Our Independence. Your Advantage.

Insurance Council of Texas Symposium: Highlights & Insights

Following the Annual 2016 Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) Symposium in Austin, Holborn offers a recap of the topics discussed. The annual ICT event draws participants from the Texas Insurance industry, including carriers, agents/brokers, individuals from the legal profession as well as a number of students from local Texas universities, who are pursuing degrees in the Insurance and Risk Management field. The diverse mix of seasoned industry representation and up-and-coming generations resulted in an engaging and productive event, with a record number of registered participants.

ICT and the Texas Insurance Marketplace

Highlights of the symposium included what many may be seeing as a farewell tour for Dr. Robert Hartwig, Ph.D, CPCU, President and Chief Economist, from the Insurance Information Institute (III). Dr. Hartwig provided an update on the Texas InsurDr. Hartwig Presentationance market – discussing the strength of the Texas economy including growth and insulation from the recent swoon in energy prices, which contributes to a robust, yet still catastrophe prone market.

Dr. Hartwig will take his knowledge and dynamic personality to academia, as a faculty member at the Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina in Fall 2016. Bob assured us that he will continue to be a presence and a voice of the industry, while likely challenging (and subjecting!) his students to the fast paced 100+ page presentations, filled with reams of economic data, insightful industry analysis and colorful exhibits, we have come to know and love.

Panel Discussion

The Industry took center stage with key executives from the Texas insurance market, including Paul Ehlert, President & CEO (Germania Insurance Group), John Schramm, Vice President – Branch Manager (CNA Insurance Group) and Jay Thompson, Partner (Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP). These leaders represented a cross-section of the Texas personal and commercial lines insurance market, as well as the legal arena. The panel discussed the recent storm activity, including the largest Texas Hail event on record in San Antonio, as well as the challenges with ongoing litigation and claims handling issues. Finally touching on a topic that has become a staple at industry conferences – how to encourage new talent and address the changing dynamics of millennials in the industry.


Another popular industry topic is, of course, the latest update on technology. Raghu Balasa, Chairman & CEO of Exyn Drones PresentationTechnologies, discussed the advancement of robotics and the growing commercial use of drones across multiple industries. While uses in the insurance field are well-documented, the scale, scope and operation remains limited to date. Mr. Balasa reminded us that we are still in the early stages of evolution when it comes to technological advancement and the use of drones. Businesses will look to deploy the new technology in a variety of industries and it is important to understand the evolving use and exposure.


Lee Parsley, Outside Council, Texans for Lawsuit Reform provided an update on the Group’s ongoing efforts on Tort Reform in the Texas. Having made some limited progress with the 2015 Legislature, reducing litigation will take center  stage as an insurance industry issue with the upcoming 2017 Texas Legislature. Following a recent NAIC meeting, David Mattax, Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner, discussed the current regulatory climate with Albert Betts, Insurance Countil of Texas.

Mattax indicated that Texas (and the U.S.) will continue to be influenced by the movement globally for broader more robust regulations, with respect to solvency and compliance. He stressed the need for the TDI to adapt to a growing market, while modernizing the framework for regulating carriers. Fostering competition, attracting more carriers and capital to the market while protecting consumers and continuing to attract talent to support high quality level of service to the Texas Insurance market remain a priority.

The Next Generation and A Celebration of Service

The ICT is dedicated to encouraging student interest and involvement in the Insurance Industry through various Insurance and Risk ICT LogoManagement programs at local Texas colleges and universities. The event recognizes, through the Insurance Council of Texas Education Foundation, future members of the insurance industry with scholarship awards for the best and brightest students exploring careers in the insurance industry. Since its inception in 2007, the Foundation raised close to $1Million to help support the education of the future leaders – this year’s group of award winners are no exception.

Finally, the 2016 conference recognized Rich Lawson (posthumously), former vice president at the Republic Group in Dallas, with the Raymond Mauk Leadership award. The award is presented annually at the ICT event to honor and recognize an individual, whose leadership has made a significant difference in the business of insurance in Texas.

Presentations are linked in the images above and for more details on this and upcoming events, please visit ICT’s website. We look forward to seeing you next time.