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Farmington, Connecticut, United States

Farmington, Connecticut, United States
Band Rock


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D7 @ Hard Rock Hotel

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

D7 @ The Riverview

Simsbury, Connecticut, USA

Simsbury, Connecticut, USA

D7 @ Klub 45 at Connolly's Times Square

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Today, we present D7, the corporate band at Darwin Professional Underwriters. AAC caught up with D7’s Eric Berens (bass guitar) and Drake Manning (drums) fresh off their latest 2 gig tour in a conference room at Darwin’s Farmington, CT headquarters.

Advisen AC: How did the band originate?

DRAKE: D7 began as a spoof for Darwin’s Annual Summer Pig Roast in 2006 to entertain the company’s employees and their families. It was 100 degrees that July afternoon and D7 proved to be just as hot as the weather. With an eclectic mix of rock, blues, and pop, the band fueled a company-wide buzz and reinforced that this insurance company called Darwin was truly a unique species.

AAC: Where does the band play?

ERIC/DRAKE: On February 6, Darwin will host an event at which D7 will play in conjunction with the PLUS D&O Symposium in New York City. The event is at Connolly’s (KLUB 45, Third Floor) 121 W. 45 Street (between Sixth and Broadway), just half a block from the Marriott Marquis, 9pm to midnight. D7 also regularly performs at Darwin company events, including the company’s annual summer pig roast and holiday parties. We also recorded a three-song demo cd entitled, D7 / out of the cube farm, at Planet of Sound Studios in Hartford.

AAC: What song best describes the current state of the insurance market?

ERIC: Some might think Crazy Train by Ozzy. We’re even seeing some of our competitors doing stuff like the Bodeans, Closer to Free, which has been part of D7’s set list in the past.

DRAKE: However, while some might say the market is Free Falling like Tom Petty, from Darwin’s perspective, All Along the Watchtower by Hendrix better summarizes how we view it. There’s plenty of opportunity. You just need to keep a good lookout for it.

AAC: How do current insurance rates affect your set list / song selection?

ERIC: A Cheap Trick might cause a short-term Surrender of an account.

DRAKE: Well, a good example is the Bodean’s Closer to Free. We had no idea it would be such a poetic premonition about the market as a whole. We’ve since dropped that from our set list and added Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. While the song suggests, “let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts,” as a responsible insurer, we just won’t bring ourselves to live the lyrics. Let’s be honest here. No one likes to lose a renewal account, but pricing pressure often has us objectively, perhaps even unfortunately, saying we need to walk away. And that may Hurt so Good, so to speak, especially from the underwriting profitability point of view. It’s telling commentary though that many of our recent set list additions are blues and southern rock oriented. One of my favorite additions is Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride & Joy.” We really do love our day jobs; we take pride in what we do, and the band is just a bonus.

AAC: Who are your biggest musical influences and do they affect your risk selection?

ERIC: I love The Clash. Their second big US hit, Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? seems to pop into my head when I triage my submissions.

DRAKE: I’m a major metal head and prog rock fan. Ever hear of Dream Theater? You’ve gotta check them out! The more complex the music, especially the drum parts, the better. While I may not be on the risk selection side of the house, I think it’s fair to say that Darwin isn’t afraid of complex risks in any of our lines of business.

AAC: Drake, you’re Darwin’s Communication Head, right? Let’s get back to the interview. Has your insurance background helped you to take better musical risks?

ERIC: It has allowed me to afford real bass lessons.

DRAKE: With either, performance matters. It’s not always what you play that matters… it’s how you play it. Passion and performance matter.

AAC: Who handles your Event Risk? And do you have sufficient limits?

ERIC: We self-insure our event risk.

AAC: How do you compare the rush or anxiety you get when you perform versus binding a policy?

ERIC: Every time an underwriter binds an account, we ring a large ship bell in the office and everyone applauds.

DRAKE: I yell ‘ENCORE’ because I don’t ring the bell.

AAC: Rock Stars are frequently seen as risk takers, while insurance professionals tend to be viewed as inherently risk adverse. How do these two aspects complement each other?

ERIC: Add “professional” in front of risk takers—we’re professional risk takers. No amateurs here.

DRAKE: That gets to the heart of it! It’s where yin meets yang to complete the whole. Ever hear a chief actuary shred a Van Halen solo? If not, drop by Connolly’s on February 6.

AAC: Rock Stars are known for their unusual demands and antics, groupies, and destroying hotel rooms. Does D7 exhibit these behaviors? And are you properly covered?

ERIC: After a gig, Reza needs a workout, massage, and a high-fiber snack. The rest of us are just plain lunch pail types.

DRAKE: Yeah, we joke about M&Ms and recording contracts and endorsements. We’re not endorsed yet…anyone? Anyone? I play DW drums and Zildjian and Paiste cymbals. Hint, hint.

From a coverage perspective, I think Jonathan Yeisley, Darwin’s media underwriting practice leader, would write a media liability policy for D7. We’re a good risk.

AAC: How do you feel about the other corporate bands in the insurance industry?

ERIC: We know of one “pure” play like D7. There’s a band from Marsh Canada called Tabloid.

ACC: Yes, Tabloid played at a Marsh holiday party in NYC and they rocked out.

DRAKE: I like all corporate bands.… except the 2 bands that beat us in Nashville to get to the final round of the Fortune Magazine’s Battle of the Corporate Bands at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Seriously though, if you love music, listen to it, play it, support those who do, and encourage those who don’t to get involved.

AAC: How would you respond to the critics who say you are just in it for the money?

ERIC: We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t love what we were doing.

AAC: What is D7’s loss history/claims experience like?

ERIC: I don’t think Paul [Chief Actuary and guitar player] has completed our loss triangles yet.

DRAKE: Incubus said it best; we’re “clean.”

AAC: Let’s talk about coverage and exposure. Can you describe your typical costume? Is it more Eagles, Janet Jackson or KISS?

DRAKE: We work diligently to mitigate wardrobe malfunction, and our risk managers have recommended that layers are a best practice. Layers are a good thing in this business.

AAC: We always wanted to ask this… What level do your amps go to? And if you were to experience a loss of hearing from performing in D7, would this be covered under a Worker’s Comp policy?

ERIC: What? Can you repeat that? Oh…all amps…all 11’s.

DRAKE: I can’t tell if the constant ringing in my ears is from the bell at work or the cymbals at gigs. Thanks for the suggestion on the work comp thing.

AAC: Does D7’s front-man have Directors & Officers coverage for this role?

ERIC: Well, that would necessitate coverage for Sides A, B, and C as we have 3 “front men” with Reza, Adam, and Drake. I’m pretty sure all three are covered under Darwin’s ODL provision.

AAC: What lies in the future for D7?

DRAKE: D7 is, technically, part of a public company and our legal department frowns on us making forward-looking statements. But, we’re a rock band and no one in the band is a lawyer, so here goes…The only definitive gig planned now is at Connolly’s, New York City on West 45 Street at 9pm on February 6 in conjunction with the PLUS D&O Symposium. After that, we might do another cd this spring…then again we might not. We might do the Fortune Magazine’s Battle of the Corporate Bands again this year…then again, we might not. What’s sure to happen though, we’ll continue to rock, whether that’s in our day jobs or just on the side for fun…

AAC asked Darwin CEO Stephen Sills for his view of D7:

Stephen remarked, “D7 is one of the elements that makes Darwin such a unique insurance company. It's a piece of the fabric of our corporate culture that has contributed to Darwin being voted one of Connecticut's 25 best company's to work for two years' in a row. We have exceptional talent to be a go to market for our brokers and policyholders, and we're not afraid to show we have a fun side too.”

- Advisen Front Page News


2007: "out of the cube farm" -- 3-song demo with the following: American Girl; Ready to Go; Lips of an Angel.

2008: "CAUTION: LIVE ANIMALS" -- 3-song demo with the following: Let it Roll; I Know a Little; Hard to Handle



D7 was founded in the Spring of 2006 when Eric and Paul played a few songs together and realized they sounded pretty good for two "suit and tie" guys. Not much later they added vocalists, a drummer, and keyboardist (all cube mates at the same company) to play a set of rock songs at the corporate summer outing.

Over the years the band composition has changed, but the core group of Eric, Paul, and James has remained. D7 thanks those fellow employees and friends that have contributed in the past, especially Reza (vocals), Adam (vocals) Drake (drums/vocals) and Kris (keyboards/drums). Very special thanks also to Jeff A, Chris L, and Mike. Thanks also to Mike M, James S and Dan M (keyboards), and Michelle G (vocals)

Live Shows:
July 2006 Farmington, CT
September 2006 Durham, CT
December 2006 Hartford, CT
February 2007 New York, NY
May 2007 West Hartford, CT
June 2007 Southington, CT
July 2007 Nashville, TN
January 2008 Hartford, CT
February 2008 New York, NY
April 2008 Southington, CT
May 2008 New York, NY
June 2008 West Hartford, CT
October 2008 Cleveland, OH
November 2008 San Francisco, CA
February 2009 New York, NY
December 2009 Simsbury, CT
May 2010 Las Vegas, NV