WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2014 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) has awarded the 2013 Sidney O. Smith Award to Mike Wojcik, senior vice president and principal of The Horton Group in Chicago. The award is the association’s highest individual government affairs honor.
The Sidney O. Smith Award is bestowed annually by the Big “I” and the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia upon an individual agent or broker for outstanding service to his or her peers and the national association in the field of government affairs. It is named in honor of an IIABA past president and Georgia agent who was instrumental in focusing the association and its members on legislative advocacy.
“As chairman of the Big ‘I’ Health Care Task Force, Mike Wojcik’s work has been particularly important as agents and brokers grapple with the upheaval in the marketplace caused by the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” said Jon Jensen, Big “I” government affairs committee chairman. “Although the law has created a challenging environment for producers, he has remained positive and sees the opening for well-informed health benefits advisors—and he has seized that mantle with conviction. His work ethic, along with his business and political acumen, are a huge asset to the Big ‘I’ and our entire industry.”
Wojcik is senior vice president and principal of The Horton Group in Chicago.
“Mike Wojcik has devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to both IIABA and the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA of IL) on the PPACA,” said Mike Tate, the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois CEO. “He not only served as chairman of the Big ‘I’ Health Care Task Force but has served for more than four years as co-chair of a state-based task force on PPACA implementation. Mike's efforts resulted in numerous improvements for independent agents and, more importantly, our clients. Through those efforts, Illinois passed legislation requiring certification of Navigators in Illinois-providing consumers with an appropriate level of protections and clear guidelines so as not to encroach on Licensed Producer activities. Additionally, Mike has participated with Illinois Marketplace staff on outreach and education programs for Illinois consumers and is one of the most authoritative agents in the country on the details of the PPACA.”
In Illinois, Wojcik has served on numerous advisory boards for insurance carriers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and as past chair of the Governing Council of Advocate South Suburban Hospital and the Healthcare Council of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce. He remains active on the board of the hospital and United Way South-Southwest Suburban where he serves as vice-president of the Community Impact Steering Committee. Wojcik also serves on two industry healthcare task forces and as a result has testified several times before Illinois legislative committees; written and co-authored several white papers on healthcare reform and works extensively with the Department of Insurance and the Director of Outreach for The Health Insurance Marketplace regarding the impact of the ACA.
At the national level, he is regarded as an industry expert. Wojcik is chairman of the Big “I” National Healthcare Task Force in Washington D.C. which supports the association’s government affairs efforts on health care reform.
“Mike’s dedication to the independent insurance agency system and the millions of consumers they service is second to none,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “Our membership prides itself on political engagement and role models like Mike Wojcik are instrumental in the success of the independent agency system.”
Wojcik joined the Horton Group team in 1989 as one of the founding partners of their benefit consulting and brokerage division. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and an MBA from Lewis University. He received his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation from the American College and is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Wojcik is currently enrolled in the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.