Experts to Examine Effects of Issues Confronting Travel, Insurance Industries

Leading experts in disaster response, anti-terrorism, hurricane research, public health and the insurance industry will examine the effects of pandemics, catastrophes and terrorism on travelers, the travel industry, and the insurance industry at the US Travel Insurance Association’s annual conference to be held Feb. 26 – 28 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa, Fort Myers, Florida.

Titled “CATASTROPHES: PENDING DOOM OR MANAGEABLE RISK?,” the conference will look at the types of future risks facing travelers, and how the industry can manage the risks associated with such events.

Featured speakers include: Dr. Thomas Holzheu, senior economist, Swiss Re Group; Stanley Goldenberg, research meteorologist, Hurricane Research Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Heidi Larson, research associate, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; Michael Lowder, deputy director of Response, Department of Homeland Security — FEMA; Michael McDonald, director of the Tsunami Disaster Knowledge Management Initiative; Dr. Peter Tarlow, president, Tourism & More; and Tim White, detective Chief Superintendent, New Scotland Yard.

A panel of travel and insurance industry experts will discuss the impact of natural disasters, terrorist disasters and pandemics on their respective industries. Panelists are: Sandra Carroll, manager Travel Communications, AAA; Julia Davidson, CFO, Apple Vacations; Alain Demissy, recently retired CEO of the Mondial Assistance Group; Les Maine, president, CSA Travel Protection; and Thomas Zavadsky, executive vice president, Sales & Underwriting, Travel Guard International.

Topics will include:

— Risks and threats affecting the travel industry and U.S. travelers at
home and abroad;
— The impact of natural disasters and terrorism on insurance costs,
policy provisions and tourism;
— What the industry can do to manage risk;
— The threat of Avian Flu and its affect on the travel industry.

For more information and details on the conference, visit the US Travel Insurance Association’s Web site at or e-mail