Young Brokers & Agents Conference Balances Learning and Networking

By | May 21, 2001

Early June in the desert will have some extra sizzle when the Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West hosts its 26th Annual Young Brokers and Agents Conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Rick Dinger, chairman of the Young Brokers and Agents Committee and president of Crescenta Valley Insurance, noted that the conference offers a lot for both returnees and first-time attendees.

“The event is a good chance for agents to network with other agencies, along with giving you an opportunity to find markets for hard-to-place accounts,” Dinger said.

This year’s conference is scheduled to run June 7-9 at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, which is set on 360 acres, encompassing both a championship golf course and 65,000 square feet of indoor meeting room.

As usual, the event is scheduled to include learning, networking and fun—all geared toward the younger generation of brokers and agents, who come in from all parts of the western states.

Classes offered during the three-day event include “Surety Bonds,” taught by Christopher Rizzotti of American Contractors Indemnity Company; “Survival Strategies in the New Workers’ Comp Market,” led by Patricia Gibson Carlson from the Insurance Skills Center; “The Insurance Marketplace as a Workplace: Fair Access and Equal Treatment for All, ” taught by Cheryl Koch from the Agency Management Resource Group; “Personal Lines Insurance for the Affluent Customer,” a seminar hosted by Chubb instructors; “10 Most Misunderstood Areas of Personal Lines” instructed by Marjorie Segale of Insurance Skills Center; “How to Effectively Network and Develop Leads in Social and Business Arenas”, with Robb Greenspan; and “Strategies to Go Virtual with Your Agency,” instructed by Rick Morgan, vice president of and executive editor of The Agency Automation Report.

“Not only do we provide almost all of your annual CE requirements, we provide our vendors with the best opportunity to meet with and socialize with the future of the industry,” Dinger commented.

Presenting the keynote address at the Awards Luncheon on June 9 will be Assemblyman Thomas Calderon (D-Montebello), a possible candidate for the position of Insurance Commissioner when the seat comes up for election next year.

“It is a great opportunity to have [Calderon] there and get his perspective,” Dinger commented. “He’ll likely talk about today’s insurance climate.”

Also at the same luncheon, the recipients of two prestigious awards will be announced. The Ronald Lee Wilson Award goes to the outstanding young agent in the association, while the Harlan Miller Award recognizes a particular agent for outstanding achievement as a federal ambassador for the Independent Insurance Agents of America.

For young agents attending the conference, it is also a great avenue to further their careers and learn what other agents go through day in and day out. Some carriers will be on hand, actively seeking agents for company appointments.

“The Welcome Reception is always big,” Dinger noted. “California is so geographically spread [out], we don’t see a lot of our friends except for usually just once or twice a year…
A lot of people have been going to these for years and years, so you develop some pretty good friendships.”

Some of the event’s top level sponsors will be on hand to display products and services, distribute materials and talk to the agents one-on-one Friday evening.

Canon Insurance is the Grand Sponsor of this year’s event. Additionally, there are sponsors who have participated in the annual conference for about 15 years, including Monarch Insurance and Bliss & Glennon.

Although the conference is geared towards people between 25 and 35 years of age, Dinger said, “We don’t discriminate. People have had so much fun and get so much out of the conference that [they] just continue to go…We don’t do a ton of family outing type adventures—it’s more geared towards the up-and coming young professional and the kind of things they would enjoy and appreciate.”

Todd Jackson, vice president of Jackson & Jackson Insurance Agents and Brokers in Pasadena, said the conference over the years has been beneficial to him. “I’ve been going since 1996 and it is a great opportunity to network with others,” Jackson said. “I always come back with ideas.”

According to Dinger, “Every agency should always send at least one agent to the conference each year, otherwise they run the risk of falling behind. Our industry is changing rapidly and by getting together once a year, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.”

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Insurance Journal West May 21, 2001
May 21, 2001
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