Go Cubs Go!

September 28, 2007

I’ve made little secret in the past about my allegiance to a certain baseball team on Chicago’s North Side.

Experience tells me to take it easy, and not let my emotions get the better of me.

Still, having just returned from a walk around Wrigley Field with Kathy and Algren and our W (the W they fly above the Wrigley Field scoreboard to signify a Cubs win, not the other “W.”) flag, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.

Of course, I figure this must be the Cubs year. If they make it to the World Series–if I look at the playoff schedule and the calendar correctly–I’ll be in Boston for the PCI conference while the Cubs are playing their World Series games in Chicago. Guess it means either a quick trip back and forth to Chicago, or maybe paying a scalper for a ticket in Fenway.

Anyway, Go Cubs Go!


A new beginning

September 25, 2007

I got to attend a very interesting industry gathering last week in Dallas, the first eInsurance Symposium, presented by Internet-based insurance exchange MarketScout.

The approximately 350 attendees were drawn from across the various constituencies involved in doing insurance business online, which was one of the factors making the event particularly interesting–there was a whole lot of serious networking going on. Among those at the conference were retail agents, intermediaries, insurers, reinsurers, technology firms and investment banks and other investors.

The gathering seemed to represent a sort of long-awaited relief from the lingering hangover of the dot-com bubble’s bursting, and a growing awareness that in the insurance industry, like elsewhere, companies are beginning to find online success with business plans that actually make financial sense.

Obviously there’s also a growing awareness among many of those who attended the eInsurance Symposium that younger generations of consumers are coming into the marketplace with an expectation that they’ll be able to make purchases online, and, as potential insurance industry employees, that they’ll expect to be able to do business that way as well.

I’ll be writing about the gathering a bit in October’s Industry Focus, and at greater length in the November/December issue.

And I suspect Richard Kerr, founder and CEO of Dallas-based MarketScout, will be looking for a bigger venue for next year’s symposium.


September 8, 2007

Well, I’d heard that the CPCU Society expected record or near record attendance at its annual gathering in Honolulu. If the line for registration today was any indication, attendance at this year’s CPCU Society conference is high, indeed.

I decided this morning that I’d stop by the Hawaii Convention Center to check in and pick up my conference materials on the way back to my hotel from an opportunity to sit down and chat this morning with incoming CPCU Society President James L. Britt, managing director at March USA Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Recalling past conferences, I expected I’d quickly pick up my materials and be on to whatever might be next.

To my surprise, I encountered a line snaking through the exhibit area, and about a half an hour wait. Fortunately, the company around me was quite good, and I enjoyed a fine conversation about enterprise risk management in the insurance industry, the current state of air travel and other interesting topics.

Could it be that the larger crowd at this year’s conference is a reflection on CPCUs and CPCU designates preferring Hawaii to last year’s conference venue, Nashville? Perhaps. Though I enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Grand Old Opry last year, I’m not going to beef about the view of the Pacific and Diamond Head from my hotel room at this year’s conference.

Anyway, there are plenty of interesting sessions on the agenda at this year’s conference, with topics ranging from agency survival to diversity and inclusion in the industry to enterprise risk management, and I expect to post again from this year’s CPCU conference over the next couple of days. And of course I’ll be writing more from the conference and from my conversation this morning with Jim Britt in an upcoming issue of Industry Focus.