Brent Tredway will assume a national leadership role with CRC Group, as he and Garrett Koehn are appointed co-presidents of the company’s Brokerage Division, effective Jan. 1. Houston-based Tredway will lead the company’s efforts around carrier engagement, new and emerging markets and sales management. Koehn will lead engagement with national customers and the London market; diversity, equity and inclusion; and insurtech strategies and partnerships. Tredway, now serving as president-Houston for CRC, has been with CRC for nearly 24 years. He has a law degree from John Marshall Law School. San Francisco based Koehn has been responsible for CRC Group’s overall operations in the western states, as well as serving as a director of Corona Underwriters, a subsidiary. His insurance brokerage experience is centered on professional lines. Both Tredway and Koehn will report to Mike Brennan, who will become the CEO of CRC’s Commercial Solutions Division, also effective Jan. 1. Brennan became part of CRC’s leadership team through its acquisition of Swett and Crawford in 2016.


Ron Walenta was appointed to the board of Texas Windstorm Insurance Association in August and attended his first board meeting on Dec. 8. Walenta was appointed as a non-coastal representative to the board. He lives in Dallas and is president and owner of EEI Support Services, a risk management and claims management consulting firm. He has been in the industry since 1972 and has served as corporate risk manager for DFW International Airport, Chili’s Restaurants, Trailways Transit, ATE Management and Service Company and Chief Auto Parts. Walenta holds a bachelor’s degree in insurance from the University of Texas at Austin and a CIC designation. He has served on the state faculties of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors, the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas and the Insurance Committee for the University of Texas at Austin. Walenta was a member of the board of directors of the Texas State Office of Risk Management from 2005 to 2011. He joins the nine-member board along with two other March 2020 appointees, Tim Garrett, a non-coastal representative, and Peggy Gonzalez, a coastal representative.


Longtime Executive Administrator Noemi Obenhaus announced her retirement from the Independent Insurance Association of Dallas. Tammy Land, executive director, said the association will miss her very much. Land commended Obenhaus’s joyful spirit and can-do attitude. “She never met a stranger and always did everything she could to make our members feel welcome.” The association wished Obenhaus the best of everything as she starts the next chapter of her life.


Houston Insurance Day, known as the largest one-day trade show in the Southwest for insurance professionals, will be a three day event in February. Wednesday, Feb. 24 will be an in-person exhibiting experience, following CDC social distancing guidelines and the following two days will be a virtual exhibiting experience. The in-person exhibit will be at the Houston Marriott Westchase from 9 a.m. to 4 pm. Virtual exhibits will run for the same times. The Independent Insurance Agents of Houston is seeking sponsorships for both the in-person and virtual events. For more information, contact Renee Stager, or 832-769-5247.


According to a Reuters report, German reinsurance group Munich Re will no longer insure against events canceled due to pandemics. The world’s largest reinsurer is making the change after facing large losses this year. The cancellation and postponement of sports events like the Olympics in Tokyo as well as concerts have been a major burden for Munich Re, which expects a total of $4.85 billion in COVID-related losses. Munich Re aims to increase its return on equity by 12 percent to 14 percent by 2025, up from a return of 9.2 percent in 2019. The company said it would continue a shift away from coal, oil and natural gas.


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners elected 2021 NAIC officers on Dec. 9 during the association’s Fall 2020 National Meeting. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier was elected president; Idaho Insurance Director Dean L Cameron, president-elect; Missouri Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers, vice president, and Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais, secretary-treasurer. All serve in their respective states by appointment to the office of top insurance regulator.


The Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission, a regulatory arm of the NAIC, held its annual meeting virtually on Dec. 4. The commission reelected Rhode Island Superintendent Elizabeth Kelleher Dwyer to serve as chairwoman and Wisconsin Commissioner Mark Afable to serve as vice chairman, and elected West Virginia Commissioner James Dodrill to serve as treasurer. The Management Committee for the coming year includes Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Executive Committee has adopted language that would allow for rebates to be offered to consumers, unanimously adopting an amendment to the NAIC Unfair Trade Practices Act. The adopted language will permit insurers or producers to “offer or give noncash gifts, items, or services, including meals to or charitable donations on behalf of a customer, in connection with the marketing, sale, purchase, or retention of contracts of insurance.” The amendment leaves open the possibility of a cap on gift amounts to be determined by the state commissioner. The NAIC’s Innovation and Technology Task Force has worked on the anti-rebating issue since 2018.


 U.S. commercial insurance prices again grew significantly in the third quarter of 2020, according to Willis Towers Watson’s Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey. The survey compared prices charged on policies underwritten during the third quarter of 2020 to those charged for the same coverage and quarter in 2019 and found the aggregate commercial price change reported by carriers was near 10 percent for the second consecutive quarter. Price changes for nearly every line were consistent with the increases from the prior quarter survey. Excess/umbrella and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance reported the largest price increases; commercial auto showed increases of near or above double digits for the 12th consecutive quarter. The outlier continues to be workers’ compensation, which indicated modest price reductions, though they have tempered for the last seven quarters.


The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on Nov. 30 and was another record-breaking year of storms. A combination of warmer oceans, weather patterns triggered by La Niña, and an unusually busy African monsoon season led to the 30 tropical storms and hurricanes in 2020, more than double the long-term average. Phil Klotzbach of the Colorado State University said that La Niña grew stronger than expected. In the U.S., more than 60 million people live in the path of hurricanes, and some of the fastest growing counties lie along the vulnerable Gulf Coast, which was struck nine times this year. People along the coasts in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America are facing increased risks from Atlantic storms, said Katherine Klosowski of FM Global. Future seasons are likely to produce more powerful storms, but Klotzbach does not expect the 2020 record to be broken anytime soon.


The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas reported continued record-breaking results for each month of 2020 except for July. By Nov. 30, $7.2 billion in surplus lines premium was reported in Texas, a year-to-date increase of 12.3 percent. The November-to-November comparison showed an increase of about $74 million in reported premium, a 14.4 percent increase for the single month. So far, SLTX has recorded 657,849 policies, which represents a decrease of 4.2 percent, compared with the first 11 months of 2019. SLTX reported a 6.4 percent year-to-date increase in the number of policies filed for exempt commercial purchasers and a 14.0 percent reduction in policies for industrial insureds. As of Nov. 30, the office collected $10.82 million in stamping fees this year.


According to its Dec. 1 report, the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation found the percentage of Texas employers that declined to purchase workers’ compensation insurance remained essentially flat from 2018 to 2020, from 28 percent to 29 percent of private-sector employers. The report said that 19 percent of Texas employees are employed by nonsubscribers. The report also revealed that employer non-subscription rates were highest for small employers; 40  percent of those with fewer than four employees did not carry workers’ comp coverage. In addition, 22 percent of large employers with more than 500 employees did not carry the coverage, the next highest group. That figure has grown steadily since 2010, when 15 percent of large employers did not purchase workers’ comp coverage. Overall, an estimated 878,000 private-sector employees in Texas do not have any employer coverage in the case of a work-related injury in Texas in 2020, an increase from about 638,000 employees in 2018.


The Division of Workers’ Compensation made two recommendations for changes to state law in its Biennial Report to the 87th Legislature released Dec. 1. One is to reduce DWC’s reporting requirements by changing The WC Research and Evaluation Group’s obligation to publish a network report card every other year instead of annually and to eliminate reports that examine the impact of the 2005 legislative reforms. The second recommendation is to amend the Labor Code to permit benefit review conferences to be held by video conference or by phone for good cause shown. According to DWC, this measure would reduce travel time and time away from work while remaining fair and accessible. It is also consistent with the Legislature’s mandate that DWC take maximum advantage of technological advances.


On Dec. 1, TDI released its Annual Report for 2020 quantifying many of the department’s activities.  Included in the highlights for the Enforcement Division are TDI assessed $16.9 million in penalties and $2.8 million in restitution; it resolved 600 cases, including 424 concluded with commissioner’s orders, license surrenders, license denials or warning letters. The department reviewed 23,578 property/casualty forms and 3,025 P/C rate filings. The 66-page report is available on the TDI website.


Over the Thanksgiving holidays I read John C. Maxwell’s Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace. This is a timely read. Change is so rapid today that leaders must do much more than stay the course to be successful. If they aren’t nimble and ready to adapt, they won’t survive. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “There is a vast difference between conceding that change is inevitable and believing change is essential.” Maxwell covers the 11 shifts leaders must make to keep innovating, improving, and influencing others to the highest levels of success in today’s unprecedented business climate. I also appreciate Maxwell’s sprinkling of reminders of concepts and models he has presented in prior books. I encourage this read as we “Leadershift” into 2021.

Marit Peters, IIAT president and executive director

Thank you, Marit Peters, for your contributions for the past 15 issues. Our readers most certainly have benefited from reading the recommendations. In case anyone missed them, resolve in 2021 to glean excellent management and relationship strategies from Marit Peters’s Reading List (next page). Choose from titles she reviewed in the Texas Surplus Line Reporter or tune into any Mornings with Marit or her IIAT presentations to learn Peters’s newest selections.