Old Home Week

Road-show-2017

As many of you know, VCIA hosts a couple of educational sessions in different cities across the country to espouse the virtues of captive insurance. We call these our World Famous Road Shows, well, because the Ringley Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is no more! It is an afternoon that focuses on the basics of captive insurance companies, including the reasons for formation, the feasibility process and key issues in putting a successful captive program together.  A brief overview of Vermont as a captive domicile is also discussed.

It hit us late last year that we have never brought our Road Show to our Homeland – the Great State of Vermont! So next Wednesday, October 25th at the Burlington Hilton we will presenting the Road Show for companies in Vermont (and neighboring regions), as well as enticing finance, business and accounting students from local colleges to come learn about this great industry in their backyard.

We will have Vermont’s chief regulator, Dave Provost on a panel with Rusty Young, a Shareholder at Burlington law firm Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer, PC. The panel will be moderated by Ian Davis of Vermont’s Department of Economic Development. I will host the second panel of two of the industry’s experienced captive owners. Jan Klodowski is vice present of Agrisurance Inc. and is responsible for developing and administering their successful Captive/Alternative Risk Financing programs. She manages Agrisurance, Inc., a Vermont-domiciled Sponsored Captive focused on service the farming and agricultural industry. And Wilda Seymour, the corporate director of Professional Liability for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and vice president, Franklin Casualty Insurance Company, their Vermont-domiciled captive.

Hope you can join us to get a better idea why Vermont is the #1 captive domicile in the United States!

One last thing – we need your input! Today is the deadline to submit topics for VCIA’s annual conference next August. Please click link below to submit a conference topic suggestion:

http://conta.cc/2uY3JFL

 

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

 

state-of-the-unionEvery year VCIA hosts a webinar for our members that provides an informative and timely update on VCIA legislative activities on behalf of our members and the industry.  We call it “Captive State of the Union” because, like the President’s address to Congress every January, this is a chance for our members to hear just what’s going on in Montpelier, Washington, and across the world.  I will be joined by Dave Provost, Deputy Commissioner for Captive Insurance at the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, and Jim McIntyre, VCIA’s representative in Washington for an overview of new and pending regulations in the state and in Washington D.C. and the NAIC.  The webinar is for VCIA Members only and is free of charge!

This is a relaxed but informative hour where we will discuss issues like the potential impact of tax reform on captives, status of the Captive Insurers Clarification Act, the Vermont captive bill signed into law this past spring, and updates from the NAIC, including the proposed NAIC Insurance Data Security Model Law, XXX / AXXX regulations and proposal to collect expanded mid-year investment information, plus more.  So join us on October 19th from 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET and become informed!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

mrsmithgoestowashington

You may have heard about Richard Smith being grilled in Congress this week over a huge data breach that exposed millions of Americans’ personal information. I just want assure you that I am not THAT Richard Smith!

I think our industry has been very focused on cyber security for some time now, both in their businesses and as an opportunity to craft a captive solution for their clients – and I have certainly blogged it to death so enough said. That still has not stopped the NAIC from proposing to adopt a Data Security Model Law this year. If you have not seen it you can download it here:

Data Security Model Law (click here to view)

And although it becomes another “thing” to deal with in our industry, there is no doubt that a cybersecurity plan is a necessary element of any good captive management plan. I give Vermont’s insurance commissioner, Mike Pieciak, and his dauntless captive team high marks for keeping the NAIC’s model act as manageable as possible.

In the meantime, this Mr. Smith will be heading to Washington this fall to meet with congressional staff and leaders on the hill about issues impacting captive insurance.  Hopefully, I will get a little warmer welcome than my namesake!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

Good NRRA; Bad NRRA

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAzPAAAAJDNkYzk4YzczLTZlYzYtNDM3NS05ODUzLTdmNDVjNDM3MDc3NgI just returned from the annual NRRA conference in Chicago last night. I know, NRRA conference? I talk a lot about fixing NRRA in Washington (maybe incessantly) but this the “good NRRA” I am talking about: The National Risk Retention Association; not the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act.

Since Vermont is home to almost half of all RRGs licensed, it is a little like old home week in the Windy City. Many of the panelists are Vermonters or have strong connections to VCIA, such as Dan Labrie, Clare Bello, Stephanie Mapes, Michael Bemi, Nancy Gray, Tina Truex McCuin and Tim Padovese. Yours truly moderated a panel of professors and students from two risk management programs in Chicago for a very interesting view on what the industry needs to do to attract (and hold) the next generation of RRG leaders. Of course, DFR luminaries Dave Provost and Sandy Bigglestone were on two different panels providing their sought-out thoughts and wisdom on a number of issues affecting the RRG world.

Congratulations to Michael Bemi who was awarded the Karen Cutts Visionary award. This award is named for Karen who was an inspirational leader and advocate for the risk retention industry and the founder of the Risk Retention Reporter. Michael recently retired as President and CEO of the National Catholic Risk Retention Group and truly lives up to the accolades of the award. Even though retired, the good news for all of us at VCIA is that he will be joining us next year at our conference as a recently minted Honorary Member of the association!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

Alexa, manage my claims

Does emerging artificial intelligence-focused insurtech provide more opportunities for captives? That’s a question confronting our industry with the growing trend of automated data analytics in insurance.

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At the same time, Munich Re reported its US-based insurtech platform, Slice Labs, has launched its on-demand homeshare insurance product across 13 states. Slice’s insurance product is specifically designed for homeshare hosts who participate in platforms such as AirBnb or HomeAway, and covers the time period hosts rent their homes out.  Machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence that gives computers pattern recognition and computational learning capabilities, is gaining momentum in the insurance industry.  Specifically, 54% of the almost 200 insurance executives surveyed said that their organization was using machine learning to support predictive analytical modelling functions. Furthermore, 70% of those who deployed the technology applied it to risk modelling, while 45% used it to develop demand models, and another 36% employed it for fraud detection.

As I am sure all of you remember in a past blog (you know, the one with the picture of me and Beyoncé – one of my faves) I took your valuable time to ramble on about this trend, focusing on a peer-to-peer insurance start-up called Lemonade. Lemonade, an artificial intelligence-focused insurtech company, more than doubled its clients in two months, according to its co-founder, from 6,000 customers at the end of March to about 14,300 by the end of May.

Having more insurance companies employ machine learning technology in their underwriting and modelling could mean more opportunity for organizations with risks that don’t fit the “emerging algorithm” to utilize captives.  Not that captive insurers and service providers aren’t using the emerging insurtech technologies as well; just that the bespoke nature of captives could further differentiate them from traditional insurance as the robots take over!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Smith
VCIA President

 

 

Through the Roof! Vermont Celebrates 1,100th Licensed Captive Insurance Company

The Staup-chartte of Vermont just announced that the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) has licensed Vermont’s 1,100th captive insurance company. AssureCap Indemnity, LLC was licensed as a Sponsored Captive Insurance Company. It was formed by Assurance Agency, Ltd., which was recently named the 41st largest insurance broker in the United States by Business Insurance magazine and is now the largest independent insurance brokerage in Illinois.

According to the announcement, Assurance Agency, Ltd. President Daniel Klaras said Vermont was an easy choice.  “We know how important it is to be in an environment that has an established track record with proven experience,” he said, “so when we compared experience, governmental support and the state’s long-standing tradition of quality regulation, we knew Vermont was the place to be.”  Amen, Brother!

As most of you know, Vermont is the largest captive insurance domicile in the U.S. and the third largest in the world.  Congratulations to the State of Vermont’s Captive Team! Why would you be anywhere else?

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

 

Rich Smith
VCIA President

Berlitz Phrasebook for Vermont

vermont-festivals4fun-imageI know most of you are busy preparing for next week’s VCIA conference – remember to pack comfortable shoes! – so I thought I would share a few tips on “Vermont-isms” that you may hear while you are here (and, yes, they sound a lot like “Maine-isms”, but don’t say that to a Vermonter):

Jeezum Crow – Commonly used in a state of anger or surprise, but it’s less offensive than yelling “Je$@$ Ch^!$&!”

Dooryard – This is the main entry way area into the house for people. Or rather, it hasn’t been taken over by the farm and used by animals.

Mounain – Not “mountain,” it’s “mounain” (pronounced without the “t”).

By the Jesus – Often said in a state of amazement, this is another way of saying “You betcha!”

Djeet? – A quick way of asking “Did you eat?”

Creemee – Forget Ben & Jerrys! When you are in Vermont this is ice cream (although it means a soft serve).

Upta – As in “Are you going upta the mountain?”

Yahd Aht – Or “Yard Art”. You’ll find all sorts of interesting things in yards in Vermont…

Flatlander – Someone (anyone) who wasn’t born in Vermont.

Woodchuck – A guy who lives and thrives in rural Vermont. Oh, and he can probably fix just about anything.

Keow – Those are the black and white animals that provide Ben & Jerry’s their cream.

I won’t be posting for a few weeks as I will be conferencing and then going on a nice, long holiday with the fam. I look forward to seeing many of you next week, by jeezum!

Rich Smith, VCIA President