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ORLANDO, Fla.-The National Assn. of Professional Surplus Lines Offices Ltd. will likely take a more activist role under the leadership of Paul Springman.

"This is a difficult climate we're operating in, and it's time we have a louder voice," said Mr. Springman, who was named NAPSLO's president at its annual meeting earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.

He succeeds Gary D. Westphalen, president of Westphalen, Bradley & James Inc., an Oklahoma City-based surplus lines broker.

Mr. Springman is president of Evanston Insurance Co. and president and chief operating officer of Evanston's underwriting manager, Shand Morahan & Co. Inc., also based in Evanston, Ill. Both companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Markel Corp. of Richmond, Va.

Even though the surplus lines market generates just 7% of the total U.S. gross insurance premium volume, "we are the historic incubators of new products" and therefore should be heard, Mr. Springman pointed out.

But Mr. Springman admits that building a consensus among a group considered to be the entrepreneurs of the insurance industry won't be an easy task.

Equally challenging is the fact that Mr. Springman is only the second insurance company executive to be NAPSLO president.

Kevin Brooks, president of General Star Insurance Co. of Stamford, Conn., served as NAPSLO president in 1989-90.

"It's a challenge to serve as president of what historically has been a broker-driven organization that doesn't always reach a consensus on issues," Mr. Springman said.

For example, even though "NAPSLO has always advocated making placement of surplus lines easier," the organization hasn't officially taken a position on the issue of whether to deregulate the commercial insurance industry, Mr. Springman pointed out.

"The E&S market is more closely regulated in the domiciliary state than standard insurers are," he said.

"So NAPSLO isn't likely to support commercial deregulation without a quid pro quo for the excess and surplus lines industry," he explained. "That wouldn't be a level playing field."

Already NAPSLO has surveyed its membership on whether the organization should take an official stand on the deregulation issue (see related story, page 24).

According to the survey findings, 76% of wholesale brokers and 86% of surplus lines insurers favor the "concept" of commercial lines deregulation.

"But when they were asked to give specifics, they say they don't understand," Mr. Springman said.

Recognizing this lack of understanding within the surplus lines market, Mr. Springman said he sees education as part of his role as NAPSLO president.

"I must walk a fine line knowing when to educate and when to regulate," he said.

Besides Mr. Springman, other new officers were installed during this year's NAPSLO conference. They are:

Vp Orville D. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of Crump Insurance Services Inc. in Dallas, a unit of Sedgwick Group P.L.C.

Secretary Timothy M. Pedersen, president of Travis-Pedersen & Associates in Chicago.

Treasurer John K. Latham, president and chief executive officer of Colony Insurance Co. of Richmond, Va.

Elected to three-year terms as directors were Jim Griffith, president and CEO of Princeton Risk Managers Inc. in Princeton, N.J.; and Terrence Winkler, CEO of Insurance Brokerage Services in Chicago.

Samuel Anderson, senior vp of General Star Indemnity Co. in Stamford, Conn.; Euclid G.H. Black, president of Black/White Insurance Brokers in Oakland, Calif.; and Gene Keating Jr., president and CEO of American Equity Insurance Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz., were re-elected for new three-year terms.

NAPSLO is a 24-year-old national trade association based in Kansas City, Mo., that represents the surplus lines insurance industry. Surplus lines is a specialized segment of the insurance business also referred to as non-admitted, specialty and/or excess lines. Risks are generally placed with the surplus lines market when they cannot be placed in the admitted or licensed market.

NAPSLO represents surplus lines insurance agents and brokers, managing general agents, underwriting managers as well as surplus lines insurance companies.

NAPSLO has more than 1,100 member companies in the United States, Canada and England.