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April 15, 2004
"Grand Delusion"

9:00 a.m.
David Schiff, editor of Schiff's Insurance Observer, will start off with a look at the seamy side of the insurance business. Throughout the day he will, as always, interrogate the speakers and force them to answer brazen questions.

9:30 a.m.
Over the decades, William R. Berkley, CEO of W.R. Berkley Corporation, has demonstrated that he knows how to build value in hard markets and in soft markets. When Bill spoke at our 1999 conference, he was acutely aware of the risks-and opportunities-that lay ahead. Since then, his business has been on a roll and his company's stock (which we had recommended) has more than quadrupled. Bill will give us his atypical perspective in his typically eloquent manner.

10:40 a.m.
Betsy McCaughey is a thinker, author, and expert on health policy. Her 1994 critique of the Clinton health plan, "No Exit," caused a ruckus and helped kill the plan. Betsy, who was an unusually independent Lieutenant Governor of New York, has published two books on U.S. constitutional history and is writing a book on health care. She will tell all, including how "medical courts will solve the malpractice crisis."

11:20 a.m.
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP didn't invent the class-action lawsuit, but, as the largest contingency-fee-based law firm representing plaintiffs, it has certainly perfected it. Senior partner Melvyn Weiss is a leading practitioner in the fields of securities, insurance, environmental, antitrust, and consumer litigation. Mel's comments may leave some members of the insurance industry feeling afraid—very afraid.

Noon - Lunch

1:00 p.m.
Many insurance companies don't have the data to price risk properly. Daniel Finnegan, president of Quality Planning Corporation, is a statistician who knows how to compile, analyze, and use data in ways that can create a significant underwriting edge. "There's enormous room for the improvement of prediction," he notes matter-of-factly. Daniel will take us into the world of rating error, black boxes, credit scoring, database analysis, geo-positioning systems, privacy issues, and probabilities. And that's just the beginning.

1:45 p.m.
It may surprise some to learn that Schiff's has a hero. His name is Joseph Belth and he is, of course, the editor of The Insurance Forum. Joe, whose articles, speeches, and testimony have shaken up the life-insurance industry, is the author of numerous books and journal articles and professor emeritus of insurance at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He'll tell you what's bothering him these days.

2:45 p.m.
Jay Brown is CEO of triple-A-rated MBIA Inc., which specializes in credit-enhancement insurance. He was previously CEO of Talegen Holdings, and before that, CEO of Fireman's Fund. Jay, who's an actuary, has a contrarian nature and a keen appreciation of risk-desirable attributes for one running a company with $6 billion of equity and $500 billion of financial guarantees outstanding. He will offer his thoughts about insurance, credit, financial guarantees, risk versus reward, and more.

3:45 p.m.
David Schiff will discuss where he sees value and solvency (or the lack thereof), and have his say on the great insurance issues of the day.