Sessions and Speakers



Valerie DesBiens, CIC, CRM, CPIW

With nearly forty years in the insurance industry, starting with personal and commercial lines sales, to managing executive positions with major insurance syndicates, to developing and managing specialty liability programs and opening and building a flourishing MGA,

Ms. DesBiens has a wide experience in the industry.  She is currently engaged with risk management consulting and specialty program inception for particular inception for particular clients through RM Consulting Services LLC and serves on the committee for Emerging Insurance Professional through PIA.


Monday Afternoon Session: From Counter Culture to Main Street: Cannabis Meets Insurance - 2 CE MT

This session will examine and explain the position of standard insurance carriers and availability of insurance products for cannabis related operations in Oregon (not legal in all states).

The course is designed as informational and instructive as to the differences between “accepted” Mainstreet insureds to those related to the cannabis industry. Relates various legislative actions/reactions to cannabis use in Oregon. to develop understanding the rules and laws of the State of Oregon and will also show aspects to consider when marketing and underwriting a cannabis risk.

Lastly it will cover how cannabis related risks can be risk assessed and marketed within the current marketplace.



Kathy Fraley, CIC

Kathy's career spance over 30 years in commercial insurance as form Direct for Travelers Services Center and as partner with
Propel/Bratrud Insurance Agency in Washington State.

Kathy is a long time Education Consultant for The National Alliance CIC program.

She advocates informing and teaching agent producers and agency managers the latest practices and issues that face today's insurance
business market on EPLI issues, Commerciall lines Issues, Law and Ethics.

Tuesday Morning Session: Why Don't You Sell Employers Practice Liability Policies - 3 CE MT

The course is designed to show how clients can easily get into trouble with questions, remarks, hiring, termination, and various inappropriate behaviors not only for their agency but for their clients as well.  Additional emphasis on understanding coverage issues, various endorsements and privacy concerns will be discussed protecting the clients and their customers.

Items will also include what the customer/consumer may need to have based on insurance coverages. Along with identifying issues they need to change in their business plan.



Troy Downing

Troy Downing was elected Montana State Auditor in 2020. As the State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Downing oversees the criminal justice agency protecting Montana’s consumers by ensuring fairness, transparency, and access for two of the state’s largest industries—securities and insurance. As Commissioner, Downing is committed to consumer education and advocacy, holding bad actors accountable, lowering insurance costs, and reducing unnecessary regulations for Montana businesses.  Due to its favorable regulatory environment overseen by Downing, Montana is one of the largest captive domiciles in the United States. 

As State Auditor, Downing also serves on the Montana Board of Land Commissioners overseeing management and stewardship of state trust lands for the primary benefit of funding Montana’s public education system.

Downing began his career in education as a research scientist and educator at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. In the 1990s, he founded a technology startup company that he successfully merged with Yahoo! Inc.  Downing then went on to help other startup companies succeed through seed funding and mentorship.  After his career in the tech industry, Downing founded a nation-wide commercial insurance company and a nation-wide real estate firm that creates, sells, and manages real estate investment securities.

Downing’s strong sense of public service led him to enlist after 9/11 in the U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard, serving eight years in a Combat Search and Rescue squadron and serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Today, he continues his service to veterans as an advisory board member to and volunteer for the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, a Montana-based organization that uses fly fishing and Montana’s natural beauty as a simple, but powerfully effective, healing therapy for post-9/11 combat veterans and their families. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a Montana distillery co-owner, he produced and distributed millions of hand sanitizer bottles across the nation.  

Downing and his wife, Heather, have four children and currently live in Helena, MT.

Tuesday Awards Luncheon and State Of the State - Guest Speaker: Mr. Troy Downing, Montana State Auditor


Tuesday Afternoon Session: Impacts of Cyber Liability & Ransomware on Clients - 2 CE MT

Cyber is one of the fastest growing claims issues.  We have many items in the ‘cloud’ or other place.  What protection is in place and what does our client due to protect their clients. 
Coaching on what to do if a breach happens.  Determine the clients impacted, some may not be easily identified.  Online security systems, does it cover the client and/or consumers and for what?  Policy resources to assist clients revamp systems after a breach.

Discussion on the first party- insured – how to notify employees and customers.  Reputation and loss of income while system is upgraded and business is not as usual, extortion
money from hackers, credit monitoring for client’s customers.

Discussion on 3rd Parties – lawsuits from customers on privacy information, fines from regulatory agencies, breach of contract or negligent claims.