Beyond the responsibilities of owning and running an insurance agency (which is a 70 hour a week job in itself), my partner and I have always felt committed to contributing to the industry. Each individual agency is only as strong to the trade as a whole. Protecting and building the business, is crucial to safeguarding our clients as well as the preserving independent agencies.
It might seem odd, that a business as old as insurance, needs advocacy groups, but as with any industry, it is important to show advancement instead of maintaining the Status Quo. It is important to embrace technology instead of relying on antiquated systems. It is vital that we establish standards, so that a policyholder purchasing insurance in Buffalo , is equally as protected as someone purchasing the same insurance in Brooklyn.
If you are new to the industry, whether a broker, agent, producer, marketer, office manager or customer service representative, there are many means by which you can involve yourself in the industry and work to make it better.
There are many organizations, associations and affiliations that act in the best interest of, and advocate for, the insurance industry. Some of the committees that we are dedicated to and serve on, are:
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) founded with objectives that are as relevant today as they were back in 1931:
- Educate agency owners and staff about insurance concepts;
- Keep agents informed about changing company offerings;
- Allow agents to assist one another in proper underwriting of their business;
- Increase cooperation between carriers and agents;
- Encourage uniform policy writing and assist in proper form completion;
- Advocate for agents in legislative matters;
- Foster acquaintanceship among agents so they could support one another;
- Protect the American Agency System
ACORD - the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, is the insurance industry's nonprofit standards developer, a resource for information about object technology, EDI, XML and electronic commerce in the United States and abroad. ACORD's most widely known accomplishment is the publication and maintenance of a huge library of standardized forms for the insurance industry. ACORD has subsequently built a huge library of electronic data standards for electronic exchange of insurance data between trading partners.
NetVU – Vertafore Users Group - The Network of Vertafore Users (NetVU) is an independent, national member organization committed to providing industry advocacy, world-class education and networking to the more than 20,000 insurance agencies, carriers and MGA’s, and over 150,000 users of Vertafore’s solutions.
Agents Council for Technology (ACT) - ACT's mission is to bring the stakeholders in the independent insurance agency distribution system together to advance the use of the most effective business processes, practices and technologies, in order to enhance productivity, service, marketing, sales and security. A key focus for ACT is to keep informed on the strategic trends that will drive future consumer expectations and business opportunities.
AIMS Society - American Insurance Marketing & Sales Society Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) – Provides marketing and sales training and tools to property/casualty insurance agency owners, producers, support staff and insurance company personnel.
I'm not going to kid you. It is an exhausting endeavor to be so involved. We would often rather be home at night or tossing a ball to our kids, then traveling around the country from airport to airport, and sitting in overheated conference rooms attending meetings with the aim of strengthening the industry. But it is a noble cause. And it needs to be done to keep us strong and keep our clients protected.