T.J. Derella, New PIANY President, States Views on Industry’s Image, Issues and Ideology

September 11, 2003

The newly installed president of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc., T.J. Derella, asked fellow leaders to focus on what he called the industry’s three “I”s: image, issues and ideology, at the association’s annual business meeting at the Normanskill County Club in Delmar, N.Y.

A PIANY bulletin indicated that Derella’s focus during his term would be on working to better the insurance industry’s image, enacting meaningful legislation to better the industry and fine-tuning the association’s ideology.

“First, PIANY should foster the positive image of insurance agents,” Derella, stated. He spoke of his father, who was an insurance agent, and recalled a discussion they had about how many in the industry call themselves account executives, because selling insurance somehow had a negative connotation.

“There is no reason to be embarrassed about our profession,” Derella stressed. “My father was proud to sell insurance as am I. Insurance agents are the ones there when our neighbors need us. At the time when others are looking to take advantage of customers; we are there with a check to pay for repairs after a catastrophe; to make sure families have means when providers are injured; to keep businesses going in the face of peril.”

Derella cited the PIANY’s efforts on the legislative and regulatory fronts to protect and further PIANY member’s business interests. He highlighted the associations efforts to achieve meaningful legislation to combat auto insurance fraud and repeal absolute liability and introduce a negligence standard to the states’ labor laws.

“We must maintain vigilance over labor law and auto fraud reform in New York state,” Derella continued, “In addition, we need to wrap our tort reform issues up in a bow for legislators, presenting the strongest argument possible to achieve the legislation we have worked so long to enact on these issues. We cannot let politicians continue to neglect these matters.”

Lastly, Derella challenged the association to “put its money where its mouth is” in the legislative process by supporting lawmakers who support the industry and not supporting those who do not, and to find cohesion within the industry to forward mutual interests. “Leadership is not doing what’s easy, its doing what’s right,” he emphasized. He would like to see the association continue to support key lawmakers who help to advance the PIANY’s legislative agenda and withdraw its support from those who continue to accept financial and informative contributions yet never produce results.

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