Meet Our Speakers

Chlora Lindley-Myers (Event Host)

Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance

Chlora Lindley-Myers was appointed director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance. She was confirmed by the Missouri Senate on April 13, 2017. She leads the department that protects consumers and ensures a strong and stable insurance market through the regulation of professionals and businesses that impact Missourians’ lives daily.

She has served in several senior positions in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. She has also served in leadership roles in the regulatory and insurance industries, as well as within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In addition to Missouri, she has worked for both the Kentucky Department of Insurance and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, and for the NAIC.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Connecticut. Chlora is licensed to practice law in various states, including Missouri. She has received national recognition for her work. As the Deputy Commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance, she was awarded the Robert Dineen Award for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the State Regulation of Insurance. In August of 2020, she received the Al Greer Award for her exceptional dedication, knowledge and support of the field of insurance regulation by the Insurance Examiners Regulatory Society (IRES).

Director Lindley-Myers currently serves as Vice President of the NAIC. She continues to serve on the Executive (EX) Committee and the Government Relations Leadership Committee. Chlora currently also serves in additional leadership roles with the NAIC, Chair of the Reinsurance (E) Task Force, Vice-Chair of the Market Information Systems (D) Task Force, Vice Chair of the Consumer Participation Board of Trustees, Co-Vice Chair of the Special (EX) Committee on Race and Insurance, member of the Financial Condition (E) Committee, and member of the International Insurance Relations (G) Committee.

Oliver Boyd

U.S. Geological Survey

Oliver Boyd is a Research Geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey studying multiple issues relevant to seismic hazards. He began with the National Seismic Hazards Modeling Project in Golden, CO in 2004 studying time-dependent seismic hazard in Alaska and producing a seismic hazard analysis of Afghanistan, the latter being done in conjunction with other U.S. Agency for International Development’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. He moved to the USGS office in Memphis, TN in 2007, collocated with the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information, to focus on earthquake hazards in the central and eastern United States (CEUS) and returned to Golden in 2013 to work on issues related to earthquake hazards across the conterminous United States, specifically those related to earthquake ground motions as part of the Ground Motion Project. 

Much of Oliver’s past research has centered on several aspects of earthquake hazards including time-dependent earthquake probabilities, earthquake magnitude, and earthquake stress drop. He helped revise CEUS source models for the 2008 and 2014 updates of the National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM) and helped to incorporate basin models in the western United States for the 2018 update of the NSHM. More recently, he has been helping to construct a geology-based National Crustal Model for earthquake hazard studies. 

Prior to joining the Survey, Oliver studied Geology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and worked for Geo-Insight in Denver, Colorado and Western Geophysical in Houston, Texas, and on seismic crews in the deserts of Algeria and Egypt. He returned to academics and obtained his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His graduate research included laboratory experiments of seismic wave attenuation in artificial glass cracks and glass bead cylinders, tomographic modeling of seismic wave attenuation and velocity beneath the western United States, and receiver function studies in New Zealand.

Serena Sowers

Swiss Re

Serena Sowers is a Vice President at Swiss Re, who focuses on creating insurance-based solutions to critical global challenges, including natural catastrophes, climate change, healthcare, food security, infrastructure, and longevity. Serena works with government entities at the federal, state, and local levels to identify risks and develop risk transfer options. Serena is passionate about building strong and resilient communities by enabling individuals, governments, and businesses to plan for and recover quickly from shocks and stressors. 

Carrie Couch

Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance

Carrie Couch currently serves as the Director of the Consumer Affairs Division for the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance. The Consumer Affairs Division handles and mediates consumer complaints against insurance companies and agents and provides consumer outreach and education to Missourians. Carrie began her career with the department in 2000, in the legal section. In 2007, she moved to the Consumer Affairs Division in the Agent Investigations Section and in 2010 was promoted to Chief of Investigations. She became Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in 2014.

Jo LeDuc

Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance

Ms. LeDuc is the Director of Insurance Market Regulation Division at the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI). This Division is responsible for reviewing insurance policies, rates, products and marketing strategies for compliance with Missouri law, performing market conduct examinations to ensure fair treatment of policyholders and compliance with Missouri law, and monitoring the marketplace through market analysis. Prior to joining DCI, Ms. LeDuc was with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) where she served in several roles, including Deputy Director of the Bureau of Market Regulation, Insurance Administrator, and Insurance Examiner.

Ms. LeDuc has also served in various roles on committees at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In addition to chairing the Market Analysis Priorities (MAP) Working Group and the Level 2 Analysis Ad Hoc Technical Group, she served as Wisconsin’s representative on the Market Actions Working Group (MAWG); Market Information Systems Task Force (MISTIF); Market Conduct Annual Statement (MCAS) Working Group; Market Information Systems Research & Development (MISRD) Working Group; Market Regulation Examination Standards Working Group; Market Regulation Accreditation Task Force; Market Analysis Tools Automation Ad Hoc Technical Group; and the Consumer Connections Working Group. She also played a key role in the development of the Market Conduct Annual Statement, the Market Analysis Prioritization Tool, and the Market Analysis Review System. 

She is a member and a past President of the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society (IRES). In addition, Ms. LeDuc is a member of the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP) and the Securities and Insurance Licensing Association (SILA). She is the recipient of the Paul DeAngelo Memorial Teaching Award, the Al Greer Achievement Award, the Chartrand Communications Award, the IRES President’s Award and the IRES Executive Committee Award. Ms. LeDuc holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In addition, she has earned the following professional designations: Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU); Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI); Associate in Claims (AIC); Associate in Insurance Data Analytics (AIDA); Associate in Insurance Regulation (IR); Associate in General Insurance (AINS); Associate in Personal (API); Associate in Insurance Regulatory Compliance (AIRC); Certified Insurance Examiner (CIE); and, Market Conduct Management (MCM).

Michael Cohen

Renaissance Reinsurance

Michael Cohen is the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Renaissance Reinsurance, a global provider of reinsurance and insurance to cover the risk of natural and man-made catastrophes. He is responsible for the company’s global government affairs work as well as external relations.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Cohen was a director of industry and state relations at Freddie Mac.

 He also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House Community Empowerment Board in the Clinton White House, was the White House liaison at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and ran the Office of Special Actions for HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. In addition he established and ran the Office of Disaster and Emergency Management at HUD, following a series of disasters in 1997. 

Michael was a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives and has held various other positions both in and out of government.

He currently serves on the boards of the R Street Institute, the National Hazards Center, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Florida, and the Florida Insurance Council.

Michael grew up in Miami, Florida and earned a B.A. at Columbia University and a J.D. at Emory University School of Law.

Brian Houston

Department of Communication at University of Missouri-Columbia

J. Brian Houston, PhD, is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology, Director of the Disaster and Community Crisis Center (, and Core Faculty and Health Promotion and Policy Emphasis Director for the Master of Public Health Program in the Department of Public Health at the University of Missouri. 

Houston’s research is interdisciplinary and focuses on communication at all phases of disasters and community crises. His work examines the mental, behavioral, and public health effects of these events. Houston’s work considers maladaptive outcomes following disasters such as distress and dysfunction, but also explores how humans are adaptive and resilient following collective traumatic events. He teaches courses on disaster, risk, and crisis communication.  

Houston’s work has been supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI).

Lori Croy

Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance

Lori Croy is the director of communications for the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance. Her focus is on helping Missouri citizens understand “who we are, what we do and how we can help them.” In addition, she is responsible for communicating with industry partners in the areas of insurance, banking, credit unions and professional licensing to ensure the protection of consumers while also maintaining a safe, level and competitive playing field. While this may sound boring, Lori gets to talk about everything from bail bondsmen to earthquakes – yes, that’s really a thing in Missouri! 

 She also has 24 years of experience in higher education and private consulting. Lori is interested in a truly integrated communications strategy – taking down the traditional departmental silos and putting the needs of the audience first. She has a passion for people and internal communications and believes humor is one of her communications superpowers. 

In addition to being creative in her government role, Lori is also a published children’s book author and a food blogger. 

Jeff Briggs

Missouri State Emergency Management Agency

Jeff Briggs is the earthquake program manager for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. He heads SEMA’s earthquake preparedness and outreach activities, and coordinates operations for the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission and the Missouri SAVE (Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation) Coalition. He’s also past-president of the National Earthquake Program Managers work group. He’s worked in state government for 30 years, handling communications, training and project management for SEMA as well as the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Lisa Groshong 

NAIC’s Center for Insurance Policy and Research

Lisa Groshong is CIPR’s Communication Research Scientist. She joined the NAIC in 2019.

Dr. Groshong has research experience in qualitative and quantitative methods and brings to CIPR a background in journalism, strategic communications, and education. She specializes in translating complex data into clear, actionable insights related to some of today’s most pressing issues, including climate change and health. At NAIC, Dr. Groshong has conducted research and analysis in a variety of subject areas, including an analysis of NAIC’s climate risk disclosure survey. She is currently working on projects related to long-term care insurance, cyber security, and earthquake.  

Before joining the NAIC, Dr. Groshong worked on a multi-year project examining climate change perceptions among Missouri State Parks visitors, funded by the National Science Foundation. She also spent many years as a writer and editor for daily newspapers, encyclopedias and magazines and in strategic communications.

Dr. Groshong earned her PhD in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. She also holds an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia and Georgia. 

Chris Brown


Chris Brown is Principal at Mindset.

 Prior to his tenure at Mindset, Brown most recently served as Senior Professional Staff for House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC). In this role, Brown oversaw all financial institutions and consumer credit policy matters including oversight of the federal banking regulatory agencies and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; the chartering, branching, and M&A activity of financial institutions; data security; credit reporting and repair; financial regulatory reform; and access to financial services, among other issues. 

Prior to joining Ranking Member McHenry, Brown spent almost a decade in the office of Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) serving as his Deputy Chief of Staff and Financial Services Committee Designee during the Congressman’s tenure as both Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, where Brown spearheaded efforts to reform U.S. housing programs and conduct oversight of key domestic and international insurance issues.  

Before his service on Capitol Hill, Brown served in a variety of roles in the George W. Bush Administration, serving as Associate Director for the Office of Presidential Personnel at the White House, where he oversaw the agriculture, energy, environment, and interior portfolio. Brown also spent more than two years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as White House Liaison to the Secretary of the Interior.

 Brown has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife live in Washington, D.C.’s Maryland suburbs with their two sons. 

Alan McClain

Arkansas Insurance Department

Alan McClain was appointed as Arkansas’s 24th Insurance Commissioner by Governor Asa Hutchinson on April 3, 2020. Prior to his appointment, McClain served for five years as Commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS)—a sister agency of the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) under the state Department of Commerce.

Commissioner McClain began his career in state government in 1992 at AID, spending eight years in its Public Employee Claims Division. Prior to joining AID, he served as a Claims Manager for self-insured workers’ compensation plans at the Little Rock offices of Fred S. James Insurance.

McClain served thirteen years with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC), where he spent almost nine years as its Chief Executive Officer. While at the AWCC, he also served as the regulator for companies and groups seeking to self-insure workers’ compensation risks. In 2013 McClain left the AWCC to join the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked alongside numerous state workers’ compensation agencies as they utilized the work of WCRI in making data-driven policy decisions.

McClain served as President of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation between 2019-20, as well as President of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards & Commissions (IAIABC) in 2011, where he was named Co-Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)/IAIABC Joint Working Group. During his time as Commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, Governor Hutchinson also appointed McClain to serve on the Arkansas Workforce Development Board, and the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

McClain is a native Arkansan. He holds an undergraduate degree from Hendrix College in Conway, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Tina Owens

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management

Tina Owens is the Chief of Staff for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM). She began her career in emergency management in 1996 as the administrative assistant to the Plans & Operations Division. Tina advanced to a Planning Specialist position in 1999 and the Preparedness Division Director in 2006; within those positions she assisted in updating the State and County Emergency Operations Plans in coordination with state agency liaisons and local governments. She also coordinated the grants program for the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), now the Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the receipt of more than $110,000,000 for the State of Arkansas. In line with her finance goals, Tina promoted to the Administration Division Director in 2007 where she continued to work with state liaisons as well as local county governments along with overseeing the agency’s State and Federal budgets. In 2012, she promoted to the Deputy Director position overseeing all daily operations of the agency as well as working with state and federal partners on many projects. Organizational changes were implemented in 2020 naming Tina the Chief of Staff for ADEM. 

Tina earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway in 1991. Tina and her husband James reside in Vilonia, Arkansas.

Dan Clapp

Shelter Mutual Insurance Company

Dan Clapp is an Executive Vice President for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company in Columbia, MO. He is a property and casualty actuary by training and has been involved in the Company’s pricing and exposure management strategies throughout his 30-year Shelter career.

Dan began his career at Shelter as an actuarial analyst on January 1, 1992, 393 days after the predicted (courtesy of Dr. Iben Browning) date of a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. While the prediction was dubious, Dr. Browning definitely brought focused attention to the region’s earthquake risk, both for consumers and insurers. 

After having various roles within the department, Dan was named Vice President of the Company’s actuarial department in 2002. In 2010, he added leadership responsibility for the Company’s enterprise risk management activities. In 2011, he was named to his current position. 

Dan currently has oversight responsibility for the Company’s accounting, investment, general services, information security, and data analytics departments. He maintained direct responsibility for the actuarial department through the end of 2020 and has had oversight responsibility for Shelter’s underwriting and reinsurance departments in the past.

Dan grew up in the Kentucky part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics at Murray State University in 1985. He completed a Master of Arts degree in Statistics at the University of Missouri in 1987. He became an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1997.

Andrea Spillars

FEMA Region 7

Andrea Spillars has been a career public servant for over 30 years. From 2009 to 2015, she had a lead role in the Missouri state response to natural disasters as the Deputy Director for the Department of Public Safety, including the devasting Joplin tornado in 2011, the prolonged flooding in 2011, drought relief efforts in 2012, and historic ice storms in 2009. Her work at the Department of Public Safety also included leading the state’s successful effort to establish an interoperable public safety communication system.

Throughout her career, she has worked to protect the people of Missouri, especially during times of disaster. In 2011, the Joplin Police Department recognized Spillars for her work leading the successful round-the-clock effort to account for those reported missing after the Joplin tornado. In 2014, Spillars received the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States, which is presented to those civilians in a position of responsibility who have distinguished themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard.

From 2015 to 2017, Spillars served as Senior Advisor and Legal Counsel in the Missouri Governor’s Office, and ultimately as Counsel to the Governor. She began her career as an attorney in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, serving from 1989 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2009. While at the Attorney General’s Office, she was Chief Counsel and Director of Public Safety Division from 2004 to 2009, providing legal representation to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. She has also served as assistant prosecuting attorney in Boone County and General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Prior to joining FEMA Region 7, Spillars served as the Executive Director of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners, overseeing all aspects of the attorney admissions process.

She obtained her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Missouri.

David I. Maurstad


David Maurstad is highly regarded for his transformative leadership in communicating disaster risk, closing the insurance gap, and incentivizing mitigation actions against all hazards. He is deeplycommitted to using every tool within his authority to reduce disaster suffering in all communities.

At the start of 2022, David began a detail serving as the Acting Associate Administrator of FEMA’S Resilience organization. He temporarily stepped away from some of his duties as head of the Agency’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration to work with key Resilience components including insurance and mitigation, grant management, national continuity, and national preparedness.

While in this new role, David will continue to direct ongoing efforts to advance the National Flood Insurance Program, reinsurance and reauthorization.

David’s expertise in emergency management stems from high-profile roles in the private sector, and local and state government as a former insurance company executive, mayor, state senator, and lieutenant governor in Nebraska.

Randa Rawlins

Shelter Insurance Companies

Randa Rawlins is a native Missourian having grown up on a farm in north Missouri. She was educated at Truman State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. Her law career started in Kansas City where she practiced insurance defense for 20 years. She returned to Columbia in 2002 to become General Counsel of Shelter Insurance. She became Secretary of the Shelter Insurance Companies and their Board of Directors in 2006, and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2016. In this position, corporate legal operations, compliance, government relations, customer communications and claims all reported to her. In 2018, she was promoted again, this time to Executive Vice President, and the IT function was added to the growing list of departments now reporting to her, for a total of a little more than 1,000 employees. On July 1, 2018, she became a member of Shelter’s Board of Directors. Randa became President on January 1, 2021 and CEO on July 1, 2021.

Randa is married to Blaine Einspahr, a general contractor in Columbia. 

Larry Stevig

State Farm

Larry Stevig, SE, AIA, is a Principal Researcher in the Building Research Unit of State Farm’s Enterprise Research Department, based in Bloomington, Illinois. Prior to the last 15 years at State Farm, Larry practiced as a Structural Engineer for 23 years at several A/E design firms in Chicago, Peoria and Bloomington, Illinois. Larry is a Licensed Structural Engineer and Architect in Illinois, and Professional Engineer in six other states. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

At State Farm, Larry’s responsibilities consist of structural research on performance and durability of assemblies, materials and products utilized in buildings typical of State Farm policyholders (primarily light-frame residential construction), and subject to perils prevalent in the United States (primarily wind, wildfire and earthquake). He also participates in the building codes and standards development process, serving on several committees, and collaborates with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)in the code arena. In addition to tracking published research, Larry performs hands-on testing at State Farm’s in-house laboratory, collaborates with external academic researchers, and has deployed for field research following catastrophes.

 Outside of work, Larry is active in his church and likes sports. He and his wife enjoy traveling to see their children and grandchildren, and to the mountains of Colorado.

Vicki Schmidt

Kansas Insurance Department

Vicki Schmidt is a lifelong Kansan. She was born and raised in Wichita. She and her high school sweetheart, Mike, made their home in Topeka, where they raised their two sons. She has worked for more than 40 years, serving Kansas families and seniors as a local pharmacist. She spent 14 years in the Kansas Senate before being elected in 2018, as Kansas Insurance Commissioner. When she was sworn in she became the first pharmacist to serve as Kansas Insurance Commissioner and is one of only two pharmacists in America to hold a statewide office. Her leadership roles at the NAIC include service on the Life and Annuity (A) Committee, the Property and Casualty (C) Committee, and is Co-Vice Chair of Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation (F) Committee. She also serves on the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) board. Her most important title came in 2014 when she became a grandma. She and Mike now have three grandsons and one granddaughter.

Debra Ballen

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Debra Ballen joined IBHS in 2008 as the general counsel and senior vice president of public policy and became Chief Risk Officer in 2019. She is responsible for all of IBHS’s legal matters and oversees a number of important public policy initiatives, including adaptation, community resilience, and economic incentives for mitigation. In addition, she serves as the organization’s corporate secretary and manages member relations.

Prior to her work with IBHS, Ms. Ballen was the executive vice president of public policy management for the American Insurance Association (now APCI). She developed and implemented policy for AIA’s priority federal and state public policy issues.

She also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado and has participated on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes. She is a frequent speaker about the broad benefits of mitigation and has testified before Congress and state legislatures on these matters.

Ms. Ballen graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. She also has received the CPCU designation.

Kate Stillwell


Kate Stillwell is the founder of Jumpstart, an insurtech startup that introduced parametric insurance to consumers starting with earthquake coverage. Previously, she worked as a structural engineer and earthquake risk consultant. Among her other earthquake Council.and resilience related roles, she is also cofounder of the U.S. Resiliency Council.

Kyle Morgan


Kyle Morgan joined Palomar in 2018 and serves as the Company’s Executive Vice President of Corporate and Business Development. Prior to joining Palomar, he spent over a decade as a private equity investor at Insight Partners and W Capital. Kyle graduated with an A.B. in Economics and a certificate in Finance from Princeton University, where he was a member of the varsity water polo team.

Christopher Sykes

Guy Carpenter

Christopher Sykes is a Managing Director at Guy Carpenter & Company with over 35 years’ experience in reinsurance underwriting, catastrophe reinsurance syndication, and client services. He joined Guy Carpenter in 2008, where he focuses on catastrophe risk finance as part of a his broader broking & account management responsibilities. Chris is a member of Guy Carpenter’s Public Sector Practice  and helps lead Guy Carpenter’s efforts to close the protection gap.

Chris graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney, NSW Australia and holds an MBA from Auckland University, New Zealand.

Daniel Kaniewski

Marsh McLennan Advantage

Daniel Kaniewski is Managing Director, Public Sector, Marsh McLennan Advantage. In this role he leads enterprise-wide initiatives that deliver breakthrough perspectives and innovative solutions for public sector challenges.

Prior to joining Marsh McLennan in February 2020, Dr. Kaniewski was Deputy Administrator for Resilience at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In this role he was FEMA’s second ranking official and led the agency’s pre-disaster programs. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 14, 2017.

He was also Chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) High Level Risk Forum, comprised of risk managers from the 36 OECD member nations.

Before FEMA he led the Global Resilience practice at AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe risk modeling firm. He was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. He previously led the resilience mission area at a homeland security research and development center. Earlier he was Assistant Vice President and Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University.

Dr. Kaniewski was Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Response Policy in the George W. Bush Administration, where he managed over 200 Presidential disaster declarations.

He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from George Washington University, an M.A. in National Security Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Emergency Medical Services from George Washington University.

Dr. Guillermo Franco

Guy Carpenter

Dr. Guillermo Franco is Managing Director and Global Head of Catastrophe Risk Research at Guy Carpenter. He currently coordinates Guy Carpenter’s research and development efforts in parametric risk transfer. Previously, he was responsible for catastrophe risk model evaluation activities through the Model Suitability Analysis (MSA)® initiative. Before joining Guy Carpenter, Guillermo was a Manager and Principal Engineer at AIR Worldwide, where he led the Decision Analytics practice focusing on portfolio optimization and parametric risk transfer. Prior to that, he was a Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he explored the socioeconomic impacts of natural disasters. Guillermo studied civil engineering at the polytechnic university in Barcelona, Spain, and later obtained his doctorate from Columbia University in New York.

Philippe Brahin

Swiss Re

Philippe Brahin is Head of Americas for Public Sector Solutions (PSS) since August 2020. He is developing risk transfer solutions and providing risk services to the public sector on natural catastrophes, climate risks, agriculture, credit & surety, as well as life & health, in North America and Latin America. He is leading a dedicated team engaging with Federal and national governments, State authorities, municipalities, as well as the World Bank Group and regional development banks.

Prior to joining PSS, Philippe was Head of Investor Relations at Swiss Re, from October 2014 to July 2020. He managed the relationships with equity and fixed-income investors and provided investors and analysts with relevant corporate disclosure to assess Swiss Re’s securities.

Until 2014, Philippe was Head Qualitative Risk Management at Swiss Re. He was responsible for the global monitoring of regulatory developments, the engagement of Swiss Re in sustainability and ESG initiatives, the identification of emerging risks and the coordination of Group operational risks.

Philippe joined Swiss Re in 2000 as a financial analyst in Alternative Investments. From 2003 to 2007, he was responsible for the production of Swiss Re’s financial reports as well as content management on strategic topics.

Prior to joining Swiss Re, Philippe was Deputy Director for International Affairs at the French Insurance Association (FFA) and worked for the California Department of Insurance.

He graduated in 1992 from the University of Sorbonne in Paris with a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance, and Magistère d’Economie from the University of Sorbonne/ENS/EHESS.

Jim Remillard

Missouri State Emergency Management Agency

Jim Remillard was born and raised in Washington, Missouri. He graduated from Washington Senior High and Washington Vocational School, then worked as a machinist and volunteered with the Washington Fire Department from 1982-1989. 

Remillard began his career in public service with the Missouri State Highway Patrol on January 1, 1990. He graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy on June 9, 1990. Remillard’s first assignment was Troop C in St. Louis County. During the Flood of 1993, he provided security detail for President Clinton while he toured flood-damaged areas. Remillard was promoted to Corporal and advanced as Sergeant at Troop C. During his time there, Remillard provided security and traffic control for the 1996 U.S. Olympics as the teams traveled through St. Louis to Atlanta, security detail for Pope John Paul II’s visit, and security detail for President George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore’s presidential debate in 2000. In September 2001, Remillard was recognized as Troop C’s Officer of the Year for his efforts developing the Hazardous Exposure Control Plan, which is utilized statewide. He also served as a medic for the Troop C SWAT team from 1992-2002. 

In March 2002, Remillard rose to the rank of Lieutenant at Troop I. In 2005, he received the Honorary Washington Firefighter Award of Merit because of his swift life-saving actions to save a family from floodwaters while off duty. In 2007, he attended the FBI National Academy. In April 2010, Remillard received the Troop I Masters Public Service Award due to his extraordinary contributions to community and law enforcement. In June 2014, he promoted to Captain of Troop I and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2019. Remillard served on the MoDOT/MSHP Insurance Board from 1999-2019 and was the co-chairman of the Traffic Incident Management System from 2001-2019.

Remillard joined SEMA as the Deputy Director on June 1, 2019. During his career in law enforcement, responding to disasters was a fundamental part of Remillard’s responsibilities. In 2011, he worked with local police, fire and EMS agencies for the flooding response, and again for the Joplin tornado response. 

Jim is a member of the Casco United Methodist Church in Leslie, Missouri, and provides wood for fellow church members who are elderly or disabled. In his spare time, Jim enjoys volunteering for Faith-Based mission trips, including areas affected by natural disasters. 

Sydney Hedberg

Marsh McLennan Advantage

Sydney is a director with the Marsh McLennan Advantage team, strategizing cross-business solutions for large-scale, global and evolving risks and connecting colleagues across the firm. Her current role is focused on business development in the public sector with an expertise in natural catastrophe solutions. 

Sydney began her career as a property & casualty energy broker with Marsh. In her past role, she managed relationships across all four of Marsh McLennan’s businesses for energy clientele in the U.S. She was also responsible for all industries across the South Central partnership & New York Metro. 

Sydney has a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Risk Management and Insurance & Managerial Finance from the University of Mississippi. She is an advisory board member for the Ole Miss School of Insurance.