10,500 EXPECTED AT ANNUAL MEETING

10,500 EXPECTED AT ANNUAL MEETING

The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society will host the equivalent of a small city of people at its annual meeting in Honolulu this week.

At least 10,500 people are expected to attend the meeting of the society, an educational organization of individuals who have received professional certification through the successful completion of a prescribed series of insurance courses.More than half the number of the expected attendees - 6,176 at press time - will receive CPCU professional designations in Honolulu. The remaining attendees at the meeting are spouses and guests.

"This is the largest class of graduates in CPCU history," said Jim Marks, the society's executive vice president. "The previous biggest class was in 1992, when 2,600 individuals received CPCU designations."

He attributed the increase in graduates to job pressures in the industry and the trend toward slimmer corporations.

"The insurance industry is downsizing," Mr. Marks said. "When everybody around you is losing their jobs, you think about boning up. One way to do that is to strengthen your professional credentials."

Many CPCU recipients in Honolulu already work in the insurance business, as company executives or as insurance agents. Studies indicate that employers are more likely to retain and promote people with the CPCU designation, Mr. Marks said.

''Look at the want ads in the trade publications," he said. "See how many require CPCU designations." Orchestrating a gathering of more than 10,000 people took extraordinary ingenuity and effort.

"We've leased the Aloha Stadium, which seats 40,000, for the graduation ceremonies, which we're patterning after a university confer- ment," Mr. Marks said. To transport the graduates and their guests to the stadium from the 14 island hotels at which it has reserved space for the meeting, the society has chartered 226 buses at a cost of $100 an hour each.

Since there are no ballroom facilities anywhere on the island that can accommodate all the guests at one time, the society has hired a production company, L&M Productions in Alexandria, Va., to broadcast the scheduled seminars and speeches to attendees at their various hotels.

The events also will be broadcast simultaneously by satellite to each CPCU chapter on the mainland.

"We've got a staff of 40 that has been working on this meeting for a year," Mr. Marks said.

The new crop of CPCUs will bring the total number in the country to 30,000. Mr. Marks said studies indicate the society's membership will continue to increase at a 20 percent rate. "You start to become a real force for positive change in the industry with a group that size," he said.

The keynote speaker for the meeting is David Rowland, the embattled chairman of Lloyd's of London, which has undergone a massive overhaul in the past two years.

Other speakers include former astronaut, Chuck Yeager, who will speak on ''Breaking Barriers," the theme of the annual meeting. Colonel Yeager is credited with being the first man to break the sound barrier.

Fifteen individual seminars are scheduled, addressing everything from pollution liability to information technology to claims handling. A seminar on emerging liability issues, such as electromagnetic fields, is the front-runner as far as the number of individuals signed up to attend, more than 1,500 at press time.

SNAPSHOT

CONFERENCE: The annual meeting of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society.

PLACE: Honolulu. Events are scheduled at 14 different island hotels.

DATE: Oct. 6-11.

THEME: "Breaking Barriers."

EXPECTED ATTENDANCE: More than 10,500 CPCU designees, their spouses and guests.

TOP ISSUES: Emerging Liability Exposures, Job Security and Pollution Liability. The highlight of the meeting is the conferment of more than 6,000 new CPCU designees.