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Big "I" Young Agents' President's Panel Discusses Future of Independent Agency System



 

BIG “I” YOUNG AGENTS’ PRESIDENT’S PANEL DISCUSSES FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT AGENCY SYSTEM

Panelists address state of the industry

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2006—Several prominent insurance industry leaders discussed current industry trends, the state and future of the industry as well as effects from last year’s hurricane season at the Big “I” Convention.

 

“The President’s Panel brings present industry leaders together with future leaders,” says Big “I” President William G. Stiglitz III. “This meeting is about giving young agents the opportunity to hear what’s going on in the industry straight form the top, and letting industry leaders hear directly what issues concern the young agents.”

Joining Stiglitz on the President’s Panel were:       

  • Tony Pavia, president, AIG Agency Auto
  • Cynthia Hardy Young, president, Encompass Insurance
  • John Ammendola, senior vice president, Safeco Insurance
  • Robert V. James, senior managing director, president and CEO, Balboa Insurance Group

 

Panelists addressed the impact of last year’s hurricanes on the industry.

 

“This was a difficult year for the insurance industry,” said James. “The storms are probably going to continue with this type of severity. It will be a tough five to 10 years for the industry.”

 

Pavia discussed AIG’s goals for hurricane and disaster preparedness. “Our goal is to build a catastrophe team that can rapidly respond to disasters,” said Pavia. “We are investing in catastrophe capability that will make us more mobile and more able to respond.”

 

Ammendola echoed the optimism all panelists shared going into another potentially devastating hurricane season. “What happened last year rang alarm bells for the industry,” said Ammendola.

“Agents and companies will now be better prepared and more effective. Customers will now be more prepared.”

 

Panelists discussed the future of the independent agency system.

 

“Customers will decide what they want,” said Young. “The independent agency channel is unique. Agents live up to the unique expectation that they are advocates and counselors to consumers.”

 

Stiglitz, speaking from the agents’ perspective about how to grow business in a flat market, said

“You get out there and you outsell the market. Get out and find the new piece of business and write it.”

 

The panel discussed reinsurance for natural disasters.

 

“Companies have to play this one out,” said Stiglitz. “The industry is not united, and so far it has been an exercise in futility. The Big ‘I’ has been pushing national disaster legislation for 20 years, and we will help lead the effort to bring more unity to our industry on this crucial issue.  .”

 

Echoing Stiglitz’s sentiments, Young said “A united industry is important in coming up with a solution.”

 

The Young Agents Breakfast and President’s Panel with Big “I” leadership is one of the highlights of the Big “I” National Legislative Conference & Convention. Other highlights included: appearances by Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-La.), House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), David I. Maurstad, insurance administrator and mitigation director of the National Flood Insurance Program, and House Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio).  For more information about young agents, please contact Katie Cosgrove at 800-221-7917; katie.cosgrove@iiaba.net.

 

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: www.independentagent.com.

 

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