VCIA is lucky to have not just one conference summer intern this year, but two! We, like the rest of the industry, are putting in a big effort to find and engage the next generation of captive talent. That’s where our interns come in. One grew up in Vermont and decided to move to the Midwest for college (go Hawkeyes!); the other grew up in the Bluegrass State and fell in love with Vermont and the University of Vermont. These 2 are contributing in a major way to make your experience and the #VCIA2023 conference a success. Please meet VCIA Interns John O’Rourke and Marguerite Jouet!
University of Iowa Class of 2024 with a major in finance, John comes to VCIA as our technology intern. He is ready to troubleshoot any technology issues if needed, and he plays a big role in updating our conference app for attendees to use. On a sidenote, the app is humming along and should be ready for your use in mid July, so you can start networking with other attendees before the conference!
Last year John visited London and took a course on international finance. There, he toured the impressive offices of Lloyd’s of London, and when he learned about an opening at VCIA, he connected the dots to just how big the captive industry is in his home state. “It’s incredible,” John said, “discovering this global power of insurance right at my doorstep. I’m so excited to give it my all to make the conference a great experience for everyone.”
Marguerite joins VCIA as our event management intern and she works closely with VCIA’s Director of Education Diane Leach in perfecting the details of the conference. She studies marketing and data analytics with a concentration in global business at UVM, and last semester she went to the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona for an amazing study abroad experience.
Marguerite has already been a valuable staff member to VCIA as she’s done outreach to the Burlington Business Bureau and contacted city restaurants to provide information about our conference, demonstrating the great opportunity coming for them! Another sidenote: you will find some restaurants will have flyer with our logo on their window – please support these eateries! This was a great idea hatched by Marguerite. Says Marguerite, “It’s been wonderfully eye-opening to witness how a conference is created from scratch and all the planning that goes into it for a successful event. I’m so happy to be a part of it and can’t wait to see it all come to fruition in August!”
Wednesday of this week featured an outstanding series of VCIA events in a blustery and damp Burlington. It brought together the many-faceted folks who play different roles in the Vermont captive industry and illustrated that indeed, we’re better when we’re together. We started with a VCIA Board meeting and then had the Vermont Captive Team available to give an update and take questions from our members. From then on it was time to relax with a spring cocktail and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being a VCIA Member.
The outstanding VCIA Board met in the morning for the regular spring meeting. In addition to their usual Board business of reviewing reports and plans there was also a preliminary strategic planning exercise to help guide the process that we will undertake going forwards. To take a page out of VCIA Board Chair Tracy Hassett’s book, we were definitely aiming for the big blue sky in our strategic planning exercises. This is just the beginning and I look forward to providing more SP updates as we officially get underway at the start of 2024.
In addition there were also two open access sessions – firstly for members to question the Board about their meeting and the direction of the VCIA. Then, the DFR’s Leadership team took the stage for a Q & A about the health of the industry and Vermont as a domicile, the changes to Vermont captive legislation and the actions of entities such as the IRS and the NAIC. Despite the depth of the subject matter, the usually approachability and cooperative nature of the DFR team was very much in evidence. Check out the video below to hear about the positive direction the Vermont Captive team heads in.
Then it was on to the most important business of the day – the Spring Mixer! Being indoors as a result of the aforementioned blustery and damp weather did not detract from the conversations among over 60 professionals – some of which were not Vermont-based. A huge thanks to all that made the journey (long or short) for your support of the VCIA and our activities.
A BIG Thank You to 3 Outgoing VCIA Board Members
Poignantly, the Board and staff also said farewell to three outstanding Board members and long-term friends of the VCIA. The Board recognized the insight, diligence and camaraderie that Stephanie Mapes, Dennis Silvia and Anne Marie Towle have provided to the VCIA and the broader captive industry.
President of Paul Frank + Collins Stephanie Mapes is not only stepping down from the VCIA Board, but she’s also retiring! She’s been a true pillar in the legal sector of the captive industry and was an integral part to VCIA’s legislative intelligence and operations. She brought us a great attention to detail, hard hitting questions, and a knack for finding solutions. On top of it all, Stephanie truly spearheaded our efforts to have a distinguished Strategic Planning process with the SOAR approach. VCIA is grateful how you are leaving us and extra appreciative for your strategic planning expertise and input.
Davies Captive Management expert Dennis Silvia brought a panoramic view of how VCIA fits and stands out in the captive landscape. His insights to the VCIA Conference Task Force and played a big role in why our conference educational offerings are top notch. He was committed to the nth degree – even phoning in from Hawaii in the early morning hours to make a Board meeting! Thank you Dennis for bringing perceptive suggestions – and actions to how VCIA functions and excels.
Last but not least, Hylant’s Anne Marie Towle. Hearing from her fellow Board members as well as staff, one attribute rises to the top – Anne Marie’s energy. She gave so much to VCIA as a Board member, thanks to her robust captive professional network and her own nonstop professional education. Whether it was bringing sponsors in to the conference, or building attendance for a roadshow in Indianapolis, Anne Marie really “connected the dots” as a VCIA Board member and expanded our reach and impact. Thank you, Anne Marie!
Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all out there. Enjoy the long rest, and then let’s get back as our conference planning revs on for #VCIA2023!
We are launched! On Monday of this week registration opened for the 2023 VCIA Conference, and already over 160 attendees have registered to attend. On the outside, it looked like we just ‘flipped the switch,’ but in all honesty that could not be further from the truth! The lead up to the launch of registration has been a meticulous process, one that involved a significant amount of time on the backend to ensure that the registration procedure can run properly for everyone.
Many logistics go into managing the conference experience as well. It’s a big mark of logistical success when attendees don’t even notice because everything is running so smoothly, and that is our goal! A look behind the scenes shows that the VCIA staff have been working on the details that make the conference rev – from hotel contract to our great conference logo – reflecting the summer colors of Vermont. From transportation to sampling the food offerings at the hotel (Somehow, I missed out on that job!)
Equally important to logistics, is the actual conference schedule that has been materializing for months. Since September of 2022 (Yes, less than a month after the end of the 2022 conference!), a dedicated group of captive professionals have been working as the VCIA’s Conference Task Force to solicit, evaluate, hone and finalize a broad range of continuing professional education. Working closely with staff, they have also addressed issues such as safety and security, and the integration of stellar social and networking events into the program.
Staff and the Conference Task Force have also work hard on securing the keynote speakers who will bring something different and relevant to the attendees. This year we are delighted to have retained the services of Juliette Kayyem & Jeff Kreisler. Juliette is a CNN National Security Analyst, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, and a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security. Jeff is the head of Behavioral Science at JP Morgan as well as being a former stand-up comedian! That’s a combination I can’t wait to experience.
So, come join us and about 1,000 of your peers as we explore new challenges and innovations. Build effective and useful contacts across the formal and informal events, and have an outstanding time in beautiful Burlington, Vermont!
It’s the early stages of the Internet. The year is 1996. Some chap by the name of Bill Gates pens an essay in which he declares “Content is King” and bets that the value of information and entertainment creation will astronomically drive the Internet’s growth. Close to thirty years later his prophecy holds true. What’s my point? Well, related to the captive conference experience, the educational material and the leaders who teach that material, are critical. This Monday, May 15th marks the official launch of #VCIA2023 registration. For those really itching to register, head on over to vcia.com now and you just *might* be able to already 😉 … With our interactive discussion groups, collaborative forums, and in-depth educational presentations, I’m proud to say the Captive Content is King at the #VCIA2023 Conference.
As you know, captives are formed by so many diverse organizations. Moreover, there are so many subsets and functions that a captive has in serving its parent group. The #VCIA2023 schedule reflects this wide-range of subjects by offering “everything under the sun” that concerns captives, including:
The latest captive trends and emerging risks
How cyber impacts captives
Inflation on your captive portfolio
The power of reinsurance
The all important medical stop loss
Board engagement and inspiration
With a grand total of 21 CPE/CRE/CLE-eligible educational sessions—3 more than 2022!
That’s not all. #VCIA2023 captive content will deliver on the fundamental concepts for captive formation and management; for that, do attend Captive Immersion, Captive 101, Newcomer’s Guide to the Industry Part I and II, among others. The speakers, who are practitioners themselves, will also provide real-world examples, case studies, and tactical methods for how they problem solved specific challenges that arose for their captive and parent organization. It’s common place to say that our captive conference is for beginners and veterans alike – but it’s true! Even more, the conference content creation was built out and designed to meet the needs of all captive professionals, from one year on the job to thirty.
#VCIA2023 opens its doors to everyone! Starting Monday, May 15th, be sure to register for America’s largest captive gathering. See other domiciles, meet vendors and service providers, connect with captive owners; if you’re new to the industry, we have conference ambassadors, and the Vermont Captive Insurance Emerging Leaders group will be on hand. We’re not kidding when we say #VCIA2023 is Where the Captive World Comes to Meet! Let conference registration begin!
My second RIMS Conference is complete, and I was fortunate to meet a considerable number of you there. The conference energy at RIMS is strong and it reminds me of the buzz you will find at the VCIA Conference in Burlington this August!
At RIMS, the Vermont display (you really can’t call it a ‘booth’) was a hub of activity, and not just because of the ever-popular maple syrup. Throughout the two and a half days, there was a steady stream of current captive owners swinging by to meet with regulators and VCIA staff. We discussed their captives and plans for the future and showcased how VCIA and Vermont could help them meet their goals. A number of both formal and informal meetings with potential new captives took place during our stay in Atlanta.
Person-to-person engagements are important to VCIA, and I am pleased to tell you that one of these meetings at RIMS was a direct result of our recent trade mission to Mexico. I am confident our Mexico relations are just the beginning of a flourishing partnership to come. We also entertained visitors from Germany, Japan and the UK. I continue to be amazed by the brand recognition that our ‘Brave Little State’ gets globally in this field, and I suspect you will find an international presence at the #VCIA2023 Conference.
Additional news: I am happy to report that the 2023 Captive Bill has passed through the Vermont legislature and now sits with the Governor awaiting his signature. This effectiveness again speaks volumes to the great work that volunteers put on both inside the VCIA’s Legislative Committee and beyond that the ensure that your voice is heard in the halls of power. VCIA will of course stay on top of this and alert members and stakeholders when the Governor signs the bill into the law.
Happy May! That means VCIA is primed and ready for our #VCIA2023 registration kick off, and we look forward to “opening our gates” soon!
In the coming months, I intend to highlight a number of facets to demonstrate how The VCIA Conference stands out in the captive conference circuit. We will detail our special events, our keynote speakers (Shh! waiting to reveal them during registration week), the wide variety of services offered in our comprehensive exhibit hall, thanks to our exhibitors.
I will also go in depth on our educational topics – a source of deep pride for VCIA. Above all, our conference is about the people, about you! It starts with the people behind the scenes – the VCIA Conference Task Force, the topic coordinator and speakers, the VCIA Board and Staff, the #VCIA2023 Sponsors – then includes the variety of captive professionals from all walks of life and corners of the world who make our event so special. I don’t want to give it away, but let me just hint that we have a special video dropping during registration week which will illustrate how VCIA is truly the place where the captive world comes to meet.
So, just as a primer, let me provide the basics:
#VCIA2023 is four jam packed days of captive education, networking and business opportunities, in lovely Burlington, Vermont starting Monday August 7th with Captive Immersion, as the full conference slate picks up Tuesday August 8th and goes through Thursday August 10th.
#VCIA2023 is for everyone, not just service providers and captives domiciled in Vermont! In fact, we have a number of other domiciles who will be exhibiting in the exhibit hall, and many regulators and government officials from other states and countries attend. VCIA is very happy about this and it goes to my ethos of building out “a bigger pie” which everyone can eat from.
On top of that #VCIA2023 is productive for those who have been in the captive industry for more than 30 years, and those who maybe have been in the captive industry for just 3 days! We have advanced topics as well as Captive Immersion and Captive101. Plus, the VCIEL will be playing a major role at the conference in engaging rising professionals and students.
Jamie Feehan is a dear friend of the VCIA and plays a major role in our legislative efforts on the state level. For this year’s Legislative Day, he kindly answered some questions so VCIA Members could get to know him and how he supports their captive interests. We now publish Jamie’s interview in its unabridged form, which details how a captive bill is put into law. As of this writing, the 2023 Vermont captive bill is pending but anticipated to be signed into law by Governor Phil Scott without any issue.
Thank you for all the great work you do, Jamie!
Can you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background?
I am Jamie Feehan, and am the Government Relations Director at Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC, a Burlington firm. I am the firm’s lead lobbyist on behalf of our clients that have an interest in Vermont legislative and regulatory matters. I’ve been with Primmer and its previous iterations for about 25 years. Prior to that, I worked on Capitol Hill for a Congressman from Maryland for several years. I have also done political campaign work for that Congressman and for others here in Vermont.
What is your relationship to VCIA and how do you support the association?
I have been working with the VCIA on its Vermont legislative and regulatory initiatives for most of the time I’ve been at Primmer. That includes working with Kevin and his predecessors, the VCIA Board and its Legislative Committee.
Members highly value legislative advocacy. Can you share why it’s so important and what goes into it?
Vermont is the country’s leading domicile for captive insurance and among the world’s leaders. Reaching that point is not without effort and there are many reasons for that success, including legislative advocacy. This includes annual captive insurance legislation that continuously adds new features and tools to the captive statutes, or down to the basic amendments to existing law that make the law operate more smoothly for captives and practitioners. The Vermont Legislature understands how important the captive industry is to Vermont, and that there are other domiciles that would like to have similar success, even at the expense of Vermont. Getting the Legislature to have that understanding is the result of the efforts of the VCIA and DFR in educating legislators of all political stripes on what captive insurance is, and what it means to Vermont. This may be tied to legislative initiatives, VCIA Legislative Days, and more. This educational effort and advocacy is continuous as the faces in the Legislature change, and as the captive insurance industry evolves.
Why is VCIA’s Legislative Day an important process of legislative advocacy on the Vermont state level?
It really ties to the educational effort the VCIA undertakes to help position the captive industry for success in the Legislature. It is our chance to put a face on the industry through attendance by captive owners, management folks, attorneys, and others in the industry – who can each explain how captive insurance plays a role in their professional lives. Moreover, it is a chance for legislators to see and hear of examples of captive owners, the reason a captive was formed, the types of business put through the captive, and the reason Vermont was chosen as a domicile. Most legislators will not know what a captive insurance company is or does, but they (hopefully) learn enough from interactions on Legislative Day, and through their colleagues on committees that dive deeper into captive insurance, that it is something they should embrace and continue to foster.
There are a lot of new faces in the Vermont House and Senate this year. What implications does that have for the VCIA and how we represent the interests of members?
Vermont is a citizen legislature made up of folks who either have the time and flexibility to serve, or take a leave from their job to serve while the Legislature is in session – and frankly throughout the year. This model doesn’t necessary promote the “career” politician and results in frequent turnover among the 180 members. Through a confluence of events, a third of that 180 is new this session. For that reason, the VCIA needs to double-down on its educational and outreach efforts with the Legislature and its members to again position ourselves for success with the new Legislature.
Can you share what kind of captive developments you expect to see in the State for 2023?
I could probably characterize the amendments to the captive law under consideration this year as largely technical or housekeeping in nature. Nevertheless, they do represent the constant tweaks I referenced that keep Vermont’s laws fresh and operationally smooth. They also give the Legislature exposure to captive insurance in the form of legislation. The Legislature has come to understand they are an important cog in Vermont’s success story by being responsive to legislative needs of the industry and regulators. In fact, the veterans there have come to expect annual legislation. Plus, you never know. There’s always time for more significant initiatives to be introduced while the Legislature is in session!
60 is a great number. After all, it represents the number of starting players on 4 rugby teams! And the ancient Babylonians used base 60 for their sexagesimal system of mathematics. Closer to home, it was also the number of folks present at the launch party for the Vermont Captive Insurance Emerging Leaders Group (VCIEL). This exceeded the preliminary target, but more than the numbers was the quality present.
We attracted professors, students, rising professionals and a slate of key industry decision makers, including Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation Kevin Gaffney, Sandy Bigglestone (#3 on the Power 50 Captive Review), Deputy Commissioner of the Captive Division of the DFR, and even Mike Pieciak, Treasurer for the State of Vermont and a dear friend of the VCIA. The launch party had it all: it was fun, dynamic, great enthusiasm, and the conversations around the group and its goals were outstanding.
In addition to being a meeting place for the Emerging Leaders, the group has set themselves some additional goals, and the greatest of these is to have a positive influence on the number and quality of talented individuals available to Vermont’s captive industry. With continued pressure in the competition for talent, and with Vermont lacking any formal college program addressing risk management, this will be a challenge, but I am strongly betting on this great pool of talented individuals to be able to make considerable headway here.
How can it be done? Developing smart relationships. Though there may not be a risk management program at Vermont schools, there’s a strong contingent of people – students, professors, administrators – who are interested in developing relationships and opportunities with VCIA and VCIEL. This was on full display at the VCIEL Launch Party, and there are already irons in the fire in how we will take effective action. More to come on that. Education and outreach will be key.
It’s critical to note that while the VCIA strongly supports and has a partnership with VCIEL, VCIEL operates with autonomy and makes decisions by group consensus made up of the talented folks with various captive roles who provide great perspective. This is by design and is based on the strong belief within the VCIA that groups like this need to be empowered and resourced and not directed and controlled.
As we near #VCIA2023 registration kick off (May 15th, mark your calendars!), you will see heightened visibility for VCIEL, which will play an integral role at the conference in August. They are already driving highly relevant content onto the agenda for that event, and will be a perfect resource for the students, rising professionals and those new to the industry who attend to the conference.
I expect to be able to report on further development and partnerships for the group in the coming months, but for now, let’s give a hand for the great work done by VCIEL. The launch party was a smash hit! It’s just the beginning and VCIA is proud to be with VCIEL on this journey to a better captive future.
The Board of the VCIA has some parameters set by the bylaws of the association. One of these is that the Board must always have members who are captive insurance company owners. This ensures that the Board has a direct understanding of what many VCIA member captive owners are going through.
On that note, I am very pleased to report that in the new Top 20 captive owners list from Captive Review – https://captivereview.com/features/top-20-captive-owners-2023/ – 3 VCIA Board members appear! It’s not lost on me that these 3 fantastic individuals are not only very active in the captive community, but also help out and volunteer their time and knowledge with many VCIA initiatives.
Firstly, our immediate past Chair, Andrew Baillie of the AES Corporation. Andrew’s appearance at the VCIA roadshow in New York in the fall of 2022 showcased one of the many reasons that he was on this list. From the Captive Review article: “Baillie has developed a number of innovative captive solutions, particularly in the fields of cyber and terrorism coverage, and earned himself a reputation as a leader in the captive space among his peers.”
Secondly, Gail Newman of Bright Horizons, who brings the insurance challenges of a global childcare provider to VCIA Board deliberations. Gail brings so much fresh insight to the Board and VCIA and utilizes her many areas of expertise.
Last, but by no means least, current Board Chair Tracy Hassett of edHEALTH, who testified in front of the Vermont House and Senate committees in January of 2023, and made a powerful impact on the legislators present.
The VCIA relies on Board members, committee members and many other volunteers to develop our programs and initiatives, and it is great when the broader industry recognizes the influence, commitment and excellence of these folks alongside us!
To keep up to date and foster mutual good will, VCIA maintains many relationships with associations related to insurance and captives, specifically. One such prominent organization is The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which was founded in 1871 (!) and serves as standard-setting organization for the chief insurance regulators from all 50 states. NAIC offers informed expertise, data, and analysis for “insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers.” I attended the NAIC Annual Spring Meeting, this year in Louisville, and report back with some interesting findings.
You may ask, why did I attend the NAIC Meeting? Simply put it is important that we stay on top of the activities of this group as they directly impact the way in which captives and RRGs operate within the broader insurance markets that the group is concerned with. Now, onto my findings.
First off, this meeting is HUGE! So big that despite the fact that the Vermont DFR had a delegation there, I only saw them from a distance!
Second, there is great information provided that is well-researched over a long period of time and has quite an impact on different insurance sectors. For example, in 2021 private residential flood policies issued were up 29% in number over 2020. While the impact on this is primarily within the consumer sector, the businesses around where the consumers live are subject to the same climate-driven risks, and it serves as a reminder how interconnected insurance can be to different entities.
Third, we get early warning as to future direction for the NAIC and what this might do for captives. An example of this was seen in the Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation (F) Committee and their work on the group capital calculation (GCC). There were a number of comment letters considered at this meeting and a revised GCC will be up for adoption at the Summer National Meeting of the NAIC, with a recommended adoption date of 1/1/2026. VCIA will keep monitoring this and share any news with members as it develops.
Finally, as with all quality conferences, I developed some personal connections that will prove valuable to VCIA and its members. I had several discussions with insurance company general counsels, NAIC staff members and others as we explored matters of mutual interest.
I was also fortunate to have Jeff Klein as my chaperone! Jeff is the VCIA’s representative on NAIC matters and reports back monthly to our Legislative Committee. We continue to be proactive in anticipating captive needs and challenges, and our ability to have the Legislative Committee and members informed, thanks to Jeff and so many other diligent folks, assures that the future directional intent for regulation is in safe hands!