Wholesalers meet for the first time
in a new, exclusive gathering.
Excited, curious and skeptical are just a few of the words some
of our industry’s finest choose to describe the events
scheduled to unfold in early May; a time when The Council stirs
the sleepy grounds of White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., as it has
done so many times before.
This time, The Greenbrier will awaken to find its hallowed
halls buzzing with members of the wholesale community,
attendees hopeful the Wholesale Insurance Leadership Forum will
succeed in promoting this growing segment of the industry as it
has done for retailers for more than 90 years.
Loti Woods, Co-CEO and president of McAuley, Woods &
Associates, a past participant in The Council’s premier
fall Greenbrier event, is optimistic, though she admits that
others may be a little skeptical. “There’s a lot of
people wondering what’s going to happen, what’s
going to be different,” she says.
But as with the fall Insurance Leadership Forum, it is the
high-caliber professional firepower—CEOs and top
executives from distributors and carriers in the wholesale
arena—that will make the event a success.
The Wholesale Insurance Leadership Forum is attracting
talent from all over the U.S. and beyond. “Ninety percent
of the carriers whom I do business with are on the east coast;
I can get to them in two hours,” says Tony Strianese,
president of Peachtree Special Risk Brokers and regional
executive vice president of Brown & Brown. At the Wholesale
Insurance Leadership Forum, he says, “I’m hoping
for a UK presence. That could save me a trip across the
There’s more to his interest than time management. In
addition to the benefits their presence would bring to the
group, Strianese believes reps from the UK will help with the
promotion of Decus Insurance Brokers, Ltd., the London-based
wholesale brokerage Brown & Brown launched March 1.
Strianese is CEO of Decus, Brown & Brown’s first
operation based outside the U.S.
Tim Turner, president of CRC Insurance Services, appreciates
The Council’s efforts in providing a platform where the
non-standard, non-admitted marketplace is the focus.
“There’s a sense that the non-admitted marketplace
doesn’t have a strong voice in Congress,” he says.
“One of the compelling reasons for this event is to
better industry uniformity in terms of legislative and
And then there are the carriers.
Market changes zip through the wholesale community at speeds
unparalleled in the rest of the industry. Members are
expressing great interest in hearing how carrier
representatives foresee business changing and what brokers can
do to keep ahead of the changes.
“Our priority will be setting up meetings with
markets, trying to figure out who’s there. Our primary
interest is on the carrier side,” Woods says.
For some, the primary objective is an expedition for new
products. For others, the focus will be setting new goals with
old friends. Woods says opportunities for the kind of face time
available at this event are rare. She plans to spend a majority
of her time with execs of the carriers with whom her
organization already works.
While priorities vary, my conversations with members
planning to attend were uniform in one sense: Everyone
appreciates the intimacy of the event. The wholesale community
is a close-knit group. Most have known each other for some
time, cutting their teeth together in some far corner of the
industry universe before finding their niche in…niche.
There is excitement among members who genuinely enjoy working
together and about doing so in a place described by more than
one member as being “in a class of its own.”