New at the 2018 WSIA Marketplace: Networking, Speakers and More
August 1 marked a special anniversary for the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA): One year has passed since AAMGA and NAPSLO partnered to create WSIA, a member services organization servicing the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry.
And feedback has been “extremely positive,” according to WSIA’s president, Jacqueline Schaendorf.
“Our events have grown. Our education programs were combined, and we’ve hosted over a dozen education programs as the new organization,” she said. “We also approved 50 new members this past year.
“The surplus lines segment continues to be strong financially,” added Schaendorf. “We see more growth in the market, which generally translates to growth in the organization.”
WSIA saw firsthand how its organization impacted and fostered opportunity for its members at the 2017 WSIA Annual Marketplace, which was the debut event showcasing the newly-formed partnership. Brady Kelley, executive director of WSIA, believes this year will top the record high attendees of last year.
The 2018 WSIA Annual Marketplace will be held in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta and Hyatt Regency Atlanta from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26. All four days are packed with networking and learning opportunities, from education sessions organized by WSIA’s U40 group to panels of executive leaders in the industry.
U40-Led Sessions and Other Exciting Opportunities
“The Marketplace is the premiere event for the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines market,” said Schaendorf. “Our mission is to facilitate successful networking and business meetings among our membership and foster education.”
WSIA will do just that through offerings at its Annual Marketplace this year.
Of note, Kelley said, are the sessions organized by the U40 group made up of WSIA members age 40 and under. These individuals are recognized for their commitment to developing young talent for the surplus lines industry and engaging in the organization’s mission.
For the WSIA Annual Marketplace, the U40 group was tasked with finding top leaders and speakers in the industry and identifying education topics of interest.
“They all stand out,” Kelley said of the sessions planned. “The U40 group did an excellent job in choosing speakers and content relevant to the industry and to current events.”
“Insuring Political Violence and Active Shooter Situations,” presented by Paul Marshall of McGowan Program Administrators, will take place on Sept. 23, and cover how insurers can prepare and acquire resources for these unpredictable events.
WSIA’s U40 Education Session on Blockchain, held on Sept. 24 and featuring Srinivas Pulijala of Munich Re as a panelist, will answer the industry’s questions on blockchain and the role it can play in the surplus market.
“[The session] will answer how blockchain works and suggest solutions in securing insurance transaction data,” explained Kelley.
And on Sept. 25, WSIA’s U40 will host an Executive Panel made up of Joel Cavaness of RPS, Tim Stokes of Croton Stokes Wilson Holden, Tracy Wade of Maxum and Danielle Wade of Jackson Sumner & Associates.
“These are four strong, progressive speakers in key leadership roles,” said Kelley.
“AAMGA had a program specialist lounge, and we decided to bring it back for the Marketplace. We … thought adding it into the September conference would be equally beneficial.” — Brady Kelley, executive director, Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association
During the panel, these leaders will answer audience questions and discuss the future of the surplus lines market, the challenges and opportunities E&S professionals might encounter during the next several years and anecdotes from their own experiences as leaders and professionals, he explained.
Afterwards, said Kelley, the U40 group and the panelists are holding a reception for all WSIA attendees, where conference-goers can further explore the themes touched on during the panel discussion.
New this year will be an AAMGA favorite: a program specialist lounge.
“This is an idea that came out of the merger. AAMGA had a program specialist lounge, and we decided to bring it back for the Marketplace,” explained Kelley. “We hosted it back at the WSIA Summit in April and thought adding it into the September conference would be equally beneficial for our members dedicated to program business.”
It’s an opportunity for program administrators to have a dedicated network space to meet with program specialists.
Attendees can keep informed before the WSIA Annual Marketplace through WSIA’s webpage, where the organization gathers legal/regulatory updates relevant to the E&S market, as well as offering other education programs.
When at the conference, members can download a mobile app for further information, updated with maps of the Atlanta locale, details about sessions and daily news updates of the conference. &