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Diversity Task Force Meets in Orlando


Associate in Insurance Agency Operations (AIAO) Designations Presented


ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 11—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s Diversity Task Force held a Diversity Luncheon at the recent Big “I” Convention in Orlando to help advance the goal of fostering a profitable independent agency force that reflects, represents and capitalizes on the opportunities of the diverse U.S. population.


The task force, comprised of Big “I” member agents and brokers, agents representing Latin-American, African-American and Asian-American industry groups, and leading insurance companies (AIG Auto Insurance, Aetna, CNA, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, MetLife Auto & Home, Safeco Insurance, St. Paul Travelers and Zurich North America) hosted the luncheon.


Chris Amrhein, a professional insurance educator and consultant, addressed the opportunities and challenges facing the insurance industry as it adapts to an increasingly diverse marketplace. Following these remarks, Diversity Task Force Chairman Joe Hernandez presented designation certificates to agents who had completed the Associate in Insurance Agency Operations’ (AIAO) pilot program. The AIAO designation is a professional education program developed by the Task Force to provide insurance agency owners, producers and managers serving emerging markets with the planning, sales and service expertise necessary to build successful independent agency operations. Eight full days of training were broken into three segments—Strategic Planning, Sales Training and Customer Service. This pilot program was held at the Big “I” national offices in Alexandria, Va., and consisted of two 3-day sessions and one 2-day session that were conducted over a 12-month period. As of September 2004, the AIAO course is approved for CE credits in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and New Jersey, with accreditation pending in Florida and California.


“The AIAO course content and instructors were top-notch and met all the objectives outlined for the course,” said Julius Alston, president of Alston Insurance Services and AIAO program participant. “The program provided participants with excellent tools and strategies that will certainly enhance our respective agencies.”


“As an experienced manager, many of the things that were covered I had learned before, but they got pushed back into the recesses of my mind,” said Rudolph Howard, agency principal of R.V. Howard & Associates and AIAO program participant. “By going through the AIAO program, it brought back the things that I had forgotten to use and allowed me to synthesize them with the things that I learned.”


Next year’s Diversity Luncheon will be held during the Big “I” New York Convention Sept. 10 through 14, 2005. For more information on the diversity initiatives of the Big “I,” contact Barbara Miller-Richards, vice president of Agent Development, at (703) 706-5388 or


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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