California JPIA Recognizes 15-Year Anniversary for Alex Smith

Alex SmithLast month, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority’s (California JPIA) Chief Executive Officer, Alex Smith, celebrated 15 years of service with the Authority.
“Authority members have benefitted from Alex’s talent for 15 years,” said Authority Executive Committee President Margaret Finlay. “His visionary thinking has propelled the organization forward, allowing for greater member benefits. I’m certain he will continue to build upon those successes.”

Under Smith’s leadership, the Authority developed its excess liability and excess workers’ compensation programs and restructured the property program. As a result, the Authority significantly improved its ability to retain members and offer attractive coverage programs to new prospective members. In addition, Smith initiated the creation of the Authority’s captive, Sequoia Pacific Reinsurance Company. Members benefit from Sequoia Pacific by receiving lower coverage costs, less dependence on commercial insurance markets, and more efficient use of capital.

“Listening to members and being responsive to their needs is a fundamental tenet of the Authority,” said Smith. “Feedback from members led to the creation of the excess programs in 2016 and the captive in 2019. Going forward, we continue researching and developing innovative programs and providing relevant and timely training based on member input.”

Smith began his career with the Authority in March 2009 as finance director and was initially responsible for managing the programs and activities of the Financial Services Division. He was promoted to chief financial officer in December 2016 and deputy executive officer in 2021. He was appointed chief executive officer in 2023.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from CSU San Bernardino and a master’s in business administration from the University of La Verne. His public agency risk pool experience includes tenures at Southern California Schools Risk Management JPA and Southern California Schools Employee Benefits Association. Before working in the risk pool industry, Smith served four years in the United States Marine Corps.
At the national level, Smith represents the Authority by serving on the membership practices committee of the Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP). This committee develops and promotes best practices in critical areas of risk pool operations, including governance, financial solvency, contract management, underwriting, coverage, claims management, and data security. At the state level, Smith serves on the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) board of directors.

As the chief executive officer of the California JPIA, Smith is responsible for board and executive committee relations, general administration, policy implementation, and strategic initiatives.

“As a child, I dreamed of being a firefighter, but fate led me to public entity risk pool administration,” said Smith. “I’m grateful for this path because I enjoy helping people and solving problems. The Authority is a remarkable organization with members who care deeply about their communities and a talented staff who work hard but also have fun together. Daily, we provide members with risk management assistance and engage in creative problem-solving. And occasionally, I even get to ‘put out a fire.’”

Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 45 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 125 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at cjpia.org.