Minutes of the 2023 SLA Annual Meeting
February 15, 2023
Via Webinar

NOTE: All votes highlighted in yellow.

Opening Business and Report of the Chair

SLA Senior Vice President Barbara Trumbly delivered the antitrust admonition, and SLA Board Chair Janet Beaver called the meeting to order at 11:02 a.m. and framed the day, then delivered her report. Highlights included:

  • Surplus lines premiums in California set records for the eighth straight year, with $16.1 billion in premiums, a 22% increase over 2021.
  • Continued industry growth and prudent fiscal stewardship enabled the SLA Board of Directors to reduce the stamping fee from 0.25% to 0.18%.
    • The SLA’s philosophy is to shore up the ship when things are going well rather than raising fees when consumers are struggling.
    • The SLA now has sufficient reserves to withstand a major economic downturn without layoffs or cuts to services for at least three years.
  • The SLA’s planning has enabled it to be prepared for various situations that may arise.
    • In 2019, the SLA noted the inversion of the yield curve and took action to pay off all its long-term debts.
    • The SLA also added infrastructure and processes to prepare for a natural disaster and was therefore ready to transition literally overnight to a 100% work-from-home environment when the pandemic hit, without any disruptions.
  • In 2023, the SLA will be an active leader within the surplus lines industry:
    • The 1st-ever National Excess and Surplus Summit (NESS) will be held in the summer.
    • The SLA will do another joint CE course with the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) on Feb. 23, the second in a series of courses on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as well as a course with AM Best on delegated authority on Feb. 21.
    • The SLA’s work with industry partners to create the California Insurance Emergency Response Association (CIERA) is ongoing.

Report of the CEO
SLA CEO and Executive Director Benjamin McKay said that the SLA is being asked more complicated questions by regulators as public policy becomes more complicated, which is why it is placing such an emphasis on having good data. He said the SLA expects approximately a million transactions in 2023 for the first time in history, necessitating the hiring of additional staff.

Mr. McKay also reported that the SLA is introducing customer teams, with leading brokerages each being assigned to a specific data analyst. This will give brokers a single point of contact who will be responsible for monitoring their actions and, it is hoped, to head off problems even before they occur. Additionally, some artificial intelligence will be utilized to alert data analysts if a particular brokerage that normally files consistently each month stops filing, which often happens when brokerages are acquired, enabling analysts to catch the problem before it creates a large backlog.

Ms. Beaver announced that a prior vote taken electronically had confirmed the Nominating Committee’s slate for the 2023 Board of Directors:

  • Janet Beaver, SLA Chair
  • Rich Gobler, SLA Vice Chair
  • John Washington, SLA Secretary/Treasurer
  • Terri Moran, SLA Past Chair
  • Tim Chaix
  • James Faley
  • Robert Gilbert
  • Hank Haldeman
  • Sarah Nichols
  • Pam Quilici
  • Charles Rosson
  • Kathy Schroeder
  • Terrence Villar

Utilizing the same procedure, the membership approved the 2022 Annual Meeting minutes.

Keynote Address
Futurist Nancy Giordano spoke on emerging technologies and shifting cultural expectations. She posed the questions:

  • What does the future need and expect from us?
  • What are we each in a unique position to contribute to it?

Ms. Giordano said things are happening very fast and that ChatTBT took five days to reach a million users, which took Netflix 3.5 years to achieve.

Forces shaping the new economy include:

  • Digital and Economic Transformation
  • Focus on planetary health and well-being—finding a balance between the needs of business and the needs of the planet
  • Redressing systemic bias
  • Well-being and reskilling
  • “Youthquake”—a whole generation of people who have a very specific point of view on the world. They’re thinking about how technology will change their future, there’s climate anxiety, there’s inequities. How does a whole new world of disruption work for them?

Industrial era revolutions included:

1st—Steam power, mechanization, imperialism

2nd—Electricity, mass assembly, world wars, corporations, benefit systems

3rd—Computers, etc.

The future is likely to focus on solving problems for sustainability—cities rearranging in order to build communities where people can get everything they need within a 10-minute walk or bike ride.

  • Corporate social responsibility—companies are going to be asked to take more responsibility for the resources they are stewarding.
  • There is now a need to change the model around leadership—it was meant to be static, closed and hierarchical by nature (brought about by industrial revolution).

In looking at the future, Ms. Giordano said society is often biased toward what it is afraid of and not what it should be excited about. It’s not about building more capacity for risk, it’s about rethinking risk and navigating more effectively. There needs to be a focus on making more space for people who have had different experiences. Being self-aware—what scares us, what excites us—helps navigate constant change and ambiguity.

All business concluded, Ms. Beaver declared the meeting adjourned at 12:18 p.m.