Former U.N. Weapons Inspector, White House Economist Address National Insurance Leadership Symposium

March 18, 2004

Hans Blix, the United Nations weapons inspector who spearheaded efforts in Iraq to determine whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and Michael Boskin, a former head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will be featured speakers at the National Insurance Leadership Symposium (NILS) in San Francisco in April 25-26, 2004, at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.

The symposium is sponsored by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers in association with Russell R. Miller, the Reinsurance Association of America and the American Insurance Association. It is unique among gatherings because it brings together all segments of the commercial insurance industry to focus on big-picture issues of global concern to the business. NILS also is the only major market meeting to convene on the West Coast.

“NILS gives top executives from all parts of the insurance marketplace a chance to step away from the pressures of everyday operations and spend some time looking at the economic, social and political developments that will be impacting the industry at large,” said Ken A. Crerar, president of The Council.

“Hans Blix, with his gripping tale of a weapons search that might have stopped the outbreak of war, and Boskin, with his expertise on federal tax, budget and debt policy, are precisely the type of speakers that make NILS a premiere event for strategic thinkers,” Crerar said.

Boskin will deliver the opening address for NILS on Sunday, April 25. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the T.M. Friedman Professor of Economics at Stanford University, Boskin was chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989-1993 during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

He serves on a number of federal advisory panels relating to the economy and has been an adviser to presidents, prime ministers, finance ministries and central banks around the world.

Blix, a Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to take the job, led the United Nations weapons inspection efforts in Iraq from 2000 until the United States launched a preemptive attack on the country in March of 2003. His first book, “Disarming,” released this month, is a tale of the delicate balancing act he was forced to perform as he sparred with an Iraqi regime intent on not cooperating with the inspection team, a U.S. administration determined to dislodge Saddam Hussein and an international community badly divided over the prospect of war.

Blix will speak to the group on Monday, April 26. He holds a doctorate in law from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and was a member of Sweden’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly from 1961-1981. He also served in a variety of Swedish Foreign Ministry posts during that time. From 1981 to 1997 he was director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and in January of this year, he began work as chairman of the newly formed International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The NILS conference also will feature a panel of insurer CEOs discussing the trends and challenges facing the industry; a speech by Peter Walker, director of McKinsey & Company and the author of two books on the property/casualty business; and a panel discussion with insurance analysts examining the state of the industry.

For more information on media coverage of the symposium, contact Barry Meiners, director of marketing and communications for The Council, at 202-783-4400 or at For information on attending NILS as a participant, contact Coletta Kemper, The Council’s vice president for industry affairs, at 202-783-4400 or

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