The SLA’s advocacy team was in action on Wednesday, April 3, as CEO Benjamin McKay and the SLA’s Communications and Government Relations team represented the industry at two important hearings.
At the request of committee staff, McKay testified before the State Senate Insurance Committee in Sacramento during an informational hearing on the insurance industry. The purpose of the hearing was to give new committee members a briefing about the various facets of the industry. McKay explained the surplus lines industry to the committee and also provided an update on the increased homeowners’ insurance business going into the surplus lines market in recent years, a key issue for California legislators. In so doing, he demonstrated the SLA’s value as a credible source of marketplace information and data on important and timely issues. Communications and Government Relations specialist Caroline Gilbert joined McKay in representing the SLA at this hearing.
Cliston Brown, vice president, Communications and Government Relations, attended a hearing of the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery in Santa Rosa, a Sonoma County community that suffered massive wildfire losses in 2017. Mindful of the increased role for surplus lines in the homeowners markets after major wildfire years, Brown attended to monitor the discussions and to correct any erroneous statements that may have been made about the surplus lines industry. Fortunately, no speakers during the hearing presented any misinformation about surplus lines. Prior to the hearing, Brown worked with the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC), which testified at the hearing, to ensure that it had the most recent available statistics on the role of surplus lines in the state’s homeowners insurance market.
Brown also attended the PIFC’s Legislative Reception a week earlier in Sacramento, discussing the basics of the surplus lines industry with numerous state legislators and Governor Gavin Newsom.
Additionally, McKay and Brown are regulars at the thrice-yearly National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ meetings, and both sit on important committees of the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA). McKay sits on WSIA’s Legislative Committee, and Brown has just been named a member of its Political Action Committee.
The SLA’s attendance at, and participation in, these events gives us an opportunity to make the surplus lines sector known to key decision makers whose votes, rulings and/or recommendations may impact our industry. This is just one of the important ways we work to support our members and to advance a healthy, fair and competitive surplus lines marketplace in California.