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Excess/Surplus

Introducing the WSIA and its Annual Marketplace

The AAMGA and NAPSLO merged to create the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association — a member services organization servicing the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry.
By: | September 6, 2017 • 2 min read

August saw the merger of the American Association of Managing General Agents and the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices. Together, AAMGA and NAPSLO create the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association.  The new organization aims to showcase the best of both worlds.

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“While we have a new name, a new brand and a renewed energy and purpose, our core mission and values have not changed. We remain focused on perpetuating the success of the legacy organizations,” said Brady Kelley, Executive Director of WSIA.

“The AAMGA and NAPSLO have always maintained open channels of communication,” he said. “Our advocacy and services support the same segment of the industry.”

Now, a little over a month later, members will start to see the benefits.

Joining forces enabled WSIA to give members a concise listing of programs and services, eliminating the need for members to choose between similar offerings from the two existing organizations. The organization also embraced the opportunity to broaden the education and professional development curriculum it offered.

In fact, WSIA rolled out its first education program in August.

Before the merger, leaders from both AAMGA and NAPSLO realized they were heavily intertwined: 76 percent of AAMGA members were also NAPSLO members, and 48 percent of NAPSLO members were also AAMGA members.

“We now represent the overwhelming majority of the U.S. wholesale, specialty and surplus lines marketplace,” Kelley said.

WSIA Annual Marketplace

Every year, NAPSLO hosts its Annual Convention, a gathering of surplus lines industry and wholesale insurance professionals. WSIA aims to bring the same dedication to these industries under a new name: the WSIA Annual Marketplace.

The conference is set to run Sept. 10 through Sept. 13 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego in San Diego, California.

Brady Kelley, executive director, Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association

“The Annual Marketplace will be our first large networking event as WSIA, replacing what was the NAPSLO Annual Convention,” said Kelley.

“Our general session on September 13 will celebrate the merger, our strong legacies, past leadership and our complete integration. There will be no mistaking it is the WSIA’s Annual Marketplace.”

WSIA says it has 4,300 attendees lined up for its Annual Marketplace.

“One of our U40-hosted sessions will focus on the value of wholesale distribution, including the findings of the 2016 Conning report that studied the cost of distributing commercial insurance policies through wholesale brokerage as compared to retail brokerage channels,” Kelley explained.

Dave Leonard and Hank Haldeman, two of NAPSLO’s past presidents and the leaders of the project, will be speaking during the session.

“They will focus on Conning’s findings that the wholesale distribution channel adds significant value to an insurance transaction but does not add cost,” Kelley said.

The keynote speaker this year, Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, will address the general session on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Zuckerberg Media is a boutique marketing firm and production company, which Zuckerberg founded. Before that, she worked at Facebook from 2005 till 2011, running the social media pioneer’s marketing programs.

Autumn Heisler is the digital producer and a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

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The Profession

Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]