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Four Companies Honored With Best Practices Awards


Recognized for advocating Best Practices philosophies


ORLANDO, Oct. 10—Four national insurance companies today were presented the prestigious “Best Practices Award of Excellence” at the 2004 Big “I” Convention here.


Honorees were St. Paul Travelers, Safeco Insurance, Zurich North America-Small Business and MetLife Auto & Home. The award recognizes those companies that have made imaginative, outstanding and unique contributions in advocating Best Practices philosophies that enhance the independent agency system. The Big “I” Best Practices Program provides performance benchmarks and business strategies that serve as a guide in improving agency performance.


St. Paul Travelers, based in St. Paul, Minn., earned its fourth consecutive Best Practices Award through its educational outreach activities. The company provides voucher dollars that agents can use to purchase materials, and also works to raise awareness of Best Practices tools through “blast” communications reaching more than 10,000 agents.


“While the company has gone through a name change, their commitment to Best Practices has remained steadfast,” said Vincent P. Sylvia, CIC, LIA, state national director of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, in presenting the award. “With the belief that helping agents grow and prosper through diligent use of the Best Practices, St. Paul Travelers has educated hundreds of agencies.”


Seattle-based Safeco also earned its fourth straight Best Practices Award.


“Safeco Insurance supports Best Practices with their staff training time and financial contributions,” Sylvia said. “They also include the Best Practices materials in agent education and business consulting and strongly believe the program builds better, powerful independent agents.”


Earning the honor for the first time was Jacksonville, Fla.-based Zurich North America-Small Business for its innovative Best Practices outreach efforts.


“We honor Zurich North America-Small Business for their incredible support of Best Practices through over 150 sales workshops across the country that reach out to 7,500 agency principals, CSRs and producers,” Sylvia said. “They conduct a ‘road-show’ that includes a ‘state of the industry’ and discusses the importance of Best Practices, which is referenced often. In addition, Zurich acknowledges adhering to a Best Practices model is critical for independent agency success.”


MetLife Auto & Home, based in Warwick, R.I., also earned the honor for the first time.


“MetLife Auto & Home supports Best Practices with their staff time and financial contributions,” Sylvia said. “They use the information contained in the studies during their agency visits and large agency meetings. The benchmarking information is used internally for decision making, planning and strategizing and has become a part of their marketing culture.”


The Big “I” Convention, the Association’s showcase meeting, is taking place in Orlando from Oct. 9 through 12. The event features a compelling company CEO roundtable; several prominent guest speakers and panelists; a variety of innovative continuing-education (CE) classes and other cutting-edge workshops; the largest exhibit hall in the insurance industry; numerous networking opportunities; and many other exciting events.


Founded in 1896, the Big “I” 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—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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