AGENTS & BROKERS OBTAIN CONTINUING EDUCATION
BY “ATTENDING” BIG “I” VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY
Receive Life-long Benefits by Using Online University’s Vast Resources
ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 8—Independent agents and brokers looking for ways to increase their sales, effectiveness and efficiency need look no further than the Big “I” Virtual University (VU), a state-of-the-art, online insurance educational and informational resource program offered by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA).
“VU offers a wealth of expertise that can help agencies improve their operations, sales and customer service,” says VU Director Bill Wilson, CPCU, ARM, AIM AMM. “With VU, agents and brokers learn new skills through training that’s available when and where they need it.”
Launched in 1999, VU offers agents and brokers access to the most comprehensive and integrated learning system in the industry. Users can take advantage of a variety of resources including a research library, online courses and training, the “Ask an Expert” service, the biweekly VUpoint newsletter, and online surveys.
Through VU, agents and brokers can access the research library, a one-stop reference resource with hundreds of articles on a wide range of subjects, “white papers” and links to annotated ISO forms. Additionally, insurance professionals can take online courses on relevant topics such as business income, workers’ compensation experience rating, additional insureds and a variety of other classes. VU also offers an “Ask an Expert” service where users can submit questions via e-mail and have them answered by one or more of the three dozen top insurance and agency management experts who field questions for VU.
“VU is a new model of learning for the insurance industry,” says Wilson. “VU is more than just online classes. It’s a life-long learning environment that will help agents and brokers enhance all aspects of their business operations as well as customer relationships.”
As an added benefit to “attending” VU, agents and brokers also can subscribe to VUpoint, VU’s free newsletter. VUpoint includes valuable and practical agency management articles culled from the VU’s research library, classes and late-breaking industry news. Each issue includes articles on personal lines; commercial lines; agency management; sales; customer service; and Internet/technology.
“VUpoint gives readers an inside view of the industry while providing access to valuable educational and professional development information that will help them with career advancement and agency solidification,” says Wilson.
Other aspects of VU to be introduced soon include a student lounge where users can communicate via chat room and message boards, and a bookstore that offers exclusive products from the Big “I,” insurance companies and other industry partners. Currently, users can participate in monthly online surveys on various industry issues.
Since the inception of VU in 1999 and the introduction of VUpoint in 2000, agents and brokers from across the country and the world have discovered the benefits of “attending” VU. In 1999, VU averaged 1,000 Web hits per week. That number has increased to 80,000 today. For VUpoint, the change in readership also has been dramatic. When it was first issued on March 19, 2000, VUpoint had only 140 subscribers. Today, VUpoint boasts 30,000 subscribers in 70 countries.
As a result of this tremendous growth, VU was voted “Most Influential” by readers of a leading industry publication in a recent poll. Additionally, VUpoint was voted the top industry e-mail newsletter in a Specific Software Solutions poll.
“The increase in subscribers and the unsolicited accolades show that VU and VUpoint are providing valuable services to the insurance community,” says Wilson. “It’s our hope that even more agents and brokers will take advantage of our resources and implement what they learn in their agencies and brokerages.”
To access VU, please visit www.independentagent.com and click on the "Virtual University" tab on the left menu bar. To subscribe to VUpoint, please visit http://www.iiaba.net/VU/Newsletter/Subscribe.htm. For more information, please contact Bill Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.