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IIABA Diversity Task Force to Preview Pilot Professional Development Program at InfoXchange

Diversity Luncheon Speaker Paula Gentile to Tout Working with Minority Businesses

ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 10 - The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (IIABA) Diversity Task Force will be hosting a luncheon later this month to preview the launch of its pilot professional development program and discuss with agents and companies the challenges and opportunities that exist in emerging urban markets.


The luncheon will take place Sept. 21 at IIABA’s Convention & InfoXchange at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas; all convention attendees are invited to the Diversity Luncheon.


Paula C. Gentile, vice president of operations and general counsel at MGM MIRAGE Risk Management, will be the keynote speaker and will discuss the value of working with minority contractors.


IIABA’s Diversity Task Force is a cooperative industry group comprising IIABA agents and brokers, several leading insurance companies, and members of organizations representing Latin American, African-American and Asian-American agents. The mission of the Diversity Task Force is to foster a profitable independent agency force that reflects, represents and capitalizes on the opportunities of the diverse U.S. population. Its objectives are to promote diversity within the agent community and the company ranks and increase the industry’s market presence in emerging urban and minority communities.


“This Convention & InfoXchange luncheon provides a unique forum for agents, brokers and companies to weigh in on key diversity issues so that we can continue to build on the foundation for IIABA’s diversity initiative,” says Diversity Task Force Chairman Joe A. Hernandez, ARM, AAI, vice president of marketing at Branch & Olson, Inc. in Las Vegas.


“Agency and company involvement is critical to the Diversity Task Force’s success in developing strategic alliances with multicultural and minority organizations committed to diversity and increasing recognition of our efforts in the industry and the business community,” adds Hernandez.


The pilot professional development program to be previewed during the luncheon is designed to position urban and minority-owned agencies for company appointments and successful client relationships, while at the same time offering insurance companies greater business opportunities in emerging urban markets. Another key goal of the Diversity Task Force is to increase the number of company appointments for multicultural agents.


“Multicultural insurance agents and brokers must be well-positioned in their communities so they can respond to changes in the demographic composition of area consumers and businesses,” Hernandez says. “One of the primary purposes of the Diversity Task Force is to ensure that multicultural agents have access to the products and services they need to fully serve their clients and accommodate their community’s demographic changes and emerging needs.”


Among the leading insurance companies playing a major role in the progress of the Diversity Task Force are CNA, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, MetLife Auto & Home, Safeco Insurance, Travelers Insurance, and Zurich North America.


Those wishing to attend the luncheon can RSVP to Barbara Miller-Richards, IIABA’s vice president of agency development, at (800) 221-7917 or


“This InfoXchange luncheon provides an ideal opportunity for agents and companies alike to realize the benefits and contribute to fostering diversity in our ranks,” says Hernandez. “IIABA’s Diversity Task Force is striving to make a profound difference for multicultural agents and their company partners, so we need as much valuable input as possible at unique events like these to make that happen.”


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:



​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556

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