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March 3-7, 2026

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The Smarter Approach to Buying Insurance



Insurance policy

“Insurance can be frustrating and is frequently misunderstood,” says Chris Mikolay, Senior Vice President, Specialty Division, National Interstate Insurance. “It’s a product nobody wants to use, but one it would be foolish to not buy. And it’s often sold as a commodity, where 15 minutes could save you 15 percent.” Mikolay cautions that especially when it comes to more complex risks and exposures, not all insurance is created equal. Moreover, he believes that the savviest insurance buyers think differently about controlling, eliminating, and financing risk.

Mikolay will dive deep into this topic during his session at CONEXPO-CON/AGG,  Be a Better Insurance Buyer on Wednesday, March 15 from 9:30AM - 10:15AM. “This will be a fun session, not the typical dry and boring insurance presentation some may fear will take place.”

He says the session will expand on three main points:

1. Understand and use the fundamentals of smart negotiation. “Ideally, obtaining insurance is a collaboration between the customer and the insurance company, but it can help your cause if you understand where you have leverage in the negotiation process.”

2. Think differently about the product you’re buying. The objective is to control the cost of risk over time. Evaluate insurance options by the extent to which they support that strategy.

3. Know how to get what you pay for. Insurance is not a commodity and not all insurance is created equal. The lowest cost insurance option typically does not provide the highest value and its total value, not policy cost, that matters most.

Costs of risk include insurance, collateral (if required), safety programs, personal protective equipment, eyewash stations and other safety devices, and more. Because costs can be quite high—in the millions per year for large customers—controlling the costs of risk through intelligent risk financing can provide a competitive advantage.

Learn More

Chris Mikolay headshotAbout the speaker

Mikolay has been in insurance for 17 years. He has a BS in marketing from Miami [OH] University and an MBA from Kent State University.


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