Travelers Institute to Host Symposium on Small Business Tips for Latino Coalition Entrepreneurs

October 4, 2011

Latino Small Business Owner and Chair of Travelers Diversity Business Network to Lead Discussion at Los Angeles Economic Summit

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will host a panel discussion, "Small Business, Big Opportunity," at the Latino Coalition’s Southern California Economic Summit on Thursday, Oct. 6. This continues the Travelers Institute’s national series of symposia, which build on the principles of small business advocacy outlined in its recently released white paper. The event will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 50 percent of the population is Latino, and more than one in five businesses are Latino owned. Panelists will provide tips for navigating the complex web of government regulations. Additionally, participants will discuss business continuity planning and disaster preparedness as well as strategies for success in today’s small business climate. More than 250 entrepreneurs are expected to attend.

“As one of the largest insurers of small businesses in the country, Travelers knows that minority-owned firms represent the fastest-growing segment of our nation's economy,”* said Joan Woodward, Executive Vice President of Public Policy for Travelers and head of the Travelers Institute. “We understand the importance of these entrepreneurs as a critical economic driver and are committed to helping small businesses manage challenging risks, while influencing business-friendly policies in Los Angeles and across the country.”

Woodward will moderate the symposium, which will convene small business owners, industry leaders and entrepreneurial advocates to raise awareness of specific issues facing Latino Coalition small business owners, while identifying real-world solutions. Panelists include:

  • Carlos Alfaro, Co-Founder and President, INSURENEX
  • Monica Blanco, Travelers Second Vice President, Product & Platform, Small Commercial, and Chairman of Travelers’ Hispanic Business Network
  • Marty Keller, CEO, Small Business Revolution and former Director of the Office of Small Business Advocate for the State of California
  • Kevin H. Watson, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

“As a Latino small business owner in the Los Angeles area, I understand first-hand the challenges we face,” said Carlos Alfaro, who owns INSURENEX, a leading independent insurance brokerage firm in the city. “Through coverage placement and overall risk management planning, my business focuses on helping small growth and mid-size companies achieve higher levels of success. The Latino Coalition Economic Summit and the Travelers Institute’s symposium provide an ideal solutions-based dialogue for me to participate in and bring back to my customers.”

At the event, panelists identified access to capital as a major issue, which aligned with Union Bank’s 11th Annual Small Business Economic Survey conducted earlier this year in California, Oregon and Washington. The poll, which measured 3,000 entrepreneurs, showed that more small business owners in the Los Angeles region (27 percent) than all other counties surveyed applied for a business loan or access to credit in 2010. Of these business owners, 38 percent were denied a loan or access to credit. Of those denied, 69 percent were unable to find alternate financing.

“Small businesses comprise 98 percent of all businesses in California,” said Marty Keller, who previously served as the Small Business Administration’s California Director. “At Small Business Revolution, our goal is to put small business interests and economic recovery at the top of the state’s legislative agenda – and we’re proud to raise these issues and facilitate discussion with the Travelers Institute on this important topic.”

In recognition of the Travelers Institute’s leadership and participation, Latino Coalition Chairman Hector Barretto, who served as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration for five years, said, “The Latino Coalition aims to arm our constituents with effective tools that enhance business success though initiatives and partnerships. We are so pleased and proud to stand with Travelers as a thought leader on the issue of small business advocacy.”

About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers’ underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information and analysis to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit

About The Latino Coalition (TLC)
The Latino Coalition (TLC) was founded in 1995 by a group of Hispanic business owners from across the country to research and develop policies relevant to Latinos.TLC is a nonprofit national organization with offices in Southern California, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. TLC addresses policy issues that directly affect the well-being of Hispanics in the United States. TLC's agenda is to develop initiatives and partnerships that will foster economic equivalency and enhance overall business, economic and social development of Latinos. Travelers is a sponsor of TLC, and recently participated in the Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., in May 2011.

*As reported by the Small Business Administration.

Ashley Maagero, 860-277-2954

Source: Travelers