N.Y. Agent Leader Hagan Seeks Practical Answer on Compensation

May 23, 2005

The new head of New York’s largest insurance organization and a panel of industry experts recently predicted that policyholders will receive more detailed information in the future on how their agents and brokers are compensated.

Elmira agent Mark J. Hagan, who was inducted chair of the board during the two-day Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York’s Annual Meeting & Conference in Syracuse, said the trade organization would work with insurers, state legislators and the state insurance department on making transparency in compensation as a practical business practice among its membership.

The New York Insurance Department is considering regulations that would govern how agents and brokers disclose their compensation, including incentive fees, according to Deputy Superintendent of Insurance Peter Molinaro. “We believe we need a much more comprehensive approach than just the kind of approach the market conduct survey can give us alone,” Molinaro said during a panel discussion. “We feel the need to take that step at this point.”

During the discussion, panelist Scott Sinder, lead counsel for the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, stressed the need for uniformity is states’ responses.

“Our biggest fear is New York will do one thing and California does another,” Sinder said, “and then how do we comply, especially when a lot of the accounts have presence and risk exposures in both locations. In my view, the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) is the place where you have some sort of consensus. But we have failed to get there.”

Hagan, who is also president of the Perry & Carroll agency in Elmira, was not the only member of IIABNY’s leadership team to be inducted during the group’s Annual Meeting and Conference. In addition to Hagan, other officers were also elected to one-year terms:

• Sharon H. Emek, Ph.D., a managing director of CBS Coverage Group in New York City, was elected chair-elect.

• Stephen R. Zogby, executive vice president of Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig in New Hartford, was elected secretary/treasurer.

• Steven J. Spiro, president of Spiro Risk Management in Valley Stream and former IIABNY president (2000-2001), was elected state national director.

A slate of five member agents was elected regional directors. Russell C. Vollmer, president of The Vollmer-Adair Agency in Greenlawn, returns to the board after nine years. Vollmer will serve a two-year term and represent IIABNY members in the Metropolitan-Suburban Region.

Neal L. Sullivan, CPA, vice president of the Sullivan Financial Group in Mahopac, was re-elected to serve a second two-year term. Sullivan will continue to represent the association’s members in the Metropolitan-Suburban Region.

Also elected to two-year terms as regional directors are William J. Fahy, chief marketing officer for Bailey & Haskell Associates in Oneida. Fahy will represent the association’s members in the East-North Region. John G. Berger Jr., executive vice president of Brown & Brown of New York in Williamsville, will represent IIABNY members in the West-Central Region. Berger will be joined in the region by Joseph D. Falcone, AAI, secretary/treasurer of Dominick Falcone Agency Inc. in Syracuse. Falcone, who had recently completed a one-year term on the IIABNY board, will serve an additional two years after his re-election.

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