2022 Annual Meeting Minutes


February 8, 2022

Via Webinar

NOTE: All votes highlighted in yellow.

Opening Business and Report of the Chair

SLA Board Chair Terri Moran called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. and framed the day, then delivered her report.


  • On the industry level, California set another record with $12.7 billion dollars in premiums, a 14% increase over the previous record of $11.1 billion in 2020.
  • In 2021, the SLA completed the process of eliminating its liability for a pension that was frozen in 2010.
    • Most of the eligible pensioners agreed to buy-outs.
    • The few who did not have been taken on by a financial institution which is now administering their accounts and making the necessary payments.
  • The SLA has also paid off a construction loan, which was taken out after moving from San Francisco to San Ramon in 2017. As a result, the SLA no longer has any bad, long-term debts.
  • Additionally, due to the prudent use of its stamping fees, the SLA has made major strides toward bolstering its contingency funds, which are there in the event of unforeseen circumstances—in short, a rainy-day fund.
    • The SLA is now in a position to continue operating at a high level of efficiency and service to its members even in the event of a prolonged downturn or other circumstances that may impact its cash flow.
    • In addition to simply being good management, bolstering its contingency funds also fulfilled the guidance the SLA received from a routine CDI audit, and it brought the SLA more into line with what other SLAs are doing.
    • These great strides toward good fiscal health are the direct result of the senior leadership team’s efforts and foresight. The SLA began taking the steps needed to pay off its bad debts and shore up its contingency funds when the yield curve inverted in 2019.
      • At that time, SLA leadership felt it would be prudent to prepare for a recession.
      • Although the brief recession in 2020 came about for unanticipated reasons, the SLA was ready and kept clicking on all cylinders to serve its members, regulators and California consumers.
    • Also, the SLA made “Employees First” our defining principle during this global pandemic.
      • The SLA’s mission is to help ensure a healthy, fair and competitive surplus lines marketplace in California, and that can’t happen without its employees at the top of their game.
      • The global pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, and with a 120-member workforce largely working from home for two years, it took intention, creativity and effort to maintain a cohesive team.
      • To keep the staff working together for the good of consumers and our members, the SLA took several steps.
        • First, it launched an internal communications plan to ensure that employees regularly received updates and useful information.
        • The SLA also created an employee wellness council and cohort groups, and put together numerous online events and activities to keep our employees together and engaged during a time of widespread social isolation.
        • Additionally, the SLA redoubled its messaging around our employee assistance program, encouraging employees who might feel sad or lonely to seek assistance, or even just to reach out to fellow team members.
        • The efforts have been fruitful. The SLA recently surveyed its employees, and they overwhelmingly reported that they feel like the SLA has done a good job reaching out to them, checking in on them and keeping everyone engaged and involved.
          • 93% of employees surveyed said they were satisfied with the SLA’s efforts to communicate with them during these two years of remote work.
            • Of those 93%, 71% said they were very satisfied, and the remaining 22% said they were mostly satisfied.
            • Only 7% said they were neutral on this question, and nobody said they were dissatisfied.
          • 85% of employees surveyed said they were satisfied with the Wellness Committee’s outreach efforts, with 55% saying they were very satisfied and 30% saying they were mostly satisfied.
          • 7% said they were neutral, and only one employee, representing 1.4% of the surveyed employees, expressed dissatisfaction.
          • Asked whether the SLA cares about them, 93% of employees surveyed said yes, and 7% said they weren’t sure. Nobody said no.
        • Additionally, in 2020 and 2021, SLA has made in providing ongoing education for its members.
          • Once again, the SLA’s foresight and preparation served it well, as it had been working toward providing real-time and on-demand continuing education courses online before the pandemic hit.
          • Because the SLA had been working on these initiatives already, it was able to rapidly shift its course offerings entirely online when COVID forced an end to in-person seminars.
          • The online format has resulted in record attendance.
        • The SLA has also continued its decade-long push to become a modern, credible leader in the industry, and it is yielding results.
          • As of this meeting, 12 applications pending by insurers who want to be placed on our List of Approved Surplus Line Insurers—the LASLI.
          • The usual number is perhaps two or three, and this surge of interest demonstrates that the SLA’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” matters.
        • In the same vein, the SLA continues to make strides in our outreach to the people who legislate and regulate in our industry.
          • Last year, when it learned of a bill in Sacramento that would require CGL coverage for providers of rented mobility devices, but which would also limit that coverage to admitted carriers, the SLA reached out to the office of the bill’s author.
          • In the end, the SLA secured an amendment to the bill so surplus lines carriers could provide the coverage.
        • The SLA is successful because it has positioned itself well as a trusted source of information and advice—truly living up to its role as an advisory organization.


Report of the CEO

SLA CEO and Executive Director Benjamin McKay gave an overview of the market and what the SLA had accomplished in 2021:

  • In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to be a two-week event. As it continued, the SLA adjusted to the new corporate posture the pandemic required.
    • Faced the realities and let employees we are all in it together.
    • Invested in the right technology.
    • Watched expenses—who knew what would happen in the market?
    • Changed how management interacted with employees—more proactive and intentional.
  • Market trends:
    • Every state was up in 2021.
      • California was up 18%, the third year in a row of double digit growth.
        • In California, that increase equaled 800,000 policies a year.
        • Data analysts review every policy, and if there are errors, it goes back to the filer. There were about 300,000 errors.
        • California had nearly $13 billion in record premium in 2021.
          • Average premium per policy was up 69%.
          • But the rate per item in 2021 was essentially the same as 2006.
          • Predictive modeling done by SLA staff shows the curve is flattening.
        • Illinois was up 40% and Arizona was up nearly 38%. The market did well across the country.
      • Winners—real estate, construction and transportation (about 37% of the market, combined).
        • Fastest growing line is information (web hosting, internet broadcasting, motion pictures, up 77.4%).
        • Health care has recovered, wholesale and retail trade are rebounding nicely as well.
        • Personal lines in the surplus lines market doubled in over the 2019-2021 timeframe. (2.7% of the market). If that trend continues, within 3-6 years, it’ll be a material part of the marketplace.
        • Cyber had double-digit growth in 2020 and 2021.
        • The top 10 brokers account for 64% of premium and 34% of items.
          • There’s the question of when does it become anticompetitive, when are there too few players?
          • The Aon-Willis merger was flagged for antitrust concerns, so that is a guidepost for the scope of what is beyond what’s allowable.



Ms. Moran announced that a prior vote taken electronically had confirmed the Nominating Committee’s slate for the 2022 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 2021 Annual Meeting minutes.


Keynote Address and Lutine Bell Award

Princess Sarah Culberson, a thought leader on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), discussed how to implement a successful DEI program.

 It’s important to have compassion for people even if we don’t understand or haven’t had the experiences they’ve had.

  • Six key points:
    • Check assumptions.
    • Reiterate and re-create.
    • Listen to learn.
    • Get uncomfortable.
    • Have compassion.
    • Don’t stop having the conversation.
  • Expanded points:
    • DEI work will be uncomfortable. When you are doing DEI work, you will feel uncomfortable. If you’re getting uncomfortable, bravo, you’re doing it right.
    • What is intersectionality? It’s the interconnected nature of social characterizations, such as gender, race and class. The people you are serving—what do they need? You’ve got to really get to know them to know what they need.
    • Learn who you are, educate yourself, don’t take the easy route and just avoid conversations, and don’t let it be someone else’s responsibility.
    • Can we have compassion for each other even if we don’t have the same experience? Can we take on not making people wrong, even if we think they are?
  • Do at least one or maybe all three of the following this week:
    • Examine an assumption you have made this week about someone or something.
    • Write down the intersections that make up who you are.
    • Consider how DEI work can impact you, your family and your work.
  • Recommended: How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi.
  • How to implement DEI initiatives:
    • Have speakers.
    • Have speakers in smaller groups to have discussions.
    • You don’t have to figure it out on your own—many DEI curricula are available.
  • What is the most difficult part of implementing a DEI program?
    • One of the most difficult parts is people are so worried about people getting upset.
      • Change causes people to get confronted. That’s just part of the journey.
      • It’s valuable and important.
    • What can be very helpful is to let people know we’re going to start slowly and work at our own pace.
      • One step at a time.
      • What is DEI?
      • What are microaggressions?
      • What is privilege?
      • How can all of this work really serve what we’re doing?

After the conclusion of Ms. Culberson’s speech, incoming board chair Janet Beaver awarded the Lutine Bell award to Ms. Moran in honor of her service as chair and many years of service on the Board of Directors and on several SLA committees.



All business concluded, Ms. Moran declared the meeting adjourned at 3:19 p.m.