CRN Members Explain: Managing risk strategically

Q&A with Matthew Lippman of HUB International

Q: What do you find is a common mistake some supplement companies make regarding insurance coverage? 

Matt: I think the first thing that you have to figure out is where they are in their commercialization. If they're a start up, they may be looking for something very basic, but that is the best time to review the range of insurance risks dietary supplement companies are facing these days. They may not come across many of these risks, however, when they're only interested in fulfilling the requirements of, for example, their first big purchase order. But where they get caught short is when they grow beyond that.  

Q: How should they avoid that short-sightedness? 

Matt: They need to discuss with their broker their long-range plans. And that broker hopefully is not the same one from whom they’re buying their homeowner’s policy. They want to be talking to folks who understand the life sciences space, who know the vertical, which includes the dietary supplements sector. It’s important they’re connecting with a broker who appreciates the unique risk profile companies in the supplements space face.  

Q: What are some examples of those unique risks? 

Matt: Well, the unique ones would be, of course, product liability. Typically, when you're dealing with ingestibles, no insurance company is going to write that as part of a package policy. They're going to give you some general liability coverage that might protect your office from a slip-and-fall type of risk. And they might give you some property insurance, but the product liability is going to be excluded. It’s always a separate policy that covers just product liability. Exactly how that policy is structured can make a tremendous difference.  

Q: What are some of the things that you tell entrants to the space regarding the liability on their products? 

Matt: There’s always language that should not be in the policy. They need to make sure their broker is having those discussions with the underwriters up front. It's not just about exclusions that are added, but sometimes it’s also about excluding what otherwise might be considered proforma language, which doesn’t serve their unique needs. 

Q: How did you get involved in this personally as a professional focus area? 

Matt: I went to the University of Hartford. I was an insurance major and, after graduating, I went to work for a company that was in the risk management area. I started out on the risk analysis side but ended up on the brokerage side of the industry.  

Q: What do you want CRN’s members to know as a take-away after reading this? 

Matt: That they should connect with someone who is going to help them ask the important questions when it comes to their policies: What are we spending our money on with regard to this policy? What are we actually getting? What's the pitfall? What don't I know about my coverage? It’s important they get help answering those questions from professionals who know their space.  

Matthew Lippman currently serves as a Vice President and Life Sciences Practice Leader HUB International Northeast. Based out of the Plainview, NY office, Matthew is responsible for customer acquisition and relationship management by providing individuals and businesses with customized, comprehensive insurance and risk management solutions. As part of HUB, Matthew offers expertise in arranging property & casualty, employee benefits & life, personal insurance and retirement planning programs.   

Holding over 27 years of insurance industry experience, Matthew is an experienced sales leader who specializes in the Life Sciences industry, specifically pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. He joined HUB International when The B&G Group was acquired by HUB in 2020. 

In 20201, Matthew was recognized as a Power Broker by Risk & Insurance magazine. Matthew has served on the Board of Directors for The Jed Foundation, an organization that works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students, for over 6 years. He is licensed for both Property & Casualty and Life & Health insurance, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Hartford in 1990.