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It’s too bad that Sandy Praeger, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, had to bow out of NU’s taping of “The Great Debate” over federal versus state regulation, due to scheduling conflicts in the midst of dealing with the fallout from last weeks crisis with AIG. But luckily, we were able to get an able replacement from the National Conference of Insurance Legislators–its secretary, State Rep. George Keiser–to debate American Insurance Association President Marc Racicot. The debate is available online free of charge, starting this Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m.-to-Noon EST. Read on for details.


The debate, moderated by yours truly, is the main event of Facing The Future Of Insurance–the second annual online conference and exposition produced by National Underwriter and two of its affiliated publications, Claims and Tech Decisions.

To registerat no chargeclick here.

The debate will focus on bills in Congress to create an optional federal charter, a federal Office Of Insurance Information, a National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, or to set federal standards for state oversight of reinsurance and surplus lines.

The conference will feature seven sessions, as well as a virtual exhibit area. Besides The Great Debate, NU will present two other sessions:

The State Of ERMEnterprise & Entrepreneurial Risk Management, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-to-Noon EST.

Moderated by Assistant Managing Editor Caroline McDonald, this session offers two parts, each led by board members of the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

The first sectionfeaturing Daniel Kugler, assistant treasurer of risk management at Snap-On Inc.shows how entrepreneurial risk management can raise a risk managers profile, promote their value, better measure results, and develop relationships with peers and senior management. Tips will be offered for getting the most out of captives, as well as repositioning risk managements goals and processes to become a profit center.

The second partfeaturing John Phelps, director of business risk solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Floridareveals results from a newly released RIMS survey on enterprise risk management. Among the questions: How widespread is ERM? How effective is it? To what extent is the C-Suite engaged in the ERM process?

What Does It Take To Tackle Workers Comp Risks?Sept. 25, 12:30-to-1:30 p.m. EST.

The three winners of NUs second annual Award For Excellence In Workers’ Compensation Risk Management share the secrets of their success in a session moderated by Mr. Friedman.

Risk managers from ServiceMaster (David Hopps), The Walt Disney Company (Tim East) and Select Staffing (Fred Pachon) provide practical insights on how to reduce accident frequency and severity, improve back-to-work performance and more effectively manage claimsall while gaining senior management and companywide support for loss control and safety initiatives.

Other sessions at the virtual conference include:

Hail Damage To Roofs, Sept. 24, 12:30-to-1:30 p.m. EST.

This course gives students a comprehensive look at hail damage to all major roofing types. Among the points discussed is hail damage to asphalt composition shingles, wood shingles and shakes, concrete and clay tiles, slate, built-up roofing, modified bitumen roofing, single-ply membranes, polyurethane foam, and metal roofing.

For each of these roofing types, the instructorTim Marshall, P.E.discusses the hailstone size needed to cause losses and typical characteristics of hail damage. He also compares typical hail losses to other common types of roof damage.

Predictive Analytics: Unstructured Data DilemmaSept. 24, 2-to-3 p.m. EST.

With estimates that up to 90 percent of the data received by insurers is unstructured, a carriers ability to garner quality information and turn it into useful predictive analytics can be extremely difficult.

Semantic technology solves this problem by recognizing topics and concepts, extracting information, and categorizing it, said Karen Pauli, research director in the insurance practice at TowerGroup. She will provide an overview of predictive analytics and then funnel it down to the problem of unstructured data and how its absence from the data pools utilized by predictive analytics can decrease its accuracy.

Kaleb Adams, assistant vice president of claims research for The Hartford, will continue the discussion by offering the hows and whys of implementing semantic technology from an insurer perspective.

His remarks will include an analysis of the unstructured data problems that The Hartford was facing, why they wanted to solve it, the results theyre seeing having implemented the technology, and the benefits they expect to see in the future.

This session will be moderated by Robert Hyle, associate editor of Tech Decisions.

Speed And Ease: Underwriting At Its Best, Sept. 24, 3:30-to-4:30 p.m. EST.

Speed-to-market and ease of doing business have become two of the most hyped phrases in the world of insurance. This session explores the latest trends, strategies and implementations that maximize automation efficiencies between underwriters and agents to turn the hype into profitable reality.

Speaking are Robert J. Asensio, chief information officer of Darwin Professional Underwriters, and Donald Light, a senior analyst at Celent.

Claims In A Climate Of Change, Sept. 25, 2-to-3 p.m. EST.

This session, moderated by Claims Editor Eric Gilkey, confronts the fact that whether or not global warming is a reality, there are already legal cases and insurance claims being tendered.

In this free-form discussion, an insurance defense attorney and a coverage expert will explain what constitutes a global warming claim, summarize current climate-change litigation, and provide guidance in assessing whether coverage might apply.

Speakers include legal expert Suzanne Badawi, a partner in the law firm of Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps, and coverage expert Diana Reitz, editorial director of FC&S Online, an affiliate of NU.