ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 8—The official newsletter of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America’s (IIABA) Virtual University has reached its 10,000th subscriber less than three years after its inception.
VUpoint, a free biweekly newsletter, began in January 2000 with 32 subscribers. The subscriber base now totals over 10,000 with sequential internal distribution by recipients increasing the total circulation to approximately 30,000 readers. VUpoint is received in nearly 40 countries around the world from Algeria to Uruguay, and its distribution numbers have surged exclusively through reputation and word of mouth—there has been no active advertising campaign.
“The remarkable emergence of the Virtual University and its VUpoint newsletter has provided insurance industry professionals with a valuable online educational resource that they can access practically anywhere. Each issue of VUpoint contains insightful articles and innovative information,” says IIABA President W. Cloyce Anders. “Each issue provides convenient access to vital new industry knowledge. VUpoint’s tremendous distribution growth is a testament to the dedication of the Virtual University’s faculty and readers alike.”
VUpoint is distributed electronically every other Friday and each issue includes at least six articles relevant to agents, company adjusters and underwriters, risk managers and attorneys. Categories covered include: personal lines, commercial lines, agency management, sales and marketing, customer service, technology and the Internet.
Subscribers, particularly those agents and brokers who offer multiple product lines, express their appreciation of VUpoint’s all-encompassing editorial content. An independent online survey conducted by Specific Software Solutions, Inc. found that VUpoint is the top-rated industry newsletter, garnering four times as many votes as the second-place finisher.
The ultimate example of VUpoint’s unique and responsive service to the needs of the insurance industry occurred Sept. 11, 2001, following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
“Within six hours of the terrorist attacks, a special terrorism resource page was in place on the Virtual University web site,” explains Bill Wilson, director of the Virtual University. “Within 24 hours, a detailed analysis of the insurance implications of 9/11 was published on the web site. Within 72 hours, a special edition of the newsletter was sent to subscribers detailing dozens of online resources.”
For more information about the Virtual University and a free subscription to VUpoint, go to the IIABA web site at www.independentagent.com and select the Virtual University tab.
The mission of the Virtual University is to become the online learning center for the insurance industry. The Virtual University faculty’s core philosophy is that no one type or style of learning is appropriate for all individuals or all situations. Therefore, Virtual University’s comprehensive approach to online learning is designed to offer alternative learning formats, ranging from “just-in-time” learning to a more structured program of learning. The Virtual University offers both an increasingly comprehensive research library and an “ask an expert” service.
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