Vermont Regulator Rises To The Top In Captive Review’s Annual “Power 50” Poll
Nate Formalarie, Communications Director
Agency of Commerce and Community Development
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Stephanie Brackin, Information Management Officer
Department of Financial Regulation
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Montpelier, Vt. – Captive Review, a leading London-based trade publication for the captive insurance industry, has released their annual “Power 50” and “Ones to Watch” selections. These polls recognize the most influential individuals in the global captive insurance industry. A record fourteen captive insurance professionals with ties to Vermont were recognized.
Sandy Bigglestone, Director of Captive Insurance at the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, was one of only two regulators recognized and the highest-ranking, climbing 10 spots from the 2020 poll to number 7 in this year’s “Power 50.” Sandy manages Vermont’s captive regulatory operations and licensing and monitoring of the financial condition of captive insurers domiciled in Vermont.
“Sandy has been instrumental in ensuring that Vermont not only remains the ‘Gold Standard’ domicile, but that the industry as a whole strives to be regulated to the same level of quality and innovation,” said Commissioner Michael Pieciak, Department of Financial Regulation. “Her passion to continuously improve and her exemplary leadership has made her a ‘Gold Standard’ regulator which should serve as a model to all regulatory bodies in all industries.”
With 24 years of experience, having started as a Captive Insurance Examiner in the department, Sandy rose within the department over the years and has been in her current role as Director for 11 years. Sandy is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Examiner, Certified Public Manager with the State of Vermont, and earned an Associate Professional in Insurance Regulation designation from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. In 2018, Sandy was the recipient of the Women to Watch Award by Business Insurance, making her the first Vermonter and only captive insurance regulator to have received the prestigious award.
Sandy’s passion for professional development is exemplified in her role as a member of the Captive Insurance association’s (CICA) Amplify Women™ Task Force and chair of the Education Sub-Committee, where Sandy leads the effort to provide information and educational opportunities to Amplify Women™ members and the greater captive insurance industry to help support women in their skill building and growth in the industry. “Today, I continue to earn the same support by Department leadership who provide me with various opportunities to engage in important work as a critical thinker,” said Sandy Bigglestone, Director of Captive Insurance. “I enjoy working to provide others with similar opportunities and support within our staff and in the industry as a whole.”
Sandy is also the Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Risk Retention Group Task Force, a working group that is focused on various state, federal, and industry activities impacting risk retention groups. “Many of my efforts are focused on quality-control and initiatives to discover improvements in the way we function as captive insurance regulators. I expect there will always be something to learn, which is a part of the job I love,” said Sandy.
Five professionals associated with Vermont captives were also recognized, including: Julie Bordo, President and General Manager, PCH Mutual Insurance Co; Andrew Baillie, Program Director Global Insurance Property, The AES Corporation; Deyna Feng, Director Captive Programs, Cummins Inc; and Tracy Hassett, President and CEO, edHEALTH. Collectively, these individuals account for one in four of all captive owners represented in the captive owner’s category.
Seven captive professionals with Vermont ties were also featured on the “Power 50,” including Nancy Gray (3), Regional Managing Director Americas, Aon Captive and Insurance Management, who rose from 15th place in 2020; Anne Marie Towle (8), Global Captive Solutions Leader, Hylant and current Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) board member; Dan Towle (9), President of CICA and former Director of Financial Services for Vermont; Pete Kranz (11), Captive Practice Leader, Beecher Carlson; Bob Gagliardi (21), Head of Captive Management, AIG and current VCIA board member; Steve Bauman (24), Global Programs & Captives Director, Americas, AXA XL, and former VCIA board member; and John Prescott (38), Managing Partner, Johnson Lambert.
“Vermont’s captive professionals continue to foster growth and innovation in the industry and their awards are well deserved,” said Deputy Commissioner David Provost. “We thank them for their tremendous work in making Vermont a leader in the captive insurance industry.”
Additionally, Steve McElhiney, former chair and board member of the VCIA, and current Senior Vice President & Director of Reinsurance of Artex, was inducted into the Captive Review’s Hall of Fame for his leadership and expertise regarding reinsurance needs for captives.
“Steve has been a constant source of knowledge and leadership and is highly respected in the captive industry,” said President of the VCIA, Rich Smith. “His work has made a significant impact on the direction of our organization to better support captive insurance companies and the complexities they face.”
As stated in a previous release, Leonard “Len” Crouse passed away in May, 2021. Len was the former Deputy Commissioner of Captive Insurance in Vermont and was inducted into Captive Review’s Hall of Fame in 2017, among others previously inducted, including Deputy Commissioner David Provost and former Director of Captive Insurance Ed Meehan. Captive Review staff acknowledged Len’s contribution to the industry during the “Power 50” virtual event.
About Vermont Captive Insurance
Captive insurance is a regulated form of self-insurance that has existed since the 1960’s and has been a part of the Vermont insurance industry since 1981, when Vermont passed the Special Insurer Act. Captive insurance companies are formed by companies or groups of companies as a form of alternative insurance to better manage their own risk. Captives are commonly used for corporate lines of insurance such as property, general liability, products liability, or professional liability.