NCCIA Conference To Offer Investment Insights in a Challenging Climate

Investment graph showing rises and falls

April 26, 2023 |

Investment graph showing rises and falls

Investments are a critical element of captive insurance companies' strategies, an element made more challenging recently by factors like inflation, recession fears, and rising interest rates. The North Carolina Captive Insurance Association (NCCIA) will devote considerable attention to the subject of the economy and investments at its upcoming 2023 Annual Conference, including through an opening keynote presentation by Oscarlyn Elder, senior managing director and cochief investment officer at Truist Wealth.

The 2023 NCCIA conference is scheduled for May 7–10 in Asheville, North Carolina, with Ms. Elder delivering her remarks during the opening plenary session May 8.

Ms. Elder said her remarks will include an examination of the current economic climate and what can be expected over the next 12 to 18 months. The presentation will include a deeper dive into inflation, employment and unemployment, credit tightening, and monetary policy, she said.

"Additionally, I will discuss Truist's outlook for equity and bond markets and offer insight as to how captives may consider navigating these challenging times," Ms. Elder said.

"I think the timing of having Oscarlyn as the keynote speaker is perfect," said Thomas Adams, president and CEO of the NCCIA. "Her background of over 20 years in investment and wealth management, in particular in her role as cochair of the Truist Wealth investment platform, is absolutely perfect for the time in which we find ourselves currently with the turmoil in banking markets and with interest rates."

Mr. Adams noted that Ms. Elder is an experienced speaker who has appeared on numerous news programs. Ms. Elder also is the host of Truist Wealth's I've Been Meaning To Do That podcast.

She holds both an MBA and a PhD in leadership studies. Since 2002, Ms. Elder's career has been focused exclusively on investment and wealth management, with a current focus on ultra-high net-worth clients.

Ms. Elder noted the variety of challenges facing investors in the current climate.

"The investment climate for many investors remains challenging as investors assess if the economy will have a hard or soft landing and the path of future Fed action (i.e., how high will Fed funds rates go and how long will it be before the Fed eases again?)," she said. "Additionally, the equity market has been incredibly resilient year-to-date, which may indicate growing complacency by market participants who are pricing a fair amount of good news in an environment where we see elevated macro-economic risks."

Such an environment demands a focus on quality in assessing possible investments, according to Ms. Elder.

"Quality matters; given elevated macro-economic risks, we believe this is a time where it is critically important to understand at a deep level the quality of the fixed income in your portfolio," she said. "From an equity perspective, we expect markets to be choppy and recommend remaining defensive."

Mr. Adams said that current conditions make investments an issue of considerable interest to NCCIA members as they head to this year's conference.

"Obviously, a big part of what goes into managing a captive is the investments a captive makes to be able to grow its premium in order to meet claims," Mr. Adams said. "So, they've been very sensitized to interest rates.

"When you look at our program for this year's conference, you'll see that there's a significant emphasis on investments and the economic climate," Mr. Adams said.

In addition to Ms. Elder's presentation, the agenda for this year's NCCIA conference includes a session focused on the evolution and basic principles of environmental, social, and governance investing and the impact of economic uncertainty on captive insurance company investments.

Other topics on this year's NCCIA conference agenda include captive governance, the medical impact of COVID-19 and captive risk management, voluntary employee benefits, claims handling, dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, risk retention groups, and the attractions of the North Carolina domicile.

"We're trying to elevate everyone's interest in the conference this year," Mr. Adams said. "Asheville presents a beautiful spot in the spring for people to come and enjoy not only the conference but one of the nicest spots in North Carolina as well."

Beyond the location, the quality of the agenda for this year's NCCIA conference promises a quality experience for conference attendees, Mr. Adams suggested.

"When I look at this year's conference agenda, the variety of speakers, the depth of the knowledge that our panelists have bodes well for a very excellent experience as well as some terrific networking opportunities."

Mr. Adams said attendance for this year's conference will be strong. This year, the NCCIA had the largest number of registrations ever by the conference's early-bird registration cutoff date, he said.

Mr. Adams noted that about two-thirds of attendees for the NCCIA conference come from outside North Carolina. That detail speaks to the impact the greater visibility the state is enjoying as a captive domicile is having in attracting attendees to the conference to see what North Carolina can offer as a captive domicile.

"And that, I think, is a tribute to the fact that North Carolina is the largest domicile in the Southeast, the fourth largest in the country, and sixth largest in the world," Mr. Adams said.

April 26, 2023