New Insurance Association Forms in California

March 29, 2010

A new Broker Insurance Group (BIG) has formed in California, starting with a flagship chapter to serve insurance professionals of the Inland Empire area. Under the leadership of President Sharron Varga, a broker and long-serving member of several industry organizations, and owner of Action Shoppe Insurance in Rancho Cucamonga, BIG was formed to provide a voice that represents the common interests of all brokers and agents, she said.

“With a focus on providing tangible opportunities to increase success through information, education and relationship building, BIG has launched an aggressive campaign to bring together the most professional brokers and agents with the carriers and vendors that value their contributions and recognize their importance in California’s insurance marketplace,” the association said.

Varga said BIG got its start from a grassroots effort in which she was receiving calls that agents and brokers wanted to more continuing education and networking opportunities in their area.

“We thought we’d have a networking event and 30 to 40 agents and company representatives would show up, but at our first gathering, more than 200 people showed up,” she said.

That proved there was a need for the organization, Varga said. Thus, BIG was formed to provide a voice that represents the common interests of all brokers and agents.

Varga said while the group formed in the Inland Empire, she also was receiving requests from people asking when the association was going to meet in other parts of California. So, the association is developing inroads into other markets in Southern California, and will soon expand into Northern California. The first meetings for these other areas will be “fact finding,” in which BIG will find out what people want, and shape the organization based on the response.

Part of the organization’s initial success has been getting more insurance company involvement, Varga said. Insurance companies have been very supportive, she said, because they can use BIG’s meetings as opportunities to network with their agents, and agents appreciate that interaction as well.

Thus, there will be two councils — a company council and an agent council — that will serve as the “governing body” to help guide BIG’s future, Varga said.

To build upon its initial momentum in the Inland Empire, BIG will be hosting an inaugural Banner Fair in Ontario, Calif., on May 5. There, current and prospective members can meet the carriers and vendors who support the broker/agent community and take part in opportunities for continuing education, carrier appointments and to discuss the issues most important to their business.

For more information, visit www.mybigins.com.

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