By Lenny Giteck

Apr 19, 2021 | News


The 2021 NRRA Leaders Summit took place Feb. 9-10 — for the first time as a virtual event due to the COVID pandemic — with nearly 80 people in attendance. As a follow-up, we spoke with three of the attendees to get a better sense of how it went. They were:

  • Kristen Strasser, Account Manager, NAMIC Insurance Agency
  • Ryan Couch, Vice President, IPFS Corporation
  • Tina Truax McCuin, Vice President and Regional Captive Manager, TD Wealth She also is a member of the NRRA Board of Directors and is chair of the Membership Committee

The companies mentioned above are NRRA RRG Leaders Summit Legacy Sponsors. They have sponsored all the annual Leaders Summits that have taken place thus far.

Here is what the three attendees told us.


Ryan Couch: I found the technology for attending the summit to be straightforward and simple. The instructions that were given made the process very user-friendly.

Tina Truax McCuin: The technology was seamless. I know that Joe [Deems], Tim [Herr], and Mireya [Parrales] spent a tremendous amount of time selecting the right platform. The one they picked worked extremely well. They were instrumental in making the Leaders Summit a successful event.

Kristen Strasser: One way the NRRA event stood out compared with some of the virtual conferences I’ve attended: Having the live video pushed it to the top. I’ve attended conferences where the sessions were prerecorded, with just some Q&A at the end. With the Leaders Summit, the ability for attendees to “join the table” with the thought leaders made it extremely interactive and effective.


Ryan Couch: As a service provider for RRGs, we may have a slightly different perspective, but I thought the topics were right on point. Two of the sessions I found especially interesting were the one about case law and the one about real-time opportunities. It is interesting to hear about new opportunities for our clients, as those potentially could lead to new opportunities for IPFS as well. I would also point to the discussion with the regulators. The regulators’ perspectives are always a relevant topic… learning what they’re working on, what topics they’re thinking about… that’s always extremely useful to members of the RRG industry. That session was a great learning opportunity for the attendees, myself included.

Tina Truax McCuin: There was quite a diverse lineup of topics, which was good. The sessions were led by highly qualified industry experts. I liked all the topics, but the session about 25 years of RRG case law really sticks out in my mind. Because I’m a NRRA board member, not everything covered was completely new to me. But even with the case law I was somewhat familiar with, I found the session to be very informative. I thought the session on COVID-19 orders was extremely valuable as well.

Kristen Strasser: The topics were extremely relevant, especially for today’s business environment. I have to admit I’m a bit biased with regard to the session on ransomware claims since I was the moderator. Any company — not just RRGs — where the majority of people have been working from home for the last year… that company has additional cyber exposure. Now more than ever, every company needs to make sure their networks are secure.


Kristen Strasser: The session on social inflation really heightened my awareness of how it plays out and what impact it has. It’s something NAMIC Insurance Solutions does deal with in terms of professional liability claims… potentially having excess verdicts by juries. Understanding social inflation is important not only if you’re dealing with a claim, but also when you’re thinking about the coverage you write and the services you provide to policyholders.

Ryan Couch: There were many specific details I took home with me, but the overarching takeaway for me was appreciating the importance of personal relationships within the industry. With so many RRG leaders taking part in the summit, it became clear that those kinds of relationships make a big difference. If one person is facing a particular challenge, it’s a good bet others in the industry have or are, too. The relationships are invaluable.

Tina Truax McCuin: Just being surrounded by leading industry experts and engaging with them about what today’s hot topics are, what the concerns are within the RRG industry, how we can meet the challenges, what innovative solutions RRGs have implemented… all of that enables me to serve as a more valuable resource to our clients. It helps me to be strategic with them. To provide them with a holistic view of the industry, rather than just delivering investment management advice, as important as that is.


Tina Truax McCuin: As far as the dissemination of information on the topics, as well as the conversation around various themes and ideas, the event didn’t miss a beat. Also, in the evenings after the scheduled agenda, there were virtual “receptions” — breakout rooms — that provided an opportunity to spend informal time with sponsors, learn more about their capabilities, further discuss topics that had been talked about earlier in the day, and network with them and others in that room. There definitely were some good networking opportunities.

Ryan Couch: The format of the summit did provide a valuable opportunity to connect as much as possible under the current circumstances. Of course, conducting the event remotely also saved everyone the time, energy, and expense associated with travel. On the other hand, it’s difficult to completely replace in-person contact… the mingling with other people in the industry. Hopefully, we may be able to go back to having an in-person event next year. When that’s possible again, I believe people are going to be very excited to get out and truly interact with folks.

Kristen Strasser: From my perspective, I like the in-person events. NAMIC Insurance Solutions is a service provider for risk retention groups, so we value being there in person for networking opportunities and being able to talk with people. But in light of the world we’ve experienced the past year, the virtual format that NRRA used was great.


Tina Truax McCuin: Just the fact that NRRA was able to attract someone at the level of Michael Consedine to address the summit said a lot.

Kristen Strasser: I thought Michael was very insightful in talking about the history of the NAIC, where they’re going, and so forth. Having the regulators there was great, but also having the head of the NAIC was a tremendous addition to the program.

Ryan Couch: For the sake of total transparency, I need to say that Mike and I are former colleagues and personal friends. When I was with the NAIC, I worked very closely with him for several years while he was the insurance commissioner in the state of Pennsylvania. Mike is a very good man… very interesting… very insightful… great personality… excellent speaker, so I had high expectations when I saw he was giving the keynote address. He did not disappoint. To me, his presentation was a nice change of pace, yet it fit in very well with the rest of the program.


Tina Truax McCuin: Outstanding. The Leaders Summit is one of the top events I attend every year. In addition to how this year’s event will help me in my work for TD Wealth, it will aid my efforts as head of the Membership Committee. It’s going to enable me to better articulate what the benefits of belonging to NRRA are — and in my opinion, the annual Leaders Summit itself is a very significant benefit.

Ryan Couch: Overall, I was impressed by how smoothly things went. I’ve attended other virtual conferences, and some went well and some not so much. I was quite pleased with how this one came off. I’m sure there were some glitches behind the scenes — there always are — but I commend everyone who worked on the summit.

Kristen Strasser: Seeing the continued support for NRRA from its members was very encouraging. We’ve all been overwhelmed over the last year, including adjusting to a new business environment. It would have been easy for people to say, “I’m so tired of attending virtual conferences, I’m going to pass.” The fact that coming up on a year into the pandemic, NRRA members wanted to attend, were energetic and engaged in the sessions, asked so many questions… that was very supportive of the summit’s success.