A Few Words From the New Chairman
At the beginning of 1995, Chairman Jerry Sullivan introduced "A New Era" for the Surplus Line Association of California. During the course of the year, new ground was broken on many fronts. In 1996, we can look forward to continuing construction on this foundation, as well as a few new challenges.
January, 1995, saw the arrival of Sandy Clark in the newly created position of Executive Director. The position was created, and Sandy hired, with the intent of commencing a new, proactive, outward-looking role for the Surplus Line Association. New lines of communication and cooperation were to be built with the California Department of Insurance, the state legislature, agencies involved in the prevention and prosecution of fraud and other governmental bodies and agencies; other associations of brokers and insurers; the industry press; the membership of the SLA and the consumers of non-admitted insurance. The objective was to enhance the environment for a healthy surplus line industry, to best serve the needs of the insurance consumer in California. Under the vision and leadership of Jerry and Sandy, great strides have been made on all fronts.
Under Phil Beauchamp's leadership' the Education Committee worked with Nadine Watso, the SLA's new Education Coordinator, to infuse the l SLA with a new focus on education. Education activities offering Continuing Education credits included sessions at the Western States l Surplus Lines Convention in Montana and the Annual Meetings of the SLA, as well as a joint session with the American Bar Association and a "Meet the Market" session on Lloyds. A total of 22 CEU's were available through these sessions. In addition, numerous private sessions on the filing process and regulations were held at the offices of Surplus Line brokers around the state. This outreach will continue in 1996, under the guidance of Education Committee chair Marion Perkins.
The theme of education continues in the relationship with the Department of Insurance and the state legislature. Testimony before a number of legislative committees was supplemented by numerous private meetings with legislators and legislative staff. Today, contact with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) extends higher, deeper and broader than ever before. Indicative of this is the creation of a joint Industry/CDI task force, composed of members of both the industry and senior members of the department.
The group was formed at the request of Commissioner Quackenbush to study and made recommendations on the scope of activities which are permissible by Surplus Line brokers in California. The report of this task force, and a bulletin from the Department, will soon be released. (More details are provided in the Executive Director's Report.) Further evidence is found in SLAICDI cooperation on the LESLI list, detailed elsewhere by John Voltz. As Jerry Sullivan commented, "The communication channels are open, and the atmosphere of cooperation is proving very beneficial to us but most importantly to the insurance buyers of California."
While the year saw the transition from the list of Reg. 2174 filed companies, the "LESLI List"- List of Eligible Surplus Line Insurers,'' January 1, 1996, brings the completion of this process, and we enter the new year with a "white list'' of reviewed insurers for the first time in California history. Most notably, the list is a critical tool against the fraudulent practices of unscrupulous offshore operators.
These are but a few of the tangible results of the new attitude and activities of your: Association. Our hopes and goals for 1996 focus on building upon this foundation of a "new era.'' Much will be simply continuation and expansion-particularly of the educational activities and relationship building. However, we can look forward to some new things in 1996 as well:
I'm willing to bet that 1996 will hold a few surprises and unforseen challenges as well.