One-On-One With Vikki Stone

by Jerri Hemsworth | January 17, 2018 6:43 pm

Vikki Stone is a veteran of the insurance and risk management industry, with more than 30 years of experience placing commercial and personal lines for middle market companies, manufacturers, distributors, property owners, technology firms, individuals and families.

She was previously President of Stone, Harris & Stone, which was acquired by Poms & Associates in March 2012. In the years that she was with Stone, Harris, & Stone, Vikki increased gross premiums from $4 million to more than $20 million annually. In the five years she was president of the company, she grew the organization 70 percent.

Vikki earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance/Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.

In 2007, in recognition of her stellar leadership, Vikki was named “Women’s CEO of the Year” by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

In 2012 and 2016, she was named Property & Casualty Producer of the Year at her current agency. Over the years you’ve developed a real expertise in business insurance and commercial property and casualty for manufacturers and distributors.

What are the most common problems you find when you look into a potential client’s existing policies and coverage?

It’s the old expression, “the devil is in the details.” Insurance companies giveth and taketh away in the policies and they are very challenging to comprehend. When we review policies, we often find critical coverages improperly written or endorsements missing that could have a profound impact on the outcome of a claim.

A lot of people say “insurance is insurance,” but when we spoke to some of your clients, they told us you really are unique not just an “insurance person,” but a trusted advisor to company owners and CEOs. What makes you so unique and so valuable?

We look at what is driving the claims. We dwell down on what the “cause” is in addition to the placement of coverage. When we start to identify what the causes of loss are, the types of injuries, we send in our Risk Management and Loss Control teams to work with our clients to create a safer environment. We look at the culture and ways to elevate teams. Work Comp claims and premiums are one of the biggest items on a company’s P&L, they are painful and California is a very challenging state to do business in. We also focus on open claims and work with the carriers to make sure they are not over reserved and work hard to get the claims closed. All of this ultimately results in the lowering of premiums.

You’re a bit of an innovator, searching for unique insurance products. For example…drones! How did you get into drone coverage, and become known as the “queen of drone” insurance?

LOL, I am most certainly not the “queen of drone” insurance. A few years ago, I had a great opportunity come my way and recognized what was on the horizon. I was fortunate to have the support of Dave Poms to create a program to place coverage for drone manufacturers, distributors and operators.

If you were speaking to a group of business owners, let’s say manufacturers and distributors specifically, what advice would you give them when shopping for new policies or insurance agents?

Focus on your Risk Management, Loss Control and culture. Look at the source of the problem. I often use the example of… you go to the doctor and say you have a pain in your stomach and the doctor gives you a pill to alleviate the pain. I would choose to have a doctor say, let’s look at what is “causing” the pain and if we can get rid of that, you don’t need a pill.

You need to dwell down on the why and be willing to look at that. I can place coverage, we are strong negotiators and technically savvy…it takes more to tackle the real issues in a company. •

Victoria (Vikki) Stone
Property & Casualty Insurance
Title: Senior Vice President
Firm: Poms and Associates Insurance Brokers
p: 818-449-9300

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