More than 20 members of NRRA’s CRISP program attended the 2019 NRRA National Conference, a record number for the event. CRISP is NRRA’s outreach to encourage interested college students to build their future careers in the insurance industry.

After the conference, we asked the CRISPers to share what they thought of the conference and what they gained from being there. The responses below are from students at the Katie School of Insurance & Risk Management at Illinois State University.


Tristen Aguilar

“The National Risk Retention Association Conference was an incredible first-time experience for my peers and myself. At the end of each day, my brain was exhausted, but it also absorbed an abundance of valuable information that had not been covered in a classroom yet.

“Risk Retention Groups were a foreign concept to me prior to the conference. I learned that they are relatively new compared to the traditional insurance industry, and that the first RRG was formed in 1981. It was a privilege to be in the same room as some of the founding fathers for RRGs, like Robert ‘Skip’ Meyers.

“I networked with a couple of Chicago industry people and discussed internship opportunities for the upcoming summer. Prime Insurance Company caught my interest because of the wide range of surplus products the company writes. Nancy Gray, with Aon, was my mentor on Friday, and after looking into the Aon internship program, I will most likely apply there as well.

“Overall, I am most grateful to have this experience and to expand my knowledge of my future career field.”

Jake Eichelberger

“Attending the NRRA (National Risk Retention Association) Conference was an excellent experience. This was a great opportunity to further my knowledge of Risk Retention Groups and the captive industry. The event was extremely informative, as multiple leaders of this sector of the industry attended. Not only did I further my knowledge of the industry, but I was able to network with leaders of the industry, which is invaluable.

“Two speakers who greatly appealed to me were Betsy Ziegler and Bill Springer. Ms. Ziegler discussed “The Future of Work,” which was an extremely relevant topic. The ideas she suggested were very interesting and worth considering as I choose a career path. Mr. Springer was intriguing as well as he discussed hyper-connectivity and how easy it is to get distracted.

“I also networked with several industry professionals, two of whom I shadowed. Christina Kindstedt was my first mentor, and she is the Managing Director at Advantage Insurance. She talked about her role in the company, along with the industry overall. Ashur Odishoo is the other professional I shadowed, and he is the National Director of Sales and Marketing for Caring Communities. Mr. Odishoo discussed current events in the industry.”

Ryan Glotzbach

“Attending the National Risk Retention Association Conference was a very enjoyable experience. The most valuable part of the conference for me was the networking and the educational sessions on day two.

“I talked with dozens of professionals in the risk retention and captive industry, and to people in a wide variety of professional work positions — from an underwriter to an actuary to a financial analyst to an industry regulator. It seems that everyone in the process has a little different view on how the regulators should uphold the rules and laws of the industry.

“Although I did not understand some of the insurance talk that occurred during the meetings, I am grateful for the knowledge I was able to pick up during the three days.

“My favorite parts of the conference were the keynote speakers each day, and the educational sessions that occurred on day two. Each of the keynote speakers brought a different element of life to talk about in each presentation.

“The first speaker talked about a story in his life, and how stories describe experiences. The other keynote speaker talked about the evolution of technology and how it will affect the planet in 10+ years’ time. Both talks were very interesting.

“I also attended an education session on ‘Developing Cannabis Products in the Insurance Industry,’ as well as a session on cyber insurance. I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity to attend the NRRA Conference, and I look forward to attending more conferences in the future.”

Alexander Ostojic

“I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the 2019 National Risk Retention Association Conference. During the three-day conference, I learned new information about captives and risk retention groups. The ability to shadow professionals was invaluable, and I had the opportunity to visit with Gerald Yoshida and Derick White.

“Gerald Yoshida is an attorney from Hawaii who primarily works with insurance regulators and captive insurance companies. Derick White is a managing director from Vermont who has a specialty in insurance regulation and auditing.

“First, reinsurance plays a huge role with captive insurance and risk retention groups. I learned that some of the well-known international reinsurer areas are London and Bermuda. Colleges and individuals in the medical industry use the concept of reinsurance.

“Second, I learned that RRGs invest in ETFs. Third, I found it very interesting how captives relate to claims. Finally, the NAIC is responsible for communicating with Congress about regulations. The NAIC will use the inquiry template to draft a letter for regulators.

“By attending the 2019 NRRA Conference, I was able to interact with industry professionals who possess a career interest in captive management or regulation. By taking my Life and Health Insurance course this semester, I was able to understand the roundtable discussion and learn new information about the future of healthcare.

“Also, the conference reinforced my interest to pursue a career in claims. Finally, I was able to understand how the future of technology will impact the insurance industry. Overall, I had a positive experience attending the NRRA Conference and I am thankful for participating in the CRISP program.”

Wyatt Quigley

“Recently I attended the National Risk Retention Association Conference in Chicago. Being able to attend this conference as a student was extremely beneficial. Going into the conference, I had somewhat of an understanding of what a captive was, but that was about it.

“After listening to all the information sessions and panels, I now have a diverse idea of what an RRG is and how it functions. One of my favorite parts of the conference was the case studies we did on Thursday morning. Using “real-life” examples, running through how captives function, and all the different parties involved was eye-opening to the day-to-day tasks of a captive manager.

“Another aspect of the conference that I really enjoyed was the topics you could take away to your everyday life. The opening speaker talked about the importance of being personable and telling stories. There was a speaker who talked about how to manage the technology in your everyday life. One of the most interesting speakers was the keynote speaker on the future of technology and how it’s going to affect business.

“I really enjoyed my time at the NRRA conference and being able to network with industry leaders and professionals. I highly suggest that  NRRA continue to let students attend the conference, as there are so many learning opportunities. I am extremely thankful to have attended the conference this year.”

Emily Selenis

“As a sophomore actuarial science major, the NRRA Conference opened up a whole new world in the insurance industry for me! I had no idea what risk retention groups were; I just knew that the captive industry was important in actuarial consulting.

“The presentations were on a wide range of topics. I will admit I did not understand a whole lot in the beginning! There were many acronyms and industry terms and concepts that I just did not know. However, I greatly benefitted from the shadowing program available throughout the conference.

“I shadowed Mark Maxson, president at API Re and one of the directors of  NRRA; and Derick White, managing director at Strategic Risk Solutions. Both were extremely helpful to me in understanding the complex and new subjects, and they answered every question I had.

“Emerging industry trends stuck out to me the most. The legalization of marijuana nationally should be on its way soon, and I attended a roundtable discussion about just how it would end up affecting RRGs in the long run.

“The CEO of 1871, Betsy Ziegler, spoke about the hope she sees in  increased automation, and how new technology can help companies to assist their clients in minimizing risks as much as possible.

“The NRRA conference benefitted me in that I was able to expand my network and my knowledge. I look forward to hopefully attending again next year with the Katie School.”