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 a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

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Risk Management

The Profession

Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to risk management.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

I sent a résumé to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of interviewing to get that job, but it was well worth it.

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

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The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. That kind of courage is undeniable, and that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all be that passionate about something at least once in our lives.

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

Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion. I think state sponsored bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, and the risk is that they find a way to control entire systems.

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

Training and breaking horses. When I was in high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did everything from building fences to putting up hay. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for horses. They would tolerate me getting real close, so it was natural I started working more and more with them.

Eventually, I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.

I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.

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

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Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.

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

Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything works like a finely tuned clock.

There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.

As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.

James Cunningham, vice president, enterprise risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.

The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think there are lessons there for everybody.

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

We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.

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

Educating and promoting the career with young people.

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

Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told. I believe that the insurance markets now understand who we are and what we stand for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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John Matthews, who is now retired, formerly with Aon and Caesar’s Palace. John is an exceptional leader who demonstrated the value of putting a top-shelf team together and then letting them do their best work. I model my management style after him.

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

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies. I like to read how successful people became successful by overcoming their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch, Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and movie “Money Ball.”

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s called for.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”

R&I:  What’s your favorite restaurant?

Vegas is a world-class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go-to’s,” depending on the mood and who I am with.

If you’re in town, you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye. It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous, and the service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in town, and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For seafood, you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.




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