The 12th Annual Windstorm Insurance Conference--or "WIND 2011"--will take place this month, from Jan. 24 to 27th. This year's theme is "Connect. Learn. Engage," which sums up the annual conference quite well, given three days' worth of professional development, continuing education (CE), and networking opportunities. Claims spoke with Michelle Griffin to learn more about the program and its potential benefits for attendees.
What did the past hurricane season mean for your organization?
Although there was no need to respond to an event this past season, the lack of new claims gave way to supplemental claims, late-reported claims, and litigation from South Florida dealing with the 2005 storms.
What are you most excited about this year?
We are excited this year to have many new speakers and topics that focus on issues adjusters, lawyers, and companies are confronted with daily. We are also excited to have the American Bar Association's Tort and Insurance Practice Section (ABA/TIPS) panel discussion on concurrent causation.
We have added a few new classes that are more focused to agents and underwriters, allowing them the opportunity to earn CEs at the conference. There is now a WIND Professional Appraiser Designation class as well, which is proving to be popular in registrations to date.
Are there certain areas that have been expanded or modified significantly?
WIND's educational events and CE offerings are constantly evolving to meet industry and attendee needs and interests. The more than 40 educational sessions available this year are completely revamped and refreshed, but still include many of our popular topics. We have also successfully added many new states and professional organizations to our CE offerings.
Two years ago, we developed a one-day WIND Regional Symposium, which is essentially a mini-conference offering some of our most popular classes. We have covered Houston and Dallas, Tex., and are now venturing to Atlanta in May. These regional symposiums are the perfect venue to introduce WIND to various locations and professionals, while still offering an important line up of classes and much-needed CE credits.
What is the typical profile of a Windstorm Conference attendee?
Attendees are comprised of all facets of the windstorm claim industry, including professionals whose day-to-day responsibilities are directed toward windstorm and property insurance issues.
Our conference is the only one of its kind focusing solely on windstorm claim issues. Another unique offering is that we gear it to many different levels and professions. You will find anyone from senior management to the independent adjuster, in addition to attorneys, engineers, underwriters, contractors, as well as other related professions who attend to obtain information about industry trends and accumulate continuing education credits. Last year, nearly 1,300 attended our 2010 conference, and we are anticipating around 1,000 or more guests in Houston.
In what areas of training are you seeing the most demand?
For many organizations, training in litigation management was a priority in responding to the influx of lawsuits emanating from the 2005 storms in Florida and the 2008 Hurricane Ike claims in Texas.
What's new in the 12th year?
Well, first is the location. WIND is excited to bring our conference to the Lone Star State, the most recent area to be affected by a hurricane. As a result of Hurricane Ike two years ago, we feel there is still a tremendous need for educational sessions and CE offerings from a type of conference such as ours.
We will offer various sessions on case law, appraisal issues, claim handling, large loss issues, as well as claim software training programs, the NFIP Flood Certification, and the popular WIND Umpire Certification classes.