With the installation of Joseph Hernandez as president, the West Coast’s largest regional trade association of independent agents and insurance brokers will enter a new era where the insurance industry and political landscape more accurately reflect the racial and cultural diversity of Pacific Coast states.
“With more than half of the population in California consisting of minorities, it’s increasingly important that the industry reflect the diversity of consumers and be ready to meet the needs of everyone,” Hernandez said. “It is especially fitting that the speaker at our 2002 Installation Luncheon this year will be Thomas Calderon, a candidate for insurance commissioner with Latino roots.”
Hernandez will serve as the first Latino president of IBA West, joining current California Insurance Commissioner Harry Low as the first Pacific Coast minorities serving in prominent insurance offices.
Hernandez said the IBA West Board of Directors reflect the organization’s commitment to making sure its diverse members and their clients will be served.
“There is great concern in many diverse communities around the state and Pacific West over the accessibility and availability of insurance products,” Hernandez said. “As agents and brokers, we need to be ready to meet their needs and fulfill their expectations.”
Hernandez’s commitment to meeting the diverse needs of clients is long-standing.
He previously served as chairman and member of the IBA West Urban Opportunities Committee. More recently, he testified in Los Angeles at hearings held by the California Department of Insurance on the state-sponsored low-cost auto insurance program. The so far unsuccessful program was designed to increase the affordability of auto insurance and decrease the numbers of uninsured motorists, many whom live in minority communities.
In addition to providing products, Hernandez said the number of minority professionals working as agents and brokers needs to increase. “Independent agents and insurance brokers are community-oriented small business people,” Hernandez said. “It is my hope that in the next year we can attract many more people from diverse communities to pursue careers in our industry, and in the meantime strengthen our organization and reach out to a changing Pacific West.”
Hernandez said it was his hope that IBA West could collaborate on efforts to better serve California’s diverse communities with the next insurance commissioner.
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