Another job was the last thing Bill Henry wanted when he was approached to head up a new division of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF). But Henry, chairman and CEO of the Dallas-based brokerage McQueary Henry Bowles Troy (MHBT), says the “quality and character of the people” involved in the IICF and its philosophy of unifying the industry’s approach to giving “pushed him over the top” and into the chairmanship of the new Texas-Southeast Division of the IICF.
The IICF, which was initially founded in California as a 501C3 granting organization, focuses on grants and volunteerism in the local communities in which its members live and work, explains IICF CEO Bill Ross.
The 8-year-old charitable fund will announce the launch of the Texas-Southeast Division at its annual Western Division dinner gala on May 3. In addition to the Western Division, the group has already established branches in the Midwest and in the Northeast.
Ross says it’s up to each division to decide the focus of their mission. All of the established divisions have chosen education as one of their targeted interests but each focuses on other areas as well. In Southern California, for instance, the group has a special interest in child abuse prevention.
The Texas-Southeast Division will hold its first board meeting on May 24, at which time it will begin to define its mission and the areas it will serve.
MHBT, Henry says, like the property/casualty insurance industry as a whole has always been charity oriented. What’s been frustrating, he says, is that all the different insurance organizations typically “do their own thing” without a unified effort.
He credits IICF Chairman Bruce Basso, CEO of the Worldwide Broker Network, and Ross with successfully bringing him into the foundation’s fold.
He says there’s been a “phenomenal response” from the insurance community in Texas to the development of the new IICF division. The insurance industry in Texas is large but tight-knit and it has been very receptive of the united, systematic approach to giving that the IICF offers, Henry says.
MHBT Inc. is a founding member of the Texas-Southeast board. One of the earliest participants to commit to the organization is the North Texas-based agency CoVerica, Henry says. Other members that have signed on so far include ACE, Argo, Chartis, Chubb, CNA, Hartford, Mayer Brown LLP, Star Risk Services, Wells Fargo and Zurich.
The new IICF division will first concentrate on Texas and then move into the Southeast region. With the four established divisions, the IICF will have reached one of its goals — to bring the insurance industry’s expansive network of companies, wholesalers, brokers and agents together in the interest of serving communities all across the United States.