ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 28, 2011 - The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Young Agents Committee (YAC) sponsored a successful casino night fundraiser titled “YAC Gives Back: A Benefit for InVEST Scholarships” in conjunction with the Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention and the annual InVEST Silent and Live auction.
Collectively, “YAC Gives Back,” the auction and direct contributions raised more than $48,000 this year.
“The YAC is proud we’ve raised so much scholarship money with our second annual ‘YAC Gives Back’ event,” says Andy Beauchamp, Big “I” National Young Agents Committee chairman and vice president of Beauchamp McSpadden, Wabash, Ind. “It’s great to bring awareness to InVEST and help so many students join the ranks of the insurance industry. Young agents can make a difference.”
Auction items were donated by insurance carriers, agents and brokers, the Big “I” and its state affiliates, and other industry organizations. The money goes directly to scholarships.
“Providing our high school and community college students with scholarships to help them continue their education and financial literacy education are at the top of our priority list,” says Heather Minkler, chair of the National InVEST Board of Directors and CEO of Clark-Mortenson Agency, an independent agency in Keene, N.H. “It’s important to highlight that InVEST educates high school and community college students about insurance, risk management and financial services. Graduates from more than 200 InVEST programs across the country are armed with knowledge to help them pursue careers in an agency, company or other insurance industry organization.”
In 2010, InVEST awarded 58 college-bound students pursuing insurance-related degrees. The scholarship winners were selected from 146 applications representing 19 schools and from six states. Applicants submit essays describing the influence and benefits InVEST had on their educational plans. The quality of the essay, combined with the applicant’s grade-point average and extracurricular activities, were factors in selecting the recipients. Scholarship checks are mailed directly to the institute of higher learning that each student is attending and will be used exclusively for educational expenses.
“InVEST may be the program that saves our graying industry and is critical not only to the future of the independent agency system, but to the insurance industry as a whole,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “The average age of an insurance professional is 54 and if we don’t do our best to attract new talent we may face an industry-wide staffing crisis as baby boomers retire and consumers and small businesses are required to hold more insurance policies.”
As a 501(c)(3) educational trust, InVEST benefits from the support of numerous insurance organizations, hundreds of agencies, brokers and volunteers. The program provides the insurance industry with motivated, talented and intelligent professionals through a support structure of state associations, board members, national staff, teachers and the many industry professionals who work in the field as classroom liaisons.
Founded in 1970 and based in Alexandria, Va., InVEST promotes insurance education in order to attract individuals to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Each year, the program prepares thousands of students for insurance-related careers with a hands-on curriculum taught in high schools, adult education centers and community colleges. The high school curriculum is a business-education program that utilizes a hands-on approach which simulates an insurance agency and company operations to prepare students for various business careers and create more knowledgeable insurance consumers. At the college level, InVEST is an information-intensive curriculum of risk management and financial services. These courses provide students with a working knowledge of the basics needed to pursue careers in the insurance industry. For more information, go to www.investprogram.org.
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: www.independentagent.com.