Rising Star Patrick Keenan Enjoys Keeping Tabs On the Economically Critical Marine Sector : Risk & Insurance

This Marsh broker has family across the industry and credits their support as a key role in his successful career.

Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.

Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds throughout the year.

We caught up with Patrick Keenan, a vice president at Marsh and a 2023 Marine Power Broker finalist.

Risk & Insurance: How did you decide to embark on a career in the insurance industry?

Patrick Keenan: I went to Temple University to be an accounting major. My cousin got me an internship at ACE, now Chubb, in a financial analyst role. I interned through the summer and I thought, “I don’t like this job at all. But everything everyone else at this company is doing seems pretty interesting.”

At the end of the summer, as I was preparing to go back to school and set up my new class schedule and thinking back on what else I had done and what other potential career paths I could see, I thought, “Well, the risk management folks suggested that it might be a good fit for me.”

R&I: How did you end up on the brokerage side?

PK: From my perspective and my social skill set — I’m a talker and I like engaging with people and hearing what they’re doing and understanding it — it seemed like the fit for me would be in broking. And then when Marsh came and did a little introduction in one of their weekly meetings, I thought, “Wow, this seems like a really good fit.”

R&I: What’s your role now at Marsh?

PK: I am a vice president and a marine insurance broker. I’m the lead broker on a lot of placements, and I’m working on mentoring some of my newer colleagues and helping folks get into the fold and understand the business. It’s been a great career path for me and I’m very happy with where I’m standing now.

R&I: What is the appeal of the marine sector for you?

PK: The marine industry truly helps the world go around.

So many things that we use in our daily lives are shipped over or brought over. Our ports and our terminals are such vital pieces of the American economy.

I like having a pulse on that. And I like seeing and interacting with seafarers and supporting the seafaring business.

R&I: Where do you get your information to stay on top of what’s happening in that space?

PK: A handful of publications that come to my inbox every morning.

Tradewinds is a big one; gCaptain is another big one. Each morning, I like to look through the headlines and see if anything jumps out. And with Marsh having such a great network of colleagues, resources and such, we’re able to have information travel incredibly quickly.

R&I: How would you describe your approach to customer service?

PK: One of the most important things that we do is make our clients feel like they have a captive audience who has their best interests in mind.

If you miss a phone call, you call right back. If you don’t have an answer, you say, “I don’t have an answer, but I’ll get you an answer in short order.”

A broker who has a very strong relationship with their client, who has a strong relationship with the market and who’s ultimately able to deliver good results is someone who understands their client’s business, who wants to be engaged, who understands their client’s pain points and pressure points. And ultimately, all of that comes from a place of listening when your clients speak or reach out.

R&I: What drives your desire to improve your ability to serve your clients and master this industry?

PK: First, I want to be as good at my role as possible because I want to make sure that I’m in a position to provide for my family and give them the same sort of upbringing and opportunities that my father provided for me.

Secondly, I’m a competitor and I like to push myself. One of the first meetings I was in, a risk manager mentioned the Japanese mantra of kaizen, of constant improvement. As a 22- or 23-year-old, that hit a nerve for me. So, I do my best to be open to constructive criticism.

And the last thing I ever want to hear is, “Well, X, Y or Z used to work on this account and he was really quick to call back and we wish you were more like X, Y or Z.” I want people to say, “We wish you were more like Patrick.”

R&I: Who have been your mentors in the industry?

PK: Ali Rizvi was my first manager when I joined Marsh in the marine group in Houston. He was a really fantastic leader.

I’m also very lucky that in my family, I have quite a few people I’m able to bounce ideas off of. My cousin Matt McMullin works at Chubb now. He’s the one who helped me get my foot in the door at ACE and really put me onto this trajectory. He’s been a great sounding board for me throughout my career.

My other cousin, Kelly Winning, works at Chubb as well, and has always been a good sounding board for me throughout my career. And my wife’s cousin, Mike Mulray, is a president at Everest Insurance.

There is also Martin McCluney, a senior marine broker at Marsh. He has been a great sounding board and a wealth of knowledge for me.

R&I: What excites you most about the future of the insurance industry?

PK: It’s really neat to see how we are incorporating all of the technology. At Marsh, for instance, we have just debuted what they call LenAI. It’s essentially like an intranet ChatGPT that we can use to discuss things, ask questions and have it give us feedback.

I’m also part of our benchmarking team, our data and analytics team. And as we are getting more capabilities in this regard, in the marine segment, which has historically not really had benchmarking, we are getting a lot more traction and more capabilities. It’s only going to continue to benefit our clients and the industry as a whole. &

Joel Berg is a freelance writer and adjunct writing teacher based in York, Pa. He has covered business and regulatory issues. He can be reached at [email protected].

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