Tour of Our Enhance Brownstone Insurance Program

Last month we announced our partnership with Zurich Insurance as the new underwriter for Distinguished’s hallmark New York Brick & Brownstone Program (NYBB). Developed in 2007, the program provides a diverse portfolio of owner- and tenant-occupied properties located within the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan boroughs with property and liability insurance. NYBB today serves more than 11,000 building owners who represent 40,000 apartments, condos, and co-op units throughout the city.

Our affiliation with Zurich ushers in new changes to the program that are being well received by our agents and brokers since the announcement. “On the first day of our email announcement, we received four to five times the number of submissions we typically get,” notes Katie Vespia, Program Manager of NYBB. The following day our submission rate was double the typical response rate of an email campaign.”

So what can you expect with the recently revamped NYBB program?

The original program included property coverage options we found were more of a market standard when taking an in-depth look at what our agents and brokers were placing. Our historical data, for the most part, reflected that the optional coverages were nearly always being selected and typically the limits being chosen were more or less the same. When we changed carriers, we decided to give the program a facelift and include the available options as part of our base plan. These coverages include ordinance or law, back-up of sewage and drains.

“These options were being selected by the class of business we target – well-maintained properties – by insureds who see the value in having these coverages,” explains Katie. “The only optional coverages to the NYBB program now are flood, earthquake and automobile insurance.”

The new NYBB program also offers additional limits. For example, backup of sewage and drains is included up to the building limit whereas the prior program included limits of up to $250,000. With our ordinance or law coverage, the prior program offered maximum combined limits of $500,000. The new program makes available minimum coverage of $150,000 and up to 25% of the building limit. “A $3 million property can now exceed that $500,000 cap (if both coverage B and C have a limit of $750,000)” says Katie. “We are able to satisfy both the smaller market with the minimum requirement and have the ability to give similar coverages to the larger properties as well.”

In 2016, we began non-renewing accounts with 21-30 units. With our program with Zurich we have resumed writing up to 30 units. Additionally, we are now writing properties with mercantile space.

There have been application changes to the NYBB program, too. We’ve incorporated the commercial space supplemental app as part of our main application so you no longer have an additional form to complete. We’ve also added some questions to help determine where the insured’s liability line for sidewalks lies. “This allows us to avert putting any undue requests and recommendations on insureds if the liability lies with the city. We removed our sidewalk recommendations for 1-3 owner-occupied properties where no home office resides,” Katie explains.

What remains steadfast is Distinguished’s focus on our brokers and the communities we serve and how we can continue to enhance our program and the services we offer.

If you’d like more information about our new Brick and Brownstone program, please reach us via email at or by phone at 855.355.4626.