Beta Theta Chapter
 2015 Coastal Risk Retreat
We know you are excited about our educational line-up at this year's Coastal Risk Retreat!  Designed to bring you timely information about risks affecting our coastal region, the three hours of education should be both valuable and entertaining!

Risks of Coastal Living 

Dr. Stephen L. Culver & Dr. David Mallinson

East Carolina University
Department of Geological Sciences

Coastal geologists will describe the future of coastal changes. They will describe the data that indicate we are experiencing sea level and climate change.  They will discuss the coastal North Carolina geologic database, which has grown tremendously over the past decade, and explain some of the processes affecting the coast today. They will also provide examples of the conflicts caused by human activities superimposed upon one of the most dynamic areas on our planet and will note the risks that result from our presence on the coast.  The session will include a discussion about the changes we can expect to our coastal region over the next 100 years.

About Drs. Culver & Mallinson:
Initially trained as a geologist, Dr. Stephen J. Culver has doctoral degrees in Oceanography and Biological Sciences. He has taught at universities in the U.K., West Africa and the U.S. and held research positions at the Smithsonian Institution and The Natural History Museum, London. He is currently Distinguished Professor and Chair of Geological Sciences at East Carolina University and conducts research on coastal change around the world.

Dr. David Mallinson received his B.S. and M.S. in Geology, and his Ph.D. in Marine Science.  He has worked as an environmental consultant, an Associate Research Scientist at the University of South Florida, and taught at Emory University and East Carolina University.  He is currently a Professor in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at ECU, and co-chair of the Science Evaluation Panel for the International Ocean Discovery Program.  His research is focused on understanding past changes in climate and sea level, and the impacts of change on coastal systems.

Managing Coastal Risk 

Through Mitigation 

Ms. Debra Ballen, J.D., CPCU
General Counsel
Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

Debra Ballen, General Counsel of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, will discuss how IBHS’ ground-breaking research and innovative communications help insurers reduce coastal property losses and understand structural vulnerability.  Powerful video footage from the IBHS Research Center will highlight the progress that has been made and the challenges that lie ahead.  The session will include an interactive dialogue focusing specifically on coastal mitigation issues.

Topics will include:

  • The building performance chain and why it matters;
  • Wind, water, and wildfire research highlights;
  • Insurance operational implications of IBHS research;
  • How to help policyholders in “getting the roof right”; and
  • Public policy issues
About Ms Ballen:

Debra Ballen joined IBHS in 2008 as the general counsel and senior vice president of public policy. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing all of the organization’s legal matters and overseeing IBHS’ public policy efforts. In addition, she also serves as the organization’s corporate secretary.

Prior to her work with IBHS, Ms. Ballen was the executive vice president of public policy management for the American Insurance Association (AIA) in Washington, D.C. She developed and implemented policy for AIA’s priority federal and state public policy issues. She also has served on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) High Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes, which includes a heavy emphasis on mitigation measures.

Ms. Ballen graduated with a juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School and an A.B. DEGREE from Princeton University. She also has received the CPCU designation.

Economic Perspectives on Coastal Property Insurance: Focus on North Carolina

Dr. Steven N. Weisbart
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Insurance Information Institute

Steven Weisbart, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the Insurance Information Institute, will discuss the property insurance industry’s challenges in providing insurance for coastal properties in the context of changing financial, demographic, climatological, and consumer-behavioral trends.  

Topics will include:

  • The demographic and economic outlook for coastal property;
  • Beach and windstorm plans;
  • Natural catastrophe trends and insurance implications;
  • Issues affecting the financial status of the property insurance industry; and
  • Problems communicating with the buying public about insurance and coastal issues.
About Dr. Weisbart:

Steven N. Weisbart is senior vice president and chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute.  Dr. Weisbart oversees the Institutes's program of economic research and analysis, preparing studies in support of the organization's communications mission, speaking to media and conducting briefings for member companies, industry organizations and public policymakers.  A specialize in annuities, pensions, and life, disability and long-term care insurance, Dr. Weisbart frequently also makes presentations on property/casualty issues to industry audiences as well as legislative forums.

Before joining the I.I.I., Dr. Weisbart served as vice president at Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) in New York, where he was responsible for reports and informational publications for customers and others on insurance, pensions and related financial topics. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF he was associate professor of Insurance in the Department of Risk Management and Insurance in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Dr. Weisbart is a member of the American Risk and Insurance Association, the American Economic Association, and the Society of Financial Service Professionals.

Dr. Weisbart received his Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an S.S. Huebner Foundation Fellow. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Cornell University. Dr. Weisbart also holds the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) credential.

Dr. Weisbart has authored and co-authored four books as well as papers that have appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Risk and Insurance, the Journal of Financial Service Professionals (where he was previously an Associate Editor), the CPCU Journal, The Geneva Reports, and Best's Review. Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Risk Management and Insurance Review. He has been quoted in leading publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek and has been interviewed on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business Network.


Gamma Iota Sigma - Beta Theta Chapter is an officially recognized student organization at East Carolina University.  For more information e-mail us at
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