Client Spotlight: The Second City







When a fire ripped through the landmark building, the Alper Team sprang to action

Originating in a small cabaret theater in 1959, The Second City spawned a comedy and entertainment revolution that—to this day—has created an ongoing list of superstars. Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert and a host of other entertainment and comedy legends got their start in the building situated in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. The neighborhood is nestled in an area of multi-million dollar residences, but the history, the laughter and the performances that originated there are priceless.

In August 2015, those laughs were temporarily silenced after a fire in an adjacent restaurant ravaged The Second City building. The property—including its offices—was severely damaged from smoke, fire and water. Once the smoke cleared, The Second City property had several million dollars of damage and remediation work that needed to be addressed.

When Dan Schwartz, Senior Vice President at Alper Services, got the call from his Client about the fire, he and his Team immediately sprang to action. “The Alper Services Team was the first group on the scene when the fire happened,” said D’Arcy Stuart, Chief Operations Officer of Second City. “We were at a complete loss for words and action, but Alper Services knew we needed to regroup and get our people back on their feet.”

“The evening of the fire, Dan, David Macknin and a host of other people sat with us in the basement of Alper’s office laying out a game plan for how we would continue operations, even with no theatre,” Stuart explained. “We had people working for us—we have a thriving division (Second City Works) dedicated to workplace productivity and performance. We needed to show all of these people, our treasured actors and alumni and the rest of the world, that we were not going to rest on our laurels.”

Dan and his Team navigated a multi-faceted claims process, going as far as to help The Second City find short-term office space so they could continue business operations while establishing the road map for recovery. Over a six-month period working with The Hartford and a list of other insurance providers and vendors, The Second City was up and running, hosting its first performance.

“We could have never dreamt that we would be performing again that quickly,” Stuart explained, “but Alper Services made sure that we did. That fire was a watershed moment for us on so many levels,” Stuart explained. “Dan and his team held our hands through a lot of the high-stakes interactions, stepping in on multiple occasions when we needed them.”

For the last 30 years as the broker and risk manager for The Second City, Dan Schwartz has been an advocate for making sure the company has an appropriate amount of coverage. Like most companies, Stuart and his team never really thought about all of the different lines of insurance until the fire happened.

Under Dan’s expert leadership, The Second City has a comprehensive insurance program. “We work with Dan and the Alper team not just on property and casualty insurance. We have policies in place for such employer-related needs as workers’ compensation, officers/directors liability, a cyber security plan and many other needs.”

“What we have learned is that it’s not always about who can sell you the cheapest policy—it’s about who is going to stand with you when there is a fire in your building and who will support your people when it happens.”