Captive forum’s speakers track many challenges

Speakers at the 23rd annual Cayman Captive Forum, which runs through Thursday, Dec. 3, are covering not only general topics, such as global risks, Cayman Islands insurance regulations and the challenges of organizational change, but also contemporary marketing and the billion-dollar dangers of lapses in cybersecurity. 

The conference, organized by the Insurance Managers Association of Cayman and held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, welcomes more than 1,400 specialists, comprising captive directors, owners and managers; CFOs; risk managers; service providers; board and committee members and industry specialists. Some 99 speakers and panel participants are set to address 34 separate topics. 

The keynote address is to be delivered on Wednesday morning, “Generational Kinetics,” by Jason Dorsey, who, according to his Deutsche Bank sponsors, “is known as The Gen Y Guy,” and has appeared on network shows “60 Minutes,” “20/20” and “The Today Show.”  

“His gift,” according to the bank, “is solving tough generational challenges for companies and leaders. He goes behind the scenes with companies – and their data … – [and] serves as a board member for venture-backed and emerging technology companies.”  

Dorsey, 37, chief strategy officer at the Austin, Texas-based Center for Generational Kinetics, calls himself a “millennials expert and researcher.” 

Social researchers broadly define “Generation Y” as anyone born between 1981 and 1994.  

Dorsey says Gen Y, the millennials, number 80 million, comprising the entire 21-34 demographic. Apparently this group poses “a challenge for managers and executives to attract, retain, motivate and develop,” Dorsey told The Cayman Islands Journal, “and they are turning the captive and risk-management world upside-down. This is because millennials are the fastest-growing generation … both in terms of serving the workforce and the workforce within the captive/risk-management industry, and because millennials are the fastest-growing group of consumers. 

“All of this would not be a problem,” Dorsey said, “except that millennials communicate differently, work differently and are exhibiting a never-before-seen life stage. The result is a new kind of complexity around working with and serving millennials who are, simply put, soon to be the most-important generation in the world.” 

That is an enormous statement, but Dorsey says millennials will outspend baby boomers in 2017, “and are increasingly influential in the workplace – from innovation to safety. 

They also are a behavioral indicator of boomers and the previous Gen X-ers, he says, because “millennials lead the trends that other generations typically adopt. 

“You see this in technology, communications and more. If you know how to understand and engage millennials, you are able to unlock the potential of this new generation, and you position yourself to better serve Gen X and baby boomers. 

“If you miss millennials,” he cautions, “you actually put yourself at risk of being out of sync and ultimately losing engagement with Gen X and baby boomers.” 

The group offers “tremendous talent and potential” and its members “want to make a difference from their very first day at work,” an attitude he describes as ideal because it “challenge[s] the status quo.” 

“The diversity of thinking that millennials bring is exactly what many workforces need right now,” Dorsey explains, and the group displays sufficient commonalities that marketers may ignore it – and its “risk profile, employment tenure and more” – but only at peril: “Millennials are the tastemakers as consumers and employees, so valuing them and their perspective increases the value of every generation.” 

While Dorsey says Gen Y – both prickly and talented – is chiefly distinguished by routine use of IT, fellow speaker Michael Bazzell points to a darker side of that technology. 

On Thursday morning, Bazzell will speak on “Hollywood Hacking vs. YOUR Organization.” A computer-crimes specialist for the FBI’s CyberCrimes Task Force, the detective spent 18 years on a range of high-tech criminal investigations, including online child solicitation and pornography, child abduction, kidnapping, cold-case homicide, terrorist threats and high-level computer intrusions. 

Today he serves as technical adviser for the USA Network hacker drama “Mr. Robot,” and has written three books: “Personal Digital Security: Protecting Yourself from Online Crime,” “Hiding from the Internet” and “Open Source Intelligence Techniques.” 

“I will provide a live view of the various attacks that we see daily against a wide range of companies,” he told the Journal. “Sophisticated social engineering attacks, malicious software uploads, insider threats, compromised devices and new USB vulnerabilities will be displayed in real time with controlled demonstrations.” 

For those who may not appreciate the immediacy of the threat, Bazzell warns that “the ease of use of many hacker tools and immediate availability to criminals may surprise the audience.”  

The captive industry boasted “an abundance of money, data and customer information that is very valuable to a criminal hacker,” he said. “The biggest threat to this industry is the combination of email phishing and social engineering.” 

He defines “social engineering” not in the traditional sense of, say, lawmakers prohibiting tobacco advertising or altering voting rights, but, rather “when an attacker uses deceit in order to trick the victim into taking an action that is not in their best interest.” 

“One example that I recently witnessed was a man that called the secretary of a CEO of a large company,” he said. “The suspect had already researched the CEO and knew from online posts that he was out of town on a business trip. 

“The attacker stated to the secretary over the telephone that he was a hotel employee attempting to process the CEO’s credit card, but it was declined. He asked the secretary to wire the funds for the stay directly, which she did. 

“This was a relatively small amount, enough to pay for an extended stay at a nice resort. However, we have seen similar attempts result in multimillion-dollar transactions. 

“Employees in this industry receive email attacks daily,” Bazzell said. “These deceptive attempts at stealing information are no longer generic emails that apply to a broad audience. They are each custom tailored to not only a specific industry, but often to a targeted business and specific employee.” 

The best defense, he said, is employee training, although, increasingly, efficient protection is likely to require a dedicated professional. 

“Simply purchasing hardware solutions is no longer enough,” Bazzell said. “A human needs constantly to monitor the company’s attack surface and vulnerabilities. This will vary by the size of the organization.” 

Costs can be significant, but the alternatives are worse: “Payroll costs alone can be costly. Software and hardware resources can also create an expensive situation. Often, this solution is not financially within reach of smaller organizations.” 

“Hackers know this,” Bazzell said, “and will target these companies for this reason.” 

The costs of doing nothing, however, are staggering: “That is the exact question companies should be asking. If a hacker stole your entire database and credentials for every account, what would you pay to get them back? 

“There likely is no figure that you would not consider,” he said. “Can losing all of your company’s data allow you to continue to exist? If the answer is ‘no,’ you should have a good plan to prevent it from happening.” 

He tells another, more-generalized, story: “I met with large corporations that were being digitally attacked nonstop. Improper planning for potential attacks exposed them to situations that they were not prepared for. 

“Now that I work directly with companies outside of the prosecution arena, I am learning even more about the severity of this issue. Attackers are targeting every company out there in some form. If you ignore that threat, you will likely be the next victim dealing with extreme loss.” 


Other topics  

Another pair of speakers will address varying topics. 

Campbells partner and mountaineer Guy Manning will follow Dorsey to discuss his “Seven Summits Challenge,” scaling the world’s seven highest peaks. He has already raised $200,000 for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, and IMAC has made another donation to compensate Manning for his appearance. 

Finally, following Bazzell, Michael Melnick, author, occupational therapist, president and CEO of New Jersey-based Prevention Plus, a health and wellness center, will discuss “If Change Were Easy, We’d All be Perfect.” 

His session is billed as lively, energetic and fun-filled. Melnick will ask if you “eat right, exercise regularly and avoid things that are bad for you … Even though we know the right things to do, we don’t always do them. Why is it that we are so surprised when others exhibit these same behaviors?” 

According to the conference program, “organizations continually introduce new programs, polices and initiatives with high hopes of success.” Resistance frequently frustrates the moves, however, “because of how an organization develops, implements and supports (or doesn’t support) the change.” 

Melnick, according to his Prevention Plus website, “helps you better understand what drives behaviors, and more importantly, offers practical strategies for steering them in a positive direction.” 

Additional to the forum’s main speakers are hour-long “breakout sessions” and “tutorials,” largely in the afternoon, led by groups of experts.  

These smaller groups provide tighter focus on complex subjects, including, for example, “The Basics of IBNR Reserves and its Connection with Collateral Requirements,” “Hospital/Physician Captive 50/50 Parity Partnership – A Success Story;” “Captive Reinsurance: Choosing the Correct Reinsurance Partner and Understanding Reinsurance Issues – A Crucial Analysis;” “Investment Panel – Volatility Returns;” “The Role of a Captive in a System-Wide Enterprise Risk-Management Program” and “HedgefundRe: The Changing Landscape and Cayman Islands Role in the Future.” 

The entire gathering promises to be a significant occasion “to connect, learn and share insights and best practices,” according to the conference brochure. 

There will also be the opportunity to sign up for next year’s Cayman Captive Forum, already scheduled for Nov. 28-30.