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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:05 p.m., Friday, April 21, 2006

Top risk managers to meet in Honolulu

BY Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

A bird flu pandemic, wild weather changes, and other threats to corporate and economic stability will be examined as more than 9,000 of the world's top risk managers, insurance executives and actuaries meet on O'ahu starting Sunday.

Among the dignitaries and speakers expected for the Risk and Insurance Management Society's annual meeting at the Hawai'i Convention Center are the Prime Minister of Bermuda, and Lynn Brewer, a former Enron Corp. executive who helped blow the whistle on unethical practices at the company.

"This is an opportunity to show off Hawai'i to the world in a very important industry," said state Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt. He said the companies such as Nike Inc., Intel Corp., eBay Inc. and Mitsui have set up captive insurance companies here, ranking Hawai'i among the top 10 countries or states in the captive insurance business.

"This is a complex, cutting edge new area of business and there aren't very many complex, cutting edge areas of business that Hawai'i is in the top 10 in the world."

Schmidt said the state will have a booth promoting it desirability for establishing captive insurance divisions, a type of insurance company with a limited purpose, usually covering the risks of its parent firm. It will also showcase Hawai'i as a port of entry for foreign insurers who want to establish operations in the United States.

Top executives from some of the world's largest insurance companies, including Marsh Inc. and AIG will speak, as will experts on risks posed by a flu pandemic and those who are exploring a rise in natural disasters worldwide.

Attendance registration was running behind the almost 11,000 that attended the group's convention in Philadelphia last year, but is attracting more senior executives, association spokeswoman Marisha Chinsky said. It will run through Thursday.

Reach Greg Wiles at 525-8088 or gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.