by Frank Huver, SVP
Someone once observed that “Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.”
The CHART Exchange staff can vouch for the accuracy of that remark; a great deal was learned since the concept of an organization dedicated to the needs of the U.S./ London marketplace was first launched about two years ago. We believe our education in this “school of hard knocks” will end up being extremely beneficial for current and prospective members, both in 2017 and beyond.
The inaugural CHART Exchange event was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in October 2015. The selection of this rather expansive venue was consistent with our grand vision of what CHART was going to be: a broad-based organization designed for any domestic insurance agency curious about Lloyd’s of London. Our initial meeting agenda was crammed with a various workshops, breakout sessions, and other activities designed to appeal to this diffuse audience. A number of vendors offering a diverse array of goods and services were invited to participate.
The first CHART meeting was attended by 330 Agency, Risk Taker, and Vendor Partner representatives, not the original (yet very optimistic) projection of 400-500 attendees. We encountered much more resistance from the status quo coverholders than we ever could have imagined. However, what we discovered via our journey was an incredible unmet demand for those who were curious about London.
Building an agenda for those who were not fully exploiting their existing London connections and/ or had never done business with London before crystallized for us with the Second Annual Event held in Baltimore this past October. While fewer people attended the meeting, (by design this time) those who did participate were instrumental in helping us realize CHART’s core objective: to grow the U.S./London marketplace through the identification and pursuit of new business opportunities. Over 400 pre-set appointments between domestic agencies and Lloyd’s Risk Takers surfaced dozens of potential programs. Few (if any) of these opportunities would have been presented to London without CHART.
The 2016 meeting agenda was more focused on new business and contained less “distractions” from our core theme and was promoted as a new an “insiders only” event. This more relaxed environment encouraged attendees to more openly network with peers, conduct business negotiations, and learn more about the products/services available through our Vendor Partners.
The experience of the last two years has taught us many valuable lessons. The most important lesson is: The CHART Exchange is not for everyone. We are better served supporting the needs of the real catalysts within our unique niche – Agencies, Syndicates, and Vendors who are dedicated to significant, sustainable growth of U.S.- based business through Lloyd’s of London.
Attendees at the next CHART meeting will have the opportunity to see just how well we have learned from our experiences. The 2017 Event will be held October 8-10 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore MD. This elegant venue serves to reinforce the notion that we are an exclusive organization.
Our meeting agenda will provide a number of workshops and forums that address issues of interest for the attendees. These breakout sessions will be moderated by recognized leaders in the topic to be discussed. The 2017 meeting will also feature the Risk Taker lounge – an event feature that provides a forum through which insurance agents can submit new program ideas to London Syndicates. The schedule for this facility will be controlled to minimize conflict with the workshops and other networking activities.
The Four Seasons Hotel has a total of 246 guest rooms. CHART has reserved EVERY ONE OF THEM for the three-day Event. We invite you to join us in Baltimore. Registration opens on April 28, 2017. We encourage early sign up so that you are assured your place and so we can get to work on your behalf well in advance to fill your sessions with meaningful connections.
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