SIIA Group Self-Insurance Fund Roundtables: Recap

As the Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA) annual conference in Phoenix fades into the background, Louisiana Comp Blog sought out commentary from SIIA leadership to get the details on what was discussed at the group self-insurance fund roundtables, and how the national SIIA perspective contributes to the group fund community in Louisiana.

Duke Niedringhaus provided us with a recap. Niedringhaus is a Vice President at J.W. Terrill specializing in group captives and brokering excess workers’ compensation for self-insured groups. Duke is a long standing member of SIIA and chairs the SIIA Workers’ Compensation Committee. He also tracks developments for SIGs nationwide as part of his work with SIIA and cites Louisiana as a major state for successful SIGs.

Niedringhaus explained that the roundtables began as an effort to “take a break from traditional conference presentations” and really discuss where the rubber hits the road for SIG administrators throughout the country. The roundtables, which Niedringhaus organized, consisted of three parts. The first was general, while the second “got the perspective of Michigan and California regulators” on issues like insolvency and the shifting regulatory environment for group funds on a national level.

The third session, Niedringhaus noted, focused on the takeaways via a wrap-up of major issues and a discussion of “where SIIA needs to be positioned.” He explained further: “There’s a real need and desire by SIGs for trustee training information and programs for the incoming board member who is a business owner with no insurance background. They also expressed a desire for an advanced second part to the trustee training from SIIA which would include things like insolvency issues, how to engage members, and soft and hard underwriting environments.”

Additionally, Niedringhaus personally encourages community through his voice with SIIA. “Any SIG problem nationally is an SIG problem locally,” he said, referring to the ongoing 2010 New York insolvency scandal which sent shudders through the collective regulatory body for group funds from coast to coast and stuck small employers with nearly $1 billion in claims.

Ultimately though, Niedringhaus is optimistic about the future of group funds, especially for states like Louisiana, in which SIGs have been historically strong and streamlined. “Alabama and Louisiana are the two major states where SIGs have a real, strong foothold and a large market share,” he said. Niedringhaus also applauds and advocates for certain high-risk industries to band together for their workers’ compensation needs, noting construction and oil and gas as major examples for Louisiana.

SIIA is set to host its 2015 Self-Insured Workers’ Compensation Executive Forum in New Orleans from May 12-14th at the Windsor Court Hotel.

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