“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.