Wholesaler of choice

David A. Jordan tells IBA how putting teams, carrier partners and retailers first has helped the company succeed

Wholesaler of choice



David A. Jordan's  professional  career  spans  more  than  four  decades,  and  he’s  spent  each  and  every  one  of  those  years  in  the  insurance  industry.  At  this  point,  you’d  think the day he began working in insurance would  be  a  distant  memory,  but  that’s  defi-nitely not the case.

“I always remember the date I started working in the industry. It was Monday, March 17, 1980,” Jordan says, adding that it helps that his first day as a management trainee for an AIG subsidiary called New Hampshire Insurance Company happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day. Even now, he says, “that day has always stayed with me.”

Forty-one years later, Jordan has had only three employers. He was with AIG for 21 years in two different stints, including New Hampshire Insurance Company and Lexington Insurance Company, and then spent eight years at Atlantic Mutual Insur-ance Company. Afterwards, he worked for W.R. Berkley Corporation, stepping into the leadership role at Vela Insurance Services in 2009, before taking on his latest challenge as CEO of Breckenridge Group in 2019.

“I consider it a terrific way to build a career – to have had that kind of stability with employers, but also to have had the constant opportunity to upgrade my skills, take on new responsibilities and challenges, and have the chance to advance my career without having to go somewhere else to do that,” he says.

And while Jordan got his start in insur-ance on a whim – after answering an adver-tisement in the Sunday paper about a trainee program – he’s since developed a real passion for the industry.

“The ability of our industry to innovate  and create new products and services to answer challenges that the economy pres-ents has been a fascinating one to participate in  over  all  these  years,”  he  says.  “I  constantly  have  the  ability  to  learn  new  things,  engage  with  the  marketplace  and  solve  problems  for  business owners around the country.”

“[I’m] a firm believer that all the technology in the world doesn’t replace the human interactions that a wholesale broker brings to the retail agent communities they serve and the carrier partners that are so integral to delivering those solutions” -David A. Jordan

Stepping up

Jordan’s time as president and CEO of Vela was critical to him landing his current position  at  Breckenridge.  A  casualty  under-writing  organization  focused  on  the  E&S  lines  industry,  Vela  distributed  its  products  exclusively  through  wholesale  brokers.  One  of  the  key  lessons  Jordan  took  away  from  his  10-year  run  at  the  company  was  that  whole-sale brokers are some of the smartest, hardest-working people in the industry.

“I  had  dealings  with  wholesalers  previ-ously, but this was an intense experience, and it  really  renewed  and  increased  my  apprecia-tion for them,” he says. “When the opportunity came up to join Breckenridge as the leader, to me,  it  just  felt  like  a  very  natural  evolution  of  my career.”

It  was  also  an  exciting  time  to  move  over  to the distribution side of the business, as the commercial  property  &  casualty  marketplace was  at  the  beginning  of  a  transition.  After  some poor results, companies were rethinking their exposures, pricing and coverages.

“The  timing  was  especially  propitious  for  wholesale  brokers,”  Jordan  says,  “because  they  act  as  the  safety  valve  between  the  retail  agents,  who  are  going  to  find  themselves  scrambling to identify solutions for their busi-ness  owner  customers,  and  then  on  the  other  side, the insurance carriers, who are trying to deliver more attractive results.”

“We have to compete based on expertise and relationships, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how our folks have responded to a rapidly changing marketplace”

The  CEO  job  at  Breckenridge  put  Jordan  firmly  in  the  gatekeeper  role  of  satisfying  the  needs  of  retail  agents  while  also  ensuring  that the company was doing a good job for its carrier partners.

Taking the wheel

Once Jordan was in the driver’s seat at Breck-enridge, things really got interesting. Between a hardening market and the global pandemic, there  have  been  more  than  enough  changes  over the past two years to keep him busy, but Breckenridge’s  teams  have  shown  their  true  strength during this turbulent time.

“We’re  a  mid-size  firm,  so  we  have  to  compete  based  on  expertise  and  relation-ships,”  Jordan  says,  “and  I  couldn’t  be  more  pleased with how our folks have responded to a rapidly changing marketplace.”

Since   2019,   Breckenridge   has   added   experts to its team around the country, which has helped its three practice areas (comprising several   different   businesses)   enter   new   product  lines  and  classes  of  business.  The  group  has  also  invested  in  technology  initia-tives  to  help  make  its  business  more  efficient  and its people more successful.

However,  Jordan  says  the  most  exciting  development has been Breckenridge’s ability  to  foster  an  atmosphere  of  collabora-tion  between  its  various  business  units.  “It’s  been  very  gratifying  to  see  the  fruits  of  that  effort,  in  terms  of  cross-marketing  products  and  services,  building  new  relationships,  recruiting,  and  all  kinds  of  investments  that  we’ve been able to make,” he says.

Over   the   past   year,   Breckenridge’s   employee  retention  numbers  have  gone  up,  demonstrating  that  its  employees  feel  valued  and  want  to  stay  with  the  company  to  build  their  careers.  Jordan  says  he’s  particularly  excited  about  this  achievement  because  he’s  “a  firm  believer  that  all  the  technology  in  the  world  doesn’t  replace  the  human  interactions  that  a  wholesale  broker  brings  to  the  retail agent  communities  that  they  serve  and  the  carrier  partners  that  are  so  integral  to  delivering those solutions.”

As  Jordan  looks  out  onto  the  future  of  the  marketplace,  he  sees  more  challenges  –  but  also  more  opportunities  for  Breckenridge  to  set  itself  apart  from  competitors  and  keep  delivering  critical  solutions  to  retail  agents  and their insureds.

“The  challenge  for  every  intermediary  –  and  we’re  no  exception  –  is  to  make  sure  that  we  are  knowledgeable  about  what’s  happening  and  that  we  are  educating  our  customers  so  that  they  understand  that  the  game is different today ... and then help them work  with  business  owners  in  their  commu-nities   to   get   the   appropriate   coverages   placed,”  he  says.  “Our  longstanding  relation-ships  in  the  marketplace  enable  us  to  nego-tiate  on  an  equitable  basis  with  carriers,  so  our responsibility is to strike the appropriate balance  and  do  the  best  possible  job  for  all  the parties in the transaction.”

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