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  • SLA's Benjamin McKay Testifies at CDI's Export List Hearing Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    Aug 27, 2018

    The California Department of Insurance (CDI) held an Export List hearing on Wednesday, August 22, pursuant to the new law enacted in 2017 enabling the department to hold multiple hearings if needed and to consider new, innovative products for which an adequate and reasonable admitted insurance market has not yet developed.

    SLA Executive Director Benjamin McKay testified, reiterating that the new law, proposed and lobbied successfully by the SLA last year, gives the department greater expressed authority to add coverages to the list, and that this will help facilitate coverage for the wide array of new technologies and products in which California is among the world's leaders. He also reported that all coverages on the Export List have been utilized for the past five years and updated the CDI on the top five Export List coverages by premium and item for the past full 12 months. These were as follows:

    Top five Export List coverages by premium (August 1, 2017-July 31, 2018):

    • Commercial DIC/Stand-Alone Earthquake: $643,472,317
    • Excess Liability Where Part of Underlying Is Nonadmitted: $308,896,448
    • Individual Insureds with Large Schedules: $225,300,069
    • Environmental Impairment Remediation/Pollution Liability: $202,630,459
    • Employment Practices Liability: $176,248,800

    Top five Export List coverages by item count (August 1, 2017-July 31, 2018): 

    • Commercial DIC/Stand-Alone Earthquake: 26,793
    • Employment Practices Liability: 16,469
    • Excess Liability Where Part of Underlying is Nonadmitted: 10,528
    • Environmental Impairment Remediation/Pollution Liability:10,277
    • International Major Medical: 7,585

    The only new addition to either list is the emergence of international major medical among the top five Export List coverages in item count, supplanting vacant buildings.

    Also at the hearing, the top coverage on the list (commercial DIC/stand-alone earthquake) came up for debate, with some insurers asking that it be removed from the list because they believe an adequate and reasonable admitted market has developed. Representatives of ICW Group and Golden Bear Insurance Company testified that this coverage should be taken off of the list, while a representative of Worldwide Facilities said that only three admitted markets, lacking the higher ratings that some banks need to approve mortgages, are currently writing it, and one of those products is a mix of admitted and nonadmitted.

    In response to statements implying that the admitted market is more solvent than the surplus lines market, attorney Dan Brownof Drinker Biddle told the CDI that no surplus line insurer had become insolvent in about 15 years.

    Additionally, representatives of Ascend Insurance Solutions asked the CDI to add third-party liability and physical damage coverage for unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., drones) while in flight and not-in-flight. The CDI will now consider both requests and announce its decisions at an unspecified date. The SLA will inform its membership of the CDI's decisions.

    To see the current Export List, please go to: And to see more about the dynamic California surplus lines marketplace, visit us at
  • Joy Erven Represents the SLA at the Claims and Litigation Management Annual Conference in Houston

    Mar 21, 2018



    Joy Erven represented the SLA at the Claims and Litigation Management Annual Conference in Houston, Texas on March 15th. The CLM is the largest professional association in the insurance industry with a membership of more than 45,000 professionals in the claims resolution and litigation management industries. At this event, Joy participated on a panel and discussed the liability risks and other uphill battles facing the cannabis industry.

  • SLA Says Goodbye As Laura Danoff Retires

    Jun 01, 2017
    Laura Danoff

    On June 1, the SLA said goodbye to Laura Danoff, Assistant Vice President, Education and Compliance, who retired after 11 years with the association. Laura started at the SLA in September, 2006, after more than 20 years as a surplus lines broker and seven years as an independent insurance educator, teaching a number of CE courses for the SLA and the Insurance Educational Association as well as for the SLA staff. She is currently on the IEA’s Board of Directors. She has served on the boards of Golden Gate CPCU and Santa Clara Valley Chapters. A writer, Laura has been published in American Agent and Broker and several issues of Society of CPCU about analyzing surplus lines policies. Her “Hot Fudge Diet” article was published in Weight Watchers Magazine in 1987.

    After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Laura started her career as an English teacher in the Midwest and eventually made her way into surplus lines. “I was working as a clerk-typist at a small insurance company in Palo Alto, as I didn’t want to be a substitute teacher.  A female underwriter (rare back than) encouraged me to take insurance classes towards the CPCU designation. The company went out of business and a recruiter sent me to a small surplus line broker in San Jose, where I learned the broking business and the importance of honesty and ethics. When the owner died, the firm was acquired by a large national firm. I was promoted to broker and transferred to their San Francisco office at 50 California, and obtained my CPCU designation in 1981.”

    Laura is grateful for the opportunity to have worked with her SLA colleagues for more than a decade, and she will miss their friendship, as well as making them sing Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song.

    In retirement, Laura plans to sleep in, continue to sing backup in her synagogue’s rock band, travel with her husband Gordon, do some serious selling on eBay, and lots of writing.

    “I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to teach and to assist our brokers with their questions. The work that the SLA does is important, and it’s an honor to have been a part of it.”

  • SLA welcomes Pamela Boyes, VP Human Resources

    Aug 11, 2015

    Pamela BoyesThe SLA welcomes Pamela Boyes as its new vice president, Human Resources. Pamela has more than 15 years of experience in her field, with certifications in human resources management (SPHR and SHRM-CP) and most recently worked at PS Print in Emeryville, where her responsibilities included staffing, training, benefits and safety, as well as an advisory role to all staff. Pamela is a graduate of Michigan State University.

  • Benjamin McKay and Hank Haldeman meet with U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas

    Jun 12, 2015
    SLA Legislative Committee Chair Hank Haldeman (fifth from right) and SLA Executive Director Benjamin McKay (third from right) met with U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas (center) in his Washington, D.C. office during the NAPSLO Legislative Fly-In held in May, 2014.