Big ‘I’ Concerns: Insurance CEOs Cite Terrorism, Asbestos, Tort Reform

October 10, 2004

Terrorism, asbestos and tort reform will be key industry concerns according to five insurance company chief executive officers participating in a panel discussion during the Oct. 9 to 12 Convention held by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big “I”) in Orlando. The convention drew a record number of more than 2,000 participants. It featured the largest exhibit hall in the industry and many top-notch speakers.

A roundup of her term as Big “I” president was given by Louise “BeBe” Canter. She attributed Big “I” advancements made during her term of office and to the cohesion of the executive board and committees that all worked with her to attain new goals for the group.

Prior to the Oct. 10 general session, Kimberly Reynolds presented a workshop describing how to set up and maintaining a “cafeteria plan.” She explained the benefits that fall under such a plan. Reynolds discussed premium-only plans, flexible spending accounts and reporting and testing requirements for Section 125 (cafeteria) plans.

Concurrently, an inside look at how banks look at agencies was being presented by Michael Herlihy, InsurBanc president and CEO. He provided valuable insight about how banks analyze cash flow and financial management practices at agencies prior to acquisition and perpetuation financing.

Bob Rusbuldt, moderated a morning was a panel discussion, during which he quizzed five CEOs: Ramani Ayer, The Hartford; Bill Berkley, W.R. Berkley Corp.; Mike McGavick, Safeco Insurance; Greg Murphy, Selective Insurance; and Ron Pressman, GE Insurance Solutions. The panelists participated in a lively give-and-take panel discussion about major insurance industry concerns and what effect hurricane claims would have on the bottom line. Most panelists expected the industry to rebound after what they termed a “very bad quarter,” ascertaining that the industry has had enough good years that one incident should not have any effect on its long-term outlook.

Convention activities continue Mon. Oct. 11 with the Big “I” Best Practices Symposium continuing through Mon. and Tue., with concurrent sessions on Monday and company training on Tuesday. CE workshops will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday speakers discussing: “The New Game of Insurance Distribution: 10 Ways Independent Agents Can Crush Alternative Distribution Channels,” chaired by Howard Candage, president of H.E. Candage, Inc.; and “How to Work with an E&S Broker: How to Get Your Submission to the Top of the Pile,” by Bill Malone, president of William H. Malone, Inc. The exhibit hall will be open on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities wind down Tue. Oct. 12 with two CE workshops: “E&O Certification,” with Jay Williams, a professional educator; and “FEMA/NFIP Disaster Mitigation Certification, with David Thompson, a top personal lines technical expert. Best Practices company training will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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