NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 21 - Five dedicated individuals who have made particularly remarkable contributions to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and the independent agency system during the past year were honored today with special 2002 Presidential Citations.
IIABA President Thomas B. Ahart, CPCU, AAI, presented the awards during IIABA’s National Board of State Directors Meeting at the New Orleans InfoXchange.
New Jersey’s state national director Jeanne M. Heisler, CPCU, CLU, AAI, AIS, CPIW, president of The Ronan Agency in Brick, N.J., was cited for her efforts as chair of the Virtual University Task Force. “Jeanne has been an effective and strong leader and the driving force behind the successful launch of this online education center,” praised Ahart. “Jeanne’s strong willpower and tenacity as an advocate for the University has taken us from a vision to the point where agents and brokers are now earning continuing-education credit online.”
Alex Soto, CPCU, ARM, a member of IIABA’s Executive Committee and president of InSource, Inc. of Miami, Fla., was recognized for his commitment and leadership in the development of the Trusted ChoiceSM brand. He previously served as chairman of the Communications-Branding Task Force. “Alex has invested considerable personal time in building Trusted ChoiceSM and always seizes the opportunity to spread the word to his peers and our company partners about the value of our new consumer brand identity,” Ahart noted. “The success of the brand to date is directly attributable to Alex’s personal involvement and commitment.”
New Jersey State Executive Sheri A. Acconzo, CMP, was recognized for her role in working closely with IIABA on a number of programs and product launches. “Sheri has offered New Jersey as the proverbial guinea pig on a number of programs, including InsurBanc and Big “I” Markets, and she signed the state up for the Co-Branded Web Site project,” Ahart said. “Her strong relationship with the national association is indicative of her desire to position her state’s members for success.”
Dave Evans, IIABA’s vice president of retirement and financial planning, was cited for taking his extensive knowledge to Capitol Hill and successfully lobbying and testifying for inclusion of a critical agent provision to a retirement reform bill. “Dave’s expertise and counsel on retirement and financial planning is an incredible asset for the membership,” said Ahart. “However, this year Dave lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of independent agents and brokers, and his invaluable efforts resulted in the retention of an important fiduciary liability exemption afforded retirement plan sponsors.”
Robert A. Rusbuldt, who assumed the association’s CEO position last year, was recognized by Ahart for taking IIABA’s relationships with members, state associations, company partners and other insurance organizations to an all-time high. “Bob has achieved this success through open and direct communications with the entire insurance industry, resulting in a cooperative spirit that permeates the leaders of all,” Ahart said. “Bob’s efforts have encouraged and promoted unity within the insurance industry and have helped make the independent agency system stronger.”
The New Orleans InfoXchange, IIABA’s showcase meeting, features an exclusive reception and lunch for Trusted ChoiceSM agencies and company/strategic partners; a compelling company CEO panel; a wide variety of innovative continuing-education (CE) classes offering 19 CE credits; several prominent guest speakers; one of the largest exhibit halls in the insurance industry; numerous networking opportunities; and many other exciting events.
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.