#VCIA2023 Conference Preview I: Where the Captive World Comes to Meet

Suddenly, the month of May begins on Monday! That means we are just two weeks out from when VCIA’s 38th Annual Conference registration opens. Let me be of service and provide you with this calendar reminder link so that you can go ahead and register for #VCIA2023 right away on Monday May 15th. All you need to do that Monday the 15th is go to www.vcia.com to register! We anticipate a larger gathering, a more robust schedule of events and topics, and overall a conference experience that will meet and surpass VCIA’s 2022 Conference. And you are an important part of that!

95% of surveyed attendees said the VCIA Conference coordination and management was well done and exceptional
96% of surveyed attendees said VCIA Conference networking opportunities were well done and exceptional

We plan to outdo our 2022 Sucess with your help!

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.
  • The VCIA Annual Conference is changing golf courses this year! We are headed to beautiful Stowe, Vermont! Find details on our golf page here.
  • This is just the tip of the iceberg! Keep up with VCIA LinkedIn activity to learn more, and I look forward to seeing you as one of the registered #VCIA2023 attendees starting Monday May 15th!

This is the premier US captive conference to attend to be at the forefront of the industry. It is the place to learn about the hottest topics trending in the industry and to network with your peers. The VCIA shows their level of care and passion through their staff’s efforts resulting in a very welcoming captive conference experience. Be sure to mark this annual event on your calendar to be best armed to utilize your captive program or to learn how to break in to the industry.

Praise for the VCIA Conference Experience

Captive Corner: VCIA Interview Series, 2. Jamie Feehan

Captive Corner: VCIA Interviews Industry Experts

Jamie Feehan, Government Relations Director and VCIA Legislative Advocate at Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC

primmer.com / Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer LinkedIn Page

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.

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

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!

Emerging Leaders Launch Party Was a Hit, and It’s Just the Beginning

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.

A Brief Note on the Value of VCIA Board Members

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. 

Congratulations to 3 of our Board Members for being a Top 20 Captive Owner by Captive Review!

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!