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ORLANDO, Fla.-Over the next three years, the National Assn. of Professional Surplus Lines Offices Ltd. will lobby for more uniform and efficient surplus lines industry regulation.

This objective was one of six goals outlined in the "NAPSLO Strategic Plan: 1998-2001," unveiled during the organization's annual conference Sept. 17-20 in Orlando, Fla. More than 2,000 NAPSLO members and guests attended the event.

The other five goals in the NAPSLO Strategic Plan:

Enhance the understanding and competence in the surplus lines industry.

Make implementing technology solutions easier.

Enhance communication to members on critical issues affecting the wholesale distribution system and/or the surplus lines industry.

Improve networking between NAPSLO and other industry groups.

Ensure NAPSLO operates efficiently and effectively.

A survey of NAPSLO members conducted in December 1996 by Chevy Chase, Md.-based research firm Schlegel & Associates helped the NAPSLO Strategic Planning Committee to develop the three-year agenda.

"The committee did a great deal of work for the association, and the new plan will provide direction for future boards in dealing with all of the issues that arise," said outgoing NAPSLO President Gary Westphalen when he unveiled the plan at the annual business meeting.

"With changes occurring each year on the board, it is important to have a plan to provide continuity to our actions," he said.

The NAPSLO special committee was appointed last fall to work on the plan.

In the survey, NAPSLO members were asked to evaluate current NAPSLO programs and say which should receive more, less or the same amount of emphasis over the next three years.

A 52% majority said legislative and state regulatory issues and excess and surplus lines schools should receive more emphasis over the next three years.

Members also cited as top priorities resolving inconsistent state surplus lines tax laws and deregulation of the commercial insurance industry.

However, there was no clear consensus regarding whether NAPSLO should take a position on such deregulation of commercial lines. Fifty-two percent of the survey respondents favor supporting the idea, while 48% oppose it or say they are uncertain.

Other issues survey respondents suggested NAPSLO should get more involved in were technical issues affecting wholesale markets and brokers and the role of banks in insurance.

Of the 755 NAPSLO member companies surveyed, 302 responded, for an overall response rate of 39%. Of the total responding, 73.2% were from wholesale brokerage firms, 14.9% were from company and underwriting manager firms, and 11.9% were from associate member firms.

The 1998 annual NAPSLO conference is set for Sept. 9-13 in San Francisco. The conference is a members-only event.

For more information, contact the National Assn. of Professional Surplus Lines Offices Ltd. at 6405 N. Cosby, Suite 201, Kansas City, Mo. 64151; 816-741-3910; fax: 816-741-5409; e-mail: