NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 24 - Raleigh businessman W. Cloyce Anders, the new president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), made clear his intention to tackle challenges and lead the independent agency system to new heights during his inaugural speech at the closing session of the New Orleans InfoXchange.
“Those closest to me know that I believe the best way to tackle a challenge is to hit it head on,” Anders said. “That is my credo and my pledge. I will not dance around problems or issues. I will tackle them and do what is best for you.”
Anders owns VFIS of North Carolina in Raleigh, which sells specialty insurance for emergency services agencies and personnel. He is a partner in Anders, Ireland & Marshall, also of Raleigh, a general insurance agency; and he is a partner in Independent Agency Services, LLC of Durham, an application services provider (ASP) virtual office services company for independent agents. Anders, who resides in Raleigh with his wife Carole, was introduced by his son Jonathan, daughter Allyson and stepson Grant.
“In the coming year, there is so much to accomplish—in the industry, in the marketplace and in Washington,” Anders declared. “Your association has never been stronger and our goals have never been clearer. As your president, I am committed to securing your future and I have no doubt we will succeed.”
Anders stressed that since Sept. 11, independent agents have faced some real challenges in the insurance market and would continue to do so. He also noted how, not long ago, critics of independent agents said they would “go the way of the buggy whip” and lose market share to insurers who sell directly to customers via telephone or Internet. Instead, many of those critics are now hailing independent agents, he said.
Anders called IIABA “more than a trade association” and proclaimed it to be an advocate, protector, voice and business partner for the independent agent. “The Big ‘I’ has laid the foundation for success in many areas vital to our prosperity,” he said before detailing IIABA achievements and initiatives in company relations, government affairs and legal advocacy. Anders noted that the term “brokers” was added to the association’s name this year and he said it was not a cosmetic change. He explained that the association is addressing many concerns of large insurance brokers. These include cross marketing of products, state licensing and financial services issues. “When it comes to advocacy, no one is better than the IIABA …We make things happen in Washington,” he said.
Anders pointed out that IIABA’s national Trusted ChoiceSM branding initiative will air national television advertisements in February and March 2003, and also plans to advertise in print publications. “We will build Trusted ChoiceSM into a marketing standard for agents,” he said.
He also explained that during the year leading up to his presidency, his predecessor, Thomas B. Ahart, and the IIABA have “rejuvenated dialogue with insurers.” He explained that while independent agents will not always agree with insurers on issues, everyone in the industry needs to work together to build a good business climate. “I will devote considerable time to building relationships,” he noted.
“The past year has produced dramatic changes for our nation, our industry, for independent agents,” Anders said. “In the year ahead we will face many challenges and opportunities. My goal, working with your volunteer and staff leadership, is to seize these opportunities and take us to a new level of success.”
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 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 and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.