Recent weather events, drones and other topics part of this year's Insurance Council of Texas symposium

By Karen Kidd | Jun 16, 2016

AUSTIN – There's still time to sign up for next month's annual Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) Mid-Year Property and Casualty Insurance Symposium in Austin, a council spokesman said during a recent interview.

AUSTIN – There's still time to sign up for next month's annual Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) Mid-Year Property and Casualty Insurance Symposium in Austin, a council spokesman said during a recent interview.

The theme of the symposium this year is "Evolve and Adapt: Insurance for the Next Generation", which is especially timely given Texas' recent catastrophic weather, Mark Hanna, PR manager for the Insurance Council of Texas, said during a SE Texas Record email interview.

Attendees at last year's symposium   Photo courtesy of the Insurance Council of Texas

"There is no other symposium or conference quite like this event because of its primary focus on what is happening in the Texas insurance marketplace and the networking opportunities are unbelievable," Hanna said. "Every major insurer and others will be represented."

The symposium returns to Austin’s Sheraton Hotel July 13 and 14, when speakers are expected to address technological advancements that are creating great change in the insurance landscape, according to a council press release.

The press release includes all the scheduled events. The symposium begins with a networking reception the evening of Wednesday, July 13, at the Sheraton's Yard At Waller Creek. The following day, Insurance Information Institute President Bob Hartwig is scheduled to provide his analysis of the Texas and national insurance marketplace.

"Dr. Hartwig will offer his economic assessment of both Texas and the U.S. property and casualty markets along with projections," Hanna said. "We have an expert on drones and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the use of drones."

Hartwig's presentation is expected to be followed by a panel discussion about the Texas' recent catastrophic storm season and how the insurance industry is adapting.

 "Our morning panelists will have their take on a number of issues including our stormy weather, our hail litigation, changes in technology, voluntary coastal writing and attracting 'millennials' into the industry," Hanna said. "And we hope to get a fix on the mindset of Commissioner [David] Mattaxand what his regulatory priorities are."

Discussion about hail damage claims in Texas during recent weather incidents likely will attract much attention during the symposium, Hanna said.

"The south Texas hail litigation has been very costly and several insurance companies have had to make tough decisions on whether to keep writing in the area, pull out or raise rates significantly," Hanna said. "The litigation is having an effect on how insurers do business across the state."

Jay Thompson, a partner with Thompson, Coe, Cousins and Irons and 2012 recipient of the council's Raymond Mauk Leadership Award, is expected to participate in the Thursday morning panel, Hanna said. Panelists also will include insurance industry officials who represent small, medium and large companies, according to the council press release. They will include CEO of Germania Paul Ehlert, CNA Vice President and Branch Manager John Schramm, said Hanna, who is expected to moderate the panel discussion.

Exyn Technologies' Raghu Balasa is scheduled to wrap up the morning session in a talk about the evolution of drone technology and their uses in the insurance industry.

ICT scholarship recipients and the 2016 recipient of the council's Raymond Mauk Leadership award is scheduled during the noon luncheon. The award given to honor notable contribution to the state's property and casualty insurance industry, according to the council press release.

"In fact more than two dozen ICT scholarship recipients will be attending," Hanna said. "They will have the opportunity to tour the Texas Department of Insurance Wednesday morning and that afternoon, take part in a Speed Interview and Network session with 14 participating insurance companies."

In the afternoon, ICT Executive Director Albert Betts and Texas Insurance Commissioner David Mattax are expected to discuss how insurance regulation has been impacted by the changes in technology, according to the council press release. The two also are expected to discuss recently offered innovative insurance products, according to the press release.

The insurance industry sponsors the annual symposium is sponsored each year with all funds raised supporting the council's Education Foundation. The foundation that has provided academic funding to 10 Texas universities and more than 400 students studying insurance and risk management, according to the press release.

Anyone who would like to attend the symposium and obtain additional information online can visit

The Insurance Council of Texas is the nation's largest insurance trade association with about 500 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas.

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