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WSBR December Luncheon

December 7, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

WSBR December Luncheon and Panel Discussion

The space insurance market, a fundamental backbone of the space economy, is shaken in a way perhaps unseen in years. Do these “shocks to the system” foreshadow changes to come?

In recent months, space insurers have witnessed a series of high-profile – and highly costly – satellite and launch vehicle failures, with claims potentially totaling up to $1 billion dollars and rates accordingly rising. Meanwhile, a new generation of low-Earth-orbit satellite “mega-constellations,” the continuing growth of orbital debris, and concerns about the commercial cost of conflict in space are raising questions about the future of the space insurance business. On the flipside, government regulations and liability requirements pose opportunities for space insurers to consider rewarding the most sustainable projects with lower premiums.

At 12:00 Noon ET on Thursday, December 7, join WSBR for a lunchtime panel at Hogan Lovells US LLP, located at Columbia Square, 555 Thirteenth Street, NW Washington DC.  Hear from leading executives in the space insurance field on “the state of play today in space insurance” and contribute to an engaging discussion on the current, and future, dynamics shaping the sector with top experts with backgrounds in space insurance, risk management, liability, and regulation.

All proceeds from WSBR events are used to fund the WSBR Education Awards that promote education about and interest in the fields of space and satellite technology among young people in the Washington metro-area.

Chris Kunstadter is Global Head of Space at AXA XL and manages the company’s space insurance team. He is actively involved in all aspects of AXA XL’s space activity, including technical, financial, and actuarial analysis, coverage design, claims handling, industry outreach, and business development.

Chris is a recognized leader in space risk management issues. For over three decades, he has worked closely with global satellite operators and manufacturers, launch providers, industry groups, and others to develop cutting-edge solutions that enable investment and innovation in space. Chris has collaborated with policymakers and space agencies around the world to enhance space safety and promote responsible space activity.

Chris received a BA degree in Literature and an MS degree in Engineering from the University of California. He holds a Commercial Pilot license with Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings and is a Certified Flight Instructor. Chris is an avid musician and serves on the boards of several music-oriented not-for-profit organizations.

Brian Quirk is Director, Treasury Operations and Corporate Risk Management for the Intelsat companies with responsibilities covering satellite and terrestrial insurance procurement, enterprise risk management and Treasury banking operations.

Prior to joining Intelsat in 2008, Brian worked at Network Solutions, Nextel and CACI in various Treasury roles. Brian is a native to Virginia and enjoys family time fishing and boating on the Rappahannock river.

Caryn Schenewerk is a respected leader in navigating the complex regulatory and policy landscape for the spaceflight industry. As the President of CS Consulting, she provides expert guidance to clients on regulatory and policy engagement with all levels and branches of government. Caryn co-authored a space law textbook, International Space Law and Space Laws of the United States, and is honored to share her expertise as an adjunct professor of Space Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to founding CS Consulting, Caryn served as the Vice President for Regulatory and Government Affairs at Relativity Space, where she helped the company launch the world’s first 3-D printed rocket. Caryn started her career in aerospace at SpaceX, where she spent a decade supporting commercial and civil space operations, facility expansion, and economic development as a lawyer and lobbyist. She has an extensive track record of interacting with U.S. government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, NASA and the U.S. Space Force in support of launch and recovery operations.

Caryn is a member of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee for which she leads the Regulatory Working Group. She also serves as the industry lead for the FAA’s Part 440 Aerospace Rulemaking Committee.

Prior to her work in the space industry, she served as the Deputy Associate Director for Legislative Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. Caryn has also worked in various other roles, including Counsel, Policy Director, and Deputy Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill, starting her career in international trade law.

Caryn obtained her bachelor’s degree from Austin College in Sherman, TX, and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. She also earned a Master’s in Laws (LLM) from the University of Nottingham in England and is a member of the New York and D.C. Bars.

Charles Thornton is director of Aerospace Risk Management for Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leader in global security.

Thornton leads Northrop Grumman’s aerospace risk management practice and is responsible for the development and retention of the risk management professionals serving the Aeronautics and Space sectors. He is charged with ensuring Northrop Grumman’s aerospace risk profile is minimized by negotiating best-in-class insurance protections. Thornton’s specific insurance program responsibilities include aviation, space, cargo, environmental and cyber insurance and management of all related claims.

Prior to his present role, Thornton was director of risk management and real estate with Orbital ATK. There he was responsible for a small team of risk management and real estate professionals whose mission was to protect the company’s balance sheet and strategically size the company’s real estate footprint in line with growth projections.

As a risk manager, Thornton has been or is currently responsible for all insurance endeavors, claim activities, brokerage and TPA relationships. He also developed crisis management and business resiliency plans and chaired safety committees.

As real estate director, Thornton’s responsibilities included all development, lease and sublease negotiations, property acquisitions and sales, and government incentives negotiations. Thornton led the transition to systematic lease abstraction, critical date tracking, a centralized rent payment function and right-to-use asset accounting treatment.

Prior to Northrop Grumman, Thornton served as director of risk management at US Airways. He was also a broker at Willis and an underwriter at United States Aircraft Insurance Group. Before joining the insurance profession, Thornton was an active flight instructor and flew Beech 18s as a contract pilot to UPS.

Thornton has a long history of volunteerism with Scouts BSA having served as den leader, cubmaster, and scoutmaster in his district. His current role is director for district-wide camporees where multiple troops converge for high-adventure activities, skill building and leadership development.

Thornton earned a bachelor’s degree in Professional Aviation from Louisiana Tech University and a Masters in Business Administration from George Mason University.

Registration closes on Friday, December 1st at 12pm/Noon ET.

Registration Rates

Individual Seat$85
Half Table (4 Seats)$320
Full Table (8 Seats)$640

Thank You to Our Event Partner!


December 7, 2023
12:00 pm
Event Category:

Hogan Lovells LLP

555 13th St., NW Washington, DC 20004 + Google Map
(202) 637-5600
View Venue Website