A very big win: securing Avery Hall’s entire portfolio

Mar 15, 2022


“I don’t have many professional relationships these days that give that combination of competency, responsiveness and detail,” says Jesse Wark, Partner at Avery Hall, “but Varney deliver on all three.”

We always claim to be our client’s risk management champion – to not just look after them but look out for them. So it’s always nice when a client confirms we’ve stuck to our promise.

Jesse and the team at Avery Hall work with our real estate team, who have just opened our first office in Manhattan. Although New York is an ideal location to serve all our real estate clients around the country, it’s also a market that’s been heavily in need of an agent who attacks the insurance process with our philosophy.

Bringing a personal touch to the New York market

Competition in the city has grown so large that complacency is unfortunately now the norm. It’s a market where insurance agents merely compete on like-for-like quotes, so clients are often given off-the-shelf insurance that puts them in a box.

But as Jesse points out, these projects demand a much more personalized approach: “There’s a lot of love that goes into these projects and obviously the risk management part is critical.”

“We’ve developed a relationship that’s certainly very productive, so from that perspective it’s great. The risk piece is enormous when you’re building these $250 million projects and you have to make sure that if something goes wrong, you’re covered to protect all of your investors.

Fighting for every detail and working for your trust

Senior Vice Presidents Jack Cowie IV and Patrick Yannotta head up our Real Estate team and have handled most of the relationship with Avery Hall. In fact, it was in Patrick’s last job where he first introduced the business.

Before joining Varney, Patrick worked as a commercial real estate sales agent in New York for 10 years, so he was well aware of the complacent service insurance agents in the city were giving his clients.

However, he’d already worked with Jack and the team on previous projects and knew they did things differently. So he encouraged Avery Hall to give Varney a try.

By consistently combining his insurance expertise with a willingness to fight for every detail, Jack has now convinced Avery Hall to trust him with their total investment portfolio, which includes current property assets and future development sites across New York and another in North Carolina.

Jesse: “It has certainly grown. Insurance is complicated and you have to build some trust. We had two other insurance groups we were working with, so we started Jack up on something very small – he was a tenacious guy who was constantly going above and beyond.”

That first placement brought in a premium of $1,000. His most recent deal was a $1.5 million builder’s risk premium, and he, Pat and the team are now playing a major role in the firm’s success.

Backing you every step of the way

Our approach is about doing everything we can behind the scenes to make sure your insurance program matches the complexity of your project.

That includes assigning you a senior risk manager to advocate on claims. Reviewing contracts alongside your contractors to see if liabilities can be pushed to them. And doing an in-depth analysis of lender requirements, where we’ll push back when arbitrary limits are too high.

As an example, we analyzed the insurance requirements set by a lender for another client and we were able to reduce the amount of flood cover from $50 million to $10 million.

When the team looked a little closer, they could prove to the lender that the building was designed to sit way above the floodplain – only a storm big enough to flood the entire eastern seaboard of the US would’ve ever caused any damage.

Giving you a level of service that’s hard to come by

You’re not met with some soulless software when you work with us – we give you a direct and constant line with our team throughout the relationship.

Jesse tells us more about his experience with Jack: “When I go to him, I can trust that he’s going to give good advice, that he’s going to give it to me straight and that he’s going to follow up. He’ll give me some options too if I’m having budget issues.

“He’s always there, always taking calls, jumping on everything right away, which, considering the work pressure people are under nowadays, is remarkable.”

We’ve been able to bridge the risk management gap for Avery Hall by taking the time to understand their business and looking deep into the detail of every one of their properties.

It’s that thorough analysis that allows us to design the most appropriate insurance package for the client, so they can fully concentrate on what they do best – investing in and developing great properties.


Visit our Real Estate page to learn more

Our website goes into more detail around how we go further for our clients. Head on over and feel free to get in touch with the team directly with any questions.


To find out more about the various insurance and risk solutions we have to help you protect what’s important to you, contact us today.