ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 29 - Two Japanese brokers are the first international insurance professionals to join the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) by taking advantage of the Association’s new associate membership category, announces CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt today.
The associate membership category for foreign agents and brokers is a brand new area of opportunity for brokers in countries around the world. IIABA’s Board of State National Directors approved the development of the associate membership category late last year. The framework for the membership was recently completed and rolled out to brokers in Japan. Through international membership, foreign brokers gain access to IIABA’s many valuable products and services that provide them with the information, education, training and research. These resources will give them a competitive edge in the marketplace, whether the marketplace is Japan or the United States.
“The business of insurance is global; this has never been more evident than since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” says Rusbuldt. “Commerce and the flow of capital do not recognize boundaries. The simple fact is that insurance companies as well as agents and brokers want to write good business, both in Tokyo and in New York City. The distribution of insurance products and financial services through agents and brokers will continue to grow in the future, whether in Japan, the U.S., the Caribbean, South America or other parts of the world.
“We extend a warm welcome to the Big ‘I’ family to our new Japanese members,” continues Rusbuldt. “We know there will be a two-way exchange of information and relationship that will make agents and brokers stronger and more profitable in both nations.”
IIABA President Louise “BeBe” Canter, CPCU, ARM says, “As I am sure is the case with international brokerages, my agency always is seeking an edge over the competitors. IIABA membership has provided me that edge.
“IIABA represents a growing and profitable insurance distribution system,” Canter continues. “It is clear that consumers want to do business with agents and brokers, and the trend is toward the independent agency model. We believe agents and brokers are the true advocates for business and personal lines consumers.”
Among the benefits that Japanese and other foreign agents receive through their IIABA associate membership are the ability to purchase Best Practices educational and professional development tools at the same rates available to other IIABA members, and to attend the IIABA annual convention and other IIABA meetings at the lower member rates.
International associate members also receive technology guidance through IIABA’s industry-leading Agents Council for Technology (ACT), a complimentary subscription to Independent Agent magazine, and access to IIABA members-only publications. Furthermore, associate members may be interested in and derive benefit from information about IIABA’s federal lobbying and legislative initiatives, and, to the extent possible, access insurance and non-insurance Big “I” Advantage products as well as InsurBanc services.
As associate members, international brokers can use the Big “I” logo and note their IIABA membership status on their business cards and stationary or in their offices.
International members also may join Trusted Choice provided they agree to all the same terms, conditions and fees stipulated for other IIABA members. “The Trusted Choice brand transcends international boundaries. Just as McDonalds, Coke and Nike have value overseas, so should Trusted Choice,” Rusbuldt says.
Akio Takahashi of the World Insurance Group in Tokyo was the first foreign broker to join IIABA as an international associate member. He cited two reasons for joining: “One is to acquire knowledge about risk management services, various insurance products, and agency management,” Takahashi said. “Another is to acquire information about the U.S. insurance market. Our Japanese corporate clients have operations in the U.S. They are manufacturers and wholesalers of industrial products such as car parts and machinery. We like to provide the Japanese headquarters of those manufacturers with U.S. insurance information.”
Another new international member, Takesi Motohashi of TKA Insurance Agency in Tokyo, said he joined IIABA “in order to associate with successful agencies and brokerages in the United States. One of the best tactics is to listen to successful agencies in order to be successful,” Motohashi said.
International agents and brokers can learn more about joining IIABA by contacting Jeffrey A. Etzkin, IIABA vice president, at (800) 221-7917 or email@example.com.
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.