American Agents’ Alliance to Visit San Diego for Annual Trade Show

August 7, 2000

The American Agents’ Alliance will be spending Labor Day Weekend in sunny San Diego this year, celebrating Conference & Expo 2000 at the Hyatt Regency San Diego. The conference takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 3, and the usual assortment of seminars, speakers and social activities, together with some holiday relaxation, will round out the weekend.

“This will be our largest trade show yet-we are set to break the record of 1,600 attendees,” said Alliance spokesman Don Lukenbill. More than 100 exhibitors will fill the Hyatt’s ballroom. The Alliance is adopting the theme of “Portal to Success” for this year’s conference.

“We are opening the door to a successful 21st Century,” Lukenbill explained. “We are trying to combine the new technology for producers with old-fashioned customer service. In today’s environment, face-to-face contact can get lost, so we’re giving them the tools to utilize the new technology while also reminding them that customer service is equally important.”

The line-up for Friday’s Luncheon & Opening Session includes three high-profile speakers: Mercury Insurance CEO George Joseph, Royal & SunAlliance (OrionAuto) President Jim Pouliot and Assemblymember Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks). Plenty of education is packed into the four days, with roughly 30 seminars for CE credit on every topic from “Disaster Preparedness” to “Personal Watercraft & Mini Jet Boat Policy.” “For the past four or five years, we’ve really loaded up on the CE,” Lukenbill said.

“If you plan it right, you could get a year’s worth of CE credits in one weekend. We try to have a good variety of topics, because different people have different areas of interest. Some people in personal lines may be looking to break out into commercial lines, or into life and health, so we try to accommodate them as well. Basically, any interest you have will be satisfied.” Some courses focus on the technology aspects of today’s business world; for example, “Insuring Computers,” by Sandi Kruise of San Kruise Insurance Training; and “Utilizing Automation to Fulfill Your Role as an Agent,” by Ron Weber & Tom Preston of The Agency Advantage.

Other courses center on marketing and agency management; such as “Creative Marketing Using Today’s Technology,” by Jack Fries, Fries & Fries Consulting; and “How to Buy or Sell an Agency,” by Bill Schoeffler of Oak & Associates. Lukenbill said some of the instructors are “convention favorites” who come every year, and some are “new faces with new things to say.”

The closing session following the brunch on Sunday will feature talks from Assemblyman Jack Scott, Chair Assembly Insurance Committee, as well as a high-energy presentation titled “Outselling the Competition in a Dog-Eat-Dog Marketplace” from Jack Fries, Fries & Fries Consulting. During the conference the new board for next year will be introduced (the votes are still being tallied), and the retiring board members will be honored. And the weekend will not lack for festivities. Aside from the Thursday morning Golf Tournament at Riverwalk Golf Club, “there are the nightly hospitality parties, as well as our now-famous Present’s Reception, Buffet, Casino & Dance,” Lukenbill said. “The casino is real popular.

A few years ago we just had the buffet and dance, then we added the casino with blackjack, roulette-all for fake money, of course. It’s cocktail attire, and for the insurance crowd, dressing up can mean anything from a nice Armani suit to ironing your jeans to wear with a polo!” To take advantage of the holiday feel, attendees can utilize the lower hotel rate for the entire three-day weekend.

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