New PIACT Pres. Stresses Relationships, Education

March 19, 2004

Jeffrey D. Parmenter, CPCU, the newly elected president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut Inc. stressed relationship building and continuing education as primary requirements of success for individuals in the insurance industry.

He made the observations during his inauguration speech at PIACT’s annual convention this week at Foxwoods Casino and Resort, Mashantucket, Conn. Parmenter, a 20-year industry veteran who first joined PIACT as a Young Insurance Professional fifteen years ago, said these two factors were key to his own success.

In his address, he urged experienced pros who have influence over newcomers in the industry to encourage them to “get involved” by volunteering in their associations-joining the YIPs and pursuing leadership positions in that organization.

“None of us just choose to get involved,” Parmenter continued. “We became involved because we were either instructed or encouraged by someone who held an influence over us. To those of you who hold similar influence, I encourage you to use it.” He noted the influence his father, also an insurance professional, had had on him.

“Few of us set out to be in insurance. I am an exception,” he indicated, noting that his father, an insurance salesman, was a respected member of his community and the industry, which helped to drive him toward insurance as a career. “It was because of my dad’s relationships that I ended up in insurance and I will forever be thankful to him for that.”

Looking forward, Parmenter said, that, though automation is a necessary and inevitable tool that ultimately would help determine the overall success of the industry, it would be unwise to look to automation to take the place of relationships.

Parmenter continued that, while building relationships is an investment in our industry, individuals should also invest in themselves through continuing education. “The need to invest in education is essential,” Parmenter stressed. “A changing marketplace puts more responsibility on each of us to understand and react to change quickly and appropriately.

“Continuing education is more than taking a seminar or earning CE credits toward your license renewal. It’s learning all we can about our business-understanding the coverages that we sell, within the legal framework in which we do business.”

He lauded the PIA as an agent’s “best source of information” and as a “business partner,” and urged members to “use your relationship with your association to help yourself be even better at your profession.”

“We as an industry win when we take time to develop positive relationships, become actively involved and invest in ourselves. During the course of my tenure as PIA president, I intend to continue to foster the relationship building and professionalism upon which PIA is based,” he concluded.

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