Big Turnout at PIANY’s MetroRAP 2003; Keynoter Warren Heck Addresses Terrorist Coverage Concerns

January 28, 2003

The recent Professional Insurance Agents of New York’s Metropolitan Regional Awareness Program (MetroRAP) broke previous attendance records. Nearly 500 agents, company representatives, exhibitors and other New York insurance industry professionals turned out for the 11th annual Conference at the New York Marriott in Brooklyn on Jan. 23.

“It’s like watching your family grow,” stated Harvey Leff, MetroRAP committee chairman. “The New York Metro insurance community has endured the greatest trials and experienced the greatest accomplishments our industry has ever seen. And year after year, this event is a larger gathering of our friends and colleagues. I am so proud of MetroRAP and so pleased to see how we’ve developed into the premier show for our industry.”

MetroRAP participants attended education sessions, networked with colleagues and heard Warren H. Heck, chairman and chief executive officer of the Greater New York Group, give the keynote address.

Heck praised the role that independent insurance agents have played in the industry’s vital task of building the country’s economic success. “Who can argue that without a method for spreading insurable risk, entrepreneurs would have been free to assume the business risks associated with running the successful commercial enterprises that built our great nation?” Heck asked the audience. “Integrity, trust and reliability have been hallmarks of our industry.”

Heck warned, however, of the hurdles that the industry faces in the post-Sept. 11 era, including shortfalls in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and obstructions to the industry’s credibility for not taking responsibility for its own financial stability. “We must find ways to continue to serve the public, and provide the public with the protection it needs,” he indicated. “It is for that reason I am not pleased with the position taken by property and casualty insurance and reinsurance companies after the WTC loss to exclude coverage for terrorism losses.”

He noted that “in New York where admitted carriers could not exclude terrorism, many companies simply withdrew from the market — we had a duty to find a way to provide insurance coverage for terrorism losses to commercial risks to protect our insured from financial ruin in the event of another attack.” According to Heck one of the main flaws in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act is an “early sunset provision.” He stressed that insurers must find ways to provide stability to the marketplace and achieve truly disciplined underwriting practices.

The luncheon meeting also featured the presentation of the PIANY’s annual awards to four members of the profession, recognizing their achievements over the past year (See IJ Website Jan.27).

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