Ross Elliott
Utah Captive Insurance Association

Ross Elliott of the Utah Captive Insurance Association discusses what attendees can expect from this year’s Western Region Captive Insurance Conference

How are the likes of Arizona, Utah and Missouri faring in the current captive insurance industry?

All three states are experiencing solid growth in the number of captives being formed, despite the increasing number of states with captive legislation has increased the choices for a company to domicile. This past year’s Internal Revenue Service initiatives have also affected the existing captive base as some companies have elected to voluntarily dissolve rather than attempt to comply with the burdensome regulatory demands. It is interesting to note that the regulatory staff in all three states has continued to mature and to add substantial depth of experience and knowledge.

How many attendees are you expecting at this year’s conference? And is this an increase on last year?

As of now, we are expecting about 150 attendees. Our early registration count is up significantly over last year (about 20 percent).

We are also very appreciative of the substantial increase in the number of corporate sponsors and exhibitors. Using these early trends as indicators, we anticipate an extremely successful conference.

What can conference attendees expect from this year’s conference?

From a content perspective, we have designed a two-track series of sessions—one track for owners and one for providers—that will engage, educate, and challenge them.

We have observed the value of networking and have incorporated time, both during the conference and at some fun events, which will allow us all to form and strengthen our mutually beneficial relationships to further the work of this fascinating industry.

What is the main focus of this year’s conference and what topics will the agenda cover?

We have recognised the ratio of providers to owners in other conferences and have created sessions that will be beneficial to both groups, especially given the developments of the past year in political, taxation, economic, and technological arenas. For example, one session will be presented by the Self-Insurance Institute America’s chief lobbyist and will address the taxation issues from a political policy perspective.

Another session will address the insurance challenges of the sharing economy experienced by companies such as Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb. A third session will address the distinctions between insurance and business risks. Finally, there will be a session presented by a five-state panel of regulators as they respond to questions about current industry developments.

What conference sessions are you most looking forward to?

This is a difficult question for me as we have packed the conference with so many fascinating sessions with specific topics that are very relevant to providers, owners, and investigators. Honestly, one of the events that, as a ‘people person’, I am really looking forward to is the minor league baseball game on Tuesday evening at Smith’s Ballpark. One baseball commentator said that this ballpark is one of the most beautiful parks in the country with a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains just a few miles away. Going to the game should be on everyone’s bucket list.

What do you think are important issues to tackle in the captive industry at the moment?

I have watched the explosive growth in this industry over the past few years and I hope that the relevant experience to form, manage, regulate, and analyse the results of these companies will mature and expand at an equally rapid pace.

Next, the impact of technological change appears to be having a positive impact, including cloud services, communications, software and social networking, and a negative impact, such as security and cyber vulnerabilities.

It needs to be harnessed for maximum beneficial use. One final observation is that many of our seasoned professionals appear to be ageing out of the industry and the need to attract and integrate their younger replacements seems to be growing each year.

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