Insuring Innovation

Woodruff Sawyer is celebrating 100 years in business. 100 years of independence. 100 years of insuring inventors, game-changers and innovators.

As champions for our clients’ success, Woodruff Sawyer has worked hard to identify and diminish business risk through custom solutions, data analysis, expertise, and advice. And in responding to the needs of our visionary clients, Woodruff Sawyer has developed new solutions for risk mitigation and unique coverage terms where none existed before, in areas such as D&O, (incl. IPOs), Cyber, Products Liability, Property and Cargo, and International Risk across a variety of sectors like Tech, Life Sciences, Construction, Real Estate Development, and Manufacturing.

As we look to the future, Woodruff Sawyer will continue to embrace change. It’s in our DNA and as CEO Andy Barrengos says, “We’ve constantly had to rethink and reinvent how we solve problems because the products and technologies many of our clients develop, sell and use are changing the way we live.”

1918
E.L. Woodruff founds E.L. Woodruff & Sons in San Francisco with a focus on life insurance

1920s
Personal insurance
WS employs 4 people who work tirelessly to gain clients by going door-to-door in San Francisco.

1930s
Goods & Services
WS continues to expand and grow its business into industries like leather goods and package transport — and weathers the Great Depression.

1940s
Medical
Woodruff’s son, Neville, expands the company into Property & Casualty services, primarily to the medical community.

1950s
International & Tech
Early client Raychem, today one of the world’s largest producers of industrial electronics components, gives WS its start in technology on an international scale.

1960s
Construction
Construction starts on the Transamerica Pyramid, a 48-story futurist building and the second-tallest in the San Francisco skyline. Its height is only surpassed by the Salesforce Tower — both built by a longstanding WS client.

Bob Sawyer implements his vision for serving high-tech companies and creates a niche serving Silicon Valley.

Doug Morton joins and establishes a culture of fierce advocacy for clients. Focuses on technology companies using his background in finance and statistics towards a data-driven approach.

1970s
Plastics
Doug Morton applies research and past litigation data to convince insurers to expand the Plastics market. WS becomes national sponsored broker for Society for the Plastics Industry.

Stan Loar joins the firm to bring international capabilities and a vision for Risk Management.

Employee Benefits Practice is introduced, offering unbiased consulting and custom solutions to help clients attract and retain the best employees.

1980s
D&O
When D&O coverage for tech companies nearly disappears in the 1980s due to large carrier losses, WS uses data analysis to
develop a new pricing model and proprietary analytics to help carriers better underwrite the actual risk.

1990s
IPOs & Life Sciences
The tech IPO market begins to pick up, yet the bank crisis of the late 80s and laws changing to hold D&Os more accountable gives insurers pause. WS partners with Wilson Sonsini to use data and industry intel to better understand the needs of companies. Several insurers re-enter the market and WS and Wilson Sonsini cover over half of the IPOs in the Bay Area. WS establishes new lines of coverage for the Life Sciences industry by using research and data on clinical trials.

Susan Hunt becomes WS’ first female President and is instrumental in creating opportunities for women across the company.

2000s
Venture Capital
WS works with Lloyd’s of London to develop a policy form that suited the unique needs of the Venture Capital community.
Today WS works with close to 250 venture firms including Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Draper, Fisher Jurvetson, Accel Partners, Benchmark and Mayfield.

Focus on Financial Services coverage for Fintech and Insurtech brings WS’ historical expertise in financial services to this disruptive segment of a very traditional industry.

Healthcare practice focuses on all principle healthcare segments as well as investor-backed disruptive models, with huge growth in Telehealth and other alternative delivery models.

Manufacturing practice develops: WS’ highly experienced team helps customers solve new issues around automation & robotics, supply chain, recalls, cyber liability, consolidation, and catastrophic exposure.

2010s
Cyber
Cyber practice is created as an outgrowth of D&O as boards became increasingly concerned about data breaches. Today WS offers expert intelligence on cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cybersecurity partnerships, loss control tools, and benchmarking to help clients deal with the uncertainties of doing business in the digital age.

Private Client Services – WS expands its thorough, customized approach to serve the needs of high net-worth individuals and their families.

100 Years & Counting
Representing Unicorns across Social, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Greentech, Big Data, Internet, and the On-Demand Economy

Independent and employee-owned, Woodruff Sawyer remains self-reliant despite the rush towards consolidation in the insurance sector.

Women in leadership at Woodruff Sawyer today:
4 of 7 leadership team members are women
3 of 8 board members are women