WIND 2014 Article in Magazine

WIND 2014 Conference Sneak Peek

This month, the Windstorm Insurance Network will be hosting its 15th Annual Windstorm Insurance Conference, or “WIND 2014.”

Taking place Jan. 27-30, at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., the conference is an educational forum where representatives from all segments of the windstorm insurance claims industry can ponder the impact of past hurricane seasons and exchange ideas and solutions. In addition to professional development and networking, the conference offers continuing education (CE) credits for numerous states, bar associations, and numerous designations.

In anticipation of the event, Claims spoke with Michelle Griffin, executive director of the Windstorm Insurance Network.

What’s new at this year’s WIND conference?

Griffin: This year, we are celebrating our 15th anniversary, so one key focus will be on how far we have come in such a short time. We’re also excited to launch the WIND Professional Designation Program, which was established to recognize individuals within the industry who demonstrate exceptional professionalism and technical knowledge in the field of property and windstorm insurance claims.

The program includes two levels of designations: the Windstorm Insurance Network Associate (WIND-A) and Windstorm Insurance Network Fellow (WIND-F). Both designations recognize individuals who show a dedication to ongoing education in their respective concentrations.

Has this year’s CE program been expanded compared to that in 2013?

The 2014 conference provides the largest total CE opportunities ever for WIND. For example, an insurance adjuster or licensed agent who attends all of this year’s sessions can secure as many as 22 credit hours of continuing education. Attorneys can secure, on average, as many as 14 CLEs. For most of our professional categories, every single workshop has been applied for CE offerings.

The conference has also expanded its CE offerings for general contractors to their full annual requirement of 12 hours of CEs if they attend the specific workshops that have been approved specifically for them. Additionally, there are opportunities specifically for CPAs, engineers, mediators, CPCUs, RPAs, and others to garner credits.

In the brochure, you allude to nearly ‘two years’ worth’ of CEs. How did you come up with that number?

Almost all states and professions require either 12 CE/CLE per year, or 24 every two years. This means attendees can easily secure way more [credits] than the one-year requirement, given that the conference offers a total of 22 hours—or nearly two full years of CE.

In your opinion, what are the most important takeaways for this year’s attendees?

Well, many policyholders and insurance professionals had not experienced the magnitude and nature of damages from a storm like Sandy previously. In light of this, they are newly experiencing some of the issues and claims-handling challenges that we here in the Southeast and Gulf Coast have braved throughout the years. Therefore, we expect some of the [new] hot topics to be:

  1. Reviving wind vs. wave discussions.
  2. Appraisal issues. Many of the firms in the Northeast simply have not experienced what industry professionals in the southeast have, in terms of the appraisal process.
  3. Building methods used in the original construction of homes, including how new codes will affect rebuilding efforts.

For more information, including the application process and criteria, about the WIND Professional Designation Program, visit

Sessions To Watch

Keynote Speaker: Dave Barry

The author, humorist and Pulitzer prize-winner will take the stage at 8:30 a.m. on Tues., Jan. 28 during the general session.

Hurricane Wind vs. Surge Timing: The Facts, Plus When and How to Find a Meteorologist

Wed., Jan. 29 (WD16) 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. (WD26) 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. During the workshop, five industry leaders will address misunderstandings relating to timing the arrival of damaging winds and storm surge associated with hurricanes.

The presentation will include a broad overview of the scientific facts concerning such hazards, along with a discussion of relevant case law from both the insurer and policyholder perspectives. It will also address the role meteorologists can play in providing scientific reconstructions of the magnitude of typical elements comprising a wind-related weather event.