WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2016—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) presented Applied Systems, Central Insurance Companies, EMC, Preferred Mutual Insurance Companies, Travelers and Westfield Insurance with the prestigious Best Practices Award of Excellence at the recent Big “I” Legislative Conference.
The awards recognize those companies that have made imaginative, outstanding and unique contributions in advocating Best Practices philosophies that enhance the independent agency system. The Big “I” Best Practices program, which was launched in 1993, provides performance benchmarks and business strategies that serve as a guide to improving agency performance.
Applied Systems, Inc., launched a formal campaign to encourage participation in the program with core components – education, recruitment and submission support, which includes creating job aides to help EPIC and TAM users pull data from their system in time for this year’s study cycle. The Applied service team is responsible for helping implement Best Practices standards in an agency and supports clients to consistently evaluate their company's performance and growth and perpetuation strategy to drive growth and ensure a healthy independent agency channel. Additionally, Applied hosted Best Practices education symposium for their executives and is an active sponsor and supporter.
“Applied Systems has done a fantastic job of promoting the philosophies of the Best Practices through education, recruitment and submission support,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “We applaud Applied’s ongoing dedication to Best Practices education efforts.”
Central Insurance Companies continues to demonstrate their belief that Best Practices adds significant value to the company and its agents. Central is an active supporter and nominated more than 15% of their agencies for the Best Practices study with a personal letter encouraging them to participate. Central shared Best Practices information and benchmarks with marketing managers and presented the information to their National Agents Advisory Council (Inner Circle).
“Since 2005, through countless company-wide and online initiatives, Central Insurance Companies, a Trusted Choice® company, promotes the philosophies of the Best Practices through materials in agent education, business consulting and numerous innovative efforts,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “We applaud Central’s ongoing dedication, leadership and cutting edge efforts.”
EMC Insurance Companies (EMC) is recognized for producing articles, seminars, and webinars based on the foundations of Best Practices – including talking points on the benefits and the value of participating in the study and using benchmarks. The Trusted Choice® company takes a strong consultative approach with using Best Practices tools as the basis for agency management process and key areas of joint planning and perpetuation. EMC promotes the resources that are available to agents to help add value to their agency. Supporting Best Practices is a win-win for both the company and agency partner.
“EMC, a Trusted Choice® company, continues growing the Best Practices program through numerous avenues and materials,” continued Rusbuldt. “We are excited to recognize EMC, for its dedication to helping agents further develop their business and providing so many valuable resources.”
Preferred Mutual Insurance Companies is recognized for working to help agents through activity in two phases – 1) train the trainer and education and, 2) introduction to incorporating the planning to marketing representatives and then agents. Preferred includes Best Practices information in its “agent welcome” kit and encourages professionalism and collaboration.
“Preferred Mutual Insurance Companies continues to demonstrate its commitment to Best Practices by providing education materials and training,” continued Rusbuldt. “The excellent ‘agent welcome’ kit is just one of many excellent resources Preferred provides as part of its excellent agent development program.”
Travelers Insurance Company has been recognized each year for their support of the program since the inception of the Best Practices Awards of Excellence in 2001. Travelers continues to be committed to making a difference by communicating the value of the resources and working with independent insurance agents to help them grow their agencies. By supporting agents and the Best Practices program, Travelers provides resources to agents to help them successfully grown their business.
“We are proud to announce, that for the fifteenth year in a row, Travelers, a Trusted Choice® company, has earned this special award recognizing its support for Best Practices,” said Rusbuldt. “Through countless efforts, Travelers continues to demonstrate its unmatched commitment to Best Practices by working directly with agents to help them reach their goals. Travelers leads by example through professional training and excellent communication tools.”
Westfield Insurance believes Best Practices is a valuable and critical approach to support agency efforts and helping them manage at a higher performance. This commitment ultimately results in a strong independent agency system. Westfield is recognized for numerous efforts including presenting Best Practices sessions, hosting guest speakers from Reagan Consulting, providing webinars, educating field staff and holding a webinar to train 100 of the Westfield field and underwriting teams on how to implement Best Practices within an agency and support the process.
“The dedication of Westfield Insurance, a Trusted Choice® company, to the Best Practices philosophy has resulted in hundreds of agents and insurance professionals obtaining excellent continuing education,” said Rusbuldt. “We are proud to present this award to Westfield for its commitment to building a stronger independent agency system.”
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.