For many independent agents, political activism is part of daily life—not just a once-a-year visit to Washington, D.C. Tuesday, during the 2021 Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference, the Big “I" presented three awards to honor legislative involvement in the states.
The Big “I" gave the 2020 Sidney O. Smith Award—the association's highest honor for legislative activism—to Quincy Branch, president and CEO of Branch Benefits Consultants in Las Vegas.
Branch is a second-generation insurance professional who began his career working at his father's agency. “He is a Big “I" leader who currently serves with me on the Government Affairs Committee and previously served as chair of the Big 'I' National Young Agents Committee," said Ashley Brady, Big “I" Government Affairs Committee chairman.
The 2020 Sidney O. Smith Award winner represents the Big "I" on the prestigious Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI), which advises the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and the U.S. Treasury Department on critical insurance issues. “He is the independent agents' voice at the table in this important national forum," Brady added. “He continues to be a phenomenal steward of Big "I" values and is well-deserving of this prestigious award."
Meanwhile, The 2020 Herndon Award went to the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina (IIANC). The Maurice Herndon award is given every year to the state association that has done exemplary work on legislative issues and government affairs work. In 2020 IIANC aggressively recruited Big “I" members and others from our industry to run for the state legislature.
“Last year, they helped elect and re-elect four Big “I" members to the State Senate, one of whom is now Chair of the Insurance Committee," said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president and CEO. “They have also been the leading advocate for a hands-free driving law in their state, effectively laying the groundwork for monumental legislation to pass."
Finally, the Big “I" also honored Paul Choate with the 2020 Barney Burns Award for tireless advocacy for political involvement. “He has tirelessly promoted the importance of being politically active at the state and federal level, said Nathan Riedel, Big “I" vice president of political affairs.
The award is named after former Big “I" President Barney Burns who founded InsurPac in 1975 and served as chairman of its Board of Trustees until 1983. During these years, Burns worked tirelessly to educate agents about the importance of being politically active and contributing to InsurPac.