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NRRA Newsline

July 29, 2015

Wisconsin Allows Risk Retention Groups to Insure Health Care Providers

– The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, a risk retention group (OMIC), announced today that risk retention groups once again are permitted to write health care liability insurance for providers in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin legislature passed the 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, effective July 14, 2015, which includes amendments to the laws that had previously kept risk retention groups from insuring Wisconsin physicians, nurse anesthetists, hospitals, and other medical entities.

In 1990, Wisconsin passed legislation preventing health care providers to obtain medical professional liability coverage from "unauthorized" nondomestic insurers, including risk retention groups. OMIC was unsuccessful challenging the new law in court.  Attempts to work with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to reinstate risk retention groups were ineffective.

Starting in 2012, with the support of the Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology, the Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, and the Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists, OMIC pursued legislation with the sponsors of the bill, Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, Representative John Nygren and Senator Alberta Darling, culminating in its final passage.  Ultimately, they had the support of Governor Scott Walker who refused to veto the amendments, keeping true to his motto that “Wisconsin is open for business!” 

“We are excited to bring OMIC’s ophthalmology-specific services back to Wisconsin,” said Timothy J. Padovese, OMIC President and CEO. “We look forward to a positive working relationship with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and are eager to meet the insurance needs of ophthalmologists in Wisconsin.”  This was echoed by Kim Wynkoop, OMIC Senior Legal Counsel and former Chair of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), who stated that, "as intended by Congress when it passed the federal Liability Risk Retention Act in 1986, health care providers in every state in the nation can once again obtain their medical professional liability insurance from a risk retention group." 

OMIC, a risk retention group,, and a strong supporter of NRRA, is the largest insurer of eye physicians and surgeons in the United States and is the nation’s premier source for ophthalmic risk management information, having educational alliances with 50 state specialized interest ophthalmic societies and maintains the exclusive endorsement and sponsorship of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

 About NRRA

NRRA is the professional association that represents the interests of Risk Retention and Purchasing Groups.  RRGs are authorized by the Liability Risk Retention Act to write liability insurance nationally when licensed by a single state.

July 17, 2015


ENCINO, Calif. – In this newest victory involving the intersection of state "direct action" statutes and the Liability Risk Retention Act (“LRRA”), the case of Courville v. Allied Professionals Insurance Company and Rathman was decided on June 5, 2015 by the Louisiana Court of Appeals, holding that the LRRA "preempts" Louisiana’s "Direct Action"  Statute.  This case follows a series of favorable decisions so far overruling direct action statutes and anti-arbitration statues.  Other cases are pending or are under consideration, according to Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director.

The deciding factor in Courville, similar to earlier favorable decisions, is the fact that certain state laws which unfavorably interfere with the business of insurance for risk retention groups are preempted by the federal law, Deems said.

In the case, plaintiff Ronald Courville not only sued his chiropractor, Thomas Rathmann, D.C., but also sued Dr. Rathmann’s insurance company, Allied Professionals Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group (“APIC”).  He named APIC under Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute.  APIC moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and under the LRRA.    The Louisiana Appellate Court also stated that it was following the reasoning in a 2014 decision in the federal District Court of Appeals in New York,  Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Insurance Company, holding that application of New York’s direct action statute would violate the LRRA.  NRRA was "amicus curiae" (friend of the court) in both cases.

Michael Schroeder, Chairman of APIC said, "Naturally, we are quite pleased by this  Court of Appeal’s opinion. This is the last of our five cases that were brought around the country to establish clear legal precedent regarding improper attempts to apply state laws to regulate risk retention groups.  While we waited many months for this  decision to come down, we are glad that we could again contribute to some reliable legal decisions where risk retention groups can be more confident in their abilities and free of illegal state regulations."

NRRA Chairman, Dan Labrie, citing this as another great victory for the risk retention Industry, also noted that "as the national association dedicated to the unique legal standing and interests of risk retention and purchasing groups, NRRA has worked closely with its members to vindicate their rights when they are unfairly and illegally infringed upon.  We will continue to be diligent to guard against any attempts to improperly regulate this viable industry," he said. 

April 28, 2015


LOS ANGELES – National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) Executive Director Joseph E. Deems announced today that former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson will be the keynote speaker at NRRA’s National Conference. 

NRRA’s annual showcase event takes place at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, 2015. Sen. Nelson is slated to speak on Sept. 30 at 12:45 p.m.

Sen. Nelson is CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a focal point of NRRA regulatory advocacy in recent years. After two terms as Governor of Nebraska and two terms in the U.S. Senate, Nelson was named CEO of NAIC on Jan. 23, 2013. Before entering politics, he served as CEO of the Central National Insurance Group and Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of NAIC.

“NRRA is committed to protecting Risk Retention Groups and Purchasing Groups and the law enabling them to do what they do, the Liability Risk Retention Act,” NRRA Board Chair Dan Labrie said. “There are times when NRRA has to challenge various states based upon the industry’s interpretation of the Act. With that in mind, Senator Nelson’s appearance should make for a lively dialogue.”

Since the law was passed in 1986, RRGs have become a major industry with approximately 250 companies generating over $2.5B in premium. The Purchasing Group sector also has grown dramatically, now standing at over 900 entities.  

“RRGs and PGs have made a valuable contribution to the marketplace by providing viable insurance and risk management options to those who need insurance, groups such as hospitals, doctors, and public housing authorities,” Labrie said. “It is critical that the industry remain unified and keep this industry healthy. Also, we must continue to educate the insurance world, regulators, and groups in need of nontraditional insurance options on the value of and need for RRGs.”

February 24, 2015


The NRRA Board of Directors met in New York on February 19, 2015 and reviewed plans for its 2015 Annual Conference, which will take place at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel on Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

"We received high survey comments from 2014 Conference attendees as to both the program and location,” NRRA Chair Dan Labrie said. “This year's conference will be even better.  Last year, we decided upon a change of scenery and moved from our familiar Washington, D.C. environs to Chicago. Members asked us to visit different locations and visit a place offering easier travel access from different parts of the country – especially our west coast members. Chicago gave us both- - and then some,” he added.

2015 Conference Update

According to NRRA Vice-Chair and Conference Committee Chairman, Rod Nofziger, this year’s program further develops popular conference topics and maintains our traditional fast-paced, integrated-schedule.  All attendees, including sponsors, will continue to have the opportunity to participate in all sessions and learn about what’s new in the industry.  Panel groups will address regulatory developments, National Association of Insurance Commissioners issues, risk management, reinsurance, cyber-security and liability, health care, and our successful government affairs agenda, which has spearheaded numerous judicial decisions favoring the industry.  An open forum “Regulator Roundtable” will be held in addition to our always¬≠-popular “Ask the Regulators” session. There will be plenty of networking opportunities!! 

"NRRA's sponsors seem particularly pleased with their inclusion year-round in the ‘Sponsor Gallery’ on our website, and on our mobile app, making the Conference a great opportunity to do business with everyone who is anyone in the RRG and PG industry," NRRA Executive Director Joe Deems said. "We are excited about our prospective speakers, who will deliver provocative insights on many topics."

The NRRA Annual Conference takes place at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel on Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. For updates and conference news, visit

NAIC Update

NAIC has been a focal point of NRRA's regulatory advocacy in recent years and its presentation at our conference will highlight these developments, which include NRRA's proactive involvement in the defeat of a recent recommendation that "captive managers" be treated as “controlling” individuals under the Insurance Holding Company’s System Act. Stay tuned for more details…

Another Amicus Win

There is an updated decision from the District Court in Nebraska on the Allied Professionals' Speece case.  In Speece, NRRA had previously filed an Amicus Curiae ("friend of the court") brief before the Nebraska Supreme Court, which had ruled in September, 2014 in favor of Allied Professionals that the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) preempted the State’s (anti) arbitration statute. The matter was then remanded back to the district court on the unresolved issue of whether the arbitration clause in the Allied policy was "unconscionable" in requiring that arbitration take place in California. The district court ruled in January 2015 that the policy provisions were not “unconscionable” and ordered the matter into arbitration pursuant to the terms of the policy – another "win" for the team. 

NRRA’s Government Affairs initiative continues its perennial advocacy on behalf of the industry, winning key cases last year in federal and state courts holding that the LRRA actually preempts certain states' anti-arbitration and "direct action" statutes. For decades, NRRA has fought to uphold the right of RRGs to operate nationally when licensed in a single state, pushing back efforts by some state regulators to overreach their authority under the Act with registration requirements, excessive fees, and other limits on RRG authority.  All regulators belong to the NAIC, with which NRRA works regularly to educate on these and other issues.

Over the past 28 years, the RRG industry has grown immensely. The industry includes nearly 240 companies generating over $2.5 billion in premium. The PG sector has grown dramatically and now numbers over 900.  Recent opinion articles by industry rating experts show that RRGs, for example, are performing as well as, if not better than, traditional carriers.

“We’ll continue to support any efforts, legislative, regulatory or judicial, to put teeth in the federal law by further clarifying that domiciliary states are the exclusive arbiter of whether a company qualifies as a RRG under the LRRA, that there is no authority under the LRRA to impose registration renewal requirements on RRGs, and that registration is a filing requirement and not a mechanism for non-domiciliary state regulation of foreign RRGs,” Labrie said. “As everyone can see, if we have to, we go to the courts.”

October 2, 2014


Chicago, IL -- Dan Labrie, President and CEO of the Housing Authority Insurance Group (HAI), which serves public housing authorities across the United States, was elected Chairman of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) at its Board of Directors meeting here.

"Dan Labrie is a leader in our industry who has given strong support to NRRA over the years. We are especially pleased that he has agreed to serve as Chairman," said Sanford "Sandy" Elsass, who has been Chairman for the last three years.

The HAI Group is composed of 11 diverse companies that provide insurance and other services to the public and affordable housing community. HAI offers liability insurance to its members through the Housing Authority Risk Retention Group, Inc., one of the largest and most successful risk retention groups. The Company was one of the first RRGs organized after enactment of the Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 (LRRA).

"NRRA is the public voice of risk retention and purchasing groups with a successful record of defending the industry against challenges to the authority of RRGs to operate in some states; I am confident in the future growth of this important sector of the insurance industry," Labrie said.

Some 240 risk retention groups collectively write over $2.5 billion premium.

Under the LRRA, RRGs are authorized to write liability insurance in all 50 states when licensed in a single state.


Chicago, IL -- Ed Meehan, pioneer of captive insurance regulation in the United States, was honored posthumously with the Karen Cutts Visionary Award, which is granted annually by the National Risk Retention Association to an individual who made an outstanding contribution to the risk retention and purchasing group industry.

Meehan set the foundation for captive regulation in the U.S. as Vermont's first Director of Captive Operations following enactment of the State's captive insurance law in 1981. Vermont went on to become the preeminent domicile licensing more than 1,000 captive insurance companies over the years. The principles Meehan established remain solidly in place: regulation free of politics, strong capital requirements, firm but flexible, rigorous oversight, and always ready to hold captives accountable.

The award was presented at NRRA's annual conference by Sanford "Sandy" Elsass, Chairman of NRRA; Len Crouse, former Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Captive Division; and Derick White, President of Strategic Risk Solutions-Vermont and formerly the State's Director of Captive Insurance. Meehan's son Mike, a consultant with Milliman, accepted the award on behalf of his father.



Chicago, IL -- The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last week that the Liability Risk Retention Act preempts a state law which prohibits arbitration provisions in insurance policies.

A chiropractor sued Allied Professionals Insurance Company, a risk retention group, claiming that an arbitration provision in the Allied policy was illegal under state law. Allied appealed the district court ruling in favor of the chiropractor. The Supreme Court overruled the district court in an unqualified opinion that the federal Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA) preempts the state law.

“I am very pleased by this sweeping ruling in favor of the risk retention industry on the preemption of state laws regulating risk retention groups,” said Michael Schroeder, Chairman of Allied. He pointed out that the Nebraska Supreme Court decision follows recent favorable decisions in similar cases by federal circuit courts of appeal in the Second and Eleventh Circuits.

Joseph Deems, Executive Director of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), speaking at the Association’s annual conference in Chicago hailed the decision as an “important precedent that reinforces the preemption provisions of the LRRA in cases that involve state statutes and is one more in a series of court decisions upholding the right of risk retention groups to operate free of most regulation in all 50 states when licensed in a single state.”

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Save the Date

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend NRRA's 2015 National Conference.  

September 29 - October 1, 2015
Sofitel Hotel
Chicago, IL