WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2015 —The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) this week bestowed three prestigious agent awards at the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference.
Mike Larges of Michigan is the 2014 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.
“The Big ‘I’ is proud to present the Sidney O. Smith Award to Mike Larges for his amazing work as chair of the InsurPac Board of Trustees and his countless contributions to the independent agency system,” said Lee Schilling, Big “I” government affairs committee chairman. “Under the leadership of Mike Larges, InsurPac reached the $1 million mark two years in a row. He has been a regular attendee at the Legislative Conference for the past 25 years, and is also the 1997 recipient of the Barney Burns Award. Mike’s work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication are a huge asset to the Big ‘I’ and our entire industry.”
Larges is former chief operating officer of the Emil Rummel Agency, Inc. in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
Scott Evans of North Carolina is the recipient of the 2014 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.
“Scott Evans tirelessly promotes the importance of InsurPac and political involvement to Young Agents and producers, stressing that participation must go beyond just agency owners and executives,” said Schilling in presenting the award. “He previously served as North Carolina’s InsurPac chair and has been a driving force to help his state continually raise more than $60,000 per year for InsurPac.”
Evans currently serves on the InsurPac Board of Trustees. He is a property- casualty producer at Coastal Insurance in Shallotte, North Carolina.
The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) is the recipient of the 2014 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. Maurice 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.
“In large part due to the tireless grassroots efforts by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, a sound certificates of insurance law is now on the books,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “MAIA has also demonstrated its continued commitment at the national level by accomplishing ambitious InsurPac goals, helping craft major legislative and regulatory initiatives in other areas, and through active participation at the National Legislative Conference.”
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 approximately a quarter of a million 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.