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    Presidents and Fraternal Operations Mid-Year Meeting Topics Hit Home

    Sorry for the long break between posts.  It’s not that there’s a shortage of topics to discuss – my “blog idea” file keeps growing every day.  But we’re in the thick of Section Mid-Year Meeting season here at the Alliance and things have been a little…busy. We’ve wrapped up the first three Mid-Year meetings of the season – Fraternal/Communications, Fraternal Operations, and Presidents – and your ratings and comments on the evaluation forms have exceeded our highest expectations.  That means the Advisory Councils for each Section – the executives from member societies that are responsible for planning the programs for these meetings – did a terrific job in anticipating the topics members wanted to address and best speakers to cover them, and the Alliance staff followed through by orchestrating (almost) seamless meetings that delivered real value to members. MidYr Photo We have three Mid-Year Meetings left – Canadian (May 14-16); Investment (May 22-23); and Actuaries (June 5-6).  You can learn more about each meeting and register for them online by clicking here. In the meantime, here are some of my thoughts and comments from attendees on last week’s Fraternal Operations and Presidents Section Mid-Year Meetings:

    • The highest rated speaker was Greg Ip, an incredibly bright economist (with a personality, no less!) and editor of The Economist.  His commentary on interest rates, economic recovery, and the delicate balance between the economy and economic policy were worth the price of attendance.  The best part of his presentation, however, was the Q&A segment following his prepared remarks.  Alliance members played “stump the economist” with some very tough questions that Greg handled flawlessly.

    o   “Greg Ip was just terrific.

    • For the first time ever, the Alliance brought together regulators or former regulators from five states – Louisiana, New York, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin – for a 75-minute panel discussion on the regulatory challenges facing fraternals.  In an expansive discussion that covered everything from guaranty fund participation to the rising cost of examinations, regulators and Alliance member executives got to know and understand a little more about the issues important to each side.

    o   “Having a chance to hear and speak with the members of the regulatory panel was the most beneficial part of the meeting.”

    • Attendees also gave high marks to the panel presentation on Hispanic marketing – which was somewhat surprising since so few fraternals are actively engaged in targeting this growing demographic.

    o   “We just can’t ignore the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and the Catholic Church.  If you want to grow, you have to go where the growth is.

    • But my nominee for “Quote of the Week” goes to the CEO who, after hearing regulators discuss the pressing need for fraternals to update their governance structure and business model, said:

    o   “You know how you change things at a fraternal?  One funeral at a time.”

    Next week’s blog will highlight some of the upcoming speakers and topics that will be included on the 2014 Annual Meeting program.  Registration will open soon, but mark your calendars today because you won’t want to miss this event – September 4-6, in Austin, TX.

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