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June 28 & 29, 2010

Austin, Texas

Over 240 attendees gathered for a wide-ranging conversation focused on policy and public safety issues associated with making Texas more disaster resilient.

Our Texas Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum helped Texans understand the scientific and public policy issues behind disaster safety. The forum examined ways to make mitigation measures more appealing to a broad audience. We engaged Texans on key issues including the natural perils threatening Texas, mitigation practices in the business community, and mitigation success stories. Delegates and attendees discussed public policy including Federal legislation and building codes to help better prepare for future environmental disasters.

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, as well as overseeing IBHS’ public policy efforts.  In addition, she 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 in Washington, D.C.  She developed and implemented policy for AIA’s priority federal and state public policy issues.  She has also served on the 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 holds the CPCU designation.

Leslie Chapman-Henderson is President/CEO of FLASH®, a national, non-profit corporation founded in 1998 by a collaborative of non-profit, private and public organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disaster.  FLASH is the fastest growing disaster safety education organization in the U.S. with more than 90 partners, including FEMA, Georgia Pacific, Institute for Business & Home Safety, International Code Council, Mercedes Homes, NeighborWorks, NOAA, South Carolina Insurance Department, State Farm Insurance Companies, Texas Department of Insurance, Texas Tech Wind Science & Engineering, The Home Depot and Home Depot Foundation, University of Florida, and USAA.


Ms. Chapman-Henderson and FLASH have championed the cause of code-plus construction methods through the creation of Blueprint for Safety® (Blueprint), an educational program for homebuilders, homeowners and design professionals on disaster-resistant construction techniques. 


Among Ms. Chapman-Henderson’s civic, community and professional awards are the 2008 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award, 2008 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Corporate Award, 2006 Texas Silver Spur Award for Public Education Excellence, 2006 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Public Information/Education Award, 2005 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Public Awareness Award, 2005 National Weather Association Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award, 2005 NOAA Environmental Hero Award, 2002 National Hurricane Conference Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award, 2002 FEMA Special Recognition Award, 2002 Florida Fire Chiefs Association Excellence in Community and Public Education Award, 2002 Florida Emergency Preparedness Association Corporate Award, and 2001 Governors Hurricane Conference Public Education Award.


Ms. Chapman-Henderson currently serves as a representative on the legislatively-created My Safe Florida Home Advisory Council.  Her past service includes consumer representative and chair for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council under Governor Charlie Crist and former Governor Jeb Bush, guest lecturer at the University of Florida – School of Construction and one of the Florida representatives to the Federal Communications Commission WARN Committee.  She was recently elected as a board trustee of the Florida International University – International Hurricane Research Center.  Ms. Chapman-Henderson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida.

Julie Rochman joined IBHS in November 2007 with more than 20 years of public affairs and advocacy experience representing major corporations, research and safety organizations, and issue-based coalitions. She is regularly consulted and quoted by national print, broadcast and electronic media on a wide variety of topics.

She joined IBHS from The Glover Park Group, a leading Washington, D.C.-based strategic communication consulting firm, where she was senior vice president of public affairs and managed a portfolio primarily comprising financial services sector clients. She joined the firm from the American Insurance Association (AIA), a national public policy advocacy organization for property-casualty insurance companies. As senior vice president of public affairs and member of AIA’s management team for six years, Ms. Rochman and her staff were responsible for developing and executing integrated communication campaigns to achieve AIA’s public policy goals at both the state and federal levels.

From November 1996 until late 2000, Ms. Rochman was vice president of communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), where she successfully managed media relations for the IIHS and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Upon leaving the IIHS, Ms. Rochman served on the IIHS and HLDI boards of directors for several years. Prior to joining IIHS, Ms. Rochman managed federal communications for the Alliance of American Insurers, worked for the Insurance Information Institute, for a public health organization dedicated to preventing drunk driving, at an advertising agency, and for a global insurance brokerage.

Ms. Rochman earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tulane University and a master’s degree in American Government from the University of Virginia.

Craig Tillman has been part of the RenaissanceRe organization since 1996.  As part of the team that formed Glencoe Insurance Ltd., Mr. Tillman served as that subsidiary’s Chief Underwriting Officer.  He has also led RenaissanceRe’s modeling group, focusing on catastrophe models and developing analytical staff to support underwriting operations. 


Mr. Tillman serves as President of WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., a RenaissanceRe affiliate that provides intelligence on atmospheric perils to a range of entities.  WeatherPredict Consulting draws from a dedicated team of advanced scientists with specialties ranging across meteorology, oceanography, wind-engineering, aerodynamics and computer simulation.  Their focus is to anticipate the occurrence and outcome of significant weather events.


Prior to joining RenaissanceRe, Mr. Tillman’s experience spanned 13 years as a consultant in catastrophe risk for clients in the insurance, government, equity management, and municipal bond insurance industries.  He has played a key role in developing software tools and risk analysis methods for use in analyzing a wide range of commercial and residential exposures.  Mr. Tillman is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and also serves as an Executive Director for the Institute for Business and Home Safety. 


Mr. Tillman holds the ARM and ARe designations, as well as a Masters degree in Mathematics.

Tami Torres currently serves as the Director of the Division of Consumer Services and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services.  The MSFH program, is a $250 million program created in the 2006 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature to help Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes against hurricanes and to reduce hurricane damage exposure in the State of Florida.


Prior to her role with the Division of Consumer Services and the My Safe Florida Home Program, Ms. Torres served as the Director of Communications for the Florida Department of Financial Services, Majority Office of the Florida Senate and the Florida Association of Counties.  She has led numerous public relation and communication efforts including: Verify Before You Buy, A+ Plan for Education and Growing Florida’s Economy.  She has also managed and directed message development on issues of statewide importance and legislative policies such as complex financial and insurance issues.


Ms. Torres has a Bachelors of Science in Mass Media Communications from The Florida State University.