April 12, 2005
"A Vast Wasteland"
David Schiff, editor of Schiff's
Insurance Observer, will tell you what he's riled up about
these days. Throughout the conference he will, as always, interrogate
the speakers and force them to answer brazen questions.
In June 1994, Schiff's wrote an admiring profile of Christopher Davis, portfolio
manager of the Davis Funds, which had $300 million
under management. (Chris is the only money manager we've ever
profiled.) We picked a winner. The Davis Funds now manage $40
billion, and the firm's primary fund has outperformed the S&P
500 during every meaningful period since its inception in 1969. Chris
will tell us about the Davis's sixty-year history of investing in
the insurance business, and share his thoughts on the mutual-fund
industry, shareholder activism, and more.
Two years after receiving his Ph.D.
in economics from Harvard, 27-year-old James Stone became the
youngest insurance commissioner (Massachusetts) in history. Four
years later, in 1979, Jimmy Carter appointed him as chairman of the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission. When his term ended in 1983, he
moved back to Boston and founded The Plymouth Rock Company,
a privately-held insurance holding company that writes well over $1
billion in premiums-quite profitably. Jim will share his
perspective on auto insurance, regulation, public policy, and being
an entrepreneur in the insurance business.
William Koenig is Senior Vice
President and Chief Actuary of "the quiet company," Northwestern
Mutual. Bill will give us his perspective about
reserving-especially when it involves universal-life products with
secondary guarantees. His comments, which will not be quiet, should
leave some members of the insurance industry feeling worried.
Decent food; fine conversation.
Eugene Anderson is the
founding member of Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C., a law firm that represents policyholders in disputes with insurance
companies. Gene, who has practiced law for fifty-two years and is
known as the dean of policyholders' attorneys, will give us his
thoughts on the insurance industry, ethics, regulation, and more.
Property insurers' combined ratios
are five to eight points higher than they should be, says Robert
Dowdell, CEO of Marshall & Swift/Boeckh (M&S/B),
which is doing something to remedy that. M&S/B, long known as a
building-cost provider in claims and underwriting, has become a
corporate Sherlock Holmes that uses logic and statistical analysis on
the massive amounts of data it processes to improve carriers'
underwriting results. "The data has an important story to tell,"
says Bob, who will tell us an important story about risk
differentiation, pricing, database analytics, and much more.
Buffett talked to just one securities analyst: Alice Schroeder of Morgan Stanley. In 2003, Alice, then Institutional
Investor's top-ranked P/C analyst, made an unusual career
move-she left the day-to-day world of Wall Street to write a book
about Buffett's life and philosophies. Alice, who is to Buffett
what Boswell was to Johnson, won't be finished with her tome (which
we predict will be a bestseller) for a couple of years. In the
meantime, she'll tell you what's been on her mind.
David Schiff will have his
say on the great insurance issues of the day, and discuss where he
sees value and solvency (or the lack thereof).
Attendees will socialize with their
fellow insurance mavens and observers, discussing the day's events
and making deals over cocktails while taking in the view from
the top of the New York Athletic Club.
There will be an additional
reception and dinner for those who want more of a good thing. The
venue is the Coffee House, a convivial, somewhat worn-at-the-edges
private club devoted to "agreeable, civilized conversation."
Attendance is limited to 36 people.