2016 Windstorm Insurance Conference in Orlando - Is it worth it?

2016 Windstorm Insurance Conference in Orlando - Is it worth it?

For those of you who are insurance professionals, this may be best answered by an example of a chance meeting I had last year at the Windstorm Insurance Network Conference. But before I tell you why WIND is worth it, I want to give you some background on The Windstorm Insurance Network Inc. and then share with you two recent success stories involving commercial losses that in large part were influenced by this chance meeting at last year’s conference in New Orleans.

Following some major wind losses throughout the 1990’s and the adjustment problems that followed, some very smart folks came up with the concept of a professional organization dedicated to the education of various professionals involved in helping policyholders put their lives back together following a major CAT (catastrophic) event. But this organization would be different. Unlike other trade organizations everyone was welcome to attend, teach, and learn. Initially perceived as a radical idea in the staid old-school that insurance folks live and work in, the idea quickly caught on. The atmosphere of distrust and maybe a little fear of being on the board of directors (I was asked to be on the founding board of directors as one of two consumer advocates) or networking with the other side soon evolved (well OK it was not overnight) and positive, respectful relationships were established. Lines of communication were opened and ideas and problems were openly discussed in the various workshops and social gatherings.

Since the first annual WIND conference was held, the organization has held a mid-year symposium in areas where WIND’s leadership felt communities and professionals would benefit from our institutional knowledge and experiences. Examples include Houston, New Orleans, Newark and Charlotte to name a few. 

So as I hope you can appreciate, there is a tremendous benefit in attending these conferences not only for the education (don’t forget a full year’s CE credits can be earned at the annual conference) but also for the business contacts and professional networking that goes on.

But now back to my two success stories and how a chance meeting at WIND in New Orleans may have influenced the outcome with a large loss adjuster from one of the country’s largest property carriers. If you are in the claim business and particularly if you worked on the carrier side as I did for ten years, I think you would agree that the adjusters, supervisors and claim managers would agree that the phone call they may dislike the most comes from public adjusters and some attorneys. There are several reasons for that. One is that there are a lot of rude unprofessional folks in the representative business that are hell bent on asserting their position regardless of the cost to their client in the long run. The other reason is that when you pick the right representative, the outcome of the adjustment process will be more favorable to the client and may translate to a higher cost for the carrier. But make no mistake about it, how the process starts will have a huge impact on both the process and ultimately the outcome.

So what does this have to do with WIND and my two success stories?  Well, it seems I met a large loss adjuster I had not met before at an early WIND breakfast in New Orleans and we talked and got to know each other. But for the WIND conference, I would not have known this gentleman until I was retained on two of his losses a few months later. So when I called him, we did not talk right away about the losses but instead recalled our breakfast meeting and other professional matters.

In other words, we hit it off and then we were off doing our respective jobs working on our clients behalf but at the same time respecting each other along the way. Make no mistake about it, both of these losses were complex. Consultants were brought in by both sides, differences were worked out and the matters were settled to my client’s complete satisfaction. And based on the fact a settlement was reached without the involvement of lawyers and the threat of bad faith, I think his principals were pleased as well. On my side, I cannot recall where both of my clients told me CONGRATULATIONS when I gave them the final settlement amounts.

Of course, the icing on the cake is that I have two very happy clients and two handsome professional fees. Please remember, it all started with a chance meeting at the Windstorm Insurance Conference, networking at an early morning breakfast.

Is WIND worth it?  I’d say so and so would my clients.  I hope to see you in Orlando. Mark your calendar and register now. I can’t wait to meet you!  

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