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Agents and Brokers "Ask an Expert" to Get Answers to Complex Insurance Questions


Virtual University Service Provides Answers to Thousand of Questions Yearly

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec 13—Independent agents and brokers looking for answers to their most pressing insurance and financial services questions can turn to the Virtual University (VU)’s “Ask an Expert” service for advice from the industry’s leading insurance experts.

The VU is a state-of-the art online insurance educational and informational resource program offered by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”). The VU’s “Ask an Expert” service lets users submit questions (via an online form) to one or more of the three dozen top insurance and agency management experts, or “faculty,” who field questions for VU.

“Our volunteer faculty of industry experts represents the brains and the brawn of the VU,” says Bill Wilson, VU director. “Sometimes agents and brokers need answers to questions that they can't find in the VU’s research library, classrooms or student lounge. In such instances, we have a faculty of experts who can usually answer, or find an answer, to questions posed by agent and brokers.”

“Ask an Expert” offers a variety of answers to all types of questions and requests:

·         “I need information about an endorsement under CGL called a Cross Liability Endorsement. Where can I find information about this endorsement?”

·         “We are besieged by demands from large firms to include ‘primary and non-contributory’ wording on certificates…any help you can give in educating risk managers and attorneys would be appreciated.”

·         “A friend of mine had a house built by a general contractor who subcontracted flooring to a sub. The job turned out extremely bad…My friend does not want to sue the general contractor. Can he go directly to the sub, and if so, do we have a products/or completed operations claim?”

The individuals that answer these and other questions for “Ask an Expert” are highly credentialed, knowledgeable leaders in the industry and can offer expertise in the areas of  agency management; sales, customer service and public relations; technology and the Internet; and commercial and personal insurance. Some of these experts include:

·         Al Diamond—Diamond is a veteran of the insurance industry who has spent more than 30 years working for both stock and direct writing insurance companies and agencies.

·         Howard Candage, CPCU, CIC, AMIM, AAI, AIS—Candage is president of H. E. Candage, Inc., and is currently providing insurance management and technical education throughout the United States and Canada.

·         Chris Burand—Burand is president and owner of Burand & Associates, LLC. Since establishing Burand & Associates in 1992, he has become a nationally recognized speaker and author whose articles have appeared in American Agent & Broker, Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, IMMS, and many other insurance publications.

·         John Eubank, CPCU, ARM—Eubank is CEO and president of Professional Insurance Education, Inc., and is recognized as one of the nation's premier insurance education instructors, having served as a national faculty member of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors since 1976. Additionally, Eubank is a recipient of the Professional Leadership Scroll from the American Institute for Property & Liability Underwriters and the Insurance Institute of America.

·         Mike Edwards, CPCU, AAI—Edwards is a professional insurance trainer and heads an insurance training firm in Atlanta, Ga. Previously Edwards served as the director of education for the Independent Insurance Agents of Louisiana and as an instructor for the Florida Association of Insurance Agents.

Additionally, the VU is proud to welcome The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company and InsurBanc to its growing list of experts. Hartford Steam Boiler is one of the world’s leading global specialty insurer and reinsurer while InsurBanc is wholly-owned subsidiary of Peyton Street Financial Services Corporation, a thrift holding company this is a joint venture of the Big “I” and W.R. Berkley Corporation. Both companies bring considerable financial services expertise to the “Ask an Expert” service.

The “Ask an Expert” service launched in 1999, and now answers more than 4,000 questions yearly from agents and brokers across the country. After the tragic events of Sept. 11, “Ask an Expert” answered more than 500 terrorism insurance-related questions, some from outside the United States

The VU and its “Ask an Expert” service are available exclusively to Big “I” members. Big “I” members get free, unlimited access to the VU as a member benefit. 

To access other VU resources, a subscription is required. Individual, non-Big “I” member subscriptions are available for a $395 annual fee. Non-Big “I” member groups can purchase 10 or more individual subscriptions at discount pricing of 10 percent off each when purchased together. Individuals from a group must purchase at the same time to be eligible to receive the discount. Payments must be by individual or group credit card. Those interested can download the bulk registration form in a PDF or Word format.

Individual subscriptions can be purchased online at the VU using a major credit card. To do so, visit and click on the “Virtual University” link. 

            For more information about Big “I” membership and VU subscriptions, please visit

Launched in 1999, the VU offers agents and brokers access to the most comprehensive and integrated learning system in the industry. Big “I” members and VU subscribers get unlimited access to more than 4,000 pages of timely industry information; a subscription to VUpoint, the biweekly VU e-newsletter and its fully searchable archives; and immediate access to a library of “white papers” on hot insurance topics.

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—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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