CSIA: Integrator insurance program expands, Benham joins

07/05/2007


Exton, PA —Good news for system integrators includes formation of a CSIA insurance company, expanding the existing insurance program, and news that the Benham Companies , one of the largest U.S. design-built companies, joined the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) .

Benham was the only one of three winners of the Control Engineering 2007 System Integrator of the Year that wasn’t a CSIA member.

Insurance update: At the CSIA conference in Santa Fe New Mexico, in April, attendees were provided an update on the status of the CSIA Insurance Program, established seven years ago to help members access insurance which provides the specialized coverage they require at appropriate rates. A primary focus, CSIA says, has always been ensuring that insured activities are properly coded or classified, a considerable challenge when dealing with underwriters who may not understand what an integrator does.

The program provides members of CSIA coverage for workers compensation, general, auto and professional liability (errors and omissions), property and umbrella coverage, as well as some ancillary coverages required for member’s non-integration activities. There are currently 78 CSIA members participating in the program, which generates approximately $4 million in annual premiums. It is the only insurance program specifically for control system integrators. CSIA marketing committee expressed interested in expanding to 200 insured participants by 2012, after identifying approximately 700 qualified prospective CSIA members. Access to the insurance program is among member benefits.

For elite integrators, says Jim Campbell, chair of the CSIA Insurance Committee, the “CSIA Insurance Company” is expected to start underwriting risk by year-end 2007. The company will be owned by a number of CSIA members who loaned funds to help form the company and qualify under SEC rules to purchase unregistered shares. Initially CSIA Insurance Company will provide reinsurance for CSIA members’ workers compensation, general and professional liability risks, Campbell explains. All other coverages in the CSIA insurance program will continue to be offered, but will not be written by the captive. CSIA members that qualify to become part of the captive program will be required to purchase all captive lines, but will not be required to purchase shares in CSIA Insurance Company. Certified CSIA members will be eligible for an automatic rate credit, reflecting the belief that certification helps CSIA members to better manage their risks.

By sharing risk with the CSIA insurance program’s issuing carrier, CSIA Insurance Company’s investors will demonstrate their long term commitment to, and belief in, pro-active loss prevention and claims management practices. In the event that long term loss experience is favorable, CSIA Insurance Company provides a mechanism for sharing underwriting profits with investors, as well as future rate credits for insured. Most importantly, it will help to deliver appropriate coverage and rates for the unique exposures faced by CSIA members.

Benham’s membership in CSIA , the largest organization of control system integrators in the world, was announced June 25. Benham’s Systems Division, with offices in Oklahoma City, Detroit, Houston, and St. Louis, specializes in the design, engineering, development and integration of hardware and software systems to the industrial, manufacturing, commercial, public, and military sectors.

Benham, along with Advanced Automation (Exton, PA) and Concept Systems Inc. (Albany, OR), earned the “System Integrator of the Year” title in the first year of the awards program, which its sponsor, Reed Business Information’s Control Engineering magazine, characterized as “system integration at its best.”

“When the winners were announced late last year,” CSIA Executive Director Norman O’Leary said, “we were quite proud of CSIA member representation. Two of the three top winners and eight of the 13 other finalists, including the only international integrator to be so honored, were Certified members of the association. At the time,” O’Leary recalled, “we felt we had made quite a statement regarding the level of quality represented by the CSIA brand. Adding a respected company like Benham raises the bar even higher.”

Benham Systems Division clients include the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Energy, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Eaton Corp., Daimler Chrysler, the State of Oklahoma, and the State of Missouri. The Benham Companies LLC, founded in 1909, is a fully integrated design-build company embracing all elements of design, technology integration and environmental stewardship. It maintains 13 offices nationwide and is headquartered in Oklahoma City.

CSIA, in its second decade, helps system integrators become better business managers. Its Certified Member program provides an industry-specific means for end users to identify areas of importance and minimize the uncertainties in selecting a system integrator, while also offering a framework for integrators to evaluate and improve their own businesses.

In other recent association news, CSIA voted in Robert Zeigenfuse as president and chief executive officer

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief, Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter
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