The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) named James Russell of Texas Associates Insurors/NewFirst Insurors in El Campo as the André P. Juneau Young Agent of the Year. In addition, the association honored Jason Billingslea of The Hartford in Houston with the Young Associate of the Year award.
Both Russell and Billingslea received the awards at IIAT’s 117th Annual Conference and Trade Show in San Antonio.
Young Agent Award
The young agent award is given annually to a young agent in Texas who has achieved success through hard work, community engagement and industry participation in a manner that would be considered exceptional for a person of his or her age.
Russell is a partner at Texas Associates Insurors/NewFirst Insurors and has been the top producer at his agency six times since 2007. Russell has an extensive knowledge of construction and oil and gas risks that he gained by participating in industry groups like the Association of Energy Companies and the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
Since becoming an independent agent in 2006, he has developed many strong relationships with carriers and sureties that have generated new business for his agency. He recently collaborated with carriers to improve policy language for insureds with oil and gas operations.
A graduate of IIAT’s Producer Development Program and Leadership Academy, Russell is currently pursuing his Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) designation.
Young Associate Award
The young associate award is a new one for the association. It recognizes a young associate member of IIAT who demonstrates exceptional service to the industry, the association and community. Associate members include insurance companies, general agencies, automation vendors and other businesses serving the independent agency community.
Billingslea provides support for independent agents who produce small commercial business. He is a licensed property and casualty insurance adjuster and is in the process of earning his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
Billingslea is a former member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas and served on their Young Agents Committee until 2012. He is currently the Chairman of IIA Houston’s Young Professionals Committee, and in conjunction with the committee, he created the first Annual Houston Young Professionals Symposium in 2013. He also serves on IIAT’s Young Professionals Advisory Council where he has been a valuable contributor to the association’s efforts.