Our thanks to all of you who attended our annual Policyholders’ Conference in San Diego. Based on the evaluations you submitted, it was one of the most successful conferences we’ve ever hosted, with 93% of members and brokers rating the conference as either “outstanding” or “exceeds expectations.” More than 1,200 members, brokers and guests attended the event this year, and we were pleased that the number of members attending the conference increased for the second year in a row, which was particularly gratifying given the ongoing consolidation of companies within the industry and the restrictions on travel budgets.
The theme of this year’s conference – real group effort – reflected the progress we’ve made together in the past year. Thanks to member and broker support of the underwriting measures we’ve taken to restore balance to our underwriting efforts, our excess liability book of business is finally getting in balance after many years. This progress was duly noted by AM Best when they recently reinstated our A (Excellent) rating with a stable outlook. In addition, we’re pleased to report that our balanced underwriting efforts, moderate losses and a favorable investment environment in the first six months of the year helped policyholder surplus grow by $59 million to $1.216 billion, a new high for the mutual.
Many of the general session and breakout session presentations made at the conference are posted on our website, including Bob Hartwig's report on economic and insurance market conditions and the highly rated presentations on solar storms, cyber risk, wildfires, current D&O issues, and the terrorism threat to physical assets.
Please save the date for one of these upcoming regional member and broker meetings:
Chicago on Thursday, November 13
Atlanta on Thursday, December 11
Dallas on Wednesday, January 14
Our regional meetings give you an opportunity to tell us about the issues on your mind, what you need from AEGIS, and how we’re doing. They are also an ideal way to further involve your risk management and finance colleagues with your company’s insurance program, discuss current energy and insurance issues, and learn more about your mutual. At these meetings, small groups of members and brokers meet with AEGIS senior management to discuss these topics as well as any new initiatives at AEGIS. We’ll also answer any questions you may have. Most attendees find that these small meetings are conducive to comparing notes and networking with other risk managers and brokers. Please come prepared to discuss risk management issues, insurance market conditions, cyber risk, enterprise risk management and other current topics.
Each meeting is a one-day event and you should be able to drive or fly between home and the meeting on the same day. However, if you need to stay overnight, AEGIS will reimburse one person from each member company for one night’s stay in the meeting hotel. We’re busy finalizing the meeting and hotel logistics for these three meetings and will publish them shortly. We look forward to seeing you!
Tom Capps and Bill Grigg, two of our long-serving directors, have chosen not to stand for re-election to the AEGIS Board of Directors later this year. Tom was the Chairman and CEO of Dominion Resources when he agreed to serve on the AEGIS Board in 1993. He was appointed to the Board’s Claims Committee in 1994 and he has served continuously since that time. Bill, the former Chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, has served as Vice Chairman of the AEGIS Board of Directors for the past 21 years. With 28 years of service, he is the longest-serving Director in the Company’s 40-year history. Bill was instrumental in the creation and development of AEGIS London and served as a London Director from 2000 to 2012. In October, Bill will be elected Vice Chairman Emeritus. Our directors play an often unseen but essential role in guiding the business plans and strategies of AEGIS. Tom and Bill have been especially generous in this regard – offering their time and talent whenever we needed them – and we will be forever grateful.
We are pleased to announce that Christopher Johns, President of Pacific Gas and Electric, was elected to the AEGIS Board of Directors at our meeting in July. Chris joined PG&E in 1996 as Vice President and Controller. He was elected Chief Financial Officer in January, 2005 and named President in 2009. Before joining PG&E, he was a partner at KPMG Peat Marwick. In addition to his responsibilities on the Board, Chris will also serve on the Board’s Audit & Finance Committee. We welcome him to the Board and look forward to his contributions.
Three long-serving members are stepping down from the AEGIS RMAC (Risk Management Advisory Committee). Mike Anderson, Director of Hazard Insurance at Xcel Energy, and Gary Meggs, Director of Risk Management at Southern Company, have announced their retirements and they will step down from the RMAC at the same time. Dennis Sacco, Director of Risk Management at New York Power Authority, resigned from the RMAC in April, citing new job responsibilities and requirements that restrict his ability to serve on the RMAC. Mike, Gary and Dennis have contributed in countless ways to the Committee and its task forces over the years and we are very grateful for their service to AEGIS. With their departures, we are pleased to welcome four new members to the RMAC:
David Layne, Senior Treasury and Risk Manager – The Empire District Electric Company
Joe Meaney, Vice President, Global Insurance and Risk Engineering – The AES Corporation
Cheri Murray, Director, Insurance Risk Management – CenterPoint Energy
Wayne Soza, Vice President Compliance and Chief Risk Officer – El Paso Electric Company
We thank each of the new members for volunteering their time and talent, and we look forward to working with them.
We are grateful for your positive feedback on the San Diego conference and hope you will save the date for PHC 2015, which will be held Monday, July 20 to Thursday, July 23, 2015 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Please join us at this exciting new PHC venue, and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of AEGIS.
Gil Gould has announced that he is retiring from his positionas Senior Vice President of the Underwriting Division, effective December 31. Gil came to AEGIS in 1998 after a career in risk management at Edison International in Southern California, which included his service as a member of the AEGIS RMAC. During his career at AEGIS, Gil contributed in countless ways to the success of the mutual’s activities, including AEGIS London, our terrorism cover, the domestic property program, our regional member and broker meetings, the Member Contact Pool, the Policyholders’ Conference, AEGIS News and others. We thank him for his service to AEGIS and our members, and wish him all the best in retirement.
We are pleased to announce that George Keefe will assume most of Gil's responsibilities for member relations and he has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President, Member Relations. George has been a tireless advocate for our members since joining AEGIS in 1992, and he’s been instrumental in the development of new coverages and services, as well as our successful expansion into Canada. Prior to joining AEGIS, George served as the risk manager for New Jersey Natural Gas. Please join us in congratulating George on his new assignment.
Finally – and we hoped this day would never come – Sandy Johnson has announced her retirement as Vice President in the Underwriting Division, effective September 30. Sandy is our last working link with the earliest days of the mutual. Sandy has served AEGIS well for more than 34 years, earning the respect and friendship of members and brokers alike. Sandy, Brian Madden and Bill Cullen have been actively coaching the next generation of "Sandy Johnsons" to provide the same level of service and dedication that Sandy has provided since the beginning. We will never be able to thank Sandy enough for her contributions to AEGIS and our members, and we wish her all the best in retirement.
Please register now for the 2014 AEGIS Claims Seminar which will be held Monday, October 20 through Wednesday, October 22, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Florida.
In 2012, the AEGIS Claims Seminar drew an audience of more than 150 claims and litigation professionals from around the country who gathered to learn and share their experiences. Once again, we will focus on the important issues facing AEGIS members in the defense of their claims. The agenda includes the always popular gas and electric case studies, as well as other topics of interest to claims professionals and litigators for the utility industry. The seminar will be eligible for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits.
AEGIS will sponsor a reception for all attendees on Tuesday evening, and The AEGIS Structured Settlements Company (TASSC), in conjunction with its partners at EPS Settlements and Mesirow Financial, will sponsor a golf outing on Wednesday afternoon. Please register now and reserve a place in the golf outing if you plan to play.
Please reserve your hotel room online to receive the negotiated rate of $235, plus taxes, for single/double accommodations. The additional person rate is $30 per person, per night, with a maximum of four per room. The hotel reservation deadline is Thursday, September 18. For additional information about the hotel or special arrangements, please contact Carrie White by e-mail or at 201.508.2840.
The registration fee for the 2014 AEGIS Claims Seminar is $250. Dress for the conference is business casual. For more information about the agenda, please contact Mark Rutkowski by e-mail or by phone at 201.508.2883. We look forward to seeing you in Miami!
New AEGIS Lessons Learned® videos – A Call for Help – have been posted on the AEGIS website. One version focuses on electric utility operations and another focuses on natural gas utility operations. The videos are intended for call center employees and stress the critical importance of the actions they take during emergency calls. Callers expect accurate information and guidance when faced with unusual or dangerous situations and it’s important for call center employees to handle the calls properly, understand what callers are describing, obtain accurate information, and offer advice to help protect life and property. Risk managers are encouraged to share these videos with their colleagues in the call centers, operations, engineering and safety areas of their companies. Each utility has specific policies and procedures, therefore the videos can’t be used as a basis for “best practices” but they do illustrate general principles and they can help stimulate productive conversations with call center employees.
For questions about this or any other AEGIS Loss Control video, please contact Scot Macomber by e-mail or phone at 201.508.2739.