Former FEMA Director Witt to Address Insurers Group, April 9-11

February 16, 2006

James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a leading authority in public safety and emergency management, will speak at the 2006 Annual Conference of the American Association of Insurance Services, April 9-11 at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla.

Witt won international acclaim for his role in transforming FEMA and coordinating the federal response to more than 350 disasters during his tenure as director from 1993 through 2000. Today, he serves as CEO and Chairman of James Lee Witt Associates LLC as well as chief executive of the International Code Council, an association dedicated to building safety.

Witt, along with Admiral James M. Loy, is also a co-chairman of “,” a nationwide coalition of first responders, emergency management experts, building officials, insurance industry leaders and others urging for a comprehensive response mechanism at the state and federal levels to prepare and protect Americans from the effects of catastrophes. also promotes more effective land use and building code enforcement, and improved coordination among local, state, and federal authorities.

Disaster management has become a major national issue, with state insurance commissioners and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners making proposals for a national catastrophe program to improve the way America prepares for and recovers from catastrophic events.

In addition to Witt, the AAIS Annual Conference will feature comments on disaster policy and other issues from Ernst Csiszar, president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Csiszar’s public comments emphasize private market and state and local measures to address disaster losses, but the organization has not publicly endorsed or opposed any proposal.

The theme of the AAIS conference is “Executive Leadership: Decision-Making in a Dynamic Environment.” Other speakers include the following:

* Professor J. Edward Russo of Cornell University, who will lead a half-day session on effective decision-making. Each registrant will receive a complimentary copy of Russo’s book Winning Decisions: Getting It Right The First Time (co-authored with Professor Paul Schoemaker of the Wharton School.)

* Matthew Josefowicz, manager of the global insurance group for the research and consulting firm Celent, who will speak on the future of insurance technology.

* John Lucker, principal, and Jim Marino, director, Deloitte Consulting, who will speak on the growing use of data mining and predictive analytics for underwriting small commercial accounts.

Also, a panel of company executives is being formed to share insights on success. The panelists include

* Greg Ostergren, chairman, president and CEO of American National Property and Casualty Company, Springfield, Mo.;

* Kenneth Stover, executive vice president, Western National Mutual Ins. Co., Minneapolis, Minn.; and

* James Sullivan, president and CEO of Co-Operative Insurance Companies, Middlebury, Vt., who will moderate the panel.

For more information on the conference, and to register, go to, or contact Joseph Harrington, director of corporate communications, at People who sign up by the end of Friday, Feb. 17 receive an “early bird” discount on their registration fee.

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