WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3 - Robert E. Fulwider, the immediate past chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) Government Affairs Committee and a current Executive Committee member, today was presented the Association’s highest individual government affairs honor: the Sidney O. Smith Award.
The presentation occurred during a breakfast session at the Association’s 27th Annual National Legislative Conference, currently taking place at The Capital Hilton here.
The Smith Award is bestowed annually by IIABA 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.
Fulwider served as Government Affairs Committee chairman for two years before being elected to the Association’s top leadership group last fall.
During the presentation, IIABA Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ronnie Tubertini lauded Fulwider for his long personal involvement in the Association’s government affairs program. Fulwider first served as IIABA’s representative to the federal government’s Commission to Improve the Federal Crop Insurance Program and then chaired the Association’s Crop Insurance Task Force for several years. During his time as committee chairman, Fulwider helped steer IIABA’s policy on a number of top-priority agent-broker issues including state insurance regulation, terrorism insurance and crop insurance.
“Bob is a thorough professional and tireless volunteer. His two years as chairman marked some tumultuous times for agents and brokers in Washington, yet he led with a steady hand and unwavering commitment and achieved constructive results for IIABA members despite the challenges,” said Tubertini. “While it’s safe to say that the number one issue for Bob is crop insurance, it did not dilute his desire and energy to tackle the other legislative challenges confronting agents and brokers on Capitol Hill.
“His committee stewardship was punctuated by enactment of terrorism insurance, an issue that IIABA played a crucial role on following the 9/11 attacks,” continued Tubertini. “In addition, Bob shepherded the creation of IIABA’s landmark, pragmatic, state insurance regulation reform proposal that many members of Congress today point to as the model for modernizing state oversight.”
Crop insurance, however, is Fulwider’s passion, noted Tubertini. “As a resident of Iowa, Bob has become an authority on crop insurance and long has been involved in IIABA’s work to ensure that independent agents remain the delivery system for this critical farm risk-management product,” continued Tubertini. “Bob’s selfless work has cemented the position of agents as the go-to source for insurance needs for the nation’s farmers.
“Bob is an unflagging champion of independent agents and brokers and a vocal lobbyist of the legislative and regulatory issues confronting us every day,” said Tubertini. “His passion and commitment make him deserving of this great honor. We are grateful for his contributions to all agents and brokers and are thankful that he will continue to serve as a member of the Executive Committee.”
Fulwider is principal and executive vice president of the Ray Wuestenberg Agency, Inc., of West Liberty, Iowa, and principal and executive vice president of the Fulwider Agency, Inc., of West Branch, Iowa. He also is president of Bob Fulwider and Associates, a life and health financial planning agency in Eastern Iowa.
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.