BIGFORK, Mont., Sept. 28—Just as baseball has transformed itself by harnessing Big Data, the insurance industry is building competitive strategies based on new kinds of metrics. This trend, and a lineup of other game-changing developments, highlighted the Sept. 9 – 11 annual WaterStreet Company Insurance Summit.
“As WaterStreet clients, we look forward to the Summit,” said Sawgrass Mutual Insurance Co. president James Esse after the event. “This year’s client meeting was extremely productive. And, once again, the presentations and speakers were on point and provided valuable information that will help us achieve our business objectives now and in the future.”
The Summit’s theme, “Mission Possible,” encompassed a diverse slate of panels and presentations, including:
• “Moneyball: Brad Pitt Talks Insurance,” a series of lessons for the insurance industry based on the 1999 management revolution that the Oakland A’s sparked by identifying undervalued players through computer analysis rather than intuition.
• “Building Your Bench Strength: Who’s the Beneficiary of Your Succession Plan,” an overview of hiring trends; tactics for keeping “employment brands” relevant to today’s market; and strategies for developing future leaders.
• “Demotech and Financial Ratings: 25 Years of Leveling the Playing Field,” a top rating company’s view of current trends and concerns as well as potential changes and challenges.
• “Perspectives on Managing Risk,” a discussion of risk from the perspectives of accounting and finance, actuarial science, investment and reinsurance.
• “Weather Trends and Their Impact on the Insurance Industry,” a presentation comparing media coverage with actual events, bringing into question the “new normal” in weather data and analysis in the United States.
Thought leaders addressing the Summit included Kevin Bingham, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Michael Cronin, President, Cronin Consulting Services, Inc.; Marc Gyimesi, Senior Search Consultant, The Carlisle Group; Matt Howell, Manager, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP; Barry J. Koestler II, Chief Ratings Officer, Demotech, Inc.; Joseph Scheerer, founder and managing director, Stonybrook Capital LLC; and Andrew Siffert, Senior Meteorologist BMS Group, Ltd.
“It was a privilege to be one of the Summit’s presenters,” said Mr. Koestler. “I appreciated the opportunity to share Demotech’s history and philosophy, and to describe our proprietary Financial Stability Rating Process. Away from the podium, I absorbed a host of new insights and perspectives. WaterStreet once again produced an outstanding forum in an intimate setting—a perfect combination of productive dialog and collaboration among peers.”
WaterStreet CEO Gregg Barrett later praised presenters and guests as “remarkably willing to exchange ideas freely.” Every year, he said, “I’m pleasantly surprised at the generous interplay of experiences and creative dialog. Gatherings like these are essential for industry professionals. There’s no better way to learn where the industry is going than to talk with the people who are driving its evolution.”
Carol Barton, who is WaterStreet’s vice president for marketing and business development, organized the event. In addition to mission-focused dialog, she noted, the participants enjoyed a cocktail cruise on scenic Flathead Lake and an evening of “barbecue, bonfire and music.”
“We measure the success of each year’s summit in terms of the value that the participants perceive,” she said. “The feedback this year has been overwhelmingly positive.”
WaterStreet Company is based in Bigfork, Mont., and serves insurers and reinsurers nationwide. Its mission is to deliver value to small and midsize P&C insurers by supporting their operational and technology needs so they can work more efficiently, manage headcount and cost, and focus on their core objectives.