, if you have any questions
about how we are paid on your policies (including policies we propose to you), please just ask your account
representative, who will gladly provide you a summary of our compensation arising from your policies (some
estimation may be necessary, for example, where contingents are involved).

We thank you for the opportunity to serve and appreciate your interest.

Mike Dribnak, SVP Commercial Lines

Contact Information

Office: (303) 228-2152
Email: mike.dribnak@assuredpartners.com


Mike has over 35 years experience in insurance. He started out at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company as a claims adjuster. Over the years, his client dedication was obvious and in 1989 Mike was inducted into the Liberty Mutual Client Hall of Fame, their highest honor. Mike later joined Haylor Freyer & Coon as Vice President and Manager. Mike joined AssuredPartners Colorado in 2011 and provides his customers with top-quality insurance products and services with national and international capabilities with an emphasis on technology companies.


Board of Directors – Boulder Country Club
Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado


Life/Health Insurance License
Property & Casualty Insurance License


University of Buffalo – Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

Health Reimbursement Account

What is a Health Reimbursement Account?

The HRA is the health benefits solution that helps cover employees and gives more employers control over costs without a group health insurance plan.

  • No more health insurance rate increases- ever!
  • Employees choose the health coverage they need
  • Employers save up to 50% on their health benefits costs

Step 1: Choose a monthly Allowance for each Employee
Similar to a business expense account, the money stays with the company until an expense is incurred

Step 2: Employees select their health insurance policy
Employees choose policies that best fit their needs and typically cost less than ½ the price

Step 3: Reimburses employees tax-free
Employers use the HRA to reimburse employees for their insurance premiums and medical expenses

The Wright Group Services HRA Advantages

Complete Control– Predict and plan for your health benefit costs by choosing how much money to allocate to employees. If your employees change plans or carriers, you and your employees will not lose data or have to learn new systems. Powerful reporting tools let you see how well your plan is working, and you can make changes as needed.

Easy Administration- The Wright Group Services HRA’s easy-to-use online interface lets you manage your health plan quickly and easily. Plus, we help you communicate your plan to employees and take care of day-to-day review and approval of receipts. You spend less time managing tour employee health plan and more time managing your business.

Employee Satisfaction- The Wright Group Services HRA is also great for your employees. Not only does it reimburse the cost of their insurance premiums, but also gives them the security of knowing that you will reimburse the money they spend to cover deductibles and other medical expenses.