Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) President William F. Hofmann III, bestowed special IIAA Presidential Citations awards to several deserving individuals for their outstanding contributions on behalf of the independent agency system on Oct. 27.
IIAA’s Hawaii InfoXchange, themed “Grow Your Business…Secure Your Future,” began Oct. 28 and runs through Oct. 30. The annual leading industry event hosts a wide variety of technology workshops; innovative continuing education classes; new Best Practices opportunities; a series of prominent speakers; one of the largest exhibit halls in the insurance industry; IIAA Sales School with Russ Granger; a professional seminar series with Ken Blanchard, author of One Minute Manager; and many other exciting features.
The honorees were:
— Mike Pickens, Arkansas insurance commissioner, was singled out for his dedication as an advocate for state rights for insurance regulation. Commissioner Pickens is a strong supporter of agents and works closely with the Arkansas association and IIAA on a number of fronts. “As an NAIC leader, he spearheads a number of initiatives aimed at modernizing and strengthening state regulation,” Hofmann said. “With the support of Arkansas agents, he was instrumental in enactment of agent licensing reform legislation this year.”
— Independent Insurance Agents Association of Utah State National Director Brett Nilsson was honored for his exceptional service to independent agents on the state and national levels where he is a proven leader. As chairman of the finance committee, Nilsson has been an effective and strong leader and has brought a conservative fiscal management style to the association’s finances. Hofmann said, “Brett’s thorough supervision of the association’s financial matters has positioned this organization for long-term success.”
— Tommy Dietz, board member of IIAA’s for-profit subsidiary — Member Services Inc. (MSI), was lauded for his dedication to the MSI Board. As a member of the association’s for-profit board the last two years Dietz has gone beyond the call of duty to help the association evaluate capital and strategic partners. “He brings a unique analytical ability, wealth of contacts, vision for the future and enthusiasm to his role on the board,” Hofmann said. “Also, Dietz provided critical guidance to the development of a new rollout and product strategy for Big “I” Markets.”
IIAA Vice President of State Relations and State Government Affairs Wes Bissett was praised for his dedication and commitment to independent agents and IIAA. During his tenure with the association, Bissett has assumed higher levels of responsibility and has executed them with expertise and precision. “As executive director of Future One he revitalized the organization, positioning it as a leading voice within the industry. He is IIAA’s lead liaison with the state associations and serves as an effective conduit,” Hofmann said.
Bill Wilson, director of IIAA’s Virtual University, was honored for his strong and unequaled support of IIAA and its educational programs. Since joining the national association in 1999, Wilson has led the Big “I” Virtual University project from its beginning stages to closer to becoming a reality. “Single-handedly, Bill has assembled some of the finest minds within the industry for the university staff and for its ‘Ask the Expert’ service,” Hofmann said. “Additionally, Bill writes and publishes the VU point e-newsletter, which reaches over 5,000 industry professionals.”
Indiana Young Agents Again Earn IIAA’S Outstanding State Committee of the Year Award.
For the second consecutive year, the Young Agents Committee of the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana (IIAI) is bestowed with the IIAA’s highest national young agents committee accolade when it was presented Oct. 27 with the 2001 Outstanding Young Agents Committee Award.
The Indiana Young Agents Committee was recognized at IIAA’s 2001 Young Agents Leadership Conference for its outstanding efforts in the areas of political involvement, membership development, state committee project, young agents meeting, and communications in addition to its promotion of the independent agency system.
The Young Agents Committee of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina earned runner-up in the Outstanding Young Agents Committee category and was honored with the Outstanding Membership Development Award as well.
Four additional national awards of excellence recognizing the leadership of young agents committees in state associations were presented the same day. The 26th Annual Young Agents Leadership Conference, themed “Grow Your Business…Secure Your Future,” was held Oct. 26-28 at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Nearly 150 young agents from across the country are gathering for three days of educational training designed to mold the leaders of tomorrow’s independent agency system. The conference features sessions designed exclusively for young agents, including sales training and skills sessions, an insurance company CEO panel to discuss the future of the industry and more.
“This energetic group of young agents and leaders is to be commended. These young people recognize that a successful independent agency system requires dedication beyond managing customer relationships at home. They work to improve our system through extraordinary volunteer efforts, becoming involved with IIAA’s political efforts, overcoming obstacles and doing whatever else it takes to ensure that we will be there for our customers tomorrow and the next day,” Hofmann said. “I congratulate this year’s recipients for a job well done. These young leaders have again proven that there is a bright future for the independent agency system.”
Dedication of State Associations and Individual Independent Agents
The IIAA also honored key state associations committed to education and a dedicated independent agent who continues to strengthen the independent agency system on Oct. 27.
The L.P. McCord National Education Award and the Matthew A. Cantoni, Jr. Technical and Risk Management Award were presented during IIAA’s National Board of State Directors meeting held immediately prior to the Hawaii InfoXchange.
The L.P. McCord National Education Award is annually presented to the state association that has provided its members with the best opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the insurance profession, judged according to innovation in education, single-best seminar, and non-seminar education services.
In the category of “Less than 250 Members,” the honor went to the Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico for another outstanding effort. The state presented a wide-variety of educational topics and effectively promotes these programs to its member agents.
The “250-460 Members” category, the award was presented to two associations, the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents and Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Washington. Alabama was chosen for its impressive and comprehensive curriculum design and presentation format. Washington continues to promote its quality education programs through distinctive methods to agents spanning the state.
The “More than 1000 Members” category was bestowed on the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents for providing innovative and creative educational services with practical value.
The Matthew A. Cantoni, Jr. Technical and Risk Management Award, given annually to an individual or state association that has significantly contributed to IIAA’s Technical Affairs Committee and makes a difference in his or her community, was presented to Karen Regan, CPCU, ARM, AAI, CIC of Little Rock, Ark. Regan, past chairperson for IIAA’s Consumer and Technical Affairs Committee, continues to be an advocate for independent agents. Regan performed a critical role for IIAA and the Insurance Services Office in relation to form changes, particularly with those dealing with pollution exclusions.
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