INTERVIEW:  Robert H. ‘Skip’ Myers, Jr.

INTERVIEW: Robert H. ‘Skip’ Myers, Jr.

NRRA to Present Skip Myers With the 2019 Karen Cutts Achievement Award at this Year’s National Conference

Robert H. “Skip” Myers, Jr., has been involved with NRRA for three decades and as our general counsel for the past 17 years. We hope to see you at the NRRA National Conference (October 2 to 4 in Chicago), so we can all thank him for his many contributions to the association and the RRG industry!

INTERVIEW:

Robert H. ‘Skip’ Myers, Jr., General Counsel
of the National Risk Retention Association

By Lenny Giteck

For 17 years, Robert H. “Skip” Myers, Jr., has been general counsel of the National Risk Retention Association — meaning he has advised NRRA about all manner of insurance-related legal issues. In addition, he’s been a prolific, in-demand writer and speaker on the subject of insurance. He has received many accolades and awards during his long career as an attorney.

Now 71, Skip is managing partner of the law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin’s Washington, D.C. office. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia Law School, his practice specializes in financial services, regulatory issues, and corporate issues. He represents a variety of insurance entities, trade associations, and other corporations.

At the 2019 NRRA National Conference — to be held October 2-4 in Chicago — Skip will be presented with the Karen Cutts Achievement Award, given annually to “an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the risk retention group and purchasing group liability insurance industry.”

A longtime significant player in the RRG industry, Karen Cutts was the founder of The Risk Retention Reporter and a figure much beloved by her professional colleagues. Tragically, she passed away from cancer in 2010.

We recently spoke with Skip about the RRG industry, his decades-long association with NRRA, and his receiving the Karen Cutts Achievement Award:

You became involved with NRRA — at least on an unofficial basis — in 1987, about a year after Congress passed the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA). How did that relationship come about?

Back in the day, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) was a client of mine. Ironically, in those days I was working for the states on the opposite side of the fence of people who wanted to put together risk retention groups.

One of the very early RRGs was the National Home Insurance Company, and I was also their legal counsel. They were quite involved with NRRA, and that was my introduction to the association.

It was at a time of crisis in the liability insurance industry. What do you remember about the crisis?

It took place because there wasn’t a lot of insurance available for liability insurers; as a result, insurance prices rose dramatically, and availability plummeted. That had a terrible impact on businesses, municipalities, healthcare providers, and so forth. They either couldn’t get insurance at all, or if they could get insurance it was not affordable.

The Liability Risk Retention Act was designed to streamline the provision of liability insurance. That was a significant problem: Insurance companies found it difficult to be licensed in multiple states, in part because there were so many different rules in so many different jurisdictions. It was very difficult to have a nationwide liability insurance program under those circumstances.

About two decades ago you became NRRA’s general counsel. How has that vantage point shaped your perception of the organization?

Something I find interesting is that even through NRRA is made up of a relatively small group of companies, the association and its members have taken on some very big cases in federal and state courts. It’s remarkable how far we’ve come in the courts, working on various issues related to RRGs. Of course, as NRRA’s general counsel, I’ve been involved with many of the cases over the years, either directly or as a “friend of the court.”

You’ve also played an important role in dealing with state regulators.

From 2006 to 2011, I represented NRRA at the NAIC. During that period there were quite a few working groups and task forces addressing RRG-related legal issues. We were fortunate to have friends among the regulators who were great at clarifying what LRRA meant.

One thing I’m very proud of is helping state regulators understand what their duties are under the federal law. Perhaps surprisingly, many regulators didn’t know there’s a federal law that supersedes their state regulations. They had to be educated on the subject.

How was it possible that state insurance regulators didn’t know about the federal law? 

Other than with regards to healthcare, there are almost no insurance-related laws passed by Congress. Regulators tended to be familiar with federal laws in the healthcare area, but in the property/casualty realm they were not that up to date.

What is the biggest challenge facing the RRG industry today?

For the past decade or more, there’s been a relatively soft insurance market. In other words, there’s been a lot of available capital that has pushed insurance prices down. If companies can get regular insurance at a reasonable price, they don’t need captive insurance as much.

Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?

The soft market can’t go on forever. At some point there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, RRGs keep going, although we’ve seen a few go under and others merge. Today there are very successful RRGs, and RRGs that are less so. But most will persevere. When the market gets harder, we’ll see the formation of more risk retention groups.

What about the issues surrounding regulations and regulators?

I don’t see those issues being as big a concern as they once were. In the 1990s, the regulatory issues were extremely important. Back then states didn’t like the LRRA and neither did the insurance industry. That’s turned around to an extent.

You’ll be receiving the Karen Cutts Achievement Award — the highest award NRRA gives — at the 2019 NRRA National Conference. Did you know her?

I knew Karen very well. She was a wonderful person, very friendly, very diligent in pursuing The Risk Retention Reporter, very even-handed in her approach to things. She was just a kind, generous person. She had a lot of friends in the industry, and I was fortunate enough to be one of them.

That must make receiving the award named after her even more meaningful to you.

Absolutely. When Karen passed away, it really was a loss to the industry in general, as well as to many people in the industry — myself included.

NRRA Member Prevails in Arizona District Court

NRRA Member Prevails in Arizona District Court

NRRA Member Continuing Care RRG Prevails in Arizona District Court

Decision Upholds “Claims-Paid” Policy Provisions

Summary:

  • NRRA member Continuing Care RRG wins in Arizona federal district court.
  • Legal issues strongly supported by NRRA-written amicus curiae
  • Significant implications for “claims-paid” policies nationwide.
  • Sends important message about RRGs doing business in multiple states.

The Case: Benson v. Continuing Care RRG

Continuing Care Risk Retention Group (CCRRG), a member of the National Risk Retention Association, has prevailed in a case heard in the federal District (trial) Court in Arizona.

The underlying insured in the case filed for bankruptcy, stopped paying on its CCRRG policy, and coverage was terminated. The insurer withdrew its defense. The plaintiffs in the case secured a $1.5 million judgment against the bankrupt insured.

The plaintiffs then pursued a “garnishment” proceeding against CCRRG to avoid the “arbitration” clause in the policy, claiming among other things that by withdrawing its defense, CCRRG violated public policy in Arizona.

“Claims-Paid” Insurance Policy

The case uniquely involved a Continuing Care RRG “claims-paid” insurance policy — meaning that if an insured ceased to be a member of CCRRG and stopped paying on the policy, CCRRG could cancel the coverage and withdraw its defense, even if a case was pending against the now former insured.  

The court dismissed the entire case against CCRRG without submitting the controversy to arbitration, meaning that the plaintiffs would either have to appeal by the end of August 2019 or initiate arbitration. The decision relied on well-settled law governing arbitration matters and the rights of the RRG under the law.

The decision undoubtedly was an unwritten acknowledgement of the potency of the Liability Risk Retention Act’s (LRRA) preemption of any law or order that would have the effect of regulating the business of the risk retention group.

Amicus Curiae Brief

NRRA’s amicus curiae brief provided the trial court with a virtual primer on the large body of favorable law that NRRA has created on LRRA preemption. The brief pointed out that Arizona law and public policy regarding this type of legal action had the practical effect of regulating the business of the involved risk retention group.

The brief further contended that the legal action should be preempted by provisions in the LRRA. NRRA urged the court to make a finding that CCRRG was entitled to win on the overarching issue that state laws cannot be used to rearrange or rewrite the provisions of an RRG’s policy.

NRRA’s Broad Impact

The National Risk Retention Association’s amicus curiae program haschanged the judicial landscape for risk retention groups.

NRRA’s successes in federal and state courts demonstrate that the Liability Risk Retention Act enables RRGs to conduct business in various states simultaneously with minimal state regulation.

Indeed, NRRA successes indicate that the risk retention group structure is an ideal fit for many businesses that operate in a number of different states.

Attend the NRRA National Conference (October 2-4, 2019) to learn more about what our association does to benefit members.

Looking Back at Burlington,Looking Ahead to Chicago

Looking Back at Burlington,
Looking Ahead to Chicago

The 2019 Vermont Captive Insurance Association Conference — which drew approximately 1,000 industry members to Burlington — is now history.

For me, one highlight of the conference was observing how the contingent from NRRA’s CRISP program handled themselves at the event. CRISP is, of course, our association’s outreach to interest college students in pursuing careers in the insurance industry.

I thought the young people from CRISP were fantastic! VCIA was the first time a group of students had their own booth in the exhibition hall of a major insurance association gathering. The CRISP folks definitely were not sitting at the “kids table”!

Having created their own materials to hand out, they dove in and networked with attendees — interviewing some of them — to establish contacts and get a feel for the industry. They also spread the word about what needs to be done to bring more young people into the field.

One of the CRISP members was Roosevelt University graduate student Josh Torres, who wrote an article about his experiences during the first day. I urge you to read Josh’s report — see the section of this newsletter directly below.

The NRRA Conference Is Fast Approaching!

This brings me to the topic of the 2019 NRRA National Conference, which is taking place Oct. 2-4 at the Sofitel Chicago Miracle Mile Hotel.

The conference promises to an extremely stimulating and informative deep dive into the important issues facing RRGs today. Plus, it will be one of the year’s most valuable opportunities to network with other key RRG players.

Here are just some of the reasons you should attend. >>

Sign Up by September 10 and SAVE!

Want a reduced group rate at the Sofitel Chicago Miracle Mile Hotel? Want to avoid paying a $200 late-registration fee? Register for the conference by September 10 to get special Early Bird pricing. In fact, register NOW to make sure you don’t lose out!

Register for the conference. >>

I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Warmest regards,
Joe Deems

Joe Deems
 has been the executive director of the National Risk Retention Association since 2011. An attorney, he earned his law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Joe lives in Tarzana, California, with his wife, Sharon; they’re now “empty-nesters” following the graduation of their two children, Evan and Marissa, from college.

 

 

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:Nancy Gray

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:
Nancy Gray

Nancy Gray
Age 54

Leadership Positions

Aon Insurance Managers — Regional Managing Director/Americas (starting 2009)
Aon Insurance Managers — Executive Director/North America (starting 2005)
Aon Insurance Managers — Deputy Managing Director/Vermont Office (starting 2003)
International Risk Management Group — Deputy Managing Director/Vermont Office (starting 1996)
Minet Group — Vice President/Vermont Office (starting 1994)
Nancy Gray currently is the treasurer of the National Risk Retention Association.
In October, she will become the organization’s Board Chair.

Education

Bentley College (now Bentley University) — Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy, Associate degree in Management

Biggest Challenges Facing the RRG Industry

Nancy Gray: “One is the imposition of regulatory requirements and fees on RRGs by non-domiciliary states. Another challenge for RRGs is maintaining their member insureds and even growing. We’ve been in a prolonged soft market, so some RRG insureds have moved to the traditional insurance marketplace where they can get lower rates. It’s imperative for every risk retention group to demonstrate to its members the added value they’re receiving from the RRG, rather than being viewed as a commodity transaction. Fortunately for RRGs, the market has started to firm up in certain lines, so RRGs have a good opportunity to take advantage of the changing conditions.”

Biggest Challenges Facing Your Company

Nancy Gray: “The biggest challenge we face — and I’m referring specifically to our captive insurance management operation — is attracting and hiring talent at the pace we need. It’s a growing industry, and there’s a limited pool of talent out there. We’re constantly looking to recruit and hire. Of course, this is a problem for the whole insurance industry and not specific to captive insurance management. A number of insurance professionals will be retiring over the next few years, and we need that flow of new talent coming through the industry.”

Life Situation

Married; lives in Essex, Vermont; two dogs, three cats, one horse; two adult children (27 and 25).

In Her Spare Time

Reading, gardening, golfing, traveling, spending time with the family.

Charitable Work

Volunteering at her church, where she’s a member of the Finance Council.

Proudest Accomplishments Personally and Professionally

Personal accomplishment: being the first member of her family to obtain a higher education; working her way through college. Adds Gray: “I’m very proud of the adults my children have become, and of their independence in forging their own paths.” Professional accomplishment: helping to lead a highly successful captive management operation for Aon, a recognized leader within the industry. “I’m proud of the role I’ve played in our growth, and in AON becoming a leading insurance manager of RRGs and captive insurance companies,” Gray says.

To learn more about Aon Insurance Managers, click here.

VCIA Through a CRISP Member’s Eyes

VCIA Through a CRISP Member’s Eyes

Joshua Torres, a member of NRRA’s CRISP program, reports on Day One of the recent VCIA Conference. CRISP is NRRA’s outreach aimed at interesting young people in pursuing insurance careers. Josh is a 22-year-old graduate student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He expects to receive his master’s degree in Mathematical Statistics this December. Previously, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science, with minors in Computer Finance and Science. 

By Joshua Torres

The Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) is an annual “captive” industry conference to inform, advertise, and network with many of the key leaders of the industry. Thanks to the help from Joe Deems of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), we were able to bring 3 students to this year’s conference.  Mr. Deems arranged for us to attend the Captive Industry “Immersion” program all afternoon on Monday in advance of the Conference at the University of Vermont.

Students invited got to attend multiple events, such as Developing the Next Generation, where we got to meet Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Faculty Advisor for Butler University, Zachary Finn.  Professor Finn put out statistics that in the very near future (2022) we are going to experience a need to replace more than 295,000 positions in the Insurance Industry.

At our current rate, the educational system is only developing 15,000 graduates to replace them. He also went on to say how in the United States there are only 82 Risk Management and Insurance programs and that in order to stay afloat we need to find a way to get more students interested in the Insurance field along with more Universities.

We managed to get a quick talk with him after the session. To our surprise, he already has heard of CRISP thanks to Dr. Puleo who was at our booth during the NRRA conference last October.

After lunch we took turns manning our booth for the duration of the day and experienced an extremely busy afternoon. One thing we learned that afternoon is that there were close to 1,000 leaders of the captive insurance industry at this conference. We were also fortunate enough to be located right next to the open bar and the NRRA booth which gained us a lot of traffic in our general direction.

We met individuals from Aon, Milliman, Morgan Stanley, and ran into some old contacts from the 2017 and 2018 NRRA conference. The fact that we made a lasting impression for them to not only remember the name of our program but also our physical names is a major win in our book. We also managed to get a shadowing opportunity from Timothy F. Sullivan at NAMIC Insurance Company located in Indianapolis in the coming weeks [1]. Will write a report for that as well.

After the booth sessions we went to get some dinner with Joe Carter, Jon Harkavy, and Joe Deems, who spent time with us all day helping us to meet other great leaders. Dinner was filled with conversation of what we can expect for tomorrow, sports, and the city of Burlington, Vermont among other cities we’ve all traveled to. End of day 1

[1] As I am writing this report on Wednesday, the following day, we have had close to 15 individuals walk up and get curious on this student-run program just in the first hour being here. People are curious and that is fantastic news for us.

Pictured from left to right: Joseph Deems (NRRA Executive Director), Jon Harkavy (General Counsel and Vice President at Risk Services), Joe Carter (Vice-president at United Educators), and Josh Torres (Representative of CRISP)

See photos from the VCIA Conference, featuring CRISP members who attended. >>

Looking Back at Burlington,Looking Ahead to Chicago

NRRA at the 2019 VCIA Conference

The annual conference of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) will take place next month in Burlington — and I, for one, am very much looking forward to it.

NRRA has exhibited at the conference every year for more than two decades, and with good reason. For starters, VCIA and other captive insurance associations are vital to the wellbeing of our industry. We want to support them.

Also, many RRGs are domiciled in Vermont and hold one board meeting each year in the state, coinciding with the VCIA conference. That makes the conference an excellent opportunity to meet with key RRG players and update them on developments in the industry from NRRA’s perspective.

Finally, many sponsors of the VCIA conference are also sponsors of NRRA’s annual conference. VCIA gives us a chance to show our support for these companies, which we highly value and greatly appreciate.

Bringing CRISP to VCIA

This year, NRRA is doing something new and innovative at VCIA: In addition to our own booth, we’re sponsoring a separate booth, next to ours, for our CRISP outreach effort. In addition to sponsoring the CRISP booth, NRRA and/or its sponsors will be paying for the qualified students’ transportation costs, lodging expenses, registration fees, and more.

CRISP stands for Collegiate Research Initiative Shadow Program. It shows college students a side of RRG and captive insurance that is interesting, engaging, and challenging. CRISP endeavors to attract them to careers in our industry.

As I’ve said before, the future of the RRG industry lies in today’s young people. Once you get young people coming in, a great deal of technological innovation is likely to follow.

At VCIA, the CRISP participants will learn to network with each other and with industry leaders. They’ll be able to “shadow” a leader for an entire day. Since the CRISP booth will be right next to NRRA’s, you can bet I’ll keep an eye on the students and provide them with information and advice.

The CRISP attendees will bring what they learned at VCIA — as well as what they will learn at the 2019 NRRA conference in October — back to their fellow students at their colleges and universities.

I Want to Speak with You!

I encourage all VCIA attendees to come up to the NRRA and CRISP booths and chat. Additionally, if you see me elsewhere on the conference floor, don’t hesitate to say hello. I’m eager to engage with as many people as possible, because I know we can learn a great deal from one another.

Hope to see you in Burlington!

Warmest regards,

Joe Deems

[For more information about the VCIA conference, click here.]

Joe Deems has been the executive director of the National Risk Retention Association since 2011. An attorney, he earned his law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Joe lives in Tarzana, California, with his wife, Sharon; they’re now “empty-nesters” following the graduation of their two children, Evan and Marissa, from college.

 

 

2019 National Conference: Betsy Ziegler, Keynote

2019 National Conference: Betsy Ziegler, Keynote

The keynote speaker at the NRRA National Conference 2019 will be Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871, Chicago’s premier tech start-up incubator. Ziegler’s address to the conference: “The Future of Work,” a topic that should greatly interest every NRRA member.

Ziegler will speak at a time of looming upheaval in the U.S. labor market due to artificial intelligence, robotics, and other cutting-edge technological advancements. She’ll explore what the future holds for work in general, as well as how the coming changes are poised to transform the centuries-old insurance industry.

With an M.B.A. from Harvard and a keen curiosity about what is possible, Ziegler has invested in more than 35 start-ups; she has persevered through billion-dollar valuations and start-up collapses.

Before joining 1871, Ziegler already had navigated the conventional business model as a principal at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. She advised the insurance industry in that capacity, and then tacked over to the uncharted waters of disruption as chief innovation officer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

As the architect of her own personal reinvention, Ziegler knows the value and profound impact of embracing change.

Mark your calendar for Betsy Ziegler’s keynote address on Thursday, Oct. 3, at this year’s NRRA National Conference. The conference will take place Oct. 2 – 4, 2019, at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. To learn more about the conference, click here.

Movers and Shakers:Julie M. Bordo

Movers and Shakers:
Julie M. Bordo

Leadership Positions

PCH Mutual Insurance Co., Inc., an RRG | President and General Manager (July 1, 2016 – present)
PCH Mutual Board of Directors, | Vice-President  2013 — 2016
PCH Mutual Claims Committee | Chair   2013 —2016
NRRA Board of Directors | Member; Chair of the 2018 and 2019 NRRA National Conference
Julie M. Bordo, LLC, Outside Corporate Counsel | Principal   2001 — present

Education

IIT Chicago Kent College of Law — Order of the Coif | JD Degree
University of Michigan | BA in Political Science and English

Biggest Challenge Facing PCH Mutual

“PCH serves over 1,500 business owners in the elder and adult care sector. Our biggest challenge is to conduct regular, proactive dialogue with our member insureds. This includes engagement regarding our risk management tools, as well as our aligned goals of supporting their efforts to best serve residents.”

Biggest Challenge Facing the RRG Industry

“Stability, because we serve specific industries, some of which are undergoing major transitions (i.e. transportation). RRGs operate within thinner margins than traditional commercial carriers, so we are more susceptible to financial inflection points.”

Life Situation

Julie lives in Evanston, Illinois, with Tony, her husband of 33 years. Their two sons graduated from Macalester College and are pursuing careers in technology.

Spare Time

“I dedicate much of my spare time to cultivating my personal relationships. I’m outside as much as possible, walking, running, or biking, mostly with my husband or friends. I love to cook, travel, read, write, and think.”

Charitable Work

Volunteer Congressional Leader for The ONE Campaign, which advocates in the fight against extreme global poverty and preventable disease.

Proudest Accomplishment

“Personally, my family — and specifically the fact that we simply love being together. Professionally, the journey from my solo law practice to being President of PCH.”

 

CRISP: Attracting College Students to Insurance Careers

CRISP: Attracting College Students to Insurance Careers

Looking into the future is an imprecise undertaking at best. But when Joe Deems, Executive Director of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), prognosticates what’s coming for the risk retention group (RRG) segment of the captive insurance industry, he’s sure about this: “The future lies in today’s young people.” Also, “Once you get young people coming in, a great deal of technological innovation is likely to follow.”

Unfortunately, Deems admits, most young people these days have little or no interest in building a career in insurance. Why? “They live in a world permeated with fast-paced technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and YouTube achievements. It’s a world that doesn’t perceive the insurance industry as embracing any of those.”

Numerous colleges and universities across the country do have solid academic curricula dedicated to insurance careers — actuarial, risk management, underwriting, and so forth. These courses do not suffer from a lack of students interested in the field. So where, then, can things go wrong?

“The traditional insurance industry — which is the segment most of the public is exposed to — is not known for over-paying its entry-level personnel,” Deems says. “Career advancement is slow and methodical. There is no suggestion of room for entrepreneurship, an important draw for today’s young people. Indeed, the industry is portrayed — incorrectly in my opinion — as being unwilling or unable to change with the times.”

To further complicate matters, Deems points out, career development events, company outreach programs, and internships tend to expose prospective employees to environments where job duties are repetitive, mundane, and highly structured. They’re environments where creativity is not necessarily encouraged. Says Deems: “It’s not surprising the young people come out saying, ‘I may not want to do this for a living.’”

Experiencing a Different Side

Here is where CRISP — NRRA’ Collegiate Research Initiative Shadow Program — comes in. CRISP seeks to show college students a side of RRG and captive insurance that is interesting, engaging, and challenging.

CRISP’s genesis harkens back to NRRA’s National Conference two years ago, when a student in attendance spoke about the lack of enthusiasm among young people for pursuing careers in insurance. His comments sparked an idea that he then molded into a concept. Other students in attendance jumped on it. During the year that followed — with nurturing and counsel from NRRA — CRISP was born.

How does the program work? A group of students from participating educational institutions coalesce into a “shadowing” team. They shadow — hang out in a structured and purposeful way — with a number of key risk retention group or other captive insurance leaders, as well as vendors, in their geographical area, each for a half or full day.

The participants then collaborate and create a report with two main purposes. The first is to educate colleges and universities about possible changes to their curricula to better reflect the real-world benefits and positive features of the RRG and captive insurance industries. The second is to enlighten insurance leaders themselves as to how to more effectively engage with students so they will become future employees.

The Unique CRISP Outreach

Although a number of captive insurance associations have initiated outreach programs for students and universities, Deems says CRISP is unique: “For one thing, it is student-owned and operated. I insist that the students design it themselves and make it work. When they ask me how to do something, I tell them, ‘Go figure it out. This is how the real world works. I’m here for you as an adviser, but the rest is up to you.’”

The program requires the commitment of a faculty advisor from each school. NRRA secures the industry executives and vendors to be shadowed; the association also provides a key team leader in the geographical vicinity where the program takes place.

Finally, CRIPS’s potential networking opportunities are as critical as the shadowing component of the program. “We get captive industry leaders networking with one another; at the same time, young people are learning to network with each other and with the industry leaders. All of it is with a common goal and purpose.” Deems says that for many students, “this is the first, and sometimes only, chance college students have to network with actual leaders in the industry — and that is extremely valuable in itself.”

Bottom line: Through its College Research Initiative and Shadow Program, NRRA is helping create a robust future for the RRG and captive insurance industries.

Looking Back at Burlington,Looking Ahead to Chicago

Our 2019 Conference Theme: ‘Pioneering Innovation’

The 2019 NRRA National Conference will mark the 32nd time the association has held its signature annual event. Conference themes in recent years have included “Reinventing Convention” and “Business to Business: The NRRA Edge.” “Autonomous, RRG,” the theme of the 2016 conference, was one of my favorites: It followed a hypothetical technology insurance company from cradle to grave. I can honestly say nobody left the room during the sessions!

This year’s theme, ‘Pioneering Innovation’, is a logical progression from what we’ve done in the past. But I must emphasize this: We never make changes to the conference just for the sake of making changes. We seek to maintain the core benefits that attendees gain, while at the same time taking a fresh look at how we approach and present the theme.

We also strive to incorporate innovations not usually seen at events in our industry. For example, last year we held a number of roundtable discussions at which attendees could ask questions and express their opinions and viewpoints. The level of participation was amazing, and the   roundtables were a huge success!

I’m confident the 2019 conference will be an equal or even greater success. For my part, I can’t wait till we all gather in Chicago on Oct. 2 — 4. Until then, be well!

Warmest regards,

Joe Deems


Joe Deems
has been the executive director of the National Risk Retention Association since 2011.  An attorney, he earned his law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Joe lives in Tarzana, California, with his wife, Sharon; they’re now “empty-nesters” following the graduation of their two children, Evan and Marissa, from college.

 

First RRG Leaders’ Summit Tackles Tough Issues

First RRG Leaders’ Summit Tackles Tough Issues

On Feb. 12, the 2019 RRG Leaders’ Summit was held at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Hotel. The one-day, invitation-only gathering was the first joint effort by the National Risk Retention Association and Captive Review.

The event stemmed from NRRA’s desire to develop a mid-year meeting, exclusively for top RRG executives, to discuss behind-the-scenes efforts to improve the regulatory landscape and level the playing field for all RRGs. For its part, Captive Review wanted to build on its successful Captive Leader Summits by creating a unique format designed especially for RRGs.

NRRA Chairman Michael Schroeder — who also serves as Chairman and General Counsel for Allied Professionals Insurance Company, RRG — said: “It was not our goal that this first gathering would be large. Rather, we wanted to create a high-quality platform in which industry leaders could give significant input.”

Added Skip Myers, NRRA’s general counsel: “The quality of the discussions really resonated with the attendees. I’ve never been at a conference where such a significant percentage of the people actively took part in the discussions.”

Forecasting the Future

The secret to the program’s success was how the discussion topics integrated the reality-based needs of RRG leaders with efforts by the RRG industry to learn new strategies, become updated on the regulatory and judicial landscape, and get a handle on the industry’s future.

The discussion about what will happen over the next five years in the management of legacy risks was enriched by an artificial intelligence expert who evaluated the practical prospects of using AI to enhance the industry’s competitive edge.

Not only did attendees learn how the NRRA has leveraged the legal standing of RRGs to challenge disadvantageous state insurance laws, they also learned how to do it for themselves. In the process, they got a preview of future strategic efforts by the NRRA to expand that front.

Free and Frank Discussions

Participants were able speak freely and frankly about the realities of board complexion, creative governance, and the ability use the law to create unique and highly beneficial policy products and provisions.

The program also included discussion groups on driving efficiencies, putting company assets to work, and if all else were to fail, carrying out exit strategies and offloading legacy business. Other topics: the right way to handle fiduciary responsibilities and finances, and where and how to re-domicile if necessary.

Please visit the website for this event at: https://www.rrgsummit.com

Outstanding Premium Finance Module from NRRA and IPFS

Outstanding Premium Finance Module from NRRA and IPFS

NRRA & IPFS are offering an outstanding Premium Finance Module designed specifically for risk retention group members.

Imperial PFS® (IPFS®), the largest premium finance company in the United States, and NRRA have entered  into a strategic partnership in which IPFS will provide premium collection and financing services directly to NRRA RRG companies. NRRA members who enroll in this program will receive attractive options for revenue sharing, financial savings, and streamlined billing and collections, all backed by IPFS’ industry-leading technology.

“This program provides eligible NRRA RRG companies — as well as their captive and program managers — with the opportunity to make money, save money and improve cash flow,” said NRRA Executive Director, Joe Deems.  “We look forward to providing this premium finance solution to NRRA members,” he said.

For more information about the Premium Finance Module, click here.

Don’t forget to save the date for NRRA’s 2019 Conference, October 2-4, 2019 at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. Learn More

NRRA AGAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN MAJOR RRG INDUSTRY DECISION(S)

NRRA AGAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN MAJOR RRG INDUSTRY DECISION(S)

NRRA AGAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN MAJOR RRG INDUSTRY DECISION(S)

Los Angeles, May 8, 2018. 

The anxiously awaited decision in Reis et al v. OOIDA, RRG was issued on May 7, 2018 by the Georgia Supreme Court, as yet another major judicial venue has now affirmed in a unanimous decision what NRRA has been advocating for years – – that the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) preempts state insurance laws that regulate the business of foreign RRGs in that state.  The statute in question allows “direct action” litigation against any insurers of motor carriers under Georgia state law.  The Supreme Court heard oral argument on the case on March 5, 2018.

Chief Justice P. Harris Hines of the Court wrote the opinion, concisely summarizing that “The direct action statutes subject insurers of motor carriers to lawsuits as parties, and thus, exposes them directly to liability and any consequent damages. As such, direct action statutes both directly and indirectly regulate the operations of insurers of motor carriers in Georgia. While this type of regulating may be permissible with respect to traditional insurance carriers, it is not allowed in the case of a foreign risk retention group by the express act of Congress in the LRRA. 15 USC § 3902 (a)(1). And, we cannot disregard Congress’s command.”

After the trial court ruled in favor of OOIDA RRG on summary judgment, the plaintiffs appealed but the Georgia Court of Appeals transferred the case to the Supreme Court because in that state “preemption cases invoke (its) constitutional question jurisdiction.”

While the transfer precluded additional briefing by the parties, NRRA was able to submit its Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of OOIDA, during a very narrow three-week window between the transfer and the March 5th date for oral argument.  In that brief, NRRA provided a legal analysis covering the historical key judicial rulings on the many cases in which it assisted in obtaining decisions upholding LRRA preemption involving various state insurance laws.  “Imposing Georgia’s Direct Action Statutes on foreign RRGs like OOIDA would improperly regulate their business operations,” it argued, and “the harmful economic impact on OOIDA, as well as on the 109 other foreign RRGs doing business in Georgia, would undermine the intent of the LRRA by threatening the existence of affordable liability insurance coverage….”

WE ARE ON A ROLL . . .

As usual, the Reis/OOIDA decision relies heavily upon Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Ins. Co.,  (Federal 2d Circuit 2014).  Coincidentally, on May 4, 2018, in another case in New York citing to Wadsworth, a New York appellate court in  Nadkos, Inc. v. Preferred Contractors Insurance Company, RRG (PCIC), upheld a decision by the trial court that PCIC had not violated a state insurance law mandating a timely notice of disclaimer of coverage, on the specific grounds that the statute would have the effect of regulating the business of PCIC, a foreign risk retention group.

Michael Schroeder, NRRA Board Chair and the Chairman of Allied Professionals Insurance Company RRG, the NRRA member which incurred the expense of pursuing the Wadsworth case to victory and to its present status as a lead decision in the field, describes Wadsworth as “the gift that keeps on giving!” “I encourage all companies which haven’t already done so, to join and stay as members to continue with the support of this great Association which has created so many benefits to this entire industry.” he said.   

Plan to network with Chairman Schroeder, and all NRRA leaders, when we discuss all of these and other new industry developments at the upcoming NRRA National Conference, October 3-5, 2018, Sofitel Magnificent Mile Hotel, Chicago.  See www.riskretention.org for further details.  Save the Date!

For more information, contact NRRA Executive Director Joseph E. Deems at 818-995-3274 or joe.deems@gmail.com, or visit www.riskretention.org.

NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF

NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF

NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF NOW FILED BEFORE THE GEORGIA SUPREME COURT

The National Risk Retention Association backs its members – and all risk retention groups – when their ability to do business is jeopardized. To that end, NRRA contributed an amicus curiae brief in the Candace Reis and Melvin Williams v. OOIDA Risk Retention Group, Inc. case, which was heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on March 5.

The judge in the civil case had ruled in favor of OOIDA RRG’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs then appealed but the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia transferred the case to Georgia Supreme Court because “preemption cases invoke its constitutional question jurisdiction.”

NRRA Board Chair Michael J. Schroeder said in a statement that the association’s mission calls for supporting RRGs whenever states try to regulate their business.

“NRRA has been a staunch advocate for risk retention groups whenever states fail to recognize the ways in which the Liability Risk Retention Act preempts state statutes,” Schroeder said. “It is our contention that OOIDA is permitted, as a foreign RRG in Georgia, to insure its members within this state, exempt from nearly all Georgia state laws regulating the business of insurance. NRRA will continue to support OOIDA, our members, and all RRGs whenever we see evidence of regulatory overreach.”

Neither the appellant nor the appellee was allowed to provide a new brief to the Supreme Court. However, NRRA’s amicus curiae brief was accepted by the Court. In it, NRRA provided a primer on other cases were state insurance laws were ruled to be preempted by the LRRA. NRRA’s brief contended that imposing “Georgia’s Direct Action Statutes on foreign RRGs like OOIDA would improperly regulate their business operations, in violation of the LRRA. The harmful economic impact on OOIDA, as well as on the 109 other foreign RRGs doing business in Georgia, would undermine the intent of the LRRA by threatening the existence of affordable liability insurance coverage. This Court should affirm the trial court’s well-reasoned opinion which does nothing to change Georgia law relative to traditional insurance carriers or RRGs chartered in Georgia,” as argued in the brief.

The NRRA Edge NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

The NRRA Edge NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

Business: The NRRA Edge

NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

 

The National Risk Retention Association is well-known for its annual conference, which pairs hard-hitting, entertaining speakers with networking opportunities aplenty.

This year, though, the NRRA Conference Committee has made plans to reinvent the convention. In fact, “Reinventing Convention” is this year’s theme. The 2018 NRRA National Conference takes place at the Sofitel Magnificent Mile in Chicago on Oct. 3-5, 2018.

“We like to think our conference is a trendsetter in the insurance industry,” NRRA Executive Director Joe Deems says. “We discuss topics before they’re trendy. We invite speakers who challenge the status quo. And we make sure our sponsors have ample opportunities to be seen and do business for their firms.”

How we’ve reinvented standard conference fare is simple: We listened to attendees tell us what they wanted to see at this year’s gathering.

For example:

  • An insider’s view on how some of our best performing companies handle their claims and risk management, overcoming state laws disrupting RRGs in the process.
  • An “exchange” session that will isolate and address some of the most frequently erupting issues confronting RRGs and RPGs.
  • A “sneak peak” at NRRA’s newest member benefits.
  • More to come….

 

“We’ve got a lot in store for attendees, as always,” Deems said. “We are excited for our regular attendees – and several new faces – to see what we have to offer.”

 

To learn more, visit the 2018 NRRA National Conference homepage.

NRRA Leaders Spreading the Word at CICA

NRRA Leaders Spreading the Word at CICA

A trio of NRRA leaders will dive deep into the world of risk retention groups when they discuss RRG Hot Topics at the Captive Insurance Companies Association Conference (C.I.C.A.) at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale on March 11-13.

NRRA Board Chair Michael Schroeder, Treasurer Nancy Gray, and Executive Director Joe Deems take the stage on March 13 to review what’s going on – and what will go on – in our industry.

“We are focusing on emerging trends in the RRG industry and approaches for handling them,” Deems said in a release. “I am excited by the early positive response to our RRG session reported by CICA! Our associations are well-suited to collaborate in support of Risk Retention Groups.”

The panelists will discuss whether tried-and-true business approaches will work down the road.  Certainly, the Liability Risk Retention Act provides the broad type of general liability coverage needed to insure tomorrow’s cutting-edge businesses, but all business models will learn more from this session on how to handle challenging trends facing the entire industry.

NRRA Sends Reminder Letter to Minnesota about LRRA Language

NRRA Sends Reminder Letter to Minnesota about LRRA Language

The Federal Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 clearly states that Risk Retention Groups are exempt from “any State law, rule, regulation, or order to the extent that would make unlawful, or regulate, directly or indirectly, the operation of a risk retention group.” Despite the clear directions, the National Risk Retention Association must occasionally send reminders when states make it difficult for non-domiciliary risk retention groups to do business there.

NRRA Executive Director Joseph E. Deems sent a letter to the Minnesota Commerce Department reminding the Department that it cannot treat a “notice of intent” to do business in the state by a “non-domiciliary” RRG the same as an application for a license and admission by a foreign insurer in Minnesota.  That the practice wrongfully results in very substantial delays by the department in responding to the RRG notice.

“NRRA has challenged Minnesota for its unreasonable delays in processing registration requirements,” NRRA chairman, Mike Schroeder said. “Minnesota has been taking actions tantamount to what’s done when an insurance company requests to be licensed and admitted. That’s wrong. All a RRG must do once they have been licensed and admitted in their state of domicile is to register to do business in a state, unless one of nine specific non-exempt categories are involved. The state’s actions in terms of charging fees and reviewing registrations is illegal,” he added.

Restoration RRG Case Sent Back to District Court by Seventh Circuit Court

NRRA’s support of risk retention groups and their right to provide general liability insurance for owner-insureds once again paid dividends.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded Restoration Risk Retention Group, Inc. v. Ross, D.S.P.S., et al., sending it back to the District (trial) Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on January 12.  NRRA had filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of Restoration RRG, which offers general liability insurance for franchise owners of Servpro Industries, Inc. Servpro provides cleaning and damage remediation services caused by fire, natural disasters, floods, and other mishaps.

The case arises out of a refusal by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to issue a business license to a Servpro franchisee on the pretext that it was not insured by a carrier “authorized” to write policies in that State.

“This is a win,” National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) Board Chair Mike Schroeder said. “The trial court’s decision to not recognize the rights of Restoration RRG was reversed. The appellate court sent it back to the trial court with instructions to start over and consider our contentions.”

Work remains, however, according to NRRA Vice Chair, Jon Harkavy.  The right of RRGs to do business under the Federal Liability Risk Retention Act remains imperiled by state overreach. One reason for the ability for states to discriminate in Wisconsin against RRGs is the faulty Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, Inc. RRG vs. Musser (OMIC) decision. The Restoration RRG decision neither clarifies nor distinguishes the OMIC decision and the ruling by the Seventh Circuit, while positive, might make Wisconsin able to discriminate against RRGs by forcing them to qualify under the “surplus lines” rules.   

“It was a victory for Restoration because the case was remanded back to the trial court with instructions that the trial court was wrong in not allowing RRG to get injunctive relief,” Schroeder said. “Nevertheless, the Seventh Circuit failed to address or at least distinguish the defective OMIC decision.“

“Restoration RRG can be registered in any state beyond its state of domicile with minimal state regulation. Trying to define an authorized carrier as only one that is licensed and admitted is wrong. The LRRA allows RRGs to operate inside any state.”

Sponsor Spotlight: JLT Insurance Management Plays in the Big Leagues

Sponsor Spotlight: JLT Insurance Management Plays in the Big Leagues

In the world of captive insurance, JLT Insurance Management is the New York Yankees. They’re well-known, successful, and have won tons of hardware. JLT Insurance Management is not running on its reputation, either, as Captive Review just named the firm its “Captive Manager of the Year.”.

In NRRA’s latest Sponsor Spotlight, we talked with Anne Marie Towle of JLT Insurance Management, who was happy to share what it’s like to play with a standard bearer in the captive insurance industry.

Keeping the Customer Satisfied

“JLT Insurance Management has dedicated resources to growing our RRG practice,” Towle says. “We have a focused practice on RRGs and manage some of the largest RRGs in the country. We have resources that assist our clients in day to day financial management, program administration, reinsurance, and marketing. We can offer all of the avenues and be a one-stop solution for the risk retention groups and group programs”.

Getting Better All the Time

“We have a very long history,” Towle says. “We have off shore and onshore operations and all the options for domiciles. Winning Captive Manager of the Year by was an amazing honor, as was winning the Captive Innovation Award for our captive-centric approach. We can deliver all that is required for companies making a captive the center of their risk management program.”

A Nice Place to Work, Too!

JLT Insurance Management doesn’t force its employees to take a one-size-fits-all to doing business.

“Our company culture is very unique for a company of 10,000 people,” Towle says. “We are a large global organization but they provide a lot of autonomy to individual divisions. They allow you to have the flexibility to create what you want within your division. It allows you to be flexible and create what the client needs and deliver service that is completely one-on-one. We want to exceed expectations with our clients and be a partner with them.”

Sponsor Spotlight: What IS the Demotech Difference?

Sponsor Spotlight: What IS the Demotech Difference?

Former National Risk Retention Association Board Chair Sanford D. Elsass calls sponsorship money “mother’s milk.” Given its mission and the industry’s small size, NRRA needs sponsorship to survive and thrive.

And thrive it has.

Generous donations by its many sponsors allows NRRA to be at the center of all things RRG. NRRA stands as the first line of defense against any encroachment on the ability of RRGs to succeed under the Liability Risk Retention Act.

In NRRA’s first Sponsor Spotlight, we talked with Joe Petrelli of Demotech, a NRRA Silver Sponsor that provides the insurance industry with Financial Stability Ratings®.

The Relationship

“Demotech dares to be different,” Petrelli says. “We don’t mind smaller companies and we definitely like specialists. That’s why we have a good relationship with the National Risk Retention Association. Rating a risk retention group doesn’t bother us. We like specialists that concentrate on one line of business or concentrate on a particular state. It doesn’t bother us at all.”

What Demotech Does

“Demotech is a niche financial analysis provider,” Petrelli says. “We were incorporated in 1985 and started doing insurance company ratings in 1999 because the legacy rating agencies would not review and rate independent, regional, and specialty insurers. The Demotech Difference is that we are inclined to move when the legacy raters may not do so. We rate small niches that are small by count and are relatively small insurers.

Service Matters

“We like to think we serve the industry,” Petrelli says. “We review and rate 420 risk-bearing entities. We did a study and, of the 400 companies that each of us review and rate, we have about 250 that are uniquely rated by us rather than A.M. Best.

Experience Counts

“We have 18 full-time staff plus part-time staff,” Petrelli says. “We have one PhD, two MBAs, and many other qualified people. Our people were brought up in the insurance business. Our average employee has been with us for 20 years, there’s no turnover, and our analysts have over 150 years of experience between them. This is a good company.”

NRRA Conference – Why Sponsor?

NRRA Conference – Why Sponsor?

 

 

The 2017 NRRA Conference is scheduled to take place at the beautiful Sofitel Magnificent Mile in Chicago on Sept. 26-28. The theme of this year’s conference – Business to Business: The NRRA Edge – was developed with our many sponsors in mind. In creating this year’s program, the NRRA Conference Committee will offer risk retention group practitioners a glimpse into the future AND create a space for insurance industry professionals to converse, learn, and make deals happen.For past, current, and prospective donors, sponsoring the 2017 NRRA Conference offers several advantages. It is an opportunity to:

  • Do Business: The insurance industry is changing. Soft market conditions and artificial intelligence stand to put pressure on multiple industries. Future success – and perhaps survival – might depend on the relationships or deals you make now.
  • Have Your Voice Heard: NRRA sponsors often are invited to become panelists during the conference. This allows you to show what you know by providing insight into issue facing the industry.
  • Feature Your Company: Imagine walking off stage and having someone approach you to say, “Wow, I am impressed by you and your company. Can I get a card?”
  • Make a Difference: NRRA is “The Place for All Things RRG.” In sponsoring our conference and sharing your knowledge, you can help others build successful businesses, assure the success of the RRG industry, and provide de facto support for NRRA’s effort to protect the Liability Risk Retention Act. In short, there’s a lot of upside for businesses that sponsor the annual NRRA Conference.

 To learn more about NRRA Conference sponsorship, visit our website                                                                                  or call Executive Director Joe Deems at 818-995*-3789.

NRRA Keynote Speaker Will Challenge What You Think You “Know”

NRRA Keynote Speaker Will Challenge What You Think You “Know”

 

 

Al Bhatt practices inquiry – provocations designed to create new realities for his clients or students. In 25-plus years of work with executives and entrepreneurs, he has worked with clients on moving “beyond the known” to create what “seems impossible.”

 

In addition to working with clients like Facebook, Novartis, Siemens, and others, Bhatt advised Housing Authority Risk Retention Group, Inc. during an incredible period of growth. He authored a book, The Triple-Soy Decaf-Latte Era, that has been called a “pocket guide for business in the 21st Century.” Finally, he serves on the Faculty of the University of New Haven Graduate Psychology Program, the Chicago Theological Seminary, and The Graduate Institute.

 

At the NRRA Conference, Bhatt will discuss “The Reality Trap” with those in attendance. In a world of ongoing disruption, the biggest risk comes from believing your reality is the only reality. The certainties we have can get us killed in a turbulent market. The Reality Trap is the single greatest obstacle to thriving in the 21st Century.

 

To learn more about the NRRA Conference, visit our website.

 

To learn more about the work of Al Bhatt, visit www.bhattstudios.com.

Business to Business: The NRRA Edge

Business to Business: The NRRA Edge

Business to Business: The NRRA Edge

NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

 

The National Risk Retention Association is well-known for its annual conference, which pairs hard-hitting, entertaining speakers with networking opportunities aplenty.

 

This year, though, the NRRA Conference Committee has made plans to reinvent the convention. In fact, “Reinventing Convention” is this year’s theme. The 2018 NRRA National Conference takes place at the Sofitel Magnificent Mile in Chicago on Oct. 3-5, 2018.

 

“We like to think our conference is a trendsetter in the insurance industry,” NRRA Executive Director Joe Deems says. “We discuss topics before they’re trendy. We invite speakers who challenge the status quo. And we make sure our sponsors have ample opportunities to be seen and do business for their firms.”

 

How we’ve reinvented standard conference fare is simple: We listened to attendees tell us what they wanted to see at this year’s gathering.

 

For example:

 

  • An insider’s view on how some of our best performing companies handle their claims and risk management, overcoming state laws disrupting RRGs in the process.
  • An “exchange” session that will isolate and address some of the most frequently erupting issues confronting RRGs and RPGs.
  • A “sneak peak” at NRRA’s newest member benefits.
  • More to come….

 

“We’ve got a lot in store for attendees, as always,” Deems said. “We are excited for our regular attendees – and several new faces – to see what we have to offer.”

 

To learn more, visit the 2018 NRRA National Conference homepage.

NRRA ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR RRG LEADERS SUMMIT

NRRA ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR RRG LEADERS SUMMIT

The National Risk Retention Association – the place for all things Risk Retention Group – is pleased to announce its participation in The RRG Leaders Summit in Chicago on May 9, 2017. The Summit, sponsored by Captive Review, takes place at The Gwen Hotel on 521 North Rush Street from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a 90-minute reception to follow. Mike Schroeder, NRRA Board Vice Chair and Chairman/General Counsel for Allied Professional Insurance Company, RRG, will be a featured panelist. Other speakers include National Catholic Risk Retention Group President Michael Bemi, State of Vermont Director of Captive Insurance, Sandy Bigglestone, EIIA Vice President for Property & Casualty Mary Ellen Moriarty, Greg Cook, President and CEO, CARE Professional Liability Association, and Julie Bordo, President and General Manager, PCH Mutual Insurance Co. The RRG Leaders Summit is a highly-exclusive learning and networking event especially created for RRG professionals to share opportunities, challenges, and thought leadership. The Summit enables attendees to join round-table conversations that address Reinsurance Strategies, Legacy Liabilities and Helping Members Achieve Risk Management Goals, and many others topics. For more information or to ask questions, contact Richard Cutcher at r.cutcher@captivereview.com.
RESTORATION RRG SUES WISCONSIN OVER RRG DISCRIMINATION, NRRA FILES AMICUS BRIEF TO JOIN THE FIGHT

RESTORATION RRG SUES WISCONSIN OVER RRG DISCRIMINATION, NRRA FILES AMICUS BRIEF TO JOIN THE FIGHT

ENCINO, Calif. – On March 6, 2017, NRRA filed yet another Amicus Curiae Brief in support of Restoration RRG in its Appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. In the case of Restoration Risk Retention Group vs. Ross & the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), Restoration is challenging a prior action by the DSPS for its discrimination against RRGs.

Restoration is the RRG insurer of ServPro franchisees. ServePro provides building remediation services for property losses and has been registered (authorized) to conduct business in Wisconsin since 2006. A 2015 decision by the Trade Credentialing Unit (TCU) of DSPS, however, denied a contractor’s license to a ServPro franchisee, based upon Wis.Stat.§101.654(2)(a). The denial can be interpreted as potentially prohibiting all non-Wisconsin charted RRGs from insuring dwelling contractors and with implications beyond contractors. §101.654(2)(a) had been on the books in Wisconsin for almost 20 years with no prior enforcement activity.

As argued in its Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) Brief, NRRA commissioned the Risk Retention Reporter to perform a study demonstrating a pattern of systemic discrimination against RRGs in Wisconsin. The study was based on National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) filings and data compiled by the Reporter. The Amicus Brief provides empirical evidence that Wisconsin actually is an outlier with only 58 RRGs registered. This is less than any state except Alaska, which has less than 13% of the population of Wisconsin. Wisconsin also has a lower amount of RRG premium per resident than any other state, including Alaska. Statistics also were presented comparing Wisconsin to the other two states in the 7th Circuit, as well as surrounding states to underscore its conclusion that there is an adverse environment for RRGs operating in Wisconsin and that certain sectors, including property development, appear to be particularly impacted by Wisconsin policies. NRRA concludes that the OMIC decision, infra, has contributed to discriminatory treatment of RRGs in Wisconsin and should be distinguished by the Court as requested by Restoration in its brief.

Restoration claims that §101.654(2)(a), allegedly designed to preserve “financial responsibility,” is expressly preempted by the LRRA because it can be used to discriminate against RRGs as a class. The federal district (trial) court, in a motion for summary adjudication, ruled that the 1998 decision set forth in Opthalmic Mutual Insurance Company vs. Musser (OMIC) had to prevail because it was the “law of the Circuit.” This decision was made despite multiple prior decisions in other Circuits concluding otherwise, led by National Warranty vs. Greenfield, a seminal case on the same discrimination issue in Oregon (9th Circuit), but which are not considered “binding” on Wisconsin, located in the 7th Circuit. The district court acknowledged that the OMIC decision, however, had not actually adjudicated the “discrimination” issue. Restoration’s exhaustive appellate arguments also challenged the DSPS’ newfound and subjective interpretation of §101.654(2)(a), demonstrating how that “interpretation” is inconsistent with the plain language in the statute itself which is being used to require contractors to be insured by “licensed and admitted” carriers in Wisconsin. The briefing also delivers an extensive review of the congressional purpose and cases that have correctly interpreted the LRRA express preemption of activity that is discriminatory by the states.

The 19-year old OMIC decision has been specifically criticized by the 9th Circuit in the Greenfield and Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance (ANI) decisions, as well as the 2nd Circuit in Wadsworth and in other cases including the 4thCircuit.  OMIC was also based on a now unrelated former Wisconsin statute affecting only “medical professional liability” carriers, but that statute was revised in 2015 by Wis. Stat. § 655.23(3)(am), expressly permitting RRGs to insure health care providers for MPL.

NRRA, which has persuasively submitted amicus briefing in many of the successful cases on LRRA preemption thus far, will continue to monitor the progress of this case and report accordingly to its members.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RISK RETENTION ASSOCIATION

The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) was formed in September 1987 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association and is the only national association dedicated to the successful development, education and promotion of U.S. domiciled alternatives to traditional liability insurance. NRRA provides high-level, rapid advocacy and a forum where the country’s most knowledgeable individuals in risk retention insurance may exchange valuable and timely information. For more information, visit www.riskretention.org and see details on NRRA’s Annual Conference on September 26-28, 2017 at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. This year’s theme: “Business to Business – the NRRA Edge.”

For further information on NRRA’s advocacy and member services, contact NRRA Executive Director Joe Deems by phone at (818) 995-3274, email at joe.deems@gmail.com, or by visiting www.riskretention.org.

NEW YORK AMENDS ITS CYBER SECURITY REGULATION (23 NYCRR 500) EXEMPTING FOREIGN RISK RETENTION GROUPS

NEW YORK AMENDS ITS CYBER SECURITY REGULATION (23 NYCRR 500) EXEMPTING FOREIGN RISK RETENTION GROUPS

The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) announced that on February 16, 2017  the state of New York released a second set of revisions to 23 NYCRR 500, this time finally exempting non-domiciliary, or foreign, risk retention groups from compliance.  On November 11, 2016, NRRA escalated its opposition to the regulation with a firm letter to the NY Department of Financial services, stating that, while recognizing the regulation did exempt smaller companies, the onerous requirements of the regulation were nevertheless completely preempted by the Liability Risk Retention Act, 15 U.S.C. 3901(a) (LRRA), which NRRA argued would exempt all RRGs from compliance.

On September 13, 2016, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the first in-the-nation proposed cybersecurity regulation designed to protect consumer data and financial systems….”  The regulation imposes standards for the establishment of a cybersecurity program, a written cybersecurity policy, the designation of a Chief Information SecurityOfficer as well as policies and procedures to protect information systems and non-public information accessible by third-parties. The proposed regulation also mandates security policies and procedures provisions to be included in “third-party” service provider contracts. 

Compounding the illegal preemption issue as to non-domiciliary RRGs, NRRA felt that the regulation also poses a possible existential threat to all companies which might now be facing the prospect of numerous other states following the lead of New York and thereby adopting their own potentially inconsistent cyber regulations.

NRRA has made it clear that it is certainly not opposed to “cyber protection” and has never questioned the prerogative of the domiciliary states to impose consistently reasonable and sensible cyber requirements for their home state RRGs.  The NAIC has been working on a model cyber data protection law, but unless it ever passes one, and even if it does, there should be concern that more states will try to follow New York. There has to be a uniform, reasonable, and scalable set of rules that can be followed so that the industry can avoid problems like RRGs potentially faced in New York before the LRRA came to their rescue.

The newly inserted exemption can be found at new section 500.19 (f), including “persons subject to NY Insurance law section 5904” (Risk Retention Groups not Chartered in this State.)  NRRA thanks other industry leaders, domicile regulators, and key members of the association for their support of its activities in this and other initiatives seeking to protect the interests of RRGs and PGs nationwide.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RISK RETENTION ASSOCIATION

The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) was formed in September 1987 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association and is the only national association dedicated to the successful development, education and promotion of U.S. domiciled alternatives to traditional liability insurance. NRRA provides high-level, rapid advocacy and a forum where the country’s most knowledgeable individuals in risk retention insurance may exchange valuable and timely information. For more information, visit www.riskretention.org and see details on NRRA’s Annual Conference on September 26-28, 2017 at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. This year’s theme: “Business to Business – the NRRA Edge.”

For further information on NRRA’s advocacy and member services, contact Joe Deems, Executive Director, NRRA, at (818) 995-3274, email: joe.deems@gmail.com, or visit www.riskretention.org.

NRRA 2017 NATIONAL CONFERENCE SAVE THE DATE 9/26-9/28

NRRA is excited to announce that our 2017 annual conference will be held September 26 to 28, 2017, at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel in downtown Chicago.
We are anticipating another innovative, interactive event, complete with three days of great networking and unique fast-paced educational sessions. We are also coordinating an impressive slate of speakers, with the most current information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.
But, don’t take it from us! Watch the video below, to hear from your colleagues on why you should put the NRRA 2017 conference on your calendar NOW! To commit to one of our 2017 sponsorship packages, please visit our website riskretention.org or contact us at info@riskretention.org.

NRRA 2017 NATIONAL CONFERENCE SAVE THE DATE 9/26-9/28

NRRA is excited to announce that our 2017 annual conference will be held September 26 to 28, 2017, at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel in downtown Chicago.

We are anticipating another innovative, interactive event, complete with three days of great networking and unique fast-paced educational sessions. We are also coordinating an impressive slate of speakers, with the most current information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.

But, don’t take it from us! Watch the video below, to hear from your colleagues on why you should put the NRRA 2017 conference on your calendar NOW!

NRRA NATIONAL CONFERENCE SPONSOR

Thanks to our sponsors, the National Risk Retention Association 2016 annual conference was our most successful event ever.
NRRA sponsorships position your company as a leader at a time and place when key decision-makers are eager to learn, and ready to help their firm or clients grow. So when you think about investing in face-to-face interaction at an NRRA Conference, consider the impact that a sponsorship will make on key customers and prospects.

Please take a moment to watch our video, “Value of a NRRA Sponsorship,” featuring some very familiar faces discussing why they continue to support NRRA and the benefits for their company.

We are very excited to share with you that our 2017 conference will again be conducted on September 26th – September 28, 2017 at the gorgeous Sofitel Magnificent Mile  in downtown Chicago. With next year’s conference promising to be a very memorable event for us and you, we are getting an early start on preparations for 2017.
To commit to one of our 2017 sponsorship packages, please visit our website riskretention.org or contact us at info@riskretention.org.

NRRA NATIONAL CONFERENCE SPONSOR

Thanks to our sponsors, the National Risk Retention Association 2016 annual conference was our most successful event ever.

NRRA sponsorships position your company as a leader at a time and place when key decision-makers are eager to learn, and ready to help their firm or clients grow. So when you think about investing in face-to-face interaction at an NRRA Conference, consider the impact that a sponsorship will make on key customers and prospects.

Please take a moment to watch our video, “Value of a NRRA Sponsorship,” featuring some very familiar faces discussing why they continue to support NRRA and the benefits for their company.

We are very excited to share with you that our 2017 conference will again be conducted on September 26th – September 28, 2017 at the gorgeous Sofitel Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. With next year’s conference promising to be a very memorable event for us and you, we are getting an early start on preparations for 2017.

To commit to one of our 2017 sponsorship packages, please visit our website riskretention.org or contact us at info@riskretention.org.

LRRA Preemption Upheld in ALPS Case Petition for rehearing en banc In the 9th Circuit

In yet another highly important appellate decision supporting the industry, and in which the National Risk Retention Association appeared as amicus curiae (friend of the court) the 9th Circuit has upheld the Federal Liability Risk Retention Act’s preemption status.  Before the decision becomes final, however, the court will have to address a petition for “rehearing en banc” by the entire 9th Circuit panel.

NRRA had previously filed its Amicus Curiae brief in the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  In Attorney’s Liability Protection Society, Inc., a Risk Retention Group (ALPS) v. Ingaldson, Fitzgerald, P.C., FKA Ingaldson, Maassen & Fitzgerald, P.C., the Ninth Circuit’s Cross-Appellate Panel held that Alaska Statute §21.96.100(d)’s prohibition on reimbursements of fees and costs incurred by an insurer defending a non-covered claim was preempted by the Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986, 15 U.S.C. §§ 3901-3906.

The panel determined that the Alaska statute placed a restriction on Alaska contracts that was not contemplated by the Liability Risk Retention Act, and that was not precluded by all other states. The panel further determined that no exception applied to save the Alaska law from preemption.

“This will be a major victory if the 9th Circuit upholds its own opinion,” NRRA Executive Director Joe Deems said. “While NRRA’s brief was not quoted or specifically mentioned, our arguments were clearly heard.”

In the opinion written by District Court Judge Dorothy W. Nelson, the Court held that “Attorneys Liability Protection Society (ALPS) appeals from the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Ingaldson Fitzgerald, P.C. (Ingaldson), which denied ALPS reimbursement of defense fees expended in an underlying insurance litigation. Ingaldson cross-appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to ALPS that the claims asserted in the underlying litigation were not covered by the policy ALPS issued to Ingaldson. We REVERSE the district court’s order denying ALPS reimbursement of defense fees, AFFIRM the district court’s conclusion that the underlying claims were not covered, and REMAND for proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Ingaldson’s policy with ALPS insured the firm against claims arising from “an act, error or omission in professional services that were or should have been rendered by Ingaldson, and expressly excluded from coverage any claims arising from conversion or disputes over fees.  Importantly, the policy also required Ingaldson to reimburse ALPS for fees and costs that ALPS incurred in defending non-covered claims.  In 2008, the bankruptcy trustee for the bankrupt estate of a former client of Ingaldson, in conjunction with another former client of the firm, brought a claim against Ingaldson in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Alaska. The suit concerned Ingaldson disbursing from and withdrawing fees and costs against a $150,000 retainer. The former client and the trustee sought recovery of that retainer, and asserted claims against Ingaldson for, among other things, restitution, disgorgement, and conversion.

Deems praised NRRA’s Government Affairs Committee for its efforts to submit the Amicus brief on this matter.

“Our GAC Litigation Subcommittee had the courage to undertake this amicus effort despite ALPS not being a member of NRRA,” Deems said. “It is a benefit of which both current members and potential adversaries should be aware: We take care of our own!”

NRRA has had a successful run participating in various cases upholding the Federal Liability Risk Retention Act. The string of victories includes:

  • In a case cited in the ALPS opinion, NRRA provided an amicus brief in Allied Professionals Insurance Co. RRG v. Wadsworth (Ziegler) (2014). In that landmark case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, held that the LRRA preempts New York State’s “direct action” statute.
  • In Speece v. Allied Professionals Insurance Co. RRG (2014), the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the LRRA preempted Nebraska state law which prohibited the enforcement of “arbitration” clauses in RRG insurance contracts.
  • In Courville v. Allied Professionals Insurance Company and Rathman (2015), a Louisiana Court of Appeals held that the LRRA preempts Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute. The deciding factor in the Courville case and others was that certain state laws which unfavorably attempt to regulate the business of insurance for risk retention groups are preempted.

Following the opinion rendered on September 23, 2016 and Ingaldson’s attempt to circumvent that decision with its petition for “rehearing en banc,” meaning a request for rehearing before the entire 9th Circuit Appellate panel, “it remains to be seen what the ultimate decision will be,” Deems said, but added that “we maintain positive hopes that the 9th Circuit will uphold its own decision, particularly in light of the other favorable authority NRRA has vigilantly helped to create.”

 

For further information on NRRA’s advocacy benefits to members, contact executive director, Joe Deems at NRRA, (818) 995-3274, or joe.deems@gmail.com, or Ken House at (860) 558-1148, khousejr@sbcglobal.net.

NRRA 2016 CONFERENCE WRAP-UP: AUTONOMOUS RRG A HIT! 2017 CONFERENCE SET FOR SEPTEMBER 26-28, 2017 IN CHICAGO

“Going long” into the future with Autonomous RRG – A Virtual Company, the 2016 NRRA conference once again proved it could innovate and inspire imagination, as the attendees were challenged to explore our exploding world of combined digital technologies and learn about whether the attractively unique and successful features of risk retention groups (RRGs) could make them a major player in managing the risks associated with new technologies.

The interactive event concluded on September 29th following three days of great networking, unique fast-paced educational sessions, and an impressive slate of speakers, with the most current information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.

“This year we decided to shake things up a bit, and we couldn’t have been happier with the results, ” said Joe Deems, NRRA’s Executive Director. “By utilizing a highly unique case study and futuristic theme approach, our attendees had the opportunity to study cutting-edge insurance strategies never before thought of, that perfectly complement the latest developments in the artificial intelligence and robotics industry.” Although self-driving cars were the subject of the case study, “this isn’t just about cars,” he said in the opening session. “It’s about all types of robotics – drones, transportation, security and artificial intelligence that surround us, and cyber attacks that should be a critical feature of any risk management protocol.”

Thought leaders from various industries came together to discuss this topic, including Egil Juliusson, PhD from IHS Markit, Alex Epstein of the National Safety Council, and David Zuby of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The keynote speaker was former NFL and Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein, CBS sports game analyst for the NFL, and currently also an executive at Marsh, who entertained the group with his humorous anectodal experiences as a player.

“Combined with our case study, our speakers and panelists made for highly compelling sessions this year,” said Deems. “Our audience stayed in their seats, session after session, waiting to see what the next panel would produce, as we built the hypothetical company from the ground up.”

The 2016 NRRA conference also offered a fresh perspective on preparing today’s insurance students for a future in the captive industry. Together with a group of students from area colleges, a session entitled “The Educator’s Perspective” came up with a few ways to recruit and keep them, discussing diversity in the process. “By 2018, 25 percent of the people in the industry will retire, and more than 50 percent will be over 45 years of age,” said Deems. “We were eager to discuss ways the industry could do a better job of attracting young people and the students’ input was invaluable as they provided their vision on how they need our industry to find ways to help them evolve into this profession.”

NRRA Chairman, Dan Labrie, made the announcement this year of NRRA’s highest honor, The Karen Cutts Visionary Award, which was bestowed posthumously upon the late Wendy Fisher, in an emotional ceremony attended by members of her family and three executives from her companies. “The ‘consummate volunteer,’ Wendy consistently delivered leadership, insight, calmness, a ready smile, and friendship to whomever crossed her path,” said Labrie. “Certainly, few people matched Wendy’s dedication to NRRA. She served nine years on the Board of Directors, including two terms as Board Chair (2003 -2004 and 2008-2009). In addition, she was a longtime member and chair of the Government Affairs Committee.”

Board of Directors’ Awards were presented this year to Arise Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co., RRG for its multiple contributions to NRRA’s Government Affairs initiatives, and to retiring board member, Ken Barrett of Besso Re (London), for his 6 years of service on the NRRA board and many years of leadership efforts that have contributed significantly to the success of our ongoing programs. The Executive Director’s Award was presented to, among others, Johnson Lambert Co. in appreciation for its extraordinary services in coordinating the CPE credits for conference attendees. NRRA provided CPE, CLE and ICCIE credits for all sessions.

A record number of 51 sponsors committed their support to the Association, and the welcome addition of educators and students whose attendance was another contribution to the success of the event made possible by all the sponsors.

The NRRA 2017 National Conference will be held September 26 to 28, 2017, at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. Save the date!

“We are already exploring themes for next year to build upon this year’s successful conference outcome and look forward to sharing updates over the next few months,” added Lynn Crisci, HAI Group, chairman for the 2017 conference.

Early Registration and Hotel Rate Date Extended – Hurry and Register for The NRRA National Conference 2016

Good news from the Windy City: There is still time to make hotel reservations and register for the NRRA National Conference 2016.

The Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel has agreed to extend its deadline for hotel reservations through Friday, September 9, 2016 and NRRA has also decided to extend its “Early Bird” registration rates through the same date, Friday, September 9th. Remember, even if you are unable to secure a room at the Sofitel, you can still register for the 2016 NRRA National Conference at the early registration rate.

Register for the 2016 NRRA National Conference and reserve a hotel room by clicking here.

This event is one you don’t want to miss. NRRA has developed a case study titled “Autonomous, RRG – A Virtual Company” that is timely, compelling and entertaining. Conference attendees will build Autonomous, RRG by leveraging features, strategies, financial successes, and programs currently used by RRGs companies outperforming the traditional industry.

Thought leaders slated to discuss this cutting-edge topic include Egil Julliusson, PhD from IHS Markit, Alex Epstein of the National Safety Council, and David Zuby of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The keynote speaker is former NFL and Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein, CBS sports game analyst for the NFL.

Don’t get left behind – register now!

You can’t afford to sit this one out!

Time is running out to register for the NRRA 2016 National Conference on September 27-29 at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel!

Avoid a late fee by registering before September 7, 2016 for both the conference and hotel. Come early and be sure to stay to the end.

The NRRA 2016 National Conference is a 3-day, fast-paced educational conference, packed with an impressive slate of speakers, and the latest information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing RRGs and RPGs. See AM Best interview of Joseph E. Deems at VCIA regarding our upcoming conference.

Here’s what you’ll get at NRRA 2016:

• LEARN from highly qualified thought leaders who will discuss the wide-scale impact of autonomous technology and explore the risks and challenges of liability insurance in the exploding world of combined digital technologies.

• JOIN the “Who’s Who” of industry leaders, speakers with expertise on every aspect of building and running the most successful RRGs from the ground up, and others certain to challenge your thinking on the collision course between insurance and technology, including the National Safety Council, Automotive Technology and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

• CONNECT with all the industry’s decision makers, reinsurers, regulators, captive managers, service providers, and exciting speakers who will gather for the only national conference devoted exclusively to issues, challenges, and opportunities facing RRGs & RPGs in today’s competitive market.

Don’t get left behind – register now!

Hope to you see you there,

The NRRA Team

Imagine The Risks RRGs Might Face in the Future??

Join us at the NRRA 2016 National Conference on September 27-29 at the Chicago Water Tower Hotel

The NRRA 2016 Conference is a 3-day, fast-paced educational conference, packed with an impressive slate of speakers, and the latest information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing RRGs.

This year, hear from highly qualified thought leaders who will discuss the wide-scale impact of autonomous technology and explore the risks and challenges of insuring the exploding world of combined technologies.

Panel topics will include:

From Healthcare to Manufacturing to Drones: The impact and Future of Combined Digital Technology on RRGs and RPGs
Risk Management: Building Failsafe Systems for Tomorrow’s Technology
Challenges of Combined Proprietary Systems: Formation, Ownership and Governance
Additional topics include: Drafting a Unique Insurance Policy, Reinsurance Stacking, and an Educators Panel
For the conference, NRRA has developed “Autonomous, RRG – A Virtual Company,” a timely, hypothetical company that could insure combined technologies, protecting it from outside influences, adversarial attacks, or itself. Conference attendees will build Autonomous, RRG together by leveraging features, strategies, financial successes, and programs currently used by those RRG companies outperforming the traditional industry.

For more details, visit www.riskretention.org, email info@riskretention.org or call 818-995-3274.

NRRA Creates Virtual Company, Autonomous RRG: Hypothetical Case Study Expected to Stimulate Conversation by Panelists and Thought Leaders at 2016 National Conference in Chicago

ENCINO, Calif. – April 26, 2016. The Executive Office at the National Risk Retention Association announced today that information will be released soon on Autonomous, RRG, a virtual company designed to promote dialogue at the 2016 NRRA National Conference.
Conference attendees will work together to build Autonomous, RRG by leveraging features, strategies, and programs used by companies outperforming the traditional industry. State-of–the-art risk management and other creative strategies that maximize the protections afforded by the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) also will be explored.

“We’ve worked hard to supercharge the NRRA 2016 Conference this year with an extremely timely angle that is relevant to nearly everyone in our industry,” said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “NRRA developed Autonomous RRG to provide attendees with the unique experience of helping to create and debate what could quite possibly be one of the most financially successful RRGs ever devised.”

The 2016 NRRA National Conference will be held on September 27th – 29th, 2016 at the Chicago Water Tower Hotel. The conference is designed to bring together industry peers for three days of great networking, NRRA-unique, fast-paced educational sessions, an impressive slate of speakers, and the most current information about the regulatory, judicial, and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.

For more information, please visit www.riskretention.org, or contact Stephanie Holbrook, Director of Communications at Stephanie.holbrook@gmail.com – (310) 897-0624

NRRA Files Amicus Curiae Brief in the Louisiana Supreme Court Prompted by “Split of Authority “ Between Courville (Allied Professionals) and Ziegler (CPA Mutual)

ENCINO, Calif. – On April 22, 2016, the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) filed its newest amicus curiae brief in the Louisiana Supreme Court in support of CPA Mutual Insurance Company of America Risk Retention Group (CPA) in the ongoing case of Ziegler & Inspeq. Services v. Housing Authority of New Orleans. CPA filed on that same day its writ of certiorari before the Louisiana Supreme Court.

CPA was added before the trial court as a named defendant in its capacity as the liability insurance carrier for one of its insured members, under that state’s “direct action” statute. CPA was dismissed by the trial court on the same grounds as cited in Courville v Allied Professionals Ins. Co. RRG. Plaintiff appealed and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed using an unusual procedural basis, placing Ziegler at odds with Courville, decided last year by the First Circuit court of appeals in Louisiana.

The NRRA amicus curiae brief (which translated means “friend of the court”), mirrors that which it filed on behalf of CPA while the case was on appeal, and elaborates on the growing list of substantial judicial decisions favoring LRRA preemption, where state insurance regulations are being used to attempt regulation of the insurance being offered by RRGs. This process is expressly preempted by the federal statute.

The brief filed on behalf of CPA Mutual represents the culmination of many years of NRRA’s efforts to refine, define and truly focus on the best of the best arguments, case authorities and writings of the key court decisions positively affecting this industry.

“We have learned how to capitalize upon the favorable findings and nuances of the cases NRRA has prevailed on over the last 20 years, and to articulate intelligently how the handful of unfavorable cases against us are distinguishable simply because they are flawed in their reasoning, or are simply a misinterpretation of the federal law,” said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “Our amicus cases actually go back into the 90’s, and the APIC cases have cemented our posture, because of the ongoing need to have an actual case in controversy as a prerequisite to filing an amicus brief which cannot be filed without an identified litigating party to the case to support. CPA is now added to this list.”

NRRA previously filed amicus curiae briefing in both Courville (Allied Professionals) and Ziegler (CPA Mutual), two different cases. The two cases rested upon legal questions that are essentially identical: both companies had “arbitration” clauses in their policy, yet both carriers were named directly in the suits under Louisiana’s direct action statute, which would have the effect of circumventing each carrier’s right to arbitrate claims, in lieu of having them adjudicated before a judge or jury.

In Courville, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Allied’s right to arbitration, likewise holding that the direct action statute could not be applied to a foreign RRG as preempted by the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA). In Ziegler, however, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied that right, (e.g., the exact opposite of Courville), thus leading NRRA to file its briefing in support of CPA’s Writ, based on the “split” of authority in the state caused by two conflicting court of appeal decisions.

“As a lawyer, I am proud of where we have legalistically evolved, so far,” said Deems. “As CEO of NRRA, I am proud of how we have been able to marshal our modest resources and to guide and motivate the landscape and complexity of talented personalities to create an organized and persuasive system for dealing with these issues, which has resulted in a usable library of briefing tools and resources that will benefit our members for many years to come.”

ABOUT NATIONAL RISK RETENTION ASSOCIATION
The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) was formed in September 1987 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association and is the only national association dedicated to the successful development, education and promotion of U.S. domiciled alternatives to traditional liability insurance. NRRA provides a forum where the country’s most knowledgeable individuals in risk retention insurance may exchange valuable and timely information. For more information, visit www.riskretention.org.

For more information, contact NRRA Executive Director Joseph E. Deems at 818-995-3274 or joe.deems@gmail.com. Visit www.riskretention.org.

NRRA REPORTS THE PASSING OF FORMER BOARD CHAIR, WENDY S. FISHER

“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague, Wendy Fisher,” said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “For nearly 25 years, Wendy skillfully brought her leadership, insights, calm demeanor and friendship to our industry. We have all lost a well-respected leader and the insurance community has also truly lost one of its finest contributors. On behalf of everyone at NRRA, we extend our deepest sympathy to Wendy’s family.”

Wendy served on the Board of Directors of NRRA from 2001-2010, with two terms as Board Chair (2003-04 and 2008-09), and has been a member of the Government Affairs Committee since 2000 (Committee Chair 2001-03, and 2006-08). She was a frequent speaker at the National Risk Retention Association, the Captive Insurance Companies Association and the Hawaii Captive Insurance Council annual conferences and authored articles for the Risk Retention Reporter. She was also on the faculty of International Center for Captive Insurance Education.

“Wendy was a great person and model for us to follow as a leader,” said Dan Labrie, NRRA Chairman. “She cared very much about the industry, but more importantly about each of her colleagues. Her smile gave everyone around her an immense sense of joy and she will be missed by all of us.”

For 27 years, Wendy was employed by Home Buyers Warranty in Aurora, Colorado, most recently serving as Director of Regulatory Affairs. In her role, she oversaw regulatory compliance, corporate recordkeeping and governance for the organization and its 18 affiliated companies, including New Home Warranty Insurance Company, A Risk Retention Group. She was also responsible for procuring and managing the companies’ corporate insurance coverages.

Wendy held the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designations, a resident property and casualty insurance producer license in Colorado, and non-resident producer licenses in forty-two other states.

In addition to her professional work, Wendy was also dedicated to volunteer work and organized her company’s MS Walk team, helping to raise over $1.3M over the last 27 years to end multiple sclerosis.

She is survived by her husband Geoff, 5 daughters, and multiple grandchildren.

National Risk Retention Association Opposes Nonprofit Property Protection Act (HR 3794)

Association States its Concerns about Legislation that Provides a Small Number of RRGs the Opportunity to Write Property Coverage for Members While Containing Language that Might Prejudice Other Groups

LOS ANGELES, January 11, 2016 – The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) announced today that the Association would oppose the Nonprofit Property Protection Act (HR 3794). The bill primarily seeks to amend the Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 to expand the types of commercial insurance authorized for a very small number of risk retention groups serving certain nonprofit organizations.

NRRA is unable to support HR 3794 as it is currently written. The bill, which NRRA was given an opportunity to review after it was introduced, affords a very small number of RRGs an opportunity to provide property coverage to its members. This approach was actually determined to be potentially detrimental to a larger number of RRGs and Purchasing Groups, as their ability to provide other coverage would be compromised by an inserted definition of “commercial insurance.” It also provides a rationale for regulators hostile to the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) to preclude Purchasing and Risk Retention Groups from providing contractual liability based coverage.

“NRRA certainly recognizes the importance of the addition of ‘property’ to the LRRA, and by no means are we against ‘nonprofits’” said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “But, with the very peculiar definition of ‘commercial insurance’ as set forth in the current legislation, such an addition would potentially hurt more members than it would help.”

While deliberating on this legislation, NRRA Board of Directors took into account two essential elements:
The inserted definition of “commercial insurance” incorporates language that inexplicably and unnecessarily includes an ambiguous description of “contractual liability” which has no relevance to a “property” bill.
The number of RRGs and PGs that actually produce contractual liability products and would be jeopardized by the suspect language exceeds the small number of “non-profits” that would benefit from the legislation. In other words, there are more members which might be potentially hurt than those to be helped and NRRA has to view the big picture.
“NRRA remains diligent in safeguarding against any initiatives that either do not support the majority of our members or the overall industry, or which might harm the business interests of even some of our members,” Deems said. “We look forward in the next Session of Congress to working with the bill’s sponsors and proponents in advance of the legislation’s introduction, to draft a bill of broader benefit to the Risk Retention and Purchasing community that will not prejudice the existing rights of these entities under the federal Liability Risk Retention Act.”

LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT DENIES WRIT IN COURVILLE CASE

LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT DENIES WRIT IN COURVILLE CASE
NRRA and Allied Professionals Announce Amicus Victory with Prospect for Further
Support on Other Pending Case Before Louisiana Court of Appeals

ENCINO, Calif. – The Louisiana Supreme Court has now denied the petition for a writ of certiorari taken by plaintiffs in Courville vs. Allied Professionals Insurance Company and Rathman, essentially upholding the positive decision rendered by its court of appeals earlier this year in favor of Allied Professionals and NRRA.

A petition for a writ of certiorari is a request by a party that a higher court, frequently a “supreme” court, review the decision of a lower court to determine if it should “issue a writ,” meaning to order the lower court to send the case up for further review. When the court denies a writ, such has the effect of affirming the lower court decision.

“We are quite pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision to deny this writ, as this action confirms our earlier victory for the risk retention industry”, said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “We are also hopeful that this will inspire a similar result in our other pending amicus curiae petition in Ziegler & Inspeq. Services v. Housing Authority of New Orleans, where CPA Mutual Ins. Co. a Risk Retention Group, named as the liability insurance carrier for one of the defendants, was similarly dismissed by the trial court on almost identical issues to those of Courville. Because CPA Mutual is up on appeal by the plaintiff in a different district of the Louisiana court of appeals, the decision by the Supreme court in Courville should be at least instructive to the court in CPA Mutual, that the Supreme Court did not take any dispute with the reasoning of the Courville decision or panel.”

In the case, plaintiff Ronald Courville not only sued his chiropractor, Thomas Rathmann D.C., but also sued Dr. Rathmann’s insurance company, Allied Professionals Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group (“APIC”). He named APIC under Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute. APIC moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and under the LRRA.. The Louisiana Appellate Court also stated that it was following the reasoning in a 2014 decision in the federal District Court of Appeals in New York, Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Insurance Company, holding that application of New York’s direction action statute would violate the LRRA. NRRA was “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) in both cases.

“This case follows a series of favorable decisions so far overruling direct action statutes and anti-arbitration statues,” said Mike Schroeder, Allied Chairman and General Counsel.. “When certain state laws unfavorably attempt to regulate the business of insurance for risk retention groups, those statutes are preempted by the federal law, as demonstrated by this and other recent decisions.”

“NRRA has worked closely with its members to vindicate their rights when they are unfairly and illegally infringed upon,” said NRRA Chairman, Dan Labrie. “We will continue to be diligent to guard against any attempts to improperly regulate this viable industry and we are glad that we could again contribute to some reliable legal decisions where risk retention groups can be more confident in their abilities and free of illegal state regulations.”

National Risk Retention Association 2015 Conference Kicks Off in Chicago

Sen. Ben Nelson Keynotes; Discusses NAIC’s Regulatory Philosophy, International Insurance Regulation and Ways to Resolve RRG Issues Outside Courts on WRIN.tv

CHICAGO, IL– The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) kicks-off its annual conference today at the Sofitel Water Tower Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

The 2015 NRRA conference brings together industry peers for three days of great networking, NRRA-unique fast-paced educational sessions, an impressive slate of speakers, and the most current information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.

“This year’s NRRA conference brings to Chicago leaders in industry and government to help further the valuable contribution RRGs and PGs have made to the marketplace,” said Joe Deems, Executive Director of NRRA. “From our outstanding keynote speaker, to the record number of attendees and our unique panels, we are expecting this 2015 conference to be our best ever. This event continues to provide insurance leaders with the opportunity to showcase the best of our industry.”

NRRA is also pleased to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, Senator Ben Nelson, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which has been a focal point of NRRA regulatory advocacy in recent years.

Recently, Senator Nelson shared his thoughts on WRIN.tv with Deems, in a two-part series entitled “Issues in Risk Retention.” During the interview Senator Nelson addressed regulatory issues related to Captives and Risk Retention Groups (RRGs), misinterpretations of the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA), and legislation attempting to expand the reach of RRGs. Watch it now from the WRIN.tv On Demand Library.

In part one of the WRIN.tv series, Senator Nelson earlier recognized the valuable contribution Risk Retention Groups (RRGs) and Purchasing Groups have made to the marketplace by providing viable insurance and risk management options to groups that need insurance, including health care providers, educators, public housing authorities and transportation.

In part two Senator Nelson acknowledged the Federal government’s interest in regulating insurance, but noted, however, that the States have been successfully regulating insurance for nearly 150 years. “Despite this history, the Federal government has stepped up in areas such as flood and terrorism risk insurance (TRIA), not generally available in the private market,” said Senator Nelson. “Overall, I believe the relationship between the Federal government and State insurance regulators is working very well.”

On the NAIC’s proposed role with international insurance regulation, Senator Nelson stressed the importance of regular dialogue among international regulators to ensure efforts toward best practices in regulation, sharing ideas and methodologies. He said, “The NAIC has engaged in ORSA, the owned risk assessment process, which was a direct result of international discussions. The role of the NAIC in exchanging information within the international regulatory community is not one of being subservient to any international regime created by the IAIS.” Nelson expressed that interaction would be done at the Federal level, within Congress, and with input from the States.

In closing the WRIN.tv interviews, Senator Nelson stressed that informal dialogue between the NAIC and the risk retention industry are important. “I strongly believe there is a place for RRGs where there is lack of traditional markets, and would prefer to solve most problems through informal and open conversation between regulators and RRGs,” he said. To watch the two interviews in their entirety, visit the WRIN.tv On Demand Library.

Former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, CEO of NAIC, To Keynote National Risk Retention Association 2015 Conference In Chicago

Sen. Nelson, Along with Distinguished Panel of Speakers, Will Lead Discussions Around Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities Facing Risk Retention and Purchasing Groups

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 1, 2015 – The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) has announced former U.S. Senator and NAIC CEO, Ben Nelson, as the keynote speaker for the organization’s annual conference, to be held at theSofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel, September 29 through October 1, 2015.

Sen. Nelson is CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a focal point of NRRA regulatory advocacy in recent years. After two terms as Governor of Nebraska and two terms in the U.S. Senate, Nelson was named CEO of NAIC on Jan. 23, 2013. Before entering politics, he served as CEO of the Central National Insurance Group and Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of NAIC. Sen. Nelson is slated to speak at the NRRA conference on September 30, 2015 at 12:45 p.m.

“Since the law was passed in 1986, Risk Retention Groups (RRGs) have become a major industry with approximately 240 companies generating about $3B in premium. The Purchasing Group (PG) sector has also grown dramatically, now standing at well over 900 entities,” said NRRA Board Chair Dan Labrie, CEO of HAI Group. “Because NRRA is committed to protecting RRGs and PGs, as well as the Liability Risk Retention Act, there are times when we have to challenge various states based upon the industry’s interpretation of the Act. With that in mind, Senator Nelson’s appearance at our 2015 conference should make for a lively dialogue.”

The NRRA 2015 Conference is a 3-day event, filled with fast-paced educational sessions, an impressive slate of speakers, and the most current information about the regulatory, judicial and legislative issues facing risk retention groups and purchasing groups today.

RRGs and PGs have made a valuable contribution to the marketplace by providing viable insurance and risk management options to groups that need insurance, including health care providers, educators, public housing authorities and transportation, just to name a few. NRRA’s 2015 Conference aims to unify the industry, while educating the insurance world, regulators, and groups in need of nontraditional insurance options on the value of and need for RRGs.

This year’s conference program further develops popular conference topics and maintains a distinctively fast-paced, integrated-schedule. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in all sessions and panels, which will address issues such as cyber-security and liability, regulatory developments, risk management, reinsurance, health care, and NRRA’s successful government affairs initiatives that have spearheaded numerous judicial decisions favoring the industry.

“This year, we have a very heavy focus on the regulator andstate captive association issues, and in fact are dedicating three panel discussions as to these issues alone,” said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “We anticipate more regulators in attendance than ever before and have specifically invited leaders of state captive insurance associations to participate in our 2015 conference.”

Other unique panel sessions include:

Hot Topic: Cyber Security Liability Insurance for risk retention groups
Foreign v. Domestic Reinsurance Placement: Which is right for you?
Building a Health Insurance Plan owned by RRG members
Soft Market Survival Guide
Best Practices for Enterprise Risk Management
RRG Executive Leadership: Leading By Example
Amicus Curiae Update: a Refresher Course on NRRA’s Toolkit for Your Risk Management Strategies (tricks and strategies to use in preparing a case for potential amicus brief settings)

The NRRA 2015 Conference is made possible in large part due to the generous support of our sponsors. This year, premium sponsors include JLT, Imperial PFS, Besso Re, Johnson Lambert Co., Marks, O’Neill, O’Brien, Doherty & Kelly, P.C. and Crowe Horwath LLP.

“NRRA’s sponsors seem particularly pleased with their inclusion year-round in the ‘Sponsor Gallery’ on our website, and on our mobile app,” said Deems. “We are truly focused on making our 2015 conference a great opportunity to do business with everyone who is anyone in the RRG and PG industry.”

The conference program and speakers are subject to change. For information and to register for the NRRA 2015 Conference, visit www.riskretention.org.

ABOUT NATIONAL RISK RETENTION ASSOCIATION

The National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) was formed in September 1987 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association and is the only national association dedicated to the successful development, education and promotion of U.S. domiciled alternatives to traditional liability insurance. NRRA provides a forum where the country’s most knowledgeable individuals in risk retention insurance may exchange valuable and timely information. For more information, visit www.riskretention.org.

Wisconsin Allows Risk Retention Groups to Insure Health Care Providers

SAN FRANCISCO – The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, a risk retention group (OMIC), announced today that risk retention groups once again are permitted to write health care liability insurance for providers in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin legislature passed the 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, effective July 14, 2015, which includes amendments to the laws that had previously kept risk retention groups from insuring Wisconsin physicians, nurse anesthetists, hospitals, and other medical entities.

In 1990, Wisconsin passed legislation preventing health care providers to obtain medical professional liability coverage from “unauthorized” nondomestic insurers, including risk retention groups. OMIC was unsuccessful challenging the new law in court. Attempts to work with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to reinstate risk retention groups were ineffective.

Starting in 2012, with the support of the Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology, the Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, and the Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists, OMIC pursued legislation with the sponsors of the bill, Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, Representative John Nygren and Senator Alberta Darling, culminating in its final passage. Ultimately, they had the support of Governor Scott Walker who refused to veto the amendments, keeping true to his motto that “Wisconsin is open for business!”

“We are excited to bring OMIC’s ophthalmology-specific services back to Wisconsin,” said Timothy J. Padovese, OMIC President and CEO. “We look forward to a positive working relationship with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and are eager to meet the insurance needs of ophthalmologists in Wisconsin.” This was echoed by Kim Wynkoop, OMIC Senior Legal Counsel and former Chair of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), who stated that, “as intended by Congress when it passed the federal Liability Risk Retention Act in 1986, health care providers in every state in the nation can once again obtain their medical professional liability insurance from a risk retention group.”

OMIC, a risk retention group, www.omic.com, and a strong supporter of NRRA, is the largest insurer of eye physicians and surgeons in the United States and is the nation’s premier source for ophthalmic risk management information, having educational alliances with 50 state specialized interest ophthalmic societies and maintains the exclusive endorsement and sponsorship of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

About NRRA

NRRA is the professional association that represents the interests of Risk Retention and Purchasing Groups. RRGs are authorized by the Liability Risk Retention Act to write liability insurance nationally when licensed by a single state.

NRRA AGAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN MAJOR RRG INDUSTRY DECISION(S)

NRRA AGAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN MAJOR RRG INDUSTRY DECISION(S)

The anxiously awaited decision in Reis et al v. OOIDA, RRG was issued on May 7, 2018 by the Georgia Supreme Court, as yet another major judicial venue has now affirmed in a unanimous decision what NRRA has been advocating for years – – that the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) preempts state insurance laws that regulate the business of foreign…

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NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF

NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF

NRRA’S LATEST AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF NOW FILED BEFORE THE GEORGIA SUPREME COURT The National Risk Retention Association backs its members – and all risk retention groups – when their ability to do business is jeopardized. To that end, NRRA contributed an amicus curiae...

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The NRRA Edge NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

The NRRA Edge NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago

Business: The NRRA Edge NRRA Conference Returns to Chicago   The National Risk Retention Association is well-known for its annual conference, which pairs hard-hitting, entertaining speakers with networking opportunities aplenty. This year, though, the NRRA...

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NRRA Leaders Spreading the Word at CICA

NRRA Leaders Spreading the Word at CICA

A trio of NRRA leaders will dive deep into the world of risk retention groups when they discuss RRG Hot Topics at the Captive Insurance Companies Association Conference (C.I.C.A.) at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale on March 11-13. NRRA Board Chair Michael...

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NRRA Sends Reminder Letter to Minnesota about LRRA Language

NRRA Sends Reminder Letter to Minnesota about LRRA Language

The Federal Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 clearly states that Risk Retention Groups are exempt from “any State law, rule, regulation, or order to the extent that would make unlawful, or regulate, directly or indirectly, the operation of a risk retention group.”...

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Sponsor Spotlight: What IS the Demotech Difference?

Sponsor Spotlight: What IS the Demotech Difference?

Former National Risk Retention Association Board Chair Sanford D. Elsass calls sponsorship money “mother’s milk.” Given its mission and the industry’s small size, NRRA needs sponsorship to survive and thrive. And thrive it has. Generous donations by its many sponsors...

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NRRA Conference – Why Sponsor?

NRRA Conference – Why Sponsor?

    The 2017 NRRA Conference is scheduled to take place at the beautiful Sofitel Magnificent Mile in Chicago on Sept. 26-28. The theme of this year’s conference – Business to Business: The NRRA Edge – was developed with our many sponsors in...

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NRRA 2017 NATIONAL CONFERENCE SAVE THE DATE 9/26-9/28

NRRA is excited to announce that our 2017 annual conference will be held September 26 to 28, 2017, at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel in downtown Chicago. We are anticipating another innovative, interactive event, complete with three days of great...

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