CNN_SOTU_logoJoin me on November 20th for an informative and timely update on VCIA legislative activities on behalf of our members and the industry. The session is free, for VCIA Members only, and is not to be missed!

I will be joined by David Provost, Deputy Commissioner for Captive Insurance at the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, and Jim McIntyre, VCIA’s representative in Washington DC for an overview of new and pending regulations in the state and in Washington D.C. and the NAIC.  Between these two guys, they hold enough knowledge on captive insurance to fill an old UNIVAC 1107 mainframe computer (OK, admittedly an iPhone holds tons more data, but we old mainframes have to stick together)!

Learn about VCIA’s activities on your behalf, and the status of important current issues like:

  • What’s happening in Washington, DC
  • TRIA Reauthorization
  • Cannabis Safe Harbor Act
  • IRS Letters to 831(b) Captives
  • Update to the Liability and Risk Retention Act (LRRA)
  • Activities and updates from the NAIC, including the RRG Task Force
  • Non-domiciliary state actions: Washington State, Johnson & Johnson decision
  • Vermont’s captive 2019 bill and what’s ahead for Vermont’s 2020 captive bill
  • DFR legislation creating an insurance “sandbox” to test innovative technology or insurance models.
  • Vermont Department of Financial Regulation updates

I hope you will be able to attend this Members Only event.  If you aren’t already a VCIA Member, this would be a great time to join! Click here for more information and to register.

Thank you very much, I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

VCIA Newsy News

newsblogTwo quick pieces of news regarding VCIA members to bring forward.

First, congratulations to VCIA Board Member Anne Marie Towle, for being one of this year’s winners of Business Insurance magazine’s “Women To Watch” award!  Launched in 2006, the award recognizes women leaders doing outstanding work in risk management and commercial insurance. Nominated by readers based on their accomplishments, expertise, leadership, and future prospects, honorees are selected by a panel of editors.  Anne Marie is Hylant Global Captive Solutions leader, and joins Sandy Bigglestone, Director of Captive Insurance for the State of Vermont, who was awarded this prestigious honor last year.

And a warm welcome to Vermont goes out to Arsenal Insurance Management, which is opening a new office in Burlington. Arsenal, founded in 2006, is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and joins the already considerable number (20!) of captive managers with Vermont offices. I had the privilege of seeing Arsenal president Norm Chandler on a panel at the National Risk Retention Association conference in Chicago a few weeks ago. He presented a session entitled RRGs in The Future of Healthcare Without Health Insurance alongside fellow VCIA members Tim Padovese, CEO of Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co., and Stephen Koca, Principal and Consulting Actuary at Milliman. Join me in welcoming Arsenal to VCIA and to Vermont!

Thank you very much,  I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith,
VCIA President

Parametrics and Nat Cat

floodI participated on the SRS webinar recently about using a captive program for natural catastrophe risks (Nat Cat) and found it quite interesting. Most often, Nat Cat risk is insured with parametric insurance, a type of insurance that does not indemnify the pure loss, but rather issues a set payment upon the occurrence of an objective triggering event, such as an earthquake of a certain magnitude or a hurricane of a specific intensity.  The use of a parametric trigger has been around for some time, but there seems to be growing interest in the tool, especially with the number of natural disasters increasing exponentially every year.

Robert Nusslein, Head, Innovative Risk Solutions Americas, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, effectively described how captives can play a role in parametric insurance.  With insurance markets looking like they are hardening, especially property in natural disaster-prone areas, a new approach needs to be contemplated. As Swiss Re explains, parametric insurance products are linked to reputable, objective third-party sources, which are used to determine an insurance payout. They are designed to provide catastrophe coverage and complement, but not replace, traditional insurance coverage. Using this structure, parametric insurance payouts are quickly determined, easily measured, and effectively eliminate loss adjustment hassles. The proceeds from a parametric insurance payout can be used at the buyer’s full discretion.

Captives can play a variety of roles in this type of scenario.  As Brady Young pointed out, captives allow corporate to transfer risk of its subsidiaries to the parent’s captive insurer. Also, subsidiaries retain risk in their comfort zone and are able to assume it with less negative impact to financial results from Nat Cat or weather events. The captive can assume an appropriate amount of risk, anywhere from 90% to as little as 10%, with a reinsurer behind the captive assuming the balance of risk. Risk can be split in primary and excess layer participations or a percent quota share participation between captive and reinsurer. Reinsurers provide underwriting, structure and pricing expertise for parametric Nat Cat covers and third-party arm’s length pricing verification for the captive and its regulator.

All of this helps captive owners capture some of the benefits of parametric insurance, such as breadth of coverage, speed of loss payments, and supplemental coverage to traditional insurance.  And with the growing risk from natural catastrophes due to climate change, it is important for captive owners to be ready!

Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith,
VCIA President

We had a great time!

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VCIA Staff left to right: Diane Leach, Rich Smith, Peggy Companion, Elizabeth Halpern, Megan Precourt, Isabelle Halpern (summer intern), Dave Rapuano and Janice Valgoi

Thanks to all who joined us in Burlington earlier this month for another great VCIA captive insurance conference!  As I tell everyone who asks me how the conference went, I have a great time meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. And the entire VCIA staff feels the same way.

You seem to agree, too: more than 84% of conference survey responses rated our conference the best or better than most. With over 1000 attendees from 44 States and 10 countries, where more than 25% were captive owner and 19% first time attendees. Our annual gathering in August has grown to be the place “Where the Captive World Comes to Meet”!

The conference had great energy and people liked the format and extra touches.  As a few of the  attendees stated the conference is “where the best and the brightest in the captive world come together to keep moving the industry forward”; “a participative educational forum, fostering business and personal relationships that last a lifetime!”; “the place where everyone is willing to share ideas and learn from each other”; “the premier captive insurance conference on the calendar, given its size, its sophistication….if I could only attend one captive conference per year, it would be VCIA.”

Attendees especially liked the new Captive Immersion program that was held on Monday, our Learning Circles which enabled attendees to share ideas and experiences, the exhibitor reception with the special Vermont beer and spirits samplings provided, and our two excellent keynotes: Laura Drabik from Guidewire and astronaut Mike Massimino.

Many thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors without whom we could not put on such an event, as well as to the hundreds of volunteers who make it happen. A special thank you to our Platinum Sponsors:

  • A.M. Best
  • Kroll Bond Rating Agency
  • Madison Scottsdale
  • Old Republic
  • Performa
  • Wells Fargo
  • State of Vermont

Now after a little break, we are back to work again looking out for the captive industry. We have a bunch of webinars being planned for the rest of the year so keep your eyes on our website!

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

10-Day Countdown

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Just ten days until we open Burlington, Vermont to all you captive insurance professionals! If you have not already done so, please make plans to join us for a week of wonderful education, networking and friendship.

Here is just a smattering of some of the captive owners who will be presenting this year:

  • Andrew Baillie, AES of Global Insurance Company
  • Sean Barnes of United Educators
  • Julie Bordo of PCH Mutual Insurance Co., Inc., a RRG
  • Tracy Hassett of Educators Health Insurance Exchange of New England
  • Tim Herr of Recreation Risk Retention Group
  • Karen Hsi of the University of California
  • Jan Klodowski of Agri-Services Agency LLC & Agrisurance Inc.
  • Troy LePage of HAI Group
  • Heather McClure of Oklahoma University Medical
  • Bill Murray of Church Insurance
  • Tim Padovese of Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company (OMIC)
  • Joshua Reding of Life Time Captive Insurance Company
  • Paul Smith of National Insurance and Indemnity Corporation

I hope you all can join us! Click here to register for the VCIA Conference today.

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Rich Smith

From Early Bird to Angry Bird

Rich-angry-bird

For all you procrastinators out there (and I count myself as one of the best) listen up! VCIA’s Annual Conference “early bird” rates are about to expire on June 30th. That means, of course, you will be paying more to learn and network with 1100 captive professionals from around the US and the world. And none of us like doing that.

Don’t take my word on it – look, here it is in black and white:

Registration Type

Early Price

Late Price

Full Pass: Member $750 $825
Full Pass: Non-member $1300 $1380
Networking: Member $465 $515
Networking: Non-member $890 $940

So, before the early bird changes into an angry bird, get on it! Click here to register today.

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Rich Smith
VCIA President

Space…The Final Frontier

Rich-KurkVery cliché, I know, but still so true.

The fact that we now have a burgeoning space industry opens up opportunities for the insurance world. Most insurance companies offer some type of Space and Satellite Insurance which covers things like satellite launch and in-orbit, contingency, in-orbit third party liability, or some combination thereof.  But with space tourism becoming a reality in the not-too-distance future, captive insurance has an opportunity to play a role in the risk management of our last frontier.

The global banking firm UBS believes there will be very lucrative ramifications from the space flight efforts currently led by Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin, and stated that in a decade high-speed travel via outer space will represent an annual market of at least $20 billion and compete with long-distance airline flights. Space tourism will be a $3 billion market by 2030, UBS estimates.

UBS pointed to SpaceX’s plans to use the massive Starship rocket it is building to fly as many as 100 people around the world in minutes. SpaceX said that Starship would be able to fly from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, rather than the 15 hours it takes currently by airplane – pretty cool.  And even though space tourism is still nascent, UBS said they believe the sub-sector will become mainstream as the technology becomes proven and cost falls.

The legal risk of orbital space tourism is uncharted territory, and the liability risks to these companies could be huge.  Under current regulation, commercial passengers will have to sign an “informed consent” form to confirm that they recognize and accept the risks. This provision has been enshrined in US law by the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act 2004. Such liability waivers remain untested in the courts.

Although there are large insurance firms looking at space tourism, it seems that there is a yawning gap for the liability coverage of the space firms. Captives have always done well with filling this void with targeted, bespoke coverage. So, brush off your old Star Trek DVDs and let’s hope that we have a panel at the VCIA conference in the next ten years devoted to the extraterrestrial!

For all you Trekkies out there we have the next best thing to Captain James T. Kirk: for our closing luncheon on Thursday at the VCIA Annual Conference the week of August 5th we have former astronaut Mike Massimino as our special keynote. He is a recurring character on The Big Bang Theory, a professor at Columbia University, the first person to tweet from space, and a New York Times best-selling author.  Mike will speak of pursuing his passion and tell incredible stories about his experiences in outer space manning space missions. Having one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, Mike will speak of the teamwork and problem-solving skills needed to train for and accomplish one of NASA’s most difficult space missions. Don’t miss this fun closing event!

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Rich Smith
VCIA President