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John Eubank

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John Eubank, industry titan, mentor, and friend passed away in June 2017.
John directly affected many lives and careers – of this, there is no doubt - but we can’t even begin to count the number of insurance professionals indirectly affected by John’s legacy.

Chris Boggs writes...

Not many in the insurance industry cast as long a shadow as did John Eubank. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop a professional and a somewhat personal relationship with John.

In my prior position as the director of Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance, I developed a professional relationship with John, contracting him to teach several classes for me. When I transitioned to IIABA as Bill Wilson's successor, I was able to develop more of a personal relationship with John.

I began my career with Insurance Services Office (ISO), where John served as a vice president. However, I never had the chance to meet him in that role because he left ISO two years before I started. But my dad knew him and was quite sad to hear of his passing. My dad worked for the North Carolina Fire Insurance Rating Bureau – ISO's predecessor in North Carolina.

Sadly, the only opportunity I had to spend any real time with John was this past December at the 2016 Southern Agents Conference (SAC) in Atlanta, Ga. This was my first conference as an IIABA employee and thankfully I was able to have dinner with John and two other insurance geeks, Bill Wilson and Greg Deimling.

My time with John was regrettably short. I was looking forward to spending more time with him at this and upcoming year's SAC.

John was part of an ultra-secret insurance group known as the G5. I can only imagine this stands for "Geek 5." There was nothing sinister about this "secret" group, they were just a bit weirder than the rest of us who consider ourselves insurance geeks. They would go to the lake on weekends and spend all their time reading insurance policies and court cases. These are the gentlemen who knew John best.

Members of the G5 have memorialized John in their own way. I have excerpted a couple of their memorials and thoughts and am providing links to their articles where available.

Bill Wilson writes...

Last week I lost a dear friend and mentor and the industry lost a bright light. Many of my blog subscribers don't know John Eubank but a lot of you do, at least by reputation. If you know someone who knew John or had attended a seminar or webinar of his, please pass a link on to this post.

John had been a leader in insurance and risk management education for the past 30 years through the literally thousands of seminars and webinars he had conducted across the country, quite a feat given that John would not fly. I won't belabor his comprehensive resume of experience and accomplishments going back to his graduation as an engineer in the 1960s…you can see his brief bio at the end of this page.

I first met John when he was with the Tennessee Inspection Bureau, an Insurance Services Office (ISO) predecessor. The Western Actuarial Bureau in Chicago offered an engineering scholarship at Illinois Institute of Technology which had one of only two 4-year degree programs in fire protection engineering in the country, and he visited my high school to see if there was interest in the scholarship. I had already enrolled in a local university and planned to be a high school math/science teacher. But I couldn't pass the chance for a free ride at a top university, so I was the only applicant from my school and ended up getting the scholarship and ultimately graduating and going to work for ISO.

From the outset of my career at ISO, John groomed me for a management position, moving through a typical career path that led to me becoming the manager of ISO field operations in Tennessee and Kentucky when John was appointed a regional ISO Vice President. I can recall, as part of an ISO management development program, when John introduced me to delegation when he was still a state manager. To keep current on the industry, he had to review at least a dozen weekly and monthly industry publications, from Best's Review to the National Underwriter. One of my tasks was to take over reading these publications and mark the ones that he should read. It's a classic example I've used in management classes to illustrate how to properly delegate so that both parties benefit and one doesn't feel dumped on. I learned an awful lot from this.

Prior to my move into management, he had "encouraged" me to get the CPCU designation and he taught CPCU classes for many years in Nashville before leaving ISO 30 years ago to start his own education firm, Professional Insurance Education, Inc. As far as technical knowledge of commercial lines policy forms goes, John had few peers. When it came to commercial lines coding and rating, I don't think he had any peers outside ISO's Jersey City headquarters. On top of that, like the late, great Don Malecki, CPCU, John was a trove of historical information on the insurance industry.

No one in the industry has had a greater impact on my career than John. He was a mentor, an inspiration and a friend. I and others who knew him will miss him. For those of you who had the privilege of being one of his students, I hope you will continue to be motivated and inspired to learn your craft and serve your customer base as he did. RIP, good friend.

Bill's full tribute can be found here.

David Thompson writes...

The insurance industry lost an icon when John Eubank, CPCU, ARM passed away. Space does not permit a description of John's 50-plus year career in the insurance industry; you can read John's biography here. I learned years ago that no one is irreplaceable, but the ability to fill the shoes that John left behind is nearly impossible.

I first met John through the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America's Virtual University (VU). The VU has an "Ask An Expert" service where agents around the country can pose questions and the VU director (Formerly Bill Wilson, now fellow "Insurance Nerd" and industry veteran Chris Boggs) sends those questions to a cadre of about 50 Insurance Nerd volunteers. Answers are collected and sent to the person who asked the question. I have served as a VU volunteer since the day it was founded, as did John and several other agents around the country. Most VU volunteers would echo my thoughts of, "I have gained 50 times what I gave to the VU."

I quickly picked up that John "had it all together." He was well versed in almost every type of insurance, even when he would say, "I don't know much about personal lines." John's true expertise was in CGL, commercial property, business auto, and especially crime coverage. John could spout off form numbers and edition dates like I spout off good BBQ restaurants. I often said, "John Eubank has forgotten more about insurance that I'll ever hope to know." We swapped thousands of emails and scores of phone calls over the last 10-15 years. John could give you the history of almost every ISO form back to the day when ISO was formed.

John Eubank was like the sportscaster John Madden; neither of them would fly. John drove the biggest Lincoln he could buy all over the country. When I asked John why he didn't fly he said, "The last time I flew the pilot landed long and we wound up in the parking lot of a gas station." I must admit, John had a valid reason not to fly!

Hundreds, probably thousands, of insurance professionals are better educated because of John. I put myself near the top of that list. John made you learn, but you realized that it was fun learning…especially from him.

Yes, our industry lost an icon; many of us also lost a good friend. John's legacy will live on for a long time. Farewell, my friend.

David's full memorial can be found here.

Mike Edwards writes...

John devoted his entire 55-year career to insurance. After 25 years of distinguished service with ISO, John retired and founded Professional Insurance Education in 1987. In the ensuing 30 years, John presented countless seminars and other educational programs. John had few equals in his deep knowledge of technical coverages, and his ability to explain coverages to an audience. His dedication to excellence was an inspiring example to many of his students, and to all of us who were his colleagues.

When I was an education director for a state Big-I association, we had a running joke about John when we were preparing seminar marketing materials to send out to members. We said that all we really needed to do was simply announce "Seminar by John Eubank," and the attendance would be robust.

For anyone who attended his presentations, and especially for those of us who had the good fortune to work closely with John on an almost daily basis, "professional insurance education" equally describes both his work, and John himself. We will miss you, my dear friend.

BIOGRAPHY
John O. Eubank, CPCU, ARM was CEO and President of Professional Insurance Education, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee. He was previously employed by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. and ISO Commercial Risk Services, Inc. as the Regional Operations Manager for the Southern Region. He left ISO in 1987 to form PIE, Inc. and proceeded to log 14.72 gazillion miles in his insurance-manual-laden Lincoln.
John's professional affiliations included past Regional Vice President of the Society of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriters (CPCU), PMLG of the Honorable Order of Blue Goose, International (HOBGI), member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), and Fire Mark Circle of the Americas.
John was recognized as one of the nation's premier insurance education instructors, serving as a National Faculty member of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors since 1976, and was a recipient of the Professional Leadership Scroll from the American Institute for Property & Liability Underwriters and the Insurance Institute of America.
Since forming Professional Insurance Education, Inc. in 1987, John served as a speaker and instructor for a wide variety of educational seminars for insurance associations in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, North & South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia; Society of CIC and the CPCU Society; International Association of Insurance Professionals; and the North American Retail Dealers Association.
 Last Updated: July 5, 2017