Every year for over a decade, Spring has sent team members to Burlington, Vermont in late summer for the annual Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) conference. As a leading US Captive domicile, Vermont has long been at the forefront of captive expansion and policy, and their yearly summit brings together some of the best and the brightest in the industry. This VCIA in particular was special for me personally, as I was recognized as an emerging professional in the field. It is always special when you win an award, more so, when it is your peers who recognize you.Captive Review Award Winner 2019

As per usual, seminars covered a wide range of topics, from drones and artificial intelligence, to ROI, reinsurance negotiation and tax updates. However, after taking the time time to reflect on what really stuck with me from the conference (and to jot it all down), I realized that many were interested in the different, perhaps untraditional ways to use a captive. As such, I am sharing some key takeaways centered around that theme below.

  1. Product & Program Innovation

Not only are captives in and of themselves are a mode of innovation, but they also serve to proliferate further innovation, in terms of coverage lines, products and program structures.  In one Innovation Spotlight session, edHEALTH and HCMS Group highlighted their use of captives to reduce health spend, implement population health management and develop predictive modeling. In “Captive as Laboratory”, Steve McElhiney and Ed Koral covered emerging and future risks, encouraging the audience to think about what unique risks their organization faces, both internally and externally. They then discussed how to use a captive to provide a tailor risk
offering with potential risk support, for risks such as TRIA or contingent business interruption.

  1. Group Health Plans

Unfortunately for both employers and employees, the unaffordable healthcare trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Reducing healthcare spend is a key component of many organizations’ captives, as they allow for more control and transparency. Beyond that, there is an opportunity for captives to serve as a group health exchange structure for like organizations who band together. As mentioned above, edHEALTH is a great example of a group of higher education institutions joining together for group purchasing power for health and other benefits. Further, Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry, spoke on Association Health Plans, which have hit some regulatory hurdles, but have a clear tie to the self-insured captive model. This session featured a case study on Agri-Services Agency, a subsidiary of the Dairy Farmers of America, who is in the process of using a captive to allow for the provision of group healthcare for its diverse membership, many of whom reside in rural areas or are sole proprietors.

 

  1. Retention

“Utilizing a Captive as a Talent Retention Tool” brought a different angle to the benefits and use cases of captives. The presentation emphasized how captives can boost employee benefits in a noticeable way to the end-user: the employee. Captives also create unique roles and responsibilities within an organization that enable valuable experience and growth for employees.

 

As you see, in between an exciting awards ceremony for myself and Spring, and plenty of dinner and cocktail receptions, I was certainly still able to further my industry knowledge and I met a lot of great people along the way. We are already looking forward to VCIA’s 2020 conference and hope to see you there!

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Prabal Lakhanpal

Prabal Lakhanpal

Prabal is a Senior Consultant with Spring and leads technical and management support in the areas of employer-sponsored and voluntary employee benefits, product development, technology solutions and captive insurance. Prabal joined Spring in 2015 as a graduate from Babson College, where he graduated with a master’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining Spring, Prabal worked as a consultant and advisor to clients in various industries and sectors.