Executive of the Month: Kammas co-founder of Skyline Risk Management: Brings unparalleled years of experience and knowledge to industry
New York, NY Construction is booming in New York City. In 2015, construction more than quadrupled to 88 million s/f, up from 21 million in 2009. It is a phenomenon that is familiar to many New Yorkers who on a daily-basis must weave their way through scaffolds and wait patiently as trucks bearing heavy equipment cross their paths.
The construction boom, however, has cost a lot. Accidents have nearly doubled since 2009, with regulations and requirements putting more responsibility on general and subcontractors for injuries to employees and passers-by. The result has been an astronomical increase in insurance costs, driving up the construction costs. Today approximately 10% to 20% of a development project’s budget goes toward insurance. Construction companies and subcontractors report skyrocketing premiums that in certain cases have even tripled.
This situation has created a new breed of insurance broker who specializes in construction and real estate insurance. Skyline Risk Management was founded in 2012 by Anthony Kammas and three partners with a combined 45 years of experience helping both builders and real estate professionals understand their unique insurance needs.
Today, the New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency, is licensed in nine states and territories including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Florida.
“Skyline Risk Management knows the demands of today’s business world and provides the expertise necessary to give contractors and developers a much-needed edge in the marketplace,” said Kammas, who runs Skyline, along with partner George Menexas; surety partner Yannis Legakis and benefits partner Antonia Sellis. Manoli Kalamotousakis serves as vice president and general counsel.
Kammas and the team at Skyline bring unparalleled years of experience and knowledge of the industry and community they serve. Kammas was recently named secretary-elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York chapter, and serves on the boards of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic American Leadership Council.
In 2015, new construction costs in New York City for residential projects grew to an all time high of $18 billion, almost double the $10 billion spent in 2014. “Skyline procured insurance for almost $1 billion of that total cost in 2015,” said Kammas. “Unfortunately, many development projects – over 30 percent of them – are not properly insured.”
Kammas cautions companies to find out if their insurance coverage is adequate before something happens that will test it. “Disaster can strike at any time,” said Kammas, a native New Yorker, who now lives with his family in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
As an active player on the national insurance scene, Kammas recently spent two days in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. senator Chuck Schumer ofNew York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support bills which would open the flood insurance market to private carriers.
“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee. “The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”
According to Kammas, Skyline Risk Management omits needless coverages and costs for clients. ”We treat the relationship as more of a partnership,” said Kammas, who says the company methodically reviews each client’s organization, its current coverage and operations, including five-year plans, to manage and customize insurance plans by means of risk identification, risk analysis, insurance plan design, implementation and review.
While most construction coverage offers only property casualty, Kammas says Skyline Risk Management customizes insurance programs through the use of various alternative risk products and services such as: captive formation, owner controlled insurance programs (OCIP) and contractor controlled insurance programs (CCIP), often referred to as “wraps,” self-funded plans, safety services, bonding and surety, subcontractor default, professional liability, pollution liability, owner’s and contractor’s protective liability (OCP), railroad protective liability (RRP), builder’s risk insurance and equipment floaters to insure against stolen equipment.
“We help clients procure proper coverage at a competitive price. When creating an insurance plan, we take into account all of our client’s goals including optimizing employee retention and increasing bonding limits,” adds Kammas who grew up in Astoria, Queens and attended Iona College in New Rochelle where he received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Economics from St. John’s University.
Many companies have seen the effects of claims, a lot of them huge, by injured workers and bystanders. As a result of this pressure and others, insurance premiums have risen in New York in recent years. “Companies have found that going to a company like Skyline Risk Management has helped them get the best value for their insurance premium dollar,” said Kammas.
In today’s world, legal action by a client or customer at some point is almost inevitable. “Whether there was an error committed by the company or not, most often these claims are not covered under a standard liability policy,” said Kammas.
Lawsuits, he said, can happen at any time, without warning, so it is imperative to take the necessary steps to prepare for such an event because, even if the company has done nothing wrong, defending oneself costs precious time and money. The right insurance can mitigate these risks.
“We‘ve paved the way for completely personalized insurance programs that cover every aspect of a company’s current and future needs,” said Kammas. “With every client we have the chance to help build something remarkable and never take that opportunity for granted.”