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June 27
09:53 2018

“Where the Captive World Comes to Meet” event set for August in Burlington

If it’s the start of summer, one thing is certain: the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) Annual Conference is not too far off. Each year since 1985, the organization has welcomed captive insurance industry veterans and newcomers to Burlington, Vermont, for networking, learning and more.

In ‘85, fewer than a dozen attendees took part. This year, some 1,100 people from around the world will engage. Organizers describe the two-and-a-half-day conference as “a vibrant, energetic event attracting the industry’s very best and brightest year after year.” That’s likely because VCIA is as well known for its high-quality education as it is for its many opportunities for captive and other insurance professionals to connect with each other.

A two-hour “Captives 101” panel session will explore the basics of captives—the benefits, why they’re formed, and how they’re successfully managed.

This year’s annual conference takes place August 7-9 and will feature education sessions ranging from basic to the most advanced. Professional education credits are offered for session attendees. Two keynote presentations—one on the opening day of the conference and another during the closing luncheon—are scheduled. And nearly 100 companies will exhibit at the conference.


First-timers won’t want to miss the opening-morning Newcomer’s Welcome & Orientation session at the Davis Center, which is on the campus of the University of Vermont (UVM) and a short shuttle ride from the conference hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington. The session is designed to help attendees maximize the conference. Newcomers will meet VCIA Ambassadors after the session and will have access to these individuals throughout the day at the Ambassador Lounge at the Davis Center.

Classes take place during the rest of the morning and through mid-afternoon. At 10:00 a.m., a two-hour “Captives 101” panel session will explore the basics of captives—the benefits, why they’re formed, and how they’re successfully managed. It’s an interactive session; audience members can ask questions and respond to polling throughout via interactive media. The panel includes four captive owners: two from mature captives that had years to season and two from captives formed in 2017.

An option for captive owners on Tuesday morning is a field trip to Vermont’s largest energy provider, Green Mountain Power (GMP), which is known locally and nationally for being innovative. The firm was named number one on the List of Top 10 Innovative Companies in Energy by Fast Company. Attendees will learn about energy transformation taking place in Vermont and then tour the GMP facility, including a stop at its state-of-the-art control room.

The day’s education offerings end at the UVM Davis Center’s Maple Ballroom with a general session that features industry awards presentations and distinguished guest speakers. Speakers include keynoter Jack Uldrich, a renowned global futurist and award-winning author who will speak on trends that are transforming tomorrow. The day’s agenda ends with a reception at the host DoubleTree hotel (the hotel, formerly a Sheraton, has served as the conference venue for years.)

Full day

On Wednesday, August 8, the VCIA conference features a full day of learning opportunities. Basic classes include:

“Owners Lessons Learned in Establishing a Captive,” where participants will learn to identify the hows and whys of a captive feasibility study, create realistic time frames for key planning objective accomplishment, recognize best risk management and finance practices in formation and ongoing captive operations, and develop plans using industry benchmarks to identify progress and early warning indicators;

“The Art of Relationship Building,” which will offer techniques that can be used with business partners, colleagues, and others and will address a variety of topics ranging from understanding and embracing generational nuances and taking stock in your emotional bank account to examining motives, aligning communication inputs with outputs, and “behaving your way” to credibility; and

“A Case Study Workshop—Reserves to Resolution,” an interactive workshop that follows progress of a medical malpractice case through both the reserving process and the ultimate trial outcome, in order to show the indemnity reserving process over the life of a suit, how to adjust reserves in the face of an adverse turn of events in a suit, how to identify risks and financial exposure to the captive in taking a case to trial; and how to actively participate in the setting of reserves.

Intermediate and advanced education offerings for Wednesday include:

  • The Changing Profile of Risk—How are the Reinsurance Markets Adapting?
  • Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technology: Scenarios for Captives
  • A Tale of Two Risk Retention Groups—Healthcare Trends Affecting Captives
  • Economic Headwinds and Tailwinds Impacting Captives
  • Actuarial Reports: Upon Further Inspection
  • Great Ideas for Presenting to a Board

Natural Catastrophes and their Impact on Risk Management

The day’s agenda also features a Captive Owner Forum with International Focus, designed exclusively for captive owners; a Young Professionals Forum (a new offering this year); a trio of networking lunch options; and an evening reception at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, right on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Event close

On the closing day of the conference, learning opportunities continue throughout the morning. The initial basic-level session of the morning, “Hot Topics with Dave Provost,” looks at current events and future initiatives impacting the captive insurance industry and its members. Provost, who serves as Vermont’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner, will be joined by other panelists, including Sandra “Sandy” Bigglestone, director of Captive Insurance, Department of Financial Regulation for the state of Vermont; Stephanie Lampi, a senior risk manager at Microsoft and a director and officer of Microsoft’s captive insurance companies; Brenda Stewart, senior account manager for AIG, who participates on the VCIA Membership & Marketing Committee; and moderator Meg Green, a journalist covering the insurance industry for A.M. Best since 1998.

Another Captive Owner’s Forum will take place on Thursday, as will intermediate and advanced sessions, including:

  • Contingency Plans: Disaster to Recovery
  • Integrated Solutions: The Future of Risk Management
  • The Cognitive Captive: Artificial Intelligence for Smarter Insurance

Innovative Spotlight: Financing Unique Risk

The conference concludes with a closing lunch on Thursday that will feature as keynote speaker Joel Cohen, an Emmy award-winning writer and producer for The Simpsons. Described as “a hilarious speaker,” Cohen will discuss The Simpsons, creative process, group dynamics, and innovation.

For more information or to register, visit

By Dave Willis, CPIA

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