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April 11, 2000
"Confronted With
Insurmountable Opportunities"

The Great Rating Agency Debate

When the subject is solvency and financial strength (and everything those things entail), one naturally looks to the insurance industry's "regulators." The regulators, however, aren't elected or appointed public officials; they are the rating agencies, and they've become more assertive than ever. On hand to participate in a 30-round, bare-knuckled, championship discussion will be the three top-rated contenders in the heavyweight division. In one corner we'll have A. M. Best's formidable group senior vice president, Larry G. Mayewski. Across the ring will be the impressive Patrick Finegan, senior vice president at Moody's. Rounding out the card will be the ever-imposing Alan Levin, managing director at Standard & Poor's. No punches will be pulled. Hard questions will be asked--and answered.

Life Insurance Confidential

Colin Devine, who has had the "real world" experience of being vice president at a major life insurer and director at a major rating agency, is now vice president at Salomon Smith Barney and provides incisive equity research coverage on a diverse group of North American life-insurance companies. He's not afraid to issue a controversial opinion when it's called for (such as being extremely bearish--rightly so--on a major life insurer). Colin will share his outlook on the life-insurance industry, including the effects of demographics, Conference Speakers demutualization, and distribution, and will tell us where he sees value and where he sees trouble.

The Inside Story on Insurance Regulation

In 1997, Bonnie Steingart, who had been a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson for 11 years, left private practice for the field of public service. She spent the next two years with the New York State Department of Insurance, where she was Deputy Superintendent and General Counsel. She participated in many legislative, regulatory, transactional, and enforcement initiatives undertaken by the department, and supervised a staff of fifty lawyers. Last September she rejoined Fried, Frank. Bonnie's perspective on financial-services reform, regulation, bank holding companies, and competition will fascinate you--and surprise you.

Big Time Money

Two billion dollars is a nice round number, and it just happens to be about the amount of money that Meryl D. Hartzband oversees in her role as Principal and Investment Director at Marsh & McLennan Capital, which specializes in private equity investments in insurance and financial-services businesses. Meryl is a savvy investor who has had a rare inside view of the insurance industry. (In addition to making major investments, she's a director of ACE Limited.) She will share some of her thoughts about the insurance industry and perhaps will tell us what she's planning to invest in and why.

Observer Speaks Out

David Schiff began working--reluctantly--in the insurance business in 1974, and despite repeated attempts, has not been able to kick the habit. He has held a number of jobs over the years, the best of which has been writing Schiff's Insurance Observer, which he founded in 1989. In addition to peppering the other speakers with difficult questions, David will have his say on the great insurance issues of the day.