Consistent Change: The BNP Finance & Insurance Industry Leader Forum

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Consistent Change: The BNP Finance & Insurance Industry Leader Forum

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July 3, 2024

Buffalo Niagara’s economy relies on the finance and insurance sectors to operate and grow all businesses. Companies in these sectors also champion the regional initiatives that help Western New York compete for needed development, talent attraction and residential investment.

In an ever-changing market, financial institutions and insurance companies can help businesses provide predictability while also using new technology to help businesses insure and finance their next critical endeavor.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership convened finance and insurance leaders at its Industry Leader Forum on June 27 to discuss how to navigate consistent changes and regulatory shifts in both sectors. Our speakers led meaningful conversations on the state of their industry, relevant government advocacy updates and how the application of technology is shaping the future. Thank you to:

Ted Janicki, Buffalo Niagara President, Bank of America

Michael Ferranti, First VP, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Timothy Dodge, AVP of Research & Information, Big I New York

Michael Greco, Associate, O’Donnell & Associates

Here are key takeaways from the latest ILF:


What employers are asking of financial institutions is rapidly changing, said Ted Janicki, Buffalo Market President for Bank of America.

Janicki broke it down into two key wants of business leaders:

Transactional banking needs to be as automated and as easy as possible.
Data and knowledge pushed to them.

Bank of America’s role, as Janicki sees it, is to be that trusted source for data and a partner to put it into action. Decision makers want the digital tools, market trends, economy insights and financing options, “but then they want a real person to talk to and strategize with,” he said.

This “high-tech, high-touch” approach is how financial institutions can help businesses of all sizes – from startups to multimillion-dollar companies – provide predictability in an ever-changing market.

There is first predictability in safety measures that businesses look for – are my assets and proprietary data secure? Once they feel safe, Janicki said, tech can be leveraged for businesses and financial institutions to interact.

By using new technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, financial institutions can push data to businesses to help answer complex questions such as, “Is it a good time to buy a business?” If yes, “Is it a good time for me to buy a business?” If yes again, the data exchange can continue with financing structures, rates and other next-step insights that help make proactive – not reactive – investments.


The insurance industry normally cycles between hard markets (higher premiums, stricter standards, limited policies) and soft markets (lower premiums, broader coverages, higher availability).

But the insurance industry has been anything but normal the past two years, as a hard market has made insurance more expensive and increasingly harder to get for business owners.

There is a 30+% commercial property increase forecasted for 2024 for properties in states with catastrophe exposures, while commercial auto premiums have been rising at double-digit rates for five-plus years, said Tim Dodge, AVP of Research & Information for Big I New York, a not-for-profit trade association affiliated with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

While climate change, supply chains, labor costs and lawsuits are factors that will continue to impact today’s insurance market, Dodge said there are ways insurance companies can provide predictability and protection for businesses.

One way to do this is through several insurance policies that Dodge recommended every business should explore or, at the very least, be aware of: cyber insurance, flood insurance, active assailant insurance, employer practices liability insurance (EPLI), and directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance.

The BNP is proud to welcome in Bank of America as the Title Sponsor for the 2024 ILF.

Learn more about the Industry Leaders Forum  here.

Title Sponsor

Presenting Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

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