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Big “I” Issues Agent Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 2011 —The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) yesterday bestowed three prestigious awards at the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention.

Fletcher Willey of North Carolina is the 2010 recipient of the Sidney O. Smith Award. This 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.

“Fletcher Willey has long been an advocate for the National Flood Insurance Program and an active member of the Big ‘I’,” said Spencer Houldin, Big “I” government affairs committee chairman. “Fletcher is a tireless advocate for flood insurance and traveled extensively representing the interests of Big “I” members in flood insurance meetings and conferences across the country.”

Fletcher served as a member of the Big “I” Flood Task force for nine years (five years as the chairman) and was also the Big “I” representative for the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee. In those two roles, he led the Flood Task Force during periods of massive changes to the NFIP program, including the 2004 Flood Insurance Reform bill and the extremely volatile post-Katrina period.

Larry Brustad of Minnesota is the recipient of the 2010 Barney Burns Award which is named after former Big “I” President Barney Burns, who founded InsurPac in 1975, and served as chairman of its Board of Trustees until 1983. During his tenure, Barney worked tirelessly to educate agents about the importance of being politically active and contributing to InsurPac.

“Larry Brustad has been a tireless peer-to-peer fundraiser, working to engage all kinds of agents from state leadership to young agents,” said Houldin in presenting the award. “He embodies a relentless work ethic on behalf of InsurPac, the association’s political action committee and stresses the important role that InsurPac serves to establish relationships and help our advocacy efforts.”

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Idaho, Inc. is the reciepient of the 2010 Herndon Award which 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 award is presented annually by the Big “I” and the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIAI). The honor is named after the former head of IIABA’s government affairs operation. Herndon, who died in January 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.

“The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Idaho were actively engaged in numerous political issues that not only impact Idaho, but agents across the country,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Idaho was active in opposing the optional federal charter (OFC) and exceeded their InsurPac goals.”

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, 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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