April 21, 2001
"The Vicissitudes of Insurance"
The Speakers will include
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.
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."
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.
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