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April 21, 2001
"The Vicissitudes of Insurance"

The Speakers will include

The Analyst

When Warren Buffett decided to talk to Wall Street, he granted access to only one securities analyst: Alice Schroeder, principal at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. (If she's good enough for Buffett, then she's more than good enough for you.) Alice is well known for her knowledge, judgement, and detailed research, and was recently named an All-American insurance analyst by Institutional Investor. She will give you her perspective on the industry and tell you where she sees opportunity and where she doesn't.

The Legend

Joseph M. Belth, Ph.D, professor emeritus of insurance at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University (Bloomington), is the author of Life Insurance: A Consumer's Handbook. He is best known, of course, as the editor (and writer) of the groundbreaking The Insurance Forum. Joe is one of the most influential people in the life-insurance business. Over the course of his career he has exposed deceptive practices and all sorts of shady behavior, and his articles, speeches, and testimony have altered the industry. Joe, who is the author numerous books and recipient of many awards, will tell us what he's pondering these days.

The Long-Term Thinker

In the 14 years since its initial public offering, Markel Corporation has transformed itself from a small, family-run business into a major player in the industry. Two measures of the company's success are the following: earned premiums have grown from $10 million to approximately $1 billion, and shareholders' equity has increased from $15 million to $690 million. Steven Markel, vice chairman, has played a key role in his company's extraordinary growth in shareholders' value. His method is low key, analytical, and straightforward. Steve is a long-term, value-oriented investor and thinker. He will discuss his company, the industry, investing in equities, and "The Markel Style."

The Turnaround Specialists

What do you do with troubled insurance companies? Two who know how to fix them are Richard Barasch, CEO of Universal American Financial, and Douglas Libby, CEO of Seneca Insurance Company. Both began their careers as lawyers (we won't hold that against them) and both-for different reasons-took control of miserable little insurance companies in the late 1980's. They went about salvaging their companies in vastly different manners, however. We shall compare and contrast the vicissitudes of insurance as Barasch and Libby share their experiences-and the lessons they've learned.

The Observer

As usual, David Schiff, editor of Schiff's Insurance Observer, will interrogate the speakers and, when necesary, force them to answer brazen questions. He will have his say on the great insurance issues of the day, and deliver a speech entitled "How to Lose Friends and Influence People in the Insurance Business."