State, industry leaders meet at Montana Insurance Summit in Helena

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Insurance industry professionals from around Montana were in Helena Monday for a conversation with state leaders.

About 270 people attended the Montana Insurance Summit, organized by the State Auditor’s Office. The event returned a year after it wasn’t held because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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“I’m just really happy to see such a great turnout,” said State Auditor Troy Downing. “There’s obviously a lot of industry folks out there that are really interested in how this office affects Montanans. I like to see people that are in there learning about elder exploitation, about cybersecurity, about the regulatory environment in both securities and insurance, and I’m just really happy to see that much energy in the room.”

This is the first time the summit has been held under Downing, who was elected last year.

The auditor is also the state’s commissioner of securities and insurance, regulating both industries. On Monday, participants in the summit heard about how to work with the auditor’s office, changes to state laws that will affect them and presentations on issues like cybersecurity and elder financial exploitation.

The state has set up an Eastern Montana Elder Justice Council to address exploitation. Downing said they’re looking to create similar councils for western, north-central and south-central Montana.

“Really what the goal is is to prevent it from happening in the first place – so really pushing that educational part, of how to avoid, how to protect yourself, your family, your parents, your grandparents,” he said.

The keynote speaker for the event was Kirstie Ennis, a Marine who was injured in a helicopter crash and had her leg amputated. She went on to become a successful athlete, mountaineer and businesswoman.

Ennis spoke about the importance of carrying on through challenging times.

“All too often, I think we forget that one chapter of our lives doesn’t determine how the rest of the story is going to end,” she said. “One rough chapter of my life gave me the ability to live out the most impactful ones.”

You can find more information about the summit at the Auditor’s Office website.