Enhancing client value through the promotion and underwriting of tax indemnity insurance solutions, Justin Pierce Berutich, Head of Tax at Euclid Transactional, brings a unique perspective to tax and insurance.
Before joining the insurance industry, Justin gained extensive experience as an attorney facilitating efficient negotiations, planning, and structuring for Fortune 500 companies and high-growth businesses by providing tax and business-centric advice to help clients achieve their objectives and avoid costly disputes.
At Euclid Transactional, Justin leads the company’s tax insurance practice, developing customized commercial solutions to address diverse tax matters. His extensive experience in M&A and transactional tax law enables him to offer value-added solutions to clients.
Justin frequently speaks at professional conferences, appears on tax-related podcasts, and has written numerous articles on taxes and tax insurance. He has a J.D. with honors from New York Law School, an LL.M. in taxation from NYU School of Law, and a B.A. with honors in chemistry from Florida Atlantic University.
A global leader in transactional insurance underwriting and claims management, Euclid Transactional excels in these areas. The company offers underwriting services for representations and warranties, tax, contingent liability, and other transactional insurance products. Operating on transaction time, and while keeping in mind the business interests of its partners, Euclid aims to offer customers, attorneys, and brokers best-in-class service.
In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, Justin gives our audience a peek into where the insurance industry is headed and how he is orienting himself to keep pace with it.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Briefly describe your professional journey up until now.
A dynamic range of positive and challenging experiences has marked my professional journey. It officially began with my graduation from New York Law School in 2008, followed by the attainment of my LL.M. in taxation from NYU School of Law in 2009. I then spent eight years honing my skills in private law practice before venturing into the transactional liability insurance industry, where I have successfully established and led multiple tax insurance practices. Throughout this journey, I have been constantly challenged to grow, learn, and adapt to various environments and roles within different industries, which has proven to be an invaluable experience.
What challenges did you face along the way?
One of the most significant obstacles I encountered during my professional journey was entering the legal field during the Great Recession, widely regarded as one of the worst economic crises of modern times. The contraction of economic activity led to widespread layoffs, and opportunities for new positions were scarce. Many companies were forced to make concessions, including salary and benefit reductions, to remain financially viable. The tumultuous state of the financial industry resulted in the withdrawal of my offer to join a prestigious international law firm’s executive compensation practice group, leaving me empty-handed in the toughest job market in recent memory.
Through a fortuitous connection, I was offered a position at a small law firm specializing in insurance defense work. This role proved to be a valuable opportunity for hands-on learning in the realm of litigation. Despite the limited tenure, the experience allowed me to gain a level of direct litigation experience that exceeded that of most first-year associates at larger firms, including arguing before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Subsequently, I transitioned to a regional and then a national firm, where I spent most of my legal career. Throughout each step of my journey, I learned the importance of hard work, adaptability, and flexibility. The ever-evolving nature of the world requires the ability to adjust to new situations, think critically, and leverage a robust network of professional relationships.
What significant impact have you brought to the insurance industry?
While tax insurance has been around for decades, its penetration has been somewhat limited. I have been instrumental in driving the increased adoption and utilization of tax insurance within the industry. Through my dedicated efforts to educate taxpayers, advisors, and industry professionals on the benefits and efficiencies of tax insurance, I have helped to raise awareness and understanding of the product driving increased market penetration.
Additionally, I have worked to expand the offerings within the tax insurance industry by underwriting, what is believed to be, the market’s first tax risk under active audit by a tax authority, introducing a new avenue for taxpayers to benefit from the product.
Tell us about Euclid Transactional and its foundation pillar.
Euclid Transactional is a managing general agency specializing in underwriting transactional insurance, including representations and warranties, tax, and contingent liability. With over 350 years of collective experience supporting M&A deals, we have facilitated transferring hundreds of billions of dollars of transactional risk by underwriting thousands of insurance policies.
At Euclid Transactional, the core principle that guides our actions is our commitment to being “best in class.” This idea permeates every aspect of our business operation. Externally, we strive to be an outstanding partner to our clients, always focused on delivering their needs in the most efficient manner possible. Internally, Euclid fosters a culture of inclusivity, open communication, and curiosity among our team members to tap into our collective strengths.
Additionally, we are constantly learning. Euclid is dedicated to continuously improving our processes, expanding our offerings, and addressing any issues that may arise. The leadership at Euclid Transactional maintains an open line of communication with all stakeholders, both internally and externally, to ensure we are always striving to be the best.
How does Euclid Transactional promote workforce flexibility, and what is your role in it?
Workforce flexibility trusts employees to be productive regardless of where or when they work. The other Euclid Transactional leaders and I recognize the importance of workforce flexibility and have implemented a culture of trust, inclusivity, and open communication. Our comprehensive benefits package, including unlimited PTO, physical health reimbursement, and out-of-pocket mental health reimbursement, supports our employees’ well-being. We utilize technology and hold efficient, timely meetings to keep everyone informed and connected to the bigger picture.
We also foster an open dialog among all colleagues, including leadership. To promote face-to-face interactions, we have designed the office as a destination space and routinely host internal and external events to bring our team together and to connect with our clients. Our approach to workforce flexibility and employee engagement contributes to a well-balanced and productive workforce.
What is your take on technology’s importance, and how are you leveraging it?
At Euclid Transactional, we recognize the increasing significance of technology in the current hybrid and remote work environment. We leverage technology to provide a seamless work experience, regardless of location. We are dedicated to continuously evaluating, testing, and deploying new technologies that improve information accessibility, increase productivity, and maintain team connectivity. In the event of technological difficulties, we promptly triage and address the issue to minimize disruptions.
What will be the next significant change in the insurance industry, and how are you preparing for it?
While I do not have a crystal ball, it appears that we are heading toward an economic recession. In such a scenario, M&A activity is likely to decrease as companies and private equity become more cautious and financing becomes more difficult to obtain. This, in turn, may lead to a decrease in the demand for transactional liability insurance.
However, Euclid Transactional is well-prepared to navigate such a down-cycle. We have a strong focus on sectors that may be less affected by the recession, and we have developed strong relationships in the industry due to our reputation for commerciality, efficiency, and claims payment history. With the largest dedicated claims team in the industry and a proven track record for fair and efficient claims payouts, we are confident that we can continue to be successful even in a challenging market.
What are your goals in the upcoming future?
My goals for the upcoming future at Euclid Transactional are to drive growth and innovation within the tax insurance space while also striving to become a more efficient and effective leader. To achieve growth, I intend to continue raising awareness and educating taxpayers and advisors on the various benefits of tax insurance through speaking engagements, publications, and networking. In terms of innovation, I aim to increase the adoption of tax insurance as a risk mitigation tool for transfer pricing uncertainty. Although we have had limited success in this area so far, we are well-positioned to make this a reality and have already begun making the necessary inroads.
As a leader, it is important to strive for continuous improvement. To that end, I will work to effectively communicate my vision to my team and clients and to be more adaptable to changing circumstances. Additionally, I will make a concerted effort to empower my team by providing them with the necessary autonomy to make meaningful decisions and take ownership of their work. My growth as a leader will help Euclid Transactional continue on its path toward excellence.
What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring business leaders?
One of the most critical pieces of advice I would impart to an aspiring business leader is the importance of ethical and authentic decision-making. It is crucial to remain grounded in principle and true to one’s values in all business dealings. Additionally, it is essential to understand the individuals behind the titles of “client” or “employee.” By taking the time to understand their perspectives, motivations, and needs, you will be better equipped to foster strong, personal connections.
Furthermore, it is imperative to possess not only technical expertise in your field but also to be dedicated to personal and professional development. This includes learning from experienced leaders, mentoring those less skilled, seeking out new opportunities, and actively listening to the insights of others. You will be well-positioned to navigate the competitive and ever-evolving business world by continuously developing and honing these skills.