2021 Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Gavin Christensen
Founder, Kickstart Seed Fund 

Opening Keynote Speaker

Gavin Christensen is an entrepreneurial VC with a passion for investing and building Utah and the West. In 2008, Gavin recognized a need for both leadership and capital at the seed stage in Utah. Gavin worked with the Utah ecosystem to found Kickstart Seed Fund to fill this gap. Starting a seed stage firm focused on Utah during the Great Recession was not easy, but Kickstart is now the most active investor in Utah at the seed stage with 85+ investments. Now into his second decade as a seed stage investor, Gavin was fortunate get his 10,000 hours in venture capital early in his career. Prior to Kickstart, Gavin was an analyst, associate and principal at vSpring Capital (now Signal Peak) where he developed a love for venture capital investing in the Mountain West Region. Before vSpring Capital, Gavin also worked as a Vertical Strategy Associate for Google and as a consultant in Monitor Group's Cambridge office where he advised clients on a range of strategic, operational, and organizational improvements.

Gavin received a Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics (with Honors) from Brigham Young University. Gavin is a board member or observer on the boards of Adwallet, Chargeback, Chatbooks, Claravine, CloudApp, Grow, Localfluence, Lucid Software, Monarx, Photopharmics, Qzzr, Rackware, Spiff, and TaskEasy.

Keynote Speaker

Tim Ballard

Author, Anti-Human Trafficking Activist, Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad

Closing Keynote Speaker

Tim Ballard is the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit that fights against child sex slavery. He is also the CEO of The Nazarene Fund which seeks to save oppressed religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East. Ballard began his career with the CIA and then spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was deployed as an undercover operative. He has worked every type of case imaginable in the fight to dismantle child trafficking rings. He has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations. In 2013, Tim and a team of former government operatives left their careers to go about the work of saving children as a private foundation. Tim has briefed the President of the United States and other cabinet members on issues of child trafficking. He has also testified before the US House and Senate on several occasions. In 2019 he was appointed by the President to chair the White House Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. 

Tim has been featured on many national news outlets to discuss his efforts to combat child trafficking. He was featured in a story by ESPN with Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin. He also has appeared on CBS Evening News, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, The Ingraham Angle, The Glenn Beck Program and many other outlets. Ballard is the principal subject of two full-length documentaries: The Abolitionists, by Academy Award-winning producer, Gerald Molen, and Operation Toussaint, by Emmy Award-winning director, Nick Nanton. His life story will also be depicted in the upcoming feature film, The Sound of Freedom, where he will be portrayed by actor Jim Caviezel and his wife Katherine is portrayed by Academy Award Winner, Mira Sorvino.
Tim is the best-selling author of six books including Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues-Then and Now and The Lincoln Hypothesis. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. He also received the distinguished George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. 

Eric H. Anderson, FCAS, MAAA

Actuary, GPW and Associates, Inc.

Session: Captive 101 

Following his graduation from ASU in June 2008, Eric Anderson joined GPW and Associates, Inc. as an Actuarial Analyst. Following his attainment of Fellowship in the Casualty Actuarial Society in 2015, he was promoted to Actuary. Eric's responsibilities include reserving and pricing focusing on commercial lines, reinsurance and captive insurance. Fields of expertise include developing and pricing enterprise risk captive insurance programs for various types of clients. also has expertise with various Finance and Insurance (F&I) products including vehicle service contracts, guaranteed asset protection, tire and wheel and other ancillary programs within the F&I space.


Rae Brown, CPA, ACI

Senior Consultant - Management Services, GPW and Associates, Inc.

Session: Captive 101

Rae Brown joined GPWA in 2017 to apply her skills in the captive insurance industry. In her position as Senior Consultant, Management Services, she specializes in captive insurance companies for mid-sized employers. In 2008, she joined the Phoenix office of Marsh, leaving as a Vice President. She previously held positions as Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller for various companies. She also owned a public accounting firm prior to joining Marsh. Rae is a Certified Public Accountant and has expertise in various insurance domiciles and is responsible for assuring high quality service in captive management activities. Additional duties include assisting clients in design, organization and implementation of captive insurance programs. She is currently the President of the Arizona Captive Insurance Association.

Robert W. Burghart, MBA, CIMA, AIF

Senior Vice President – Investments, Raymond James & Associates

Session: Track A | Investing Across the Pandemic - Lessons Learned

As the founder, manager and team leader of Cornerstone Financial Consulting of Raymond James, Robert’ Burghart's role is to ensure that the firm has a well-established vision and plan to serve as a leading resource for insurance and reinsurance administration organizations. He wants clients and prospective clients to understand the importance and value in having professionals with industry expertise assisting them with their insurance company investments, from designing an investment policy to executing an investment plan. As a Certified Investment Management Analyst and Accredited Investment Fiduciary, Robert applies state-of-the-art investment theory and integrates a complex body of investment knowledge systematically and ethically to assist clients in making prudent investment decisions. Prior to Raymond James, Robert was a Senior Vice President of Investments for Wells Fargo Advisors. 

Andrew Christine
Associate Director, Aon Captive & Insurance Management Commercial Risk Solutions

Session: Captive 101 

Andrew Christie manages the South Western captive service team with responsibility for servicing captive clients domiciled in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Canada encompassing over 50 captive entities. He performs accounting and compliance oversight and is involved in captive and risk finance business development opportunities. Prior to his role in Arizona, Andrew was part of the Aon Risk Finance & Captive Consulting team based out of New York and the Aon Captive Management team in the Cayman Islands, a total of 11 years’ experience in captive insurance specialty.


Gregory H. Cobb

Investment Strategist / Insurance Solutions Group, Sage Advisory Services

Session: Track A | Investing Across the Pandemic - Lessons Learned

Gregory H. Cobb serves as Investment Strategist at Sage and Director of the Insurance Solutions Group. He has over 30 years of experience in managing investment portfolios for both traditional insurance companies and entities within the alternative risk transfer space. Greg began his career in 1987 as a Fixed Income Portfolio Manager for Barnett Banks of Florida. Later, he served as Senior Portfolio Manager for the institutional asset management arms of both SunTrust and Bank of America with a specialization in insurance company portfolio management. From there, he served as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer for Sovereign Advisers and most recently as Director of Fixed Income and Lead Strategist for Boyd Watterson Asset Management.  


Bob Davidson

Managing Director of Captive Consulting and Underwriting, ICG Captive Services, LLC

Session: Brightest Opportunities in the Captive Industry V4

Bob Davidson has worked in insurance and risk management for the past 40 years after graduating from Vanderbilt University. Since 2002, he has worked extensively with captives and companies seeking to create their own captive insurance company. His talent is finding cost effective solutions for financing risk. His career has included affiliations with firms including Johnson & Higgins, Marsh and Arthur J. Gallagher. Today he serves over seventy (70) captive insurance companies providing risk management expertise. Bob holds the Certified Insurance Counselor, Charter Property Casualty Underwriter, and Certified Risk Manager designations.


Anjanette Fowler

Director of Insurance Business Development & Relationship Management, Madison Scottsdale

Session: Track A | Investing Across the Pandemic - Lessons Learned

With over 25 years of experience in the investment management arenas of several insurance companies, Ms. Fowler brings a valuable understanding of the unique statutory, operational, investment and accounting considerations particular to insurance clients and the industry. Prior to joining Madison Scottsdale in 1995, she directed the Investment Accounting department and managed short-term investments for a large insurance group. Ms. Fowler holds a BS in Finance from Arizona State University.


Rob Gilligan
Assistant Vice President - FInance, Innovation Captive Strategies

Session: Track B | Advantages of Employee Benefit Captives

Rob Gilligan joined Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS) in 2016. As Assistant Vice President (AVP) Finance, Rob is responsible for the oversight and management of all financial aspects of ICS captive clients including accounting, actuarial, audit, banking, and taxation. Additionally, Rob uses his financial expertise to provide consulting services including preparation of feasibility studies and financial analysis of captive structures. Rob has over 6 years of experience in the insurance industry and works with various lines of business and captive structures including pure, group, and cell captives. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Rob earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. He is professionally accredited as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is also a member of the Iowa Society of CPAs. Prior to joining ICS, Rob held several accounting-related roles, including Director of Finance with a supplemental insurance agency, and senior audit associate with Deloitte.


Charles (Chaz) Levelle

Partner, Dentons Bingham Greenebaum

Session: Captive Insurance Tax - The Latest

Charles J (Chaz) Lavelle was elected to the Captive Review Hall of Fame, has received CICA’s “Distinguished Service Award” and VCIA’s “Service to the Captive Industry” award. He is a lawyer in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP. He regularly represents clients before IRS, and frequently speaks and writes on captive insurance topics. Chaz was outside Tax Counsel for both Humana (brother-sister) and Ocean Drilling (unrelated business) in their captive insurance victories in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Among his civic and charitable activities, he is past Chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Renea Louie

Vice President, Pro Group Captive Management Services

Session: Brightest Opportunities in the Captive Industry V4

Renea Louie joined the Pro Group family of companies in 2005. She serves as Vice President of Pro Group Captive Management Services. Renea is an accomplished business professional with extensive experience and knowledge in the Alternative Risk Transfer industry. Pro Group, since 1995 is known as the premier administrator of self-insured groups for workers' compensation and approved Captive Manager specializing in alternative risk transfer solutions for businesses of all sizes and types. Prior to joining Pro Group, she held top level roles in the IT and high-tech industry. Renea has 28 years’ experience in senior management, operations, IT, marketing and administration. She is responsible for the day to day operations of Pro Group companies. Mrs. Louie has served the industry as a Board member on the International Center for Captive Insurance Education (ICCIE) for 2 terms totaling 6 years and continues to serve on the marketing committee. She has served on numerous committees over the past 14 years in several state and national associations including Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Vermont, Tennessee and others and chairs several currently. She currently serves on the SIIA subcommittee on regulation, the Western Region Association, and is an elected Director of the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) and recently was elected as an officer serving as the secretary / treasurer of the global organization. She holds degrees in Risk Management and in Insurance.


J. Michael Low

Partner, Kutak Rock LLP

Session: Captive 101 

J. Michael Low is a partner with Kutak Rock LLP and a former Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance. Mike’s practice includes a wide range of insurance-related representation, including litigation consulting, reinsurance matters, arbitrations, and insurance corporate and regulatory matters involving the formation, merger and acquisition of insurers, including captive insurers. He has authored reports and testified as an expert witness in over 100 matters in state and federal court involving life, health, property and casualty insurance coverage, claims handling and bad faith issues. Mike has been a guest speaker before various groups and organizations on a wide range of insurance issues and has authored several articles covering topics such as the formation of offshore reinsurers, health care risk transfer mechanisms and workers' compensation issues. He has also served as an adjunct professor of law at the Arizona State University College of Law teaching a course on insurance law. He sits on the Boards of 15 captive insurers, including captives owned by Apple, Pacific Life and Voya Financial. 


Adam Miholic, MBA

Senior Consultant - Captives, Hylant

Session: Track B | Level Up: Expanding Captive Utilization

Drawing on over 9 years’ experience, Adam Miholic works with clients and prospects to model and evaluate various captive insurance structures that will best protect and finance risk for corporations of any size and industry. He has extensive experience leading captive feasibility and modeling projects for Group Captives, Cell Captives, Risk Retention Groups and both large and small Single Parent Captive entities. Adam currently serves as committee member for the Captive Insurance Companies Association's (CICA) NextGen initiative, focused on attracting, retaining, and educating young and new professionals in the captive industry. Adam is also on the conference committee for the Western Region Captive Insurance Conference (WRCIC). Adam earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Education and History from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in business from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Nicola Neilon, CPA

Shareholder, Casey Neilson, Inc.

Session: Brightest Opportunities in the Captive Industry V4

Nicola (Niki) Neilon is a shareholder in the public accounting firm of Casey Neilon, Inc. Niki has worked with insurance entities since starting her public accounting career in 1997, and began working with her first captive clients in 2003. Currently, Niki works with many captives, including risk retention groups, five self insured associations and two state insurance funds. Casey Neilon, Inc. is authorized to provide auditing services to captives in multiple onshore and offshore domiciles. Niki serves on the Nevada State Board of Accountancy and is a Regional Director for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Ashley Nissen

Account Executive, Innovative Captive Strategies 

Session: Track B | Advantages of Employee Benefit Captives

Ashley Nissen joined Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS) in 2015. As an Account Executive, Nissen is focuses on growing ICS Employee Benefits group captives with quality companies. This includes educating and advising current and potential captive owners on an alternative way to finance their health insurance to obtain greater long-term stability in the insurance marketplace. Nissen uses her expertise to provide captive owners with a way to finance medical costs and manage their population health risk to reduce claim costs and retain underwriting profits which ultimately leads to greater stability and predictability for their business. A cum laude graduate of Iowa State University, Nissen earned her B.S. with a double major in Marketing and Management. She is licensed in Life and Health Insurance and holds her Group Benefit Associate (GBA) designation. She is also a member on the Self- Insurance Institute of America, Inc. (SIIA) Future Leaders Committee, where she is active in helping young professionals in the self-insurance and alternative risk space network, educate and train to become leaders in their field, while promoting the industry.

Allan Smith

Client Service Leader, March Captive Solutions

Session: State of States - Regulator Roundup

Allan Smith is a Client Service Leader, Senior Vice President Arizona Office Head and part of the Executive Leadership Team of Marsh Captive Solutions. He is responsible for oversight of client teams that manage the daily activities of captives, strategic captive program design, and leads new business development and implementation for the Western part of the USA. Allan’s unique brokerage background affords expertise in broader risk strategies, tools and resources that captives utilize. His focus on both short and long term strategies sets a road map and helps a captive work in concert with the parent or group’s holistic risk program. Allan recognizes that a captive is only a piece in the broader context of a client’s risk strategy and works with brokerage teams inside and outside of Marsh to dovetail seamless solutions. He has extensive experience working with clients of all sizes to set up and strategically utilize a captive to maximize risk program efficiency. Allan has years of experience within many industry segments including: Retail/Wholesale, Real Estate, Financial Services, Health Services, Manufacturing, Transportation, Sports and Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Public Entities (including Native American sovereignty concerns), Gaming and Oil & Gas. EXPERIENCE Allan has been with Marsh for 21 years and recently joined Marsh Captive Solutions in 2017. Prior to joining Captive Solutions for 7 years he was a Client Executive serving national and global companies, and for 14 years before that was a Property & Casualty Placement Broker structuring and negotiating large complex risk programs. Prior to that he worked at the Canadian Petroleum Insurance Exchange, an energy reciprocal for upstream oil & gas companies. Allan is experienced in risk identification and complex risk structure design, captive insurance program implementation and administration, and is also responsible for client relationship management, new captive education and development, captive optimization and global account coordination.


Daniel Towle

President, Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA)

Session: Hot Topics, Threats & Opportunities in the Captive Market

Daniel Towle has been President of CICA since 2017. CICA is the premier global, domicile-neutral captive insurance association. CICA brings together approximately 400 members from all sectors of the captive industry to network, share best practices and provide a unified voice on issues impacting the industry. CICA works to protect the captive industry. CICA monitors emerging issues and regulatory changes in the U.S. and around the world. Together with its advocacy partners, CICA can proactively help mold laws and regulations affecting the captive industry. CICA was the 2018 US Captive Award Winner for “Industry Advocate”. Daniel is a frequent presenter at conferences throughout the U.S. and internationally. He is highly visible in international media and is viewed as an authority on captive insurance. He has been recognized for his contributions to the global captive insurance industry and perennially is listed in Captive Review Magazine’s “Power 50” which recognizes the most influential individuals in the global captive insurance industry, in 2020 he was ranked #12. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Center for Captive Insurance Education. He previously has served as an Advisory Board Member for World Captive Forum, Chaired the Risk & Insurance Management Society Exhibitor Advisory Committee and was active in various capacities with the Vermont Captive Insurance Association. Previously, Daniel worked as the Director of Financial Services for the state of Vermont for 17 years. At Vermont he was the chief marketing and business development professional for the state’s captive insurance industry and was instrumental in its growth. During his tenure more than 500 captive insurance companies were licensed in Vermont.

Travis K. Wegkamp

Director, Utah Captive Insurance Department


State of States - Regulator Roundup

Track B | Level Up: Expanding Captive Utilization

Travis K. Wegkamp was named Utah Director of Captive Insurance on August 15, 2016 by Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. Prior to his appointment as Director Travis served as Assistant Director of Captive Insurance and as Financial Examiner before that when he joined the Utah Captive Insurance Division in May of 2011. Travis was an Audit Assurance Associate for McGladrey and Pullen in Las Vegas before his move and transition to captive insurance in Utah. Travis is a native of Utah, growing up in beautiful southwestern Utah in the city of St. George. He graduated with an Associate of Business degree from Dixie State College, before moving on to Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City, Utah where he obtained a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis in accounting and then finally receiving his Masters' of Accountancy degree from SUU as well.


Mark Wiedeman, ACI, CFE, PIR

Captive Insurance Assistant Director, Utah Insurance Department

Track B | Level Up: Expanding Captive Utilization

Mark Wiedeman was raised in Denver Colorado and moved to Utah in 1991.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master’s in Public Administration both from Brigham Young University.  Mark started his regulatory career working as a valuation analyst for the Utah State Tax Commission.  He came to the Utah Insurance Department in 2012, as an auditor, worked his way up to Senior Examiner, and was hired into the position of Assistant Division Director in 2016.  Mark has achieved his Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) designation from the Society of Financial Examiners as well as the Associate in Captive (ACI) designation from the International Center for Captive Insurance Education and Professional in Insurance Regulation (PIR) from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  In addition to his duties for the Insurance Department, Mark is also an adjunct faculty member at Utah Valley University in Orem Utah where he teaches classes in Economic History.


P. Bruce Wright, CPCU

Partner, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Session: Captive Insurance Tax - The Latest

Nationally recognized as an authority in the captive insurance industry, Bruce Wright counsels companies on a wide range of tax and insurance law issues, including formation of commercial offshore privately and publicly held entities. He also works with clients on the development of structured financial products such as securitizations, swaps, options, and similar products used as alternatives to conventional risk financing mechanisms such as "rent-a-captives" and "cell companies." Representing domestic and foreign-based clients, Mr. Wright advises property and casualty insurance companies, guides the formation of single-parent/group captive insurers, and counsels risk retention groups. With more than 4 decades of experience, he has helped clients successfully navigate an array of complex federal income tax issues such as debt or equity characterization, engaging in US trade or business issues, continuity of interest, passive foreign investment company status, controlled foreign corporation status, limitations on the use of net operating losses, cancellation of indebtedness income, consequences of debt modification, original issue discount, federal excise tax, and state premium tax on premiums paid to foreign investors.

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