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Big "I" Honors Hofmann, West Virginia Agents


Longtime agent leader and state association earn recognition at legislative event


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2006—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) has honored a leading a longtime agent leader and one of its state associations for their legislative accomplishments in 2005. Honors went to the following recipients late Wednesday at the Big “I” National Legislative Conference and Convention:


  • Belmont, Mass. agent William Hofmann III, CPCU, CLU, AAI, CIC, LIA, was presented the Sidney O. Smith Award for his tireless work in promoting the legislative goals of the Big “I” and its political arm, InsurPac.


  • The Professional Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia (PIIAWV) was honored with the Maurice Herndon Award for its legislative accomplishments in 2005.


Hofmann earned the Sidney O. Smith Award honor for his tenure as chairman of the InsurPac Board of Trustees, and a past President of the Big “I”, a national board member, and during his long service in many other capacities at both the state and national levels.   Under his leadership, InsurPac reached the $1 million mark in an election cycle for the first time in its 30-year history. Hofmann   has worked hard to educate independent insurance agents and brokers as to the importance of PACs in the political process.


“Bill Hofmann is a great leader, the consummate cheerleader for the independent agency system, and he sets a great example for his colleagues,” says Nathan Riedel, Big “I” vice president for political affairs. “He has provided many years of invaluable service to his association and his fellow agents and brokers, and he is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.”


PIIAWV received the Herndon Award for its role in electing a pro-business state Supreme Court justice, for spearheading the creation of a coalition of agent, insurer and business interests, and for constructing an aggressive insurance reform agenda in West Virginia. PIIAWV led an effective legislative campaign that produced the privatization of the state’s workers’ compensation program, the effective elimination of third-party bad-faith suits and the creation of file-and-use approval system for commercial-lines products, among others.


“Our West Virginia association has produced a legislative effort that other states should study and replicate,” says Wesley Bissett, Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs and state relations. “Our agents in West Virginia led a sweeping reform effort of which we are all very proud. They have done a terrific job, and they deserve all of our accolades.” In addition, the West Virginia Big “I” continues to attain its InsurPac goals, and is very active on federal insurance issues and grassroots activities.


The Smith Award is bestowed annually by the Big “I” and the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia upon an individual agent or broker for outstanding service to his or her peers and the national association in the field of government affairs. It is named in honor of an IIABA past president and Georgia agent who was instrumental in focusing the Association and its members on legislative advocacy.


Also awarded annually by the Big “I”, the Herndon Award is bestowed upon the state association whose legislative achievements the previous year on behalf of IIABA and its members have been deemed most outstanding. The honor is named after the former head of IIABA’s government affairs operation. Herndon, who died in January 2003 at age 91, directed the Association’s Washington D.C. office from 1949 to 1976 and was known as “Mr. Washington” to agents and brokers across America. He is fondly remembered as an extremely effective leader of the Big “I” government affairs and grassroots operations.


Founded in 1896, IIABA (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:





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