Skip To The Main Content

Staff News

  • Cliston Brown Testifies Before State Senate Insurance Committee

    Apr 07, 2021

    Cliston Brown, the SLA’s vice president for Public Affairs, testified March 11, 2021, before the State Senate Committee on Insurance. He appeared at the request of committee staff to provide information to legislators about trends in wildfire coverage and commercial lines.

    In his testimony on Thursday, Cliston reminded committee members of what the SLA is and what it does, provided relevant data about the marketplace, and let them know what members are telling the SLA about key issues affecting the industry.

    In recent years, the SLA has increasingly been called upon by legislators to provide them useful data and information about the surplus lines industry in California. This is the result of the SLA building bridges with legislators, regulators and staff, to ensure that policymakers know they can come to the SLA whenever they have questions about the industry. This bridge building and ongoing communications has helped prevent unintended consequences of well-intended legislation or regulation on several occasions.

  • Members of the SLA Board and Staff Attend the Women in Insurance Conference

    Oct 04, 2019

    Members of the SLA Board, Pam Quilici and Susan Atkins, and staff, Joy Erven, Annie McFate, Tatiana Li, Nadeen Saad, Candace Wong-Sing, Alice Do, Erin Reagan, and Sandhya Dhital attended the Women in Insurance conference yesterday in downtown San Francisco!

    The conference, held at the Marriott in Union Square, had a total of 19 speakers who covered different aspects of leadership in the workplace and provided insight and skillsets to succeed. Those who attended listened in on enlightening discussions covering everything from the development of personal leadership styles and the value of mentorship to career planning and body language for leaders.


  • SLA’s Cliston Brown Testifies Before Assembly Insurance Committee

    Aug 22, 2019

    Capitol Photo Aug 2019

    On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, the SLA’s Cliston Brown testified at the State Capitol before the Assembly Insurance Committee on homeowners’ insurance issues, which are front and center in Sacramento right now due to the ongoing market dislocations resulting from wildfire issues.

    In his testimony, he briefed the committee members on the SLA, what it does, and who it represents, and then provided some statistics on how much of the surplus line industry’s business is in homeowners’ coverage. Brown’s testimony was well received by the committee and committee staff.

    The SLA continues to take every opportunity to make itself known to key decision-makers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and increasingly, it is earning a seat at the table when issues pertinent to our industry are discussed. It is the SLA’s goal to establish a reputation as helpful and reliable participants in these policy deliberations with good data and useful perspectives.

  • SLA CEO Ben McKay Participated In A Panel Discussion At The APCIA Western Region General Counsel Conference

    Jul 26, 2019

    Ben on Panel at APCIA

    SLA CEO Ben McKay participated in a panel discussion at the APCIA Western Region General Counsel Conference today in Los Angeles, joining Dan Brown and John Finston of Drinker Biddle and Joel Laucher of the California Department of Insurance. The panel discussed homeowners insurance issues, which has been a major topic of discussion as admitted insurers have continued to reassess their risk in wildfire-prone areas.

  • The SLA’s Advocacy Team Represents The Industry At Key Hearings, Events

    Apr 04, 2019


    The SLA’s advocacy team was in action on Wednesday, April 3, as Ben McKay and the SLA’s Communications and Government Relations team represented the industry at two important hearings.

    At the request of committee staff, Ben testified before the State Senate Insurance Committee in Sacramento during an informational hearing on the insurance industry. The purpose of the hearing was to give new committee members a briefing about the various facets of the industry. Ben explained the surplus lines industry to the committee and also provided an update on the increased homeowners’ insurance business going into the surplus lines market in recent years, a key issue for California legislators. In so doing, he demonstrated the SLA’s value as a credible source of marketplace information and data on important and timely issues. Communications and Government Relations specialist Caroline Gilbert joined Ben in representing the SLA at this hearing.

    Cliston Brown attended a hearing of the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery in Santa Rosa, a Sonoma County community that suffered massive wildfire losses in 2017. Mindful of the increased role for surplus lines in the homeowners markets after major wildfire years, Cliston attended to monitor the discussions and to correct any erroneous statements that may have been made about the surplus lines industry. Fortunately, no speakers during the hearing presented any misinformation about surplus lines. Prior to the hearing, Cliston worked with the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC), which testified at the hearing, to ensure that it had the most recent available statistics on the role of surplus lines in the state’s homeowners insurance market.

    Cliston also attended the PIFC’s Legislative Reception a week earlier in Sacramento, discussing the basics of the surplus lines industry with numerous state legislators and Governor Gavin Newsom. 

    Additionally, Ben and Cliston are regulars at the thrice-yearly National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ meetings, and they both sit on important committees of the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA). Ben sits on WSIA’s Legislative Committee, and Cliston was recently named a member of its Political Action Committee. 

    The SLA’s attendance at, and participation in, these events gives the SLA an opportunity to make the surplus lines sector known to key decision makers whose votes, rulings and/or recommendations may impact our industry. This is just one of the important ways we work to support our members and to advance a healthy, fair and competitive surplus lines marketplace in California.