Thought-provoking speakers, panel discussions and educational sessions will dominate the agenda when the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) holds its 55th Annual Meeting on Oct. 22-25 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan in Orlando, Fla.
Touted as one of the largest property/casualty insurance gatherings in the U.S., approximately 1,600 attendees—an almost equal mix of NAII members and a contingent of reinsurers—are expected at the event.
According to Joseph Annotti, assistant vice president of public affairs for the NAII, one of the main highlights of this year’s event will be an industry panel on insurance regulation, covering “Financial Services Regulation in the 21st Century.”
These speakers will include: Kentucky Insurance Commissioner George Nichols, who is also the president of the NAIC; Debra Ballen, executive vice president of the American Insurance Association, whose views regarding the future of state regulation Annotti described as being “considerably different than NAII’s”; Beth Climo, managing director of the American Bankers Association Insurance Association, who will advocate on behalf of expanded authority to underwrite and market insurance for banks; and Bruce Marlow, president and CEO of 21st Century Insurance, who will represent the NAII. “We should get some dramatically different views, and it should produce quite an exchange about the various regulatory concepts that will be debated by Congress and federal regulatory agencies in the coming months,” Annotti said.
More specifically, Annotti explained there are currently proposals on the table by several organizations within the insurance industry and the banking community that would modify the current system of regulation.
“They wouldn’t necessarily throw out state regulation, but they would introduce federal standards for various insurance oversight areas and then have states be the enforcers, or implementers, of those standards,” Annotti said. “The NAII is not convinced that that’s the best way to go. We don’t think the state insurance regulatory system is broken. We certainly think it can be improved, but we’re not ready to walk away from it yet.”
Another nationally recognized speaker scheduled on the NAII meeting program is Robert Reich, a university professor at Brandeis and former Secretary of Labor for the Clinton Administration, who will be giving the keynote address on “The Emerging Economy.”
Also slated is a media panel discussion forecasting the 2000 election and its potential impact on the insurance industry. Participating in that discussion will be Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, and Morton Kondracke, executive editor and columnist for the Washington, D.C.-based independent newspaper Roll Call. Both Barnes and Kondracke are hosts of the television show “The Beltway Boys,” which airs on the Fox News Channel.
Presenting his views on “The Challenges of a Changing Workers’ Compensation Market” will be William Schrempf, president and CEO of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Schrempf will give his take on where the workers’ comp market is headed, what operational and marketing challenges companies face, and the legislative regulatory environment for that business.
“Our members’ share of the workers’ compensation market is growing,” Annotti said. “It’s clearly a very important issue to them. There are all kinds of signs that that market is going to go through some significant changes as far as rate increases and possibly some regulatory or legislative reform effort.”
Annotti noted that the timing of the annual meeting is such that there will be a lot of individual meetings going on as reinsurers and their clients who are NAII member companies embark on the first stages of negotiating reinsurance contracts.
He also noted that in 2000 the market seems to be hardening first in the reinsurance area, a fact that could make those meetings even more interesting. That issue is likely to be included in outgoing Lloyd’s Chairman Max Taylor’s speech titled “View from London.”
“I’m sure he’ll have an interesting take on whether or not the market is actually going to harden,” Annotti said. “There are some companies, certainly some of the newer formed companies, and some executives who have never been through a hard market, and it may change the face of how some people compete.”
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