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.
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!