A.M. Best's Annual Review & Preview Conference

AM Best's 26th Annual Insurance Ratings Conference
March 18-20 |  Scottsdale, Arizona 

AM Best hosted its annual forum where industry leaders addressed key issues affecting the insurance marketplace and shared its unique perspective on these matters, including the impact on ratings. The conference provided an informed look at the past year, as well as critical insight to help you anticipate and manage challenges in the upcoming year.

This year's topics included:

  • • Innovation
  • • Regulation
  • • Investment Trends
  • • Flood Insurance
  • • Loss Reserves
  • • Blockchain
  • • Benchmarking

Conference Survey

Opening Keynote: The Art of Innovation

Guy Kawasaki
Chief Evangelist at Canva, Brand Ambassador at Mercedes-Benz and Former Chief Evangelist at Apple

New for 2019: Luncheon & Innovation Fair

Network and interact with innovators who offer unique solutions to insurance industry challenges.

2019 Conference Schedule

Presentations are accessible on the agenda below.

Monday, March 18

8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pre-Conference Golf Outing  
1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Registration  
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Pre-Conference Roundtable Discussions
  P/C: Innovation Guy Fraker,
Chief Innovation Officer, Innovators Edge
  Life/Annuity: Hot Topics Henry Essert,
Managing Director, PwC
  Health: Hot Topics Andrew Naugle,
Principal & Healthcare Management Consultant Milliman, Inc.
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception

Tuesday, March 19

7:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast  
8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Welcome Address
Matthew Mosher,
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, AM Best Rating Services
8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
Opening Keynote Speaker: The Art of Innovation
Guy Kawasaki,
Chief Evangelist at Canva, Brand Ambassador at Mercedes-Benz & Former Chief Evangelist at Apple
9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Break  
10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. General Session: Criteria- Innovation

Brian Modesitt,
CEO, Two Sigma Insurance Quantified

John "Jay" Nichols,
Interim CEO, Protective Insurance

Peter Schaefer,
CEO, Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America

Jared Short,
Chief Operating Officer, Cambia Health Solutions

Moderator: James Gillard,
Senior Managing Director, AM Best


11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
General Session: Regulatory Update

Eric A. Cioppa,
NAIC President & Superintendent, Maine Bureau of Insurance 

Doug Ommen,
Insurance Commissioner, Iowa Insurance Division

Moderator: Paul Brown,
Director, AM Best

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Luncheon & Innovation Fair
2:10 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. P/C: Review & Preview

AM Best


  Life/Annuity: Review & Preview

AM Best


  Health: Review & Preview

AM Best


3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. P/C: Executive Panel

Joseph Brandon,
Executive Vice President, Alleghany Corporation

David Delaney,
President & CEO, Lancer Insurance Company

Edward Noonan,
Former CEO & Chairman of Validus Holdings

Moderator: Anthony Diodato,
Managing Director, AM Best

  Life/Annuity: Executive Panel

John Barrett,
President & CEO, Western & Southern Financial Group

Margaret Meister,
President & CEO, Symetra Financial Corporation

James Morris,
Chairman, President & CEO, Pacific Life Insurance Company

Moderator: Ken Frino,
Managing Director, AM Best


Health: Market Panel

William Jetter,
Vice President, Medicare Transition Services, Aetna

Anne Nizzi-Clark,
Vice President, Product Marketing, American Enterprise Group

Moderator: Joseph Zazzera,
Director, AM Best


3:50 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Break  
4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. P/C: M&A in the (Re)insurance Sector

Jason Eisenstadt,
Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Meyer Shields,
Managing Director, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods

Richie Whitt,
Co-CEO, Markel Corporation

Moderator: Stefan Holzberger,
Chief Rating Officer, AM Best


  Life/Annuity: The Future of Distribution on Sales Growth

Aditi Jain,
Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

David Rich,
CEO & Founder, Ensurem, LLC

Aaron Seurkamp,
Senior Vice President- Life & Annuity Executive, Protective Life Insurance Company

Amanda Wallace,
Head of Direct to Consumer, MassMutual

Moderator: Rosemarie Mirabella,
Director, AM Best


  Health: Product Innovation: Pivoting to Meet Market Needs and Demands

Lane Kent,
President, Southern Guarantee Insurance Company

David Kettig,
President & CEO, Independence Holding Company

Josh Wiens,
Director, Product Development, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska

Moderator: Doniella Pliss,
Director, AM Best


5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Networking Reception  

Wednesday, March 20

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast  
9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
P/C: Benchmarking

AM Best


L/H: Benchmarking

AM Best


  Mortgage: Treatment for (Re)insurers in Rating Analysis

AM Best


9:50 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.
P/C: The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Private Flood - Past, Present & Future

Shiv Kumar,
President & Global Leader, GC Securities

Daniel Ryan,
Senior Director, AM Best

Patty Templeton-Jones,
President, Wright National Flood Insurance

Moderator: John Andre,
Managing Director, AM Best


  L/H: Investments - Outlook on Regulatory Changes and Portfolio Decisions

Marco Bravo, CFA
Portfolio Manager, AAM Company

Daniel Mainolfi, CFA
Managing Director, Conning

Charles Therriault, CFA
NAIC Director, Securities Valuation Office

Moderator: Ken Johnson,
Senior Director, AM Best


  P/C: Loss Reserves AM Best



  P/C & L/H: Understanding Blockchain Peter Miller,
President & CEO, The Institutes
10:50 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
P/C & L/H: Mock Rating Committee

AM Best


  L/H: Instant Replay- Industry Comparison: Pre-Crisis vs. Today

AM Best


P/C & L/H: ERM

AM Best


11:50 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Grab & Go Lunch
12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Scheduled Activities  

2019 Session Descriptions

General Sessions & Multi-Track Sessions

Innovation Panel – General Session
AM Best will provide insight into our views of the importance of innovation and how AM Best plans on evaluating an insurer’s level of innovation by highlighting key elements of the newly released Innovation criteria procedure released in March. A panel of industry thought leaders will provide insight into the importance of innovation in the insurance industry, how the industry is adapting to technological change and what processes companies can use to promote improvement within their operations. The discussion will focus on several key components of an innovative company outlined in the criteria that include leadership, culture, resources, strategy and process. Panelists will share their experiences of achievements and failures and how to best measure the overall success of innovation efforts.

Regulatory Update – General Session
AM Best will moderate a panel of state regulatory leaders focusing on the future of insurance regulation in the US. Panelists will discuss an array of regulatory issues including regulation of domestic and foreign reinsurance, the newly inked Covered Agreement with the UK, US/EU data protection initiatives, sales of annuities and suitability of life products and other NAIC developments and initiatives. The panel will explore where the US regulatory focus will be in the next decade with some of today's regulatory leaders, how state regulators will work with their federal counterparts, as well as their counterparts in other countries.  This and other questions will be answered in a lively and interactive general session.

Mortgage – Treatment for (Re)insurers in Rating Analysis
AM Best will cover the outlook of PMIs, the assessment of mortgage risks on Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio of the reinsurers underwriting those risks, and the rating evaluation process. The operating environment continues to be favorable for US Private Mortgage Insurers (PMIs) and the US mortgage industry as a whole. Reinsurers' appetite for US mortgage risk continues to grow given the current benign loss environment, favorable underwriting conditions, the availability of the GSE exposures in fulfillment of their balance sheet de-risking goal via two risk transfer programs offered to the reinsurance industry - Freddie Mac's Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS®) and Fannie Mae’s Credit Insurance Risk Transfer™ (CIRT™), and private mortgage insurers’ desire to cede a significant amount of mortgage exposures to non-affiliated reinsurers.

Mock Rating Committee – Application of the BCRM Benchmarking, Rating Tools and BCAR - P/C and L/H
AM Best credit analysts provide insight into the fundamentals of a rating committee. A rating recommendation on a fictitious insurance company will be provided for discussion. Rating analysis and committee deliberation will follow, illustrating the process outlined in the rating methodology. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts on the rating outcome.

In a panel discussion, AM Best analysts will provide observations on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) in the insurance industry and provide insight into the elements of the ERM review within the building blocks outlined in Best’s Credit Rating Methodology.

Property/Casualty Sessions

Pre-Conference Roundtable: Innovation
Innovation is critical to the long-term financial strength of an insurance company, as it enables a company to maintain relevance by developing meaningful solutions to ever-evolving risks. AM Best is pleased to have Guy Fraker, Chief Innovation Officer from Insurance Leadership discuss how to leverage consistent innovationfor long-term leadership, growth and stability.

P/C: Review & Preview
AM Best will provide perspectives on the state of the property and casualty insurance industry, focusing on three major segments: Commercial Lines, Personal Lines and (Re)insurance.

P/C: Executive Panel
This panel will assess current trends in products, distribution and capacity, as well as recent developments / events impacting the property/casualty industry. The panelists will present their perspective on where the industry may be headed in the future. With respect to the future, come prepared to share your own vision while challenging the panelists on their perspectives.

P/C: M&A in the (Re)insurance Sector
AM Best will moderate a panel of industry experts who will discuss the recent headline M&A activity in the property & casualty (re)insurance sector. The panelists will discuss how the current market conditions are influencing the decision-making process for both buyers and sellers. The benefits of improved scale and diversification will be highlighted, along with integration risk and challenging return expectations associated with paying a high multiple. In addition, the business case for future M&A activity will be discussed, as companies continue to build out their operations and put excess capital to work.

P/C: Benchmarking
AM Best will present and discuss the most up to date benchmarking results from the implementation of the new Best's Credit Rating Methodology (BCRM). Discussions will focus on broad rating assessment and include additional color on assessments, key drivers and trends. Analysts will discuss the growing role of benchmarking in the overall analysis.

P/C: The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Private Flood - Past, Present & Future
Panel members will discuss the U.S. Flood insurance marketplace, the viability of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as it nears another deadline and the recent involvement of reinsurers and private capital. This panel will also discuss the highlights from various acts passed by Congress during Superstorm Sandy, expert insights into what future reforms are being contemplated, its importance to the housing market, Federal versus private flood, take-up rates, flood mapping, flood modeling capabilities and a host of other flood related issues.

P/C: Loss Reserves
AM Best will discuss its view on industry loss reserve adequacy by line of business and our opinions on key metrics that have contributed to the analysis and prospective trends. In addition, the effects of retroactive reinsurance contracts and commutations will be discussed with respect to their impacts on Schedule P, indicated loss reserve deficiencies, both from a BCAR and ERM perspective.

Life/Annuity Sessions

Pre-Conference Roundtable: Hot Topics
Leading life/annuity company executives will come together to discuss relevant industry topics in an informal session facilitated by Henry Essert of PwC, along with AM Best management. This free-flowing discussion offers industry leaders an opportunity to brainstorm on current and future challenges and opportunities for the life/annuity segment.

Life/Annuity: Review & Preview
AM Best senior Rating division analysts will provide their perspectives on the state of the life/annuity insurance industry and the life reinsurance market. They will review performance in 2018 and will share overall industry expectations for 2019. This discussion will highlight major trends, headwinds and tailwinds, and the potential impact on the ratings of life/annuity insurers.

Life/Annuity: Executive Panel
AM Best will gather insight from life/annuity executives on topics ranging from the economic environment, insurtech, regulatory concerns, future products and overall growth amongst others. Given this backdrop, how do life/annuity insurers stay competitive and is there a coming necessary consolidation?

Life/Annuity: The Future of Distribution on Sales Growth
AM Best will moderate a panel of internal/external executives who will discuss the current and future state of insurance distribution. Are all companies faced with identifying a new technological paradigm or is multi-distribution the key to future success? In the insurance distribution model of the future, will multi-channel approaches require multi-channel to co-exist with brands and within ecosystems not related to insurance? What does this mean for top line growth prospects? Where do companies look for partners and alternate distribution channels?

Life/Health: Benchmarking
AM Best will present and discuss the most up to date benchmarking results from the implementation of the new Best's Credit Rating Methodology (BCRM). Discussions will focus on broad rating assessments and include additional color on sub assessments, key drivers and trends. Analysts will discuss the growing role of benchmarking in the overall analysis.

Life/Health: Investments - Outlook on Regulatory Changes and Portfolio Decisions
AM Best will discuss with the NAIC the current state of the investment regulatory environment for life/health insurers. This will include upcoming changes and timing of these changes. The discussion will then shift to focus on current allocations and new money trends by asset segment, the impact of risk-based capital on investment decisions, where risk is currently residing in life/health portfolios, and what should insurers be doing now to minimize risk and improve risk-adjusted returns.

Life/Health: Instant Replay - Industry Comparison: Pre-Crisis vs. Today
Life/annuity carriers have been operating in a long-running benign credit environment with generous uplift from the equity market. However, in the past few months, increased volatility has forced many to compare market conditions to those in place just prior to the financial crash of 2008/09. Is the life/annuity industry in for another significant setback? Using an assortment of metrics, AM Best managers discuss the potential for a repeat of the financial crisis 10 years later.

Health Sessions

Pre-Conference Roundtable: Hot Topics
AM Best kicks off this year's conference with a special interactive discussion facilitated by Andrew Naugle of Milliman. The discussion will include hot topics and industry developments with a focus on concerns for the future. This session offers a forum for an interactive discussion with other industry leaders regarding challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Health: Review & Preview
AM Best senior rating division analysts will provide perspective on the state of the health insurance industry. The discussion will include improvements in operating performance and the trajectory for the future, the wave of vertical integration, the continued regulatory challenges facing the ACA and the potential impact to insurers, including those that write ACA individual business, Medicaid as well as supplemental health policies. Additionally they will review AM Best's sector outlook, expectations for 2019 and the potential impact of ratings of health insurers.

Health: Market Panel- Senior Market Opportunities & Challenges
Panelists will discuss opportunities and challenges in the Senior Accident and Health marketplace, with a focus on Medicare related products, as well as discussion around other core emerging ancillary/supplemental product trends in the senior space. The senior market is experiencing growth in the number of eligible enrollees for Medicare, increasing membership and high interest in ancillary cross-sold products. This opportunity is challenged by the changing regulatory environment and emerging reimbursement model, as well as growing competition and a rising cost of healthcare. Discussions included how companies are strategically reacting to this evolving market, how product offerings are changing, what the prospects are for attracting and retaining new talent with experience in this space- including an understanding of the regulatory rate increase process and reimbursement models (i.e. Stars Bonus Programs).

Health: Market Panel - Pivoting to Meet the Market Demands
Participants will discuss how their organizations have adjusted the individual product offerings to meet product demands and current regulatory framework. The high cost of ACA individual policies has made this option unaffordable for many and created growing demand for more efficient and flexible solutions. Both supplemental and major medical carriers view this segment as an opportunity and are developing solutions for the underserved segment. However, the product design, distribution and service for individual products are subject to a high level of oversight from both federal and state regulators. The participants will share how they navigate this complex environment.

Innovation Fair

Thank you to our innovators for participating in this year's event!

 Amali is the creator of SubroProSM, an innovative subrogation platform delivering workflow, payment automation, and business intelligence impacting not just the subrogation process, but also the overall claims workflow.

Betterview is a property data platform that captures, organizes and analyzes data for buildings and properties and informs every transaction for decision-makers who want to minimize risk, cost & waste in an increasingly competitive environment.

dacadoo measures clients' health with Health Score and helps them actively manage their health and well-being in an easy and fun way, while allowing life & health insurers to deploy their own fully branded digital and mobile health engagement solutions towards their individual and corporate clients.

Delos models wildfire risk, which allows for improved accuracy in underwriting and pricing using a unique dataset of remote sensing imagery, weather data, ignition models and proprietary simulation algorithm, to assess the likelihood of a wildfire at any address over the next year.

FairClaims is an online dispute resolution platform that provides digital arbitration, mediation, settlement analytics, and case assessment tools in an all-in-one web portal.  Insurers & claimants can resolve claims from home or office without court or litigation.

Flo is an all-in-one security system for home water supply that is proven to prevent water damage.  The water monitoring and shut-off system proactively detects micro-leaks and other vulnerabilities anywhere in the home's water supply.

Life.io is digital engagement and loyalty platform built for insurance carriers and agents.  The platform delivers a personalized, fun, and engaging user experience that helps users improve and manage their life across physical goals, financial milestones, and emotional support.

The Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) provides geospatial support and data (collected annually) as well as first responders in disaster situations. The GIC operates as a consortium of insurers sharing pass-through program costs proportionally across the GIC member insurers.

Slice Labs Insurance Cloud Service (ICS) is transforming traditional insurers digitally driven carriers by providing them with a platform that enables them to quickly ideate, experiment, test, and deploy new, on-demand insurance products.

Sureify provides an online platform for life insurance companies to digitally acquire, engage, and maintain customers, and drives customer engagement by incorporating mobile apps, health devices, and wellness programs in the insurance product experience.

The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance is an industry-led consortium working to unlock the potential blockchain in collaboration with the insurance industry.  They accelerate time to market and adoption through real-world applications and impactful blockchain use cases.

Truepic is a photo and video verification platform that uses controlled capture technology and image forensics tools, and includes products for both underwriting and claims processing with a low-cost, one-click process for desk adjusters.

Activity selections can be completed during the registration process. Choice of one spa treatment or Wednesday activity is included in the conference fee for each registered attendees and registered guest. The Monday pre-conference Golf Outing is an a la carte fee. Activity capacities are limited and are available on a first come, first-served basis.

To request additional information or changes to activity selections, please contact Robert at Robert.monastero@ambest.com.

TPC Scottsdale

Monday, March 18, The Champions Course - 8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
This course was crafted to balance strategy with design, so as to not favor any one type of play. Each hole can be played a multitude of ways- providing golfers of all skill levels with a challenging experience that can be significantly different each time they play.

Activity fee: $235
Club rentals: $85

Wednesday, March 20, The Stadium Course - 1:15 p.m. Shotgun Start
Home to the PGA Tour's fan-favorite and largest attended golf tournament, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Stadium Course has hosted some of contemporary golf's greatest moments since opening in 1986. Players will find an ideally balanced layout that blends challenge and playability while appealing to all levels of ability.

Club Rentals: $85

Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

An innovative fusion of spa and wellness, Well & Being Spa offers you a uniquely rewarding and deeply personalized palette of experiences that infuse life with a greater sense of vitality.  You'll leave the spa feeling energized, enlightened and empowered.

Appointments available Monday through Wednesday based on availability. Choice of one treatment:

  • Signature Journey Massage
  • Signature Facial
  • Manicure / Pedicure Combo

Desert Tomcar Experience

Wednesday, March 20
This adventure takes you deep into the Sonoran Desert where you may see desert mule deer, coyotes and other indigenous creatures. You and your passengers get to drive these desert cars through some of the finest off road trails and ridgelines that culminate with awesome views of the surrounding desert.

Desert River Kayaking Adventure

Wednesday, March 20

The easy currents and wide channels of the lower Salt River provide a perfect setting for kayaking.  Guides will lead the way and help you develop your boating skills and have a chance to learn about the amazing diversity of flora and fauna that has evolved along the river corridor.

The Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) is approximately 25 minutes from the resort.

The temperature in Scottsdale averages mid-70s during the day and 50s during the evening hours.

Conference App
The conference app will be available to all registrants one week prior to the event. Instructions for installing the app will be sent via email.

Presentation Access
Sessions presentations will be available on the conference website and the conference app in the week prior to the event.

The dress code for the conference is business casual.

Transtyle is the preferred transportation service of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.  Estimated pricing for a one way airport transfer for a sedan or SUV can be found here.  For advance reservations, please call 800-410-5479.  All ground transportation will be at your own expense.  Please arrange as needed.


Networking Event Details

Monday, March 18

The Welcome Reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will offer a full buffet dinner and full service bar.

Tuesday, March 19

Breakfast will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. A full breakfast buffet will be available.

The Luncheon & Innovation Fair will take place from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. The event will offer a full plated lunch.

The Cocktail Reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will provide heavy hors d'oeuvres, a variety of food stations, and a full service bar.

Wednesday, March 20

Breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. A full breakfast buffet will be available.

Boxed lunches will be provided at the close of conference sessions, followed by scheduled activities.

Registration for the 2019 Review & Preview Conference is now closed. Registered attendees can request receipts by contacting our Customer Service Department at customer_service@ambest.com.

Cancellations received by February 18 will receive a full refund. Cancellations received between February 19 and March 4 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be provided after March 4. Cancellations should be sent in writing.

All registration forms, cancellations and requests can be emailed to conferenceinformation@ambest.com

Conference Venue/Hotel Accommodations

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
7575 E. Princess Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

The AM Best group block at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has sold out.

Cancellations must be received seven days prior to arrival to avoid a one-night charge.

Group Reservations: 800-441-1414
Local: 480-585-4848

Alternative Hotel Options

Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains
16770 North Perimeter Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 480-502-3836

Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale North/Perimeter Center
8550 E Princess Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: 515-4944

Residence Inn Scottsdale North
17011 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Phone: 480-563-4120


Main: Stacey Ancker, stacey.ancker@ambest.com, 908-439-2200 ext. 5747

Registration: Rachel Fitzpatrick, rachel.fitzpatrick@ambest.com, 908-439-2200 ext. 5513

Activities: Robert Monastero, Robert.monastero@ambest.com, 908-439-2200 ext. 5465

App: Magdalena Crouse, Magdalena.crouse@ambest.com, 908-439-2200 ext. 5416