Our 2014 expert speakers

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Stephen Applebaum

Principal
Insurance Claim Solutions

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Bill Guthrie

Chief Information Officer
Pacific Specialty Insurance Company

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William H. Guthrie is currently Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Pacific Specialty Insurance Company (PSIC), an ‘A’ rated property and casualty insurance carrier with headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. PSIC, flagship of the McGraw Group of Affiliated Companies, is recognized as an industry leader in motorcycle and personal watercraft coverage. In addition, Pacific Specialty also offers homeowners, boat, motor home, mobile home and commercial products, and markets their programs primarily through independent agent and broker distribution channels. In 2013, PSIC’s direct premiums written exceeded $188,000,000 and total assets exceeded $377,000,000, including more than $205,000,000 in policyholder surplus. Admitted in all states including the District of Columbia, the company’s ten-year average combined ratio is under 93%.

William joined The McGraw Group in 1991, serving initially as the founding manager of Pacific Loan Administrators, a premium finance loan administrator that provides an additional financing source and flexible payment schedules for the group’s policyholders. In 1997, Guthrie became manager of what was to ultimately to become the company’s Product Development Department, focusing his efforts on the development, maintenance and profitability of Pacific Specialty’s insurance programs, where he was named Assistant Vice-President in 2000 and later Vice President in 2003. In 2010, William moved in the company’s technology operations, becoming Vice President of Information Technology, and was promoted to the CIO position in January 2013.

William earned his B.S. in Industrial Psychology from California State University, East Bay, in 1991, and is also a licensed fire and casualty broker-agent with the State of California. Guthrie, who was born in San Mateo, Calfornia, is married and the father of two children.

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David Zona

Chief Underwriting Officer
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company

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David Zona is responsible for commercial lines and personal lines product management, pricing, predictive analytics and underwriting governance. He has over 25 years of expertise in the financial services industry. His previous positions include senior vice president of product management for Fireman’s Fund commercial business and vice president of product management and pricing at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio. Zona earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, an MS in Insurance and Risk Management from Georgia State University, and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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Upendra Belhe

Chief Analytics Technology Officer
Chubb Insurance

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Bob McPherson

Director - P&C Actuarial Research
Nationwide Insurance

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Wayne Wendling

Vice President - Actuarial/Strategic Research & Economic Modeling
CNA

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Wayne Wendling is a Vice President, Analytics, and leads the Strategic Research and Economic Modeling Team within the CNA Actuarial Department.

Wayne holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has numerous professional publications, presentations and university-based teaching experience in quantitative methods, managerial economics and healthcare finance.

Prior to joining CNA, Wayne held leadership & research positions with other insurance carriers, independent research organizations and health care associations. He also serves or has served in an advisory capacity to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), Integrated Benefits Institute, Pension Research Council, General Accountability Office and other organizations.

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Partha Srinivasa

Chief Information Officer
Houston Casualty

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Partha Srinivasa joined HCC as SVP and Group CIO in July, 2013. His primary responsibility is to drive technology as key and strategic enabler for the business. Prior to this, Partha was the Group CTO and Global CIO of Zurich Insurance Group since early 2010, and before that he was the CTO, divisional CIO and SVP at Farmers Insurance Group (since 2004). Partha has over 20 years’ experience in Insurance and Financial Services Industry with experience in some of the industry leading companies like Zurich Insurance, Farmers Insurance Group, Deutsche Bank, HP, Tata, etc. In addition, Partha has been technology advisor to many companies and is an ardent industry speaker on technology and innovation. Partha holds MS in Management from IIT, Chennai, India and holds Bachelor of Engineering.

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Piyush Singh

Chief Information Officer
Great American Insurance

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Piyush Singh is SVP and CIO of Great American Insurance Company, Inc. He is responsible for creating the vision and direction of American Financial Group’s IT strategy and operationally executing that vision to take the specialty insurer to the next generation. Singh holds a master’s degree from the University of Delhi, an MBA from Bradley University and CPCU designation.

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Grant Little

Director - Claims Technology & Analytics
National General

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Elizabeth Riczko

Group Analytics Leader
Westfield Insurance

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Elizabeth (Beth) has over 20 years of experience in the property-casualty insurance industry in a variety of roles. She joined Westfield in 2007 and presently serves as the Group Analytics Leader, with responsibility for driving the execution of business, agent and customer analytics across the enterprise. Prior to joining Westfield, Beth operated her own insurance agency for two years, selling the business before joining Westfield. Before that, Beth spent several years at Ohio Casualty Group, a publiclytraded, top 50 property-casualty insurer. She served in a number of senior leadership roles including President of Insurance Operations, Chief Operating Officer – Personal Lines Division, Chief Actuary, and Senior Vice President of Financial and Treasurer.

Beth is a graduate of Muhlenberg College with a BS degree in Mathematics and Physics. She also has an MBA from Walden University. Beth is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She is a Certified Management Accountant and a Certified Financial Manager. In addition, Beth holds fifteen designations from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (The Institutes) including the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

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Munish Arora

Manager - Product Analytics
CSAA Insurance Group

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Munish Arora currently serves as Senior Manager of Insurance Analytics at CSAA insurance group in San Francisco Bay Area, California. In his current role he is responsible for supporting data, reporting and analytic needs of product management and sales divisions, and supervises a multi-tier team of analytic professionals. His team fulfills variety of business needs: from providing SAS data extracts to building predictive models to optimize various aspects of underwriting and claims operations. Munish also serves as business architect for the business analytics program and is a member of Cat Exposure Management Council at CSAA. In his prior career at RMS Inc, Munish primarily served as head of industry exposure products and held variety of analytic roles. Munish has over 14 years of experience in predictive modeling, analytics, business intelligence and data disciplines and is adept a building guiding and nurturing high performance analytic teams. He has spent several years in deep diving policy and claims datasets from many insurance carriers, both domestic and international, and has developed strategies and techniques to efficiently derive analytic value from such data. Being a hands on professional, quick learner and a thought leader, Munish is skillful in creating and leading adaptive solutions for variety of aspects in the data and analytics areas of insurance business.

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Nora FitzGerald

Vice President - Statistical Reporting, Corporate Actuarial
CNA

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Paul Ballew

Chief Data & Analytics Officer
Dun & Bradstreet

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Paul Ballew currently serves as Dun & Bradstreet’s Chief Data, Insight & Analytics Officer. Paul brings extensive experience in Data, Product, Marketing, Innovation and Analytics to Dun & Bradstreet. Mr. Ballew is responsible for creating an innovative strategy for Dun & Bradstreet’s data acquisition, maintenance and analytics across the globe. Paul also leverages his understanding of the market and macro-economic conditions to develop a robust, executable global data strategy.

Prior to joining Dun & Bradstreet, Paul served as Nationwide’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. Mr. Ballew was responsible for the company’s macro consumer analytics, economic forecasting and analysis, and industry forecasts in support of business planning and strategy. He was also the company’s primary spokesperson on financial markets, economic and industry related issues. Paul joined Nationwide in November 2007 and established the company’s Customer Insights and Analytics capabilities. Mr. Ballew was the Senior Vice President responsible for customer, marketing, and business analytics, which provided vital insights to the company. Paul directed market research, and information and data management efforts, and supported the company’s marketing strategy.

Prior to joining Nationwide, Paul was employed by General Motors and served as General Motors Corporation’s Executive Director for Global Market and Industry Analysis. He was responsible for the company’s research, consumer data and information, forecasting and sales, and customer, economic and industry analysis. Mr. Ballew also directed the company’s Sales and Marketing strategic planning activities in North America and served as a senior director for global product planning activities. These activities included serving as one of the company’s key strategists and the company’s primary spokesperson on sales, industry and market conditions.

Prior to joining GM, Mr. Ballew was a Partner for J.D. Power and Associates from 1995 to 1999. At J.D. Power, Paul was responsible for global analysis, forecasting and the establishment of the firm’s consulting activities. During his tenure, he was the company’s senior advisor on industry conditions and corporate strategies.

Before joining J.D. Power, Mr. Ballew was a Research Officer and Senior Economist with the Federal Reserve from 1988 to 1995, specializing on the automotive industry. Responsibilities included the oversight of the Fed’s automotive research activities, serving as an advisor to the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and advising the Board of Governors. Mr. Ballew also served in an advisory capacity to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and participated in monetary policy deliberations.

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Heather Mills

Web Analytics Administrator
American Family Insurance

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With over 10 years of digital marketing experience, Heather has worked on sites for large multi-million dollar companies to small non-profit organizations. With expertise in web analytics, she excels at using analytic data to create strategic objectives and follow up with testing and measuring the outcomes of those objectives. She oversees the American Family Insurance digital analytics, testing and optimization and works with data integration. Heather believes in breaking down silos by bridging the gap between what marketing needs and what IT needs while always keeping the customer front and center. Like in construction: measure twice, cut once.

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Shekhar Shastri

Head of Innovation Lab
Sun Life Financial

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Shekhar Shastri is a veteran of insurance and asset management industry with deep experience in portfolio risk management, credit analysis, quantitative analysis, and investment policy compliance. He heads a Innovation team at Sun Life Financial to leverage cutting-edge analytics and technology for the firm. Earlier, was the founder, CEO of Redwood Investment Systems which he successfully built and then subsequently sold.

He has worked at firms such as AIG, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity Investments, Nomura Securities, and Bell Labs. He writes and speaks on innovation and transformational change. He also lectures on Aesthetic Theory at MIT.

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Wade Bontrager

Chief Executive Officer
EagleEye Analytics

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Wade Bontrager is an insurance industry executive with deep experience in growing insurance businesses. He joins EagleEye after 20 years of business experience, with a strong background in pricing and marketing – including time in other industries – with 15 of those years applying predictive analytics on the insurance carrier side. Most recently Wade held the position of Senior Vice President at GMAC Insurance. His previous roles at GMAC Insurance include Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President of the Affinity Division, Vice President of Insurance Partner Marketing, and Senior Marketing Manager of the Independent Agency Channel. Wade was also Product Manager at Windsor Group Insurance.

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Seth Earley

Chief Executive Officer
Earley & Associates

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Nathan Golia

Senior Editor
Insurance & Technology

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Brij Masand

Chief Executive Officer
Actionable Analytics

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Brij Masand is the Founder/CEO of Actionable Analytics Corp.

He has over 15 years of experience in helping increase business profitability using advanced predictive analytics for Insurance, Banking and several other industries. Brij brings invention and innovation to build custom solutions where conventional techniques fail, creating new approaches for all aspects of the customer life cycle, as customer behavior evolves from acquisition to later stages, requiring responsive pricing and adaptive loss ratios.

At Actionable Analytics, beyond the usual focus on short term attrition risk, he has helped developed a proprietary technology for accurately predicting how long will a customer/household or business keep their insurance policies (future customer tenure) and how profitable will they be (future lifetime value). He has helped quantify the increase in longevity and future value when a customer buys additional products thus allowing for informed pricing decisions for cross sell and acquisition offers. He has also helped measure the effect of increased customer satisfaction on longevity and future profit. Apart from customer level analytics Brij has helped develop advanced solutions for portfolio level strategy: Forecasting long range future attrition, revenue and value for the entire customer base including what segments are at risk, enabling long range what-if scenario analysis for different interventions.

Prior to founding Actionable Analytics, Brij was a partner at Data Miners - a consultancy, director of Data Mining at GTE Labs, and helped develop intelligent solutions for parallel computing, financial services and advanced text analytics at numerous startups.

Brij holds 3 patents in the area of data mining and text analytics, is a pioneer/author in the area of web analytics and has numerous machine learning publications. He has an MS in AI from MIT and a BTech in EE from IIT Delhi. He has an interest in writing poetry, learning the nature of mind and helping create a hunger free planet in our lifetime.

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Gregory Short

President
DataDNA

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John Papadia

President
Clarity Solution Group

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John Papadia is President at Clarity Solution Group. He leads Clarity’s Delivery functions, and has executive responsibility across the firm’s client base.

Upon joining Clarity Solution Group in 2008, John formally launched Clarity Solution Group’s Data and Analytics Practice. He rapidly established and implemented delivery, sales, recruiting and marketing processes, which enabled the organization to grow from 40 to more than 200 billable consultants.

In 2010, John assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure, Clarity Solution Group tripled its revenue base, launched the Clarity Development Center, and increased its presence from Coast to Coast. Clarity continuously earns industry recognition, inclusive of recognition by the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies four years in a row. His emphasis on building strong culture and employee satisfaction led to Clarity Solution Group’s recognition as the third Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2012 by Best Companies Group.

Prior to joining Clarity Solution Group, John worked at industry frontrunners PwC, IBM, and Knightsbridge Solutions. At Knightsbridge, he founded the Communications, Media, and Entertainment practice, building it from initial launch to a business unit that successfully delivered enterprise solutions for multi-national companies.

John earned his MBA at the University of Georgia and has a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems from Indiana University – Bloomington, IN.

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Sergei Ananyan, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and CEO
Megaputer Intelligence

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Sergei Ananyan, Ph.D. is a cofounder and CEO for Megaputer Intelligence. Sergei heads a team of consultants creating and customizing advanced analytical solutions addressing challenges frequently encountered by practitioners in insurance, financial and medical domains. He has profound hands-on experience in claims analysis, fraud detection, e-Discovery, survey and social media analysis. Sergei plays an active role in the development of a leading data and text mining system PolyAnalyst, now used by hundreds of commercial, research and government organizations throughout the world. He is the author of numerous articles on Business Intelligence in academic and trade publications and speaker and panel chair at several major industry conferences. Sergei wrote a chapter on text mining for the book “Handbook on Decision Support Systems” published by Springer.

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Sundip Gorai

Vice President - Analytics and Information Management
L&T Infotech

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Sundip Gorai heads the Analytics and Information practice at L &T Infotech. He was earlier Associate Partner with IBM's Business Analytics and Optimization Practice. He brings in 18 years of experience across 30 countries. He specializes in creating outcome driven analytic strategy and charter for organization leveraging Customer, Risk, Finance, HR, Social and Machine centric data. His current role encompasses creating new analytic frontiers for organization using internal and external data by leveraging advanced algorithms, BI methods and Analytic techniques. Prior to IBM, Sundip was Vice President of Analytics at Hexaware Technologies and set up their Business Intelligence and Advanced analytic practice. Prior to this, Sundip was the Head of Analytics at Oracle Financial Services for the Latin American Market. When not working, Sundip actively pursues music, cinema and books. He is the author of a mystery thriller that falls in the sub-genre of "math fiction."

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Deepak Ramanathan

Vice President- Global Consulting, FSI
Fractal Analytics

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Deepak leads Fractal’s engagement with Insurance and Financial Services clients. He is the client thought partner and is responsible for ensuring projects meet client objectives and deliver insight, impact and innovation, on time and on budget.

He has more than a decade of experience in analytics that address CRM, risk and pricing, marketing effectiveness, consumer insights, crime prediction and healthcare.

He has an MBA from ISB (Indian School of Business) and an engineering undergraduate degree from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) at Madras.

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Aaron Brandenburg

Economist & Statistical Information Manager
NAIC

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Aaron Brandenburg is an Economist and Statistical Information Manager with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and has been with the organization for eight years.

Mr. Brandenburg conducts economic and statistical research for the NAIC and its members on a wide range of issues. He has assisted in the authoring of several NAIC publications, given presentations to numerous insurance-related groups and provided support for several NAIC Working Groups. He also oversees the Statistical Information Unit at the NAIC which is responsible for publishing numerous statistical reports and responds to various insurance-related requests from state and federal officials, academics, media and industry. His work has involved diverse insurance issues including catastrophic risk, rate regulation and the economics of insurance.

Prior to joining the NAIC, Mr. Brandenburg was an economic analyst with Shook, Hardy and Bacon where he was responsible for the development of economic and econometric experts, the drafting of regulatory submissions and general analysis of market and economic issues.

Mr. Brandenburg earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Iowa and his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. He also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designations.

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Robert C. Passmore

Senior Director - Personal Lines Policy
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)

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Robert Passmore is a Senior Director- Personal Lines with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). His responsibilities include policy development and issue identification for claims, personal automobile insurance, boat and motorcycle insurance as well as auto safety issues. He is also the staff liaison for the PCI Claims, Fraud, Auto Physical Damage and Automobile Insurance committees.

Bob joined PCI in January 2007 after almost 22 years with Liberty Mutual. While his prior experience is concentrated in automobile claims, since joining PCI he has worked extensively on legislative and regulatory issues involving claims and personal automobile insurance.

He is a member of the Society of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) having received his designation in 2002.

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Brian Cohen

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A dynamic and resourceful leader with a track record of success best describes Brian Cohen. He's run small and large organizations (domestically and internationally), turnaround and growth situations, as well as B2C and B2B businesses in the insurance and financial services industry.

He currently serves as the President and CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Pacific Specialty Insurance Company and its sister companies Western Service Contract Corporation, and The McGraw Company (collectively “PSIC” or the “Company”). During his tenure he has streamlined operations, grown and diversified revenue, and increased operating income. PSIC was recently recognized as a Wards Top 50 company designating it as one of the top 50 P&C insurance companies in the United States as measured by financial performance.

Prior to PSIC, Brian was an operating partner with Altamont Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Palo Alto, CA. Mr. Cohen continues to be an advisor to the firm. Before joining Altamont, Brian led the successful turnaround of global software company, Clear Technology, culminating in its sale. During his tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, Clear Technology was designated a global Software 500 company by Software Magazine, recognized as the 12th fastest growing company in Colorado, and as a Colorado Fast 50 company by Deloitte.

A results oriented and innovative executive, Brian previously served as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. In that capacity he directed Farmers’ 15,000 strong exclusive agent sales force that provides auto, home, commercial and life insurance to over 10 million customers across the United States. During his tenure agent productivity reached the highest level in Farmers Insurance Group history culminating in record sales results. Brian’s additional duties included serving on the Board of Directors of Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, chairing the Budget Committee for Farmers Group, and serving on its Investment Committee.

In 2000, Brian founded and served as the President and a member of the Board of Directors of Farmers Financial Solutions, L.L.C., (“FFS”). Under his leadership, FFS licensed and trained nearly 10,000 Farmers property and casualty agents to sell investment products, such as annuities, variable life insurance, and mutual funds. FFS became Farmers’ fastest growing business and was recognized as a global best in class organization by the Insurance Advisory Board, an affiliate of the Corporate Executive Board.

Prior to joining Farmers, Brian played a leading role in building a diversified retail and financial services company that catered to the Latino market. He helped take the company public in 1996.

Brian was formerly a C.P.A. and a corporate lawyer. He earned his business degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Southern California.

Brian actively participates in various business and civic groups including the World Presidents Organization where he chairs the WPO/Harvard Business School Presidents Program. He is the past Chairman of the Wellness Community West Los Angeles. An avid traveler, Brian has visited over 60 countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. In his free time he likes to ski, mountain bike, and hike with his family.

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