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Agency Management Experts

The experts.



Mr. Diamond has been deeply involved in all facets of insurance agency and company operations including merger, acquisition and divestiture, perpetuation and strategic planning, organizational development, compensation and salary administration programs, administrative and financial operations and marketing and automation planning, ESOP, and perpetuation issues.  Mr. Diamond also helps agencies create and develop direct marketing programs to enhance agency production.
Mr. Diamond has spent over four decades in the insurance industry working for both stock and direct writing insurance companies and as an independent businessman.  He has been Operations Manager of a major insurance company, Chief Operating Officer of three insurance agencies and has been President of Agency Consulting Group, Inc, a national consulting firm for insurance agencies since 1985.
Mr. Diamond is a past president and a current member of the American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCO).  He was a charter member of the Quality Insurance Congress. Mr. Diamond is Chairman for the Appraisal Standards and Guidelines Committee in the design of appraisal standards for the insurance agency industry for AAIMCO.  Mr. Diamond acts as independent moderator for disputes arising from insurance agency operations, and as a facilitator for mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and internal perpetuation plans.
Mr. Diamond speaks to local, state and national insurance agency groups, trade associations and carriers in every part of the U.S. each year on a variety of topics critical to the growth, profitability and productivity of insurance agencies.
Mr. Diamond writes The PIPELINE, a national newsletter for insurance agency principals and insurance industry executives.   THE PIPELINE has been published continuously on a monthly basis since 1985 and is distributed to agents, associations, and carriers.
Mr. Diamond's practice includes annual valuation and analyses of insurance agencies throughout the United States.  Mr. Diamond and Agency Consulting Group, Inc. are one of the few consulting firms operating nationwide through the U.S. and Canada for agency valuation and consulting services from its Cherry Hill, NJ location.  Since 1985 Agency Consulting Group, Inc. has collected financial data and published the averages of common revenue and expense categories for independent insurance agencies in various size groups.  These averages have been published in the Pipeline and in various other trade publications annually and appears on-line at the organization’s website,


Agency Consulting Group offers the following services:

•  Agency Automation
•  Agency Clusters
•  Agency Valuations
•  Crisis Management
•  Expert Witness & Litigation Support
•  Marketing & Sales Planning
•  Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures
•  Organizational Development
•  Perpetuation Planning
•  Producer Acquisition,
•  Compensation & Management
•  Strategic Planning
•  Virtual Insurance Agency


November 20, 2013

Billy AkinBilly L. Akin, CPCU, ARM is president of Professional Consultants & Services, Inc., a consulting company that provides insurance and reinsurance services for the insurance industry and attorney consultation and support. He is a certified mediator and is available for claims and expert witness consulting. Click Billy's photo to email him.
Billy has been an independent insurance and reinsurance consultant since 1990. During his career, he has been a vice president of a managing general agency and senior vice president of a regional insurance company.
He is a licensed P&C and L&H agent, licensed surplus lines agent, and a Certified Mediator of the National Mediation Academy, Inc.
Billy is a past president of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the CPCU Society and has served on the National Underwriting Executives Council, ISO Tennessee Advisory Committee, and National Association of Independent Insurers Property Committee.  He has also taught numerous IIA and CPCU courses.
His previous business activities include:
  • Attorney consultation

  • Arbitration advisory, reinsurance

  • Excess and surplus lines marketing and underwriting

  • Sales and management training consultation

  • Personnel manager

  • Underwriting and marketing consultation and support

  • Reinsurance program supervisor

  • Special policy and form preparation and filings

  • Trade and business organizations representative

  • State insurance department filings

  • Involvement in all areas of receivership

  • Editor of attorneys' newsletter

Billy's consulting services include mediation and arbitration, receiverships and liquidation,  litigation assistance research and consultation, expert witness, contract compliance, document and file analysis, claim disputes and alternative dispute resolution.

His non-insurance hobbies include church activities, hiking, photography, and stamp and coin collecting.
For information about his consulting services, contact Billy at 1012 Forestpointe Drive, Hendersonville, TN 37075, 615-826-7294, fax 615-826-7294, email

cheryl.jpgCheryl Koch, CPCU, CIC, ARM, AAI, API, AAM, AIM, AIS, ARP, AINS, ACSR, FIS has been in the insurance industry for a very, very long time.  Now, you might think that makes her old, however, old is merely a state of mind.  Over the years, Cheryl has served in nearly every capacity in an Independent Agency, having been an Account Manager, Producer and Agency Owner.  She now devotes her time to agency management consulting and training and speaking at industry functions throughout the country.  She is the President and CEO of Agency Management Resource Group located in Roseville, California.  Cheryl consults on marketing and sales, sales management, agency operations, automation, and strategic planning.

Cheryl is also a devotee of lifelong learning and has earned a number of insurance industry professional designations:  CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter), CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor), ARM (Associate in Risk Management), AAI (Accredited Adviser in Insurance), API (Associate in Personal Insurance), AAM (Associate in Automation Management), AIM (Associate in Management), AIS (Associate in Insurance Services), ARP (Associate in Research and Planning), Associate in General Insurance (AINS), ACSR (Accredited Customer Service Representative) and AFIS (Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist).  It is the last designation, AFIS, of which she is most proud, having created it along with the late Dr. Emmett J. Vaughan.  Some would say that Cheryl is a real insurance nerd, and she would not disagree.
Cheryl has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from Sacramento State University, where she served as a faculty member in their Risk Management and Insurance program for many years.  She has also served as President of the Sacramento Chapter of CPCU and was on the CPCU Society’s Board of Governors for three years.
Cheryl serves as a volunteer member of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Virtual University “Ask An Expert” Committee.  She is also a member of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE), the Society of CPCU and the American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCO).
When she’s not busy with her insurance activities, Cheryl enjoys spending time at baseball games, and has been to nearly every major league ballpark.  She is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, which should explain a lot about her.

 3 2016

ChrisBurandPhoto1.jpgChris Burand is president and owner of Burand & Associates, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in the property-casualty insurance industry.  Chris is recognized as a leading consultant for agency valuations, producer compensation plans, and E&O carrier approved E&O procedure reviews.  He also provides the acclaimed Contingency Contract Analysis® service and has the largest database and knowledge of contingency contracts in the insurance industry.   

Chris’s insurance career began in 1987 as a company underwriter and marketing representative.
He established Burand & Associates in 1992.  Since then, he has been a featured speaker across the continent for more than 325 seminars and educational programs.  His articles have been published more than 350 times.  He writes a monthly column for the Insurance Journal,  has published a book of E&O tips, and has been a monthly Agency Management columnist for 20 years for various publications.  His articles have appeared in Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, A.M. Best, and many regional insurance publications.  He also publishes Burand’s Insurance Agency Adviser for independent insurance agents.
Chris is a department head for the IIABA’s Virtual University.  He’s an approved E&O auditor for Utica Mutual and Westport and he’s a Certified Business Appraiser.
Burand & Associates, LLC
215 S. Victoria Ave., Suite E
Pueblo, CO  81003
Tel:  (719) 485-3868
Fax:  (719) 485-3895
Website  Email
2 2016
​​​​Cindy Sprole is located in Midwest City, Oklahoma and an experienced HR and Operational Management professional with a background in manufacturing and insurance.  She has a vast knowledge of recruiting, compensation, benefits, interviewing, employee relations, performance management and succession planning​. 

Cindy is currently President at Associated Risk Managers Mid America and holds the following industry certifications:

  • SPHR (Senior Professional Human Resource) designation
  • SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management - Senior Certified Professional) designation
  • CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation
  • ​Hold commercial lines insurance license – State of Oklahoma
  • Holds Non-resident insurance license in 15 other states


InsurBanc, a division of Connecticut Community Bank, N.A.®, has been selected by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big I) to provide expert financial service advice to independent agents.  Below is a listing of InsurBanc financial experts that IIABA members can contact for questions.
Headquartered in Farmington, Conn., InsurBanc was developed by IIABA and W.R. Berkley Corporation.  InsurBanc specifically serves the banking needs of the independent insurance agents and brokers and operates in all 50 states.
The following may be contacted by IIABA members directly or through our “Ask an Expert” service to pose financial services questions:

David W. Tralka, President and Chief Executive Officer
Connecticut Community Bank, N.A.®
1-866-467-2262, x2300

David W. Tralka has more than 25 years of experience in banking and financial services.
As President & Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Community Bank, Mr. Tralka is responsible for the future growth and financial success of the Bank’s six banking divisions including InsurBanc.
Prior to becoming President and Chief Executive Office of Connecticut Community Bank, Mr. Tralka served as President and CEO of InsurBanc, keeping the bank focused on being an innovative provider of financial products and services for the independent agency community. Prior to joining InsurBanc, Mr. Tralka served as Chairman of Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services in Princeton, NJ, part of the Merrill Lynch Global Bank Group serving 150,000 small- and mid-sized business clients with all their banking needs.
Mr. Tralka holds an MBA from Northwestern University and a BA in economics from Cornell University.


Robert J. Pettinicchi, Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer
1-866-467-2262, x2310
Robert J. Pettinicchi, a 25-year veteran of the financial industry, directs all lending activities for InsurBanc.
Mr. Pettinicchi developed and continually monitors InsurBanc’s loan policies and also chairs the bank’s Credit Committee. He designed the bank’s lending products for independent agents.
During his industry career, Mr. Pettinicchi, a commercial lending expert, has managed lending and credit operations at both regional banks and specialty finance companies.
His past positions include Senior Vice President and Division Manager at UPS Capital Business Credit in Hartford, CT., and Vice President and Regional Commercial Lending Manager at People’s Bank in Hartford, CT.
Mr. Pettinicchi is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Finance and holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduate School of Business.

Anthony J. Arsenault, CPA, Senior Vice President
1-866-467-2262, x2308

Mr. Arsenault brings more than 24 years of financial services experience to InsurBanc.
As Senior Vice President, he directs the critical areas of Division Operations and Administration. His experience with InsurBanc since April 2001, when the Bank first opened, has given him the opportunity to be the primary architect of several critical policies, procedures and practices for the Bank’s accounting operations, budgeting, and asset/liability management strategies.
Mr. Arsenault is a registered CPA certificate holder in the State of Connecticut, and is a past instructor of accounting courses sponsored by the Southern New England chapter of the Center for Financial Training, (CFT). He has held Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses, and is a graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts.


Patricia Smith, Vice President, Business Development Officer
1-866-467-2262, x2317
With 18+ years experience in banking, Ms. Smith directs sales and business development efforts at InsurBanc. Her primary duties include identifying business opportunities and building key customer relationships with insurance agents across the country.
Prior to joining InsurBanc, Smith was with GMAC as a Business Development Officer and served as Sales Director for Liberty Banking in Connecticut. Smith has completed several American Institute of Banking courses and has been associated with the Glastonbury and Middlesex Chambers of Commerce as well as the Glastonbury Exchange Group.



Judith H. Newman is president of Phaze II Consulting, Inc. and the owner of the Master Agency Manager. This comprehensive resource available since 1973 and updated monthly since, is designed to be the most complete and easy to use agency management resource available today.

Judi holds a degree in business from the University of California and has over twenty-five years of experience in the insurance industry. She is a candidate member of the American Society of Appraisers. She has served in positions with agencies and carriers, as well as in the private sector.


Her insurance career includes positions as Chief Operating Officer of a regional west coast agency, national accounts manager for a southwestern regional agency, risk manager for a major west coast retail chain, and manager of the CIGNA Agency Consulting Group. Just prior to starting her own business, she was a corporate officer for the St. Paul Companies. During her tenure she was the marketing officer in charge of the agency management consulting department. She has worked on site with over 500 agents across the nation on a variety of projects and has earned recognition in the areas of:
•    Errors & Omissions Loss Control/Audits
•    Agency Valuations
•    Sales & Marketing Planning and Management
•    Human Resources Consulting
•    Agency Perpetuation Planning
•    Sales, Mergers and Acquisitions
•    Strategic Planning
•    Performance Management
•    Leadership Development
•    Executive Coaching
•    Agency Compensation Planning
•    Professional Employer Organizations
She has conducted numerous seminars and workshops in the areas of Continuous Quality Improvement, Agency Perpetuation, Sales, Mergers and Acquisitions, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, Professional Employer Organizations, Budgeting and Compensation. Judi has developed a no nonsense approach to agency operations. She has long been a proponent of increased profits, sales and productivity.
Judi is available for individual consulting assignments and speaking engagements. She is both empathetic and pragmatic in her approach and is in tune to the changes necessary for the success of the independent insurance agency system.


2013 portrait (3).jpg

Lisa Hiser Harrington, CPCU, CAE, CRIS, CAM, AAI, AAM, AIAM, AIP is the CEO of Sapphire Enterprises d/b/a, Lisa H. Harrington LLC.  She's a Strategist specializing in brand management, strategic planning, and executive coaching. She is the DFW area Practice Leader for Chromium, and an authorized E&O Auditor for SwissRE, in collaboration with the Moberg Group. As the Vistage Chair facilitating for the DFW mid-cities CEO peer group, she advises executives from start ups to a $500 million bank President. 

She is a regular contributor to Rough Notes magazine, and her book "Taking in Strays: Leadership Lessons from Unexpected Places," is available at

Formerly Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President at IRMI (International Risk Management Institute), Ms. Harrington served as a member of the executive team responsible for all aspects of marketing, sales, conference management, and client services for the IRMI product line.

She spent four years with the Network of Vertafore Users as Chief Operating Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer, and she served as Vice President of Education for the Florida Association of Insurance Agents for 11 years. 

As an insurance professional, she's spent time in a variety of roles, including educator, writer/editor, underwriter, sales agent, field rep, and agency operations manager. She holds a B.A. degree in management and Spanish from Ball State University. She held the Certified Association Executive certification for over a decade .  

Ask Lisa if you have questions about how to handle brand strategy, vision mapping, operations, people, strategic planning, sales, E & O prevention & management, or just plain how to" when it comes to agency ownership and leadership. She can be contacted at:

640 N. Carroll Ave, Suite 100
Southlake, TX 76092
(850) 528-2121
marylaporte.jpgMary A. LaPorte, CPCU, CIC, LIC, CPIA is an independently employed consultant and educator who helps agencies and individuals attain excellence in the insurance industry.  With over 30 years of agency experience, she has held positions of agency Claim Manager, Personal Lines Manager, Excess & Surplus Lines Manager and agency principal with a large retail agency in the Midwest.  She is licensed as a Property & Casualty Agent and Licensed Insurance Counselor in the State of Michigan. 
She attained the CPCU designation in 1987, the CIC designation in 1992 and the CPIA designation in 2010.  Mary currently is on the national faculty for the Society of CIC and is an active member of the American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCo).  She conducts a variety of continuing education classes and moderates CPIA and E&O loss control seminars.   
Mary acts as a consultant in the area of agency operations, procedures and Errors & Omissions loss control.  In addition, she is involved in E&O litigation serving as an expert witness in matters of agent’s standard of care.  She writes a question & answer column titled “E&O Q&A” which is published in several association periodicals.
Mary welcomes coverage questions, especially in the area of Personal Lines.  She is a resource for agency management and E&O loss control issues. 
You can contact her:
Or visit her website:
MartinPaul.jpgPaul Z. Martin, CPCU is an education consultant and owner of PZ Martin Education Strategies, Inc., a firm dedicated to making insurance industry professionals better through customized education and support.
Paul Z. Martin, CPCU is an education consultant and owner of PZ Martin Education Strategies, Inc., a firm dedicated to making insurance industry professionals better through customized education and support. His varied insurance career includes experience as an adjuster, underwriter, special agent, company manager, independent agent, and over a decade as an insurance educator in Texas.
Paul is a Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a BBA in Management.  He began his career in insurance right out of school becoming a multi-line “old school” claims adjuster where he was given a brief case, camera, a stack of settlement forms, and some drafts and instructed to take care of every claim in his territory – car accidents, workers’ compensation claims, homeowners losses, everything. Fortunately that territory was familiar, surrounding his hometown of Tyler, Texas.  The experience not only gave him a wide-ranging education in insurance coverage, but it taught him what insurance policyholders and claimants alike really want, to be treated in friendly and respectful manner during a stressful time in their lives.
Eventually, Paul was given the chance to widen his experience in insurance by becoming what was then an endangered species, and which today is practically extinct, a special agent for a regional insurer.   As a special agent, Paul was responsible for the commercial underwriting, and marketing, for over 60 independent agencies in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.  There he developed particular expertise in writing large difficult workers compensation led accounts.  Tutored by experienced veterans in the business, Paul thrived as he continued his professional education. 
The underwriter gig eventually turned into a chance to become a partner in a family agency in Jackson, Mississippi.  Here he learned how the bills really get paid as an agent, with sales.  He learned what it took to sell to oil and gas operators, poultry processors, manufacturers, municipalities, schools, and much more.  Again, the theme was large accounts, often with problems needing special attention, and working with underwriters to find a way to get accounts written.  Eventually, the tug of home lead Paul onto his next insurance adventure, joining the fledgling Texas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund in Austin, Texas.
The Fund was operating in a period of market anxiety in Texas and Paul was recruited to speak to the public, the current and future policyholders of the Fund, about its mission, its services and the environment that a new workers’ compensation statute had created in Texas.  His public education efforts were followed by new agency education programs, which eventually lead him into management.
Paul left the Fund to join the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas in the mid 90’s as a staff agent educator and course writer.  He later became the director of education for the association where he lead in the development of new course programs, new education formats, new certification programs, and managed delivery of over 250 days of classroom training all across Texas.  He also was the central contact for new producers and young agents in the state, a natural fit given his many years of training new producers.
Today Paul enjoys pouring his experience and teaching into industry professionals however and whenever he can. 
Paul Z. Martin
PZ Martin Education Strategies
163 Ficus Ct.
Driftwood, Texas 78619

e-mail Peter van AartrijkThe firm concentrates on insurance industry communications. With 20 years in the business, Peter is a senior-level communications executive with proven ability to combine strategic insight, tactical planning and leadership to design and implement PR and advertising initiatives that build corporate brands.

 Peter van Aartrijk Jr. is Founder and Managing Director of  The van Aartrijk Group LLC, based in Alexandria, Virginia. The firm provides communication services that build brands for insurers, associations and technology companies. He also is a columnist for Independent Agent and Insurance Journal, two major industry publications.

 Peter has 20 years of experience in communications, including strategic planning, marketing, consumer research and education, advertising, public relations, crisis communication, Web development, publishing and convention design.


As a spokesperson for the insurance industry, Peter has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox News and other national channels, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, USA Today, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and other major press.

Prior to forming The van Aartrijk Group in 1999, Peter was Vice President of Communications for the Independent Insurance Agents of America, a major trade association of 300,000 members. There he launched an agent image and marketing program that today reaches a combined 250 million American households each year.
He served as Director of Media Relations for the Insurance Information Institute in New York. He began his career as a newspaper reporter and later moved on to editorial positions for A.M. Best Company and National Underwriter.


Peter is a graduate of Rutgers University, with degrees in English and Journalism, and earned the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation. He is a member of the National Press Club and the Insurance Marketing Communications Association.

Peter is involved in his community as a swimming and soccer coach, and participates in the Fairfax Men’s Hockey Club. He lives in Alexandria with his wife, Ellen, and daughters Noel, 10, and Alexa, 5. 

MorganRebecca.jpgRebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC is a dynamic speaker and seminarist. She is the author of six books and numerous articles, and she has appeared on a number of television programs including Oprah. For information on her speaking services, books, and tapes contact her at 1440 Newport Ave., San Jose, CA 95125, 408/998-7977, 800/247-9662, fax: 408/998-1742. Visit her web site at:

Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC, is the People-Productivity Expert. She will help your people and organization:

  • Better meet your current and future business goals.
  • Improve your people's skills for today and prepare for the skills of tomorrow.
  • Create strategies and utilize tools to be more productive.
  • Identify and develop skills that are critical for individual and organizational success.
  • Enhance relationships inside and outside the organization with colleagues, customers, vendors and other business partners.
Rebecca is a savvy businesswoman, business communication expert, professional speaker, seminar leader and author. She empowers the executives, managers, salespeople, individual contributors, and support staff of the nation's organizations. She knows what works -- what produces high achievers. She conveys information through focused, tailored programs designed to meet your organization's particular needs.
Rebecca's presentations reflect her exceptional communication skills as well as her extensive research and interviews. She delivers her "magically practical" information in a friendly, personable, and engaging style that makes learning fun and easy.
Rebecca is a best-selling book & tape author. Her learning tools exemplify the excellence she creates in all her work. She is the author of six popular books:
  • TurboTime: Maximizing Your Results through Technology
  • Life's Lessons -- Insights and Information for a Richer Life
  • Professional Selling: Practical Secrets for Successful Sales
  • Calming Upset Customers
  • Inspiring Others to Win (a fund raiser for the US Olympic Committee)
  • Best Practices in Customer Service
As a popular media resource, Rebecca is known nationally as a expert in increasing people-productivity and profitability. She's appeared on or in:
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • National Public Radio's Market Place
  • Sales & Marketing Management
  • Home Office Computing
  • Business Ethics
  • Inc. Magazine
  • Training Magazine
  • The Service Edge
  • Customer Service Report
  • Meetings California
  • San Jose Mercury News
  • San Francisco Chronicle
Her program "Creating Success" was included in Nightingale-Conant's highly acclaimed monthly audio sales magazine, Sound Selling. The ManagersEdge monthly audio magazine featured her numerous times.

She has also appeared as an expert in educational videos, including "Calming Upset Customers," "Personal Time Management," and "Empowered and Assertive Communication."


Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC
Morgan Seminar Group
1440 Newport Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
Tel:  408/998-7977 or 800/247-9662
Fax: 408/998-1742


Sara-Bradshaw-Ray.jpgLike many agency principals, wearing a variety of hats on a daily basis is not new to Sara. As a full time wife and mother of college-age twins, which she claims as her greatest accomplishment to date; Ms. Ray also has over 30 years in agency ownership and management. She is a licensed Property & Casualty, Life & Health independent agent and also maintains her Certified Insurance Counselor designation of tenured distinction. Her agency management experience is complimented by a background in company commercial underwriting which enables her to uniquely step into the shoes of her agency principal clients with empathetic eyes to help evaluate and manage their agency ownership challenges.

Not only does Ms. Ray bring a wealth of industry expertise, resources and knowledge to the table, her vast experience coupled with a keen sense of the dynamics of efficiency, and its impact on productivity uniquely suits her to meet a variety of operational, management, and marketing needs in agencies today.

The founder of SynerDynamics Group, Ms. Ray is also an executive coach and heads up the consulting firm which has come to be known as an "agency asset maximization resource" in the insurance industry today. Regardless of the economics or industry cycle, agencies today are looking to maximize the power of their dollar. A renowned speaker on the subject of agency efficiency, Ray advocates that capitalizing on the power of synergy result in maximized productivity adds strength to the agency dollar and ultimately a blacker bottom line.

With a lifelong passion for developing female leaders, Ms. Ray founded MyNetwork.ins which is a national mastermind group. Soon to be in its fifth season, MyNetwork provides leadership, management, personal and professional development, executive coaching, and training and network facilitation both onsite in her home state of Oklahoma as well as on a virtual platform through the United States and Canada.

When not coaching female executives or helping agencies identify their organizational efficiency issues and tackling them head on, she's an avid volunteer in her community, church and alumni affiliations, making her home in Stillwater, OK.  While she'd love to be a better golfer, she's happy with "good enough" when playing with friends and family. She's always happy on a beautiful beach, a black diamond ski slope, or even just on a "mental vacation" in the tangled web of a good mystery novel.

September 10, 2020

Sharon A. Koches, CPCU, RPLU, AAI, AU, ITPowner/consultant of Managing Performance, LLC, is an Insurance educator, consultant and industry resource.  She is also a consultant for Agency Management Resource Group and serves on the Executive Committee of the CPCU Society Leadership Council.

Sharon was Vice President of Insurance Operations & Technical Affairs at the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina (IIANC). A member of the Senior Management Team, responsibilities included technical affairs, management of IIANC's Errors & Omissions Program, Group Insurance Program, Market Access Program and the insurance operations for the North Carolina Association of Insurance Agents (NCAIA), an affiliated corporation of IIANC which is responsible for placing the insurance coverage for the State of North Carolina, including state agencies, departments and universities.  In addition she was responsible for special projects, creating and instructing educational courses and symposiums, and consulting on agency procedures and technical issues.

Prior to that, Sharon was with The Institutes (previously the American Institute for CPCU/ and the Insurance Institute of America) serving as a sales executive in the Southern Region, as well as liaison to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA).

Sharon was an account manager, a field underwriting/production position, for Selective Insurance Company's Alternative Market/Large Accounts Department (SRM). Her other positions at Selective included specialty lines account manager and agency management specialist (small/middle market field underwriting/production). She also handled Casualty Facultative Reinsurance.

Sharon's background on the agency side includes serving as director of Membership & Member Services and assistant director of E&O for the Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey (IIANJ). She also held the position of vice president of The Harjes Agency, an independent insurance agency in Flemington, NJ, specializing in CommercialLines and Professional Liability. While at The Harjes Agency, she was a member of the IIANJ's Board of Directors and served as vice chairman of the Education Committee. She was also Project InVEST state chair.

In 2006, Sharon was elected to the Board of Directors of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) where she served as a member-at-large. Additionally, she served on the Council for Best Practices of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I") and is the past Education Chair for the Eastern North Carolina CPCU Chapter.

Sharon holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU®), Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU), Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI®),  Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU), and Insurance Training Professional (ITP) designations. She has taught numerous Institute and other insurance courses.  She is a member of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the CPCU Society, the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)  and the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE). In 2007, Koches was presented with IIABNY's highest honor, the 2007 Distinguished Service Award, which recognized her “unselfish sacrifice" of time and effort to better the insurance community. In 2006, Sharon received the inaugural Spirit of Education award from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) in recognition of her efforts with the Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR) designation program.  In 2014, she was presented with the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE) Henry C. Drewes Loyalty Award.

Formerly from New Jersey, Sharon lives in Wilmington, NC.

BatesVirginia.jpgVirginia M. Bates is the president of VMB Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in education, agency management, and automation issues.
Virginia Bates has over twenty years of experience consulting to agencies and carriers and managing insurance operations for both a carrier and a large regional agency. She has a background in all property and casualty lines, experience as director of a country-wide underwriting school and direct involvement in many automated systems. As co-founder of VMB Associates Inc., she has worked with many agencies and brokerages on intelligent selection and use of technology, profitability, reducing E&O exposure, internal operations, marketing strategies, merger/acquisition planning and implementation, valuations of books of business and agencies in total, carrier relationships and successful automation.
She speaks often on the evolving exposures and preventive strategies related to automation, web-based sales & service, electronic processing and documentation. She has conducted E&O audits and rehabilitation projects for agencies at the request of E&O carriers such as Fireman's Fund. She developed and produces the Vendor Comparison Workshops that have helped thousands of agencies determine their automation needs and options.
She is a member of ACORD's People and Computers national faculty and Alumni Seminar Team. She is a certified E&O instructor and regularly creates and conducts educational programs for many state agents' associations, carriers and vendor groups. These programs encompass both technical subjects (such as personal and commercial risk management, direct and indirect property coverages, advanced workers comp coverages and rating, and umbrella coverages) and management subjects (such as E&O prevention, business planning, disaster recovery, profitable use of automation, and procedures manual creation and implementation).
Rough Notes asked Virginia to coordinate and edit parts of its property and casualty continuing education materials. This series of intermediate and advanced subjects encompassed over thirty volumes of both personal and commercial subject areas.
Virginia's educational background includes an honors degree from Swarthmore College and graduate work in management science. She is a licensed broker and licensed insurance adviser.
Sample Review Comments (from classes and consulting work):
"Her positive attitude is always inspirational. Her knowledge of material is always enlightening."
"The industry should be proud to have her."
"The Best!"
"Virginia explains everything and she is able to keep it interesting!"
"Excellent - Good sense of humor."
"Real life examples and time went by so fast!"
"Relaxed yet comprehensive"
"She was fantastic!"
"I wish I had Virginia Bates for all my classes"
"I look forward to Virginia Bates teaching seminars"
"I love to have you in our office. Everything seems possible at the end of the day!"
Industry Educator:
Sponsors Include state and national trade associations (IIABA and PIA); national and local vendor groups; carriers, and agencies/brokerages.
Certified Best Practice Leader (IIABA National Program)
Programs for over 30 technical insurance topics (business income, commercial property, all personal lines, umbrella/excess coverage; commercial case studies, etc.)
Programs for Management and Agency Development (E&O loss control; Business Planning; Client Service Improvement; Agency Financial Management etc.)
Massachusetts Licensed Advisor Preparatory Educational program developer and deliverer. 
ACORD’s – Originating member of “People & Computers” National Faculty.
Expert Witness Cases:
Marilee Koval v. Communicare.  Attorney David Mellot, Benesch, Friedlander Coplan ARnoff (Chicago); workers comp process & coverage provisions. (case research, formal report).
Eliza Drews Case.   Attorney Tyler Kolle, Berman & Simmons;  Agent’s duty to secure coverage;  (case research, formal report deposition, pre-trial testimony).
Morse Brothers Incorporated v. Desmond & Payne, Inc. Attorney Ralph Dyer, Law Office of Ralph Dyer; alleged negligence of broker in the procurement of insurance coverage;  (case research,  formal report, deposition, trial)
Insurance24.Com, Inc. and Doucette Insurance, LLC.  Attorney Jeffrey T. Edwards, PretiFlaherty; alleged violation of binding authority; (case research, case in progress).
3 2016
​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556

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