Danielle Bouchard — Tokio Marine HCC Specialty Group
When all the parts speak to one another, a company can become as harmonious as any living system.
So says Danielle Bouchard, vice president of claims and legal affairs for crisis management at Tokio Marine HCC Specialty Group, a division of global insurer Tokio Marine HCC. She has recently helped create a learning tool for departments in the company—to educate each department about the other.
Tokio Marine HCC has 3,600 employees, including underwriters, loss prevention engineers and claims professionals. The company works with major brokers and leading independent insurance agents throughout the U.S. to insure thousands of organizations and individuals.
According to Bouchard, her team’s idea to create internal learning creates opportunities for personal and business growth.
“Because Tokio Marine HCC is made up of so many different branches, we came up with idea to educate internally as to the coverages provided throughout the company,” says Bouchard. “We realized that if we were able to open up the communication between business lines it would undoubtedly increase the ability to cross sell, add value and expand services to our Insureds.”
Communication is key
Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Tokio Marine HCC writes all major lines of specialty insurance. It also manages professional liability claims and provides unique insurance and risk management tools—providing instruction, management and monitoring for client companies.
Bouchard credits the communication between the underwriters and claims teams—as well as the unique qualifications of both teams—as one of the biggest reasons for the company’s growth in recent years. In the last year alone, Bouchard’s department has created three specialty policies: Active Assailant (which would provide coverage and assistance to insureds in the event of mass violence on-site); Marine Piracy; and Non-Food Product Recall.
“The specialized nature of our claims team, all of whom hold law degrees and experience within private practice, gives us a unique advantage, in that we can offer stronger support for insureds,” says Bouchard. “The ability of our insureds to better understand the policy makes them more comfortable with our process and our coverages.”
In 2018, the company launched the Leadership Excellence and Development (LEaD) program, with the goal of developing leaders who could come up with the next “big idea.” When Bouchard was nominated for the program in 2019, she was part of a class of 23 employees looking to help the company evolve.
Bouchard was placed in a group assembled from different branches of the company—comprised of an individual from claims, an experienced underwriter, complemented by employees from the investment, compliance and IT divisions. The diverse backgrounds of Bouchard’s LEaD team allowed the group to create new networks and gather information from different departments within the company.
After the initiative was delayed by the pandemic, in May 2021 Bouchard’s group attended virtual information sessions and courses to help them brainstorm.
Their big idea: to educate employees across all business units about the products sold throughout the organization. This included creating a section of the company’s intranet to highlight business units that anyone from any department could access. The guiding principle was that learning about different lines of business would aid in the cross-selling of various products.
In May 2022, Bouchard’s group presented their findings to the company’s corporate executive team in Houston.
“The leadership was interested in where we could go with our idea,” Bouchard recalls. “Cross selling products within the company can only help to expand offerings to our client base. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to work with different people within the company that I hadn’t had access to previously.”
In 2015, Tokio Marine acquired HCC Insurance Holdings Inc., increasing the U.S.-based firm’s opportunity to sell its specialty insurance products worldwide. However, with approximately 3,600 employees spread across the company, it was difficult for them to connect.
Thanks to Bouchard and her group’s big idea (along with several programs designed to better communicate within the company), Tokio Marine HCC has improved its communication as part of a much larger company.
Tokio Marine HCC is also broadening its efforts to cultivate the next generation of talent. Along with the LEaD program, Tokio Marine HCC also has implemented the Accelerate program, which helps new employees better understand how the business works—and how its departments interact.
In 2019, as part of the Women in Business Initiative, the company launched the Elevating Women in Leadership program, an internal program for female employees, with the goal of empowering the company’s female employees to accelerate their careers.
“We have programs geared to furthering careers and helping employees grow within the company,” says Bouchard. “It gives employees a sense of pride to be a part of these programs. Seeing that bigger picture is inspiring.”
As someone who was initially interested in social work before pivoting to law, Bouchard says that developing a broad perspective on the world was critical to understanding the complex world of insurance.
In 2002, Bouchard earned her B.A. from Lafayette College with the intention of becoming a social worker. But while working for a real-estate law firm in Ridgefield, CT, Bouchard realized her true calling.
In 2007, straight out of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Bouchard clerked for the Connecticut Superior Court in Danbury for two years. Starting in 2009, she worked in private practice as an associate attorney for Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham LLC in White Plains, New York, for two years.
In 2011, Bouchard joined HCC Specialty (a division of Tokio Marine HCC) in the professional lines department. By 2013, Bouchard was handling claims for the crisis management department—claims involving everything from salmonella contaminations to kidnappings. She took over as the head of claims for crisis management in 2014 and has been leading claims for the last eight years.
Bouchard and her team recently worked to expand the crisis management product lines to include Active Assailant, Marine Piracy and Non-Food Product Recall.
“I have endeavored to learn and understand the complete underwriting process so that my team and the underwriting team can work as a seamless unit,” Bouchard says. “The best part of my job is having direct contact with our insureds. From my perspective, our ability to handle their claims is one of the main reasons they are purchasing the coverage in the first place.”
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