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ITA LIVE Offers Attendees Learning, Collaboration Options

Robert Regis Hyle | January 30, 2017

Jim Daggett is co-founder and executive director of the Insurance Technology Association. Periodically he checks in with the ITA membership to discuss plans and issues for the coming months. With ITA LIVE just one month away, Daggett answers some questions on the work it takes to make this annual conference meaningful for those who attend. Members can still register to attend this year’s conference by visiting the ITA website www.itapro.org/ITAlive.

Why is ITA LIVE such an important part of the mission for the Insurance Technology Association?

DAGGETT: One of the first things we did when the ITA was formed in the fall of 2013 was to develop a mission statement. In it we stated: “The goal of the Insurance Technology Association is to provide members with opportunities to collaborate, educate, network, share, and use knowledge related to insurance technology.” We had yet to formulate any plans for hosting a conference, but it was clearly in the back of our minds. I come from a more traditional media background, but I have quickly come to realize that, just as insurers are discovering, not all of our customers (or in the ITA’s case, members) are the same. They have different needs and expectations so it is imperative we look for different ways to bring them together in the collaborative manner that business in 2017 demands.

What are the challenges in putting together a roster of speakers that will attract insurance IT leaders to the conference?

DAGGETT: It is a great challenge because there is a great deal of competition in what we do in the conference setting. We try to find fresh voices that our attendees may not have heard speak before, but we need to ensure that what they have to offer is of the quality that those who have attended the first two ITA LIVE conferences have come to expect from us. So much has happened in the insurance industry since the ITA was formed in the fall of 2013 that important topics for this year’s conference were not even on the radar three-plus years ago. Finding the best speakers is a responsibility we do not take lightly because we know that conference attendees are giving up a great deal in time and expenses to share time with us and we can’t afford to waste their resources.

 

How important is selecting the location and the property when hosting a conference?

DAGGETT: In the spring of 2014, when we decided to host our first conference, we felt it was important to find a nice, warm location since many parts of our country go through a long, cold winter and look forward to a warm climate, even if it’s just for three days. Conferences aren’t meant to be vacations, but the opportunity to put your winter coat away for a few days and look out on the ocean certainly is preferable to looking at a pile of snow in a parking lot. We believe our location this year, the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa, will allow our attendees to recharge themselves. They will be at the conference to learn more about some of the important issues facing the industry, but when we take breaks or when the sessions are over for the day, they will have an opportunity to spend time with their peers in a sharing environment that will likely bring a smile to everyone’s face.

When will you begin planning for ITA LIVE 2018?

DAGGETT: This year’s conference ends on March 14 so I’d say we’ll begin thinking about ITA LIVE 2018 on March 15th. Seriously, though, ITA LIVE has become embedded into our brains and anytime we read some fresh thoughts or hear of an excellent speaker we make a mental note to keep track of that person or that subject and find a way to work it into our plans for the following year. We can never be satisfied with ITA LIVE, our magazine or our websites. That means we have to constantly think of ways to make them all better and more relevant to our membership.

Members can still register to attend this year’s conference by visiting the ITA website www.itapro.org/ITAlive.

 


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