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Merchants Insurance Group hosts first Panel Counsel Meeting since 2019

Merchants Insurance Group was thrilled to host our second panel counsel meeting — the first since 2019!

On September 21, 2022, Merchants welcomed trusted panel counsel partners from across all of our regions and beyond to the Buffalo Marriott at LECOM HARBORCENTER in downtown Buffalo for this year’s event.

Here’s our recap of the afternoon:

Merchants and Panel Counsel

After attendees received a warm welcome and introduction from Jennifer Ehman, Esq., Senior Litigation Manager, Charles Makey III, President of Merchants Insurance Group, gave the first presentation of the day. Makey spoke of Merchants’ history and performance in a presentation entitled, “Merchants: Past, Present, and Future.”

Kenneth Carter, Vice President of Claim Operations, then addressed the importance of the relationship between Merchants and Counsel: “What Panel Counsel Means to Merchants.”

The joint session of the Panel Counsel Meeting then included presentations and discussions led by Jessica Foscolo, Esq., Senior Corporate Casualty Claim Manager, and Joann Pinelli, Senior Compliance Specialist.

Breakout Sessions

Following a refreshment break, attendees broke into two breakout groups for afternoon sessions: Defense Counsel and Coverage Counsel.

Presenters included Christopher Brown, Senior Manager of Claims Quality Control and Compliance; Jennifer Ehman, Esq., Senior Litigation Manager; Joanne Hobbs, Litigation Manager; William Wolfe, Regional Claims Manager; Rochelle Lawless, Esq., Litigation Adjuster II; Jessica Foscolo, Esq., Senior Corporate Casualty Claims Manager; and Elsa Schmidt, Esq., Senior Claims Coverage Counsel.

The Evening

After the breakout sessions, attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception in the Marriott’s Larkin Room and went out to various restaurants around Buffalo for dinner!

Attendee Feedback

See what some of the attendees had to say about this year’s event:

“As an audience member, it was obvious that a great deal of care and time went into planning and executing this event. Thank you!”

“Very helpful to learn how the company is progressing/changing/improving. Very encouraging/positive!”

“Thank you for taking the time to have an in-person meeting. I look forward to meeting new claims professionals!”

“I learned a lot about Merchants’ expectations from us. Plus, it was nice to hear how you folks value all of us. I appreciated that.”

“Great meeting — not just laying down the law like many other companies!”

“Thank you. I enjoy working with a ‘local’ company!”

“The insight into what Merchants needs/appreciates was great!”

“Wonderful opportunity!”

“Thank you for the opportunity to meet in person!”

“This was a terrific opportunity to listen and learn from the ‘other side.’ Thank you!”

“[It was] great to have breakout sessions. Love honest feedback about what Merchants wants!”

“It is always a pleasure to see everyone!”

“This was very helpful!”

“Great to see friends and colleagues in person!”

“See you next year!”


Thank you to our incredible sponsors for making this event possible!

Sponsors included:

Thank you to our sponsors, our attendees, and our speakers for a great panel counsel meeting!

Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.