Industry News

  • PIA Cautions Against Privatization of NFIP

    January 8, 2013

    PIA has confidence that the reforms adopted by Congress last summer will put the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) back on a firm footing. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said during the debate that while people with flood policies need to be paid now, his committee will mark up a bill this year “to transition to a private innovative, competitive, sustainable flood-insurance market.” He acknowledged that some reforms were imposed through the NFIP reauthorization legislation enacted in July, but said that despite those reforms “Sandy has hit before many of these provisions could take effect.”

    “PIA supports the NFIP and we remain confident that after years of work, the NFIP reform law that passed Congress last year will make the necessary changes to put this program back on a sound footing,” said PIA National assistant vice president of federal affairs Mike Becker. “We caution against proposals that would privatize the NFIP before the reforms are even implemented, and we look forward to conversations with the Chairman on his ideas to strengthen the program.”

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  • PIA Scores Major Win with Certificates Model Law

    January 8, 2013

    PIA National scored a major victory for independent insurance agents everywhere as a model law governing certificates of insurance was finally adopted by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). The action by NCOIL capped an intense 2-year campaign by PIA National. By enacting the model, states can eliminate demands for improper certificates of insurance.

    PIA advocated for passage of the model over the course of the last two years and played an integral role in guiding it to approval by the state legislators, by helping to broker an agreement between carriers and lenders.

    “This is a great achievement for PIA and NCOIL,” said PIA National President Andrew C. Harris, who testified in support of the model and worked to assuage the concerns of lenders.

    “This is truly awesome news,” said PIA National Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Rob Hansen. “Congratulations and thank you to all who worked tirelessly to get this model certificates of insurance law adopted by NCOIL! Once again, PIA leads the way!”

    David M. Eppstein, Esq., assistant vice president of regulatory affairs and a staff attorney for PIA National, worked closely with Harris to bring about NCOIL passage of the model. Eppstein writes about the successful PIA campaign in an article in PIA Connection.

    PIA Achieves Major Win with Certs Model Law (PIA Connection 12/12)

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  • PIA National President Andy Harris Addresses the Agency-Company Relationship

    November 21, 2012

    PIA National President Andrew C. Harris addresses the agency-carrier partnership in his latest President’s Message. An excerpt:

    “When independent insurance agencies speak about the carriers they represent, they often refer to their “carrier partners.” This is particularly appropriate, for many reasons. First, the business relationship between the agency and the carrier is one designed to be of mutual benefit. Second, revenue generated from this relationship goes to both parties. Finally, this business arrangement allows both participants to accomplish together what they cannot without each other.

    “PIA agencies need financially sound, able and competitive insurers to meet the needs of their customers; carriers need quality, financially able independent insurance agencies to conduct the scope of business and provide the services required by insurance customers. In addition to marketing the carriers’ products, the agency processes insurance transactions, carries out the carriers’ instructions and assures that compliance obligations are met...

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  • Canadian Regulators Investigate Banks Selling Insurance

    September 5, 2012

    Canadian regulators are investigating whether banks have improperly solicited insurance business from their banking customers. Banks have been allowed to own insurance companies for about 20 years, but are not allowed to sell insurance products directly through bank branches or bank websites, said Steve Masnyk, manager of public affairs for the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.

    The IBAC filed a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which oversees banks, alleging the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal have broken that rule, Masnyk told A.M. Best.

    “We don’t have an issue with banks owning insurance companies, but are opposed to them retailing insurance directly with the bank, especially at the point where credit is granted,” Masnyk said. “It’s unfair to people when they are applying for credit to be pushed into any kind of insurance product.”

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  • PIA National Meets with Federal Insurance Office Director Michael McRaith

    January 13, 2012

    On November 29, PIA National met with Federal Insurance Office (FIO) Director Michael McRaith at the U.S. Treasury Department. McRaith requested the meeting to discuss PIA’s views on regulatory modernization priorities. McRaith met with PIA Executive Vice President & CEO Leonard C. Brevik, Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski and Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs Mike Becker. PIA’s comments were on the record and will be included in FIO’s report to Congress.

    PIA National is preparing detailed written remarks to be submitted to the FIO. The written comments are due in mid-December. Our comments and ensuing discussion primarily focused in four areas:

    1. That we believe insurance is efficiently regulated by the states and independent agents play a valuable role in serving consumers.
    2. That FIO should support and compliment state regulation of insurance without federal preemption of state laws.
    3. That FIO could help in addressing some of the licensing challenges faced by producers:

    a.   support the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) 
    b.   Resolve foreign corporation issues

    That FIO should ensure the solvency and financial soundness of foreign carriers operating in the U.S. domestic market.

    Director McRaith had a number of follow up questions and the exchange was constructive.


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  • Erie Ad Takes Humorous Swipe at Direct Writers

    January 12, 2012

    An insurance company’s new campaign takes a crack at the increasing number of funny insurance commercials. Erie Insurance has been running ads that take aim at the Geico gecko, the Aflac duck, Flo, the Progressive spokeswoman, and Allstate’s mayhem guy. The company’s newest ad says, “It’s nice to have a good laugh now and then. But really...shouldn’t billions of dollars in humorous insurance ads be put to better use? We think so. For seriously good insurance, take a look at Erie Insurance.” The ad promises: “We give you great insurance.” A guy in a Groucho Marx getup drives the point home.

    Erie Insurance Group is a member of The PIA Partnership.

    Here’s Erie ad:

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  • Selective Joins The PIA Partnership

    June 21, 2011

    WASHINGTON, Tuesday, June 21, 2011  - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) is pleased to announce that Selective Insurance Company of America (Selective) has joined The PIA Partnership.

    Comprised of senior insurance company executives, The PIA Partnership identifies areas of opportunity in the agency-company partnership, facilitates dialogue between senior company executives and PIA leaders and conducts solution-oriented research to enable the creation of practical hands-on tools for agents.

    "We are extremely pleased that Selective, a distinguished company with a solid track record of supporting the American agency system, has joined The PIA Partnership," said PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Andrew C. Harris. "Selective's participation demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the continuing success of professional independent agents across the country."

    "We believe in PIA's value proposition," said John Marchioni, Executive Vice President, Insurance Operations, of the company's decision to participate in The PIA Partnership. "Your advocacy, your objectives and your business tools align with Selective's commitment to the independent agent channel."

    "I've seen first-hand the work PIA is doing on behalf of independent agents in our distribution system," Marchioni said. "The Partnership has developed some valuable tools and agents who are able to leverage this insight will be able to increase their value to their customers."

    Selective Insurance Company of America is a subsidiary of Selective Insurance Group, Inc., a holding company for seven property and casualty insurance companies rated "A+" (Superior) by A.M. Best. Through independent agents, the insurance companies offer primary and alternative market insurance for commercial and personal risks, and flood insurance underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program. Selective maintains a website at

    Founded in 1996 with start-up funding from PIA National, The PIA Partnership identifies areas of opportunity in the agency-company partnership, facilitates dialogue between company executives and PIA leaders and conducts solution-oriented research designed to enable both agents and companies to profit from these opportunities. Recent projects of The PIA Partnership have included Reaching Gen Y and Making the Internet Work for You; A Practical Guide to Successful Planning; and Perpetuation Central.

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America (SM). PIA's web address is

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  • PIA Article: The OFC That Wouldn't Die

    September 8, 2010

    PIA National's Ted Besesparis previews the battle that's looming in Congress in 2011, as the forces advocating for federal regulation of insurance plan another assault on state regulation, in an article in the September issue of American Agent & Broker magazine. You can read it here.

    Click here to read The OFC That Wouldn't Die (American Agent & Broker 9/10)


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  • Former Fed Chairman Volcker: Bring Back a Version of Glass-Steagall

    October 27, 2009

    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wants the nation's banks to be prohibited from owning and trading risky securities. He is proposing that commercial banking be separated from investment operations. To achieve that goal, Congress would have to enact a modern-day version of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated separation.

    Volcker was chairman of the Fed from 1979 to 1987, and he currently serves as head of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which makes him the administration's most prominent outside economic adviser. The problem for Volcker is he doesn't seem to have great influence within the administration. At age 82, he is dealing with Treasury officials who are young enough to be his grandchildren. More importantly, they are veterans of investment banks. The administration has said it will not separate commercial banking from investment operations.

    Volcker's proposal would roll back the nation's commercial banks to an earlier era, when they were restricted to commercial banking and prohibited from engaging in risky Wall Street activities. The Obama team, in contrast, would let the giants survive, but would regulate them extensively, so they could not get themselves and the nation into trouble again.

    "The banks are there to serve the public," Volcker said in an interview with the New York Times. "And that is what they should concentrate on. These other activities create conflicts of interest. They create risks, and if you try to control the risks with supervision, that just creates friction and difficulties" and ultimately fails. Volcker wants to break up the financial giants, which have been getting even bigger since the federal government bailed them out.

    The remarks by Volcker were echoed in a recent speech by Bank of England Governor Mervyn King. "The massive support extended to the banking sector around the world, while necessary to avert economic disaster, has created possibly the biggest moral hazard in history," King said in a speech in Scotland. "The 'too important to fail' problem is too important to ignore. Never in the field of financial endeavor has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform."

    "People say I'm old-fashioned and banks can no longer be separated from nonbank activity," Volcker said in the interview, acknowledging criticism that he is nostalgic for an earlier era. "That argument," he added ruefully, "brought us to where we are today."

    Volcker Fails to Sell a Bank Strategy (New York Times 10/20/09)

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  • An Example of Hypocrisy: Bankers Argue Against Federal Regulator - For Them

    October 21, 2009

    Here's a quick quiz. Which industry groups said this?:

    "…the current regulatory structure is complex, but variety in regulatory perspective provides a 'healthy check against any one regulator neglecting its duties.'"

    Was it PIA, arguing against a federal insurance regulator and in favor of state regulation? It could have been, but in this case it was not.

    The groups making this robust argument against consolidating regulatory authority in one federal regulator are … The American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). Both groups sent a letter to Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who is a leading proponent of the single regulator concept for banks, urging him to maintain the system of multiple regulators at the federal and state level.

    What It Means to Agents:  It is interesting to note that the same groups who argue vehemently that state regulation of insurance is duplicitave and inefficient and want a federal insurance regulator suddenly start singing a different tune - the one independent agents sing - when they find it to their advantage.

    Webster's dictionary defines hypocricy as "a feigning to believe what one does not." Something to keep in mind the next time these bankers get back up on their high horses and start preaching sermons about the benefits of federal regulation - for us, but not for them.

    Bankers Oppose Plans to Consolidate Regulators (FinReg21 10/21/09)

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  • PIA Member on Turning 100 - "I Don't Feel or Think Old"

    September 29, 2009

    Astrid ThoenigAstrid Thoenig works full time in bookkeeping, A/P and general administrative support for the Thorton Agency Inc., a PIA member agency in Parsippany, New Jersey. Thoenig works five days a week and brings work home in the evenings. But last week, she spent a little extra time at her desk at the agency opening birthday cards that said, "Happy 100th."

    Thoenig was interrupted by a steady stream of deliverymen bringing bouquets, chocolate-dipped strawberries and stacks of cards to the Thornton Insurance agency in Parsippany, New Jersey where she's been answering phones, keeping financial records, handling payroll and typing up documents for 32 years.

    "It's another day - it's hard to explain," Thoenig said of turning 100. "I don't feel old, and I don't think old." Born Sept. 24, 1909, in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Thoenig's earliest memories start in 1918, when she witnessed something so traumatic, "it erased all memories of my childhood before that."

    "I remember coming down the stairs from my bedroom and saw these two coffins in the living room: one white, for my sister, and the other for the grown person," she said, recalling how the flu pandemic of 1918 killed her father and her 10-year-old sister within hours of one another. "To see my father and sister -- of all the things I can't remember - that's very vivid in my mind."
    Thoenig, her remaining sister, and her mother also were infected but survived. Her mother lived until 101 and her sister, who suffered permanent hearing loss from the illness, was 95 when she died.

    Thoenig says "thinking young" has helped her take a century's worth of technological changes in stride. The daughter of Swedish immigrants, she credits her strong constitution, a wonderful family and getting up every day to get dressed and go to work with keeping her mind sharp. She still drove until age 98 when a botched hip operation made it difficult to get around.
    She works alongside her son, John Thornton, who drives her to work, and grandson Peter at the PIA member, family-owned insurance agency.

    New Jersey Insurance Worker on Turning 100 (Associated Press 9/28/09)

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  • PIA's Page, Borowski Participate in Treasury Panel on Insurance Literacy

    October 29, 2008

    PIA National Immediate Past President Robert Page and Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski participated in a panel during the National Roundtable on Insurance Literacy on October 15. The panel was conducted by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission of the U.S. Treasury Department. Page and Borowski were panelists on Face to Face with the Consumer: A Report from the Frontlines, which covered the perspective of insurance agents in educating consumers about their options, including bad decisions witnessed by agents and lessons learned.

    Page recounted his experiences with his clients in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan, which caused damage in his southern Louisiana community of Houma.

    "On behalf of the member agencies of PIA National, I thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conference," Page said. "As you clearly see, we are already well engaged in all parts of the insurance sector, providing accurate educational information about insurance. These are messages and efforts about many insurance issues that consumers need to be aware of and understand when they engage in various transactions conducted in the business of insurance."

    The Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established under the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act, which was part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003, to improve financial literacy and education of persons in the United States. The Commission is headed by the U.S. Treasury Secretary. It coordinates the financial education efforts throughout the federal government, supports the promotion of financial literacy by the private sector while also encouraging the synchronization of efforts between the public and private sectors.

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  • PIA's Roadmap to State Regulatory Modernization

    June 3, 2008

    A special edition of PIA Connection has been published that details "PIA's Roadmap to State Regulatory Modernization."

    "While it is critical that we speak out against proposals that would be bad for PIA members, it is also important that PIA work to bring about positive change as we see it," said PIA National President Robert Page, writing in his monthly letter in the magazine. "The first step is defining the positive changes we want and presenting a path to achieve them. This special issue of PIA Connection is devoted exclusively to PIA's Roadmap to State Regulatory Modernization."
    "For the better part of the past year, PIA National's member policy committees have engaged in an ongoing review of the various reform proposals and approaches," Page said. "They have also reviewed current established PIA policy, to assess how much of our PIA plan has already been accomplished by the hard work of PIA states and members, and then determine our association's ongoing strategy. As part of this process, our committees have developed and approved PIA's own blueprint for reform, which is what you see detailed in this issue of our magazine."

    The PIA Roadmap to State Regulatory Modernization:

    • Preserves the state-based structure of insurance oversight.
    • Achieves insurance regulatory modernization.
    • Protects the integrity and standing of state insurance law.
    • Ensures competitive equity for all marketplace participants in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

    The hard copy of this special edition of the PIA Connection is in the mail, but you can read it now online here. If you would like to begin by reading President Robert Page's special letter regarding the PIA Roadmap, you can access it here.

    Robert Page's President's Letter

    Special Edition of PIA Connection (PDF file)

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  • PIA Promotes Mike Becker to Director of Federal Affairs

    June 3, 2008

    PIA National has announced the promotion of Mike Becker to Director of Federal Affairs. Since joining PIA, Becker has managed the day-to-day responsibilities associated with running the Professional Insurance Agents Political Action Committee (PIAPAC), including PAC governance and oversight, grassroots initiatives and fundraising. He also serves as staff liaison to the PIAPAC Board of Directors.

    "We congratulate Mike Becker on his promotion and look forward to benefiting from his expertise," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Leonard Brevik, in making the announcement. "Mike brings a wealth of talent and political acumen to PIA's Capitol Hill advocacy on behalf of professional insurance agents."

    It is with sadness that PIA National also announced the resignation of Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs Kellie Bray, to accept a position as Government Affairs Leader for CropLife America. Bray joined PIA in 2001.
    "PIA National has benefited greatly from Kellie Bray's work for us over the past seven years," said PIA National Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski. "PIA members greatly appreciate all of her excellent efforts on their behalf. We wish Kellie continued success throughout her career."

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  • PIA Branding Program Wins Two MarCom Awards

    November 7, 2007

    Platinum Award
    Gold Award

    WASHINGTON, November 7, 2007  - The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) has selected the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents' "PIA Branding Program" as a recipient of two awards in its annual MarCom Awards competition.

    The PIA Branding Program was presented with a Platinum Award in the Corporate Branding category, one of a limited number of categories representing entire campaigns. The AMCP also presented the PIA Branding Program with a Gold Award in the Advertising Campaign category.
    "PIA is honored to be recognized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals with these MarCom Awards," said PIA National President Robert Page. "These awards are a testament to the quality of the branding materials PIA makes available to its members through the PIA Branding Program, Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM."
    "Almost daily we hear from agents who see the benefit of branding their agencies using the advertisements PIA makes available through the PIA Branding Program," Page said. "It is especially gratifying to have our program recognized for excellence in competitions conducted by some of the most prestigious organizations involved in marketing and advertising." 
    The MarCom Awards is an international, creative competition that recognizes outstanding creative achievement by marketing and communication professionals. There were over 5,000 entries from throughout the United States and several foreign countries in the 2007 competition, perhaps the largest and most respected of its type in the world.
    During 2007, the PIA Branding Program also received two other prestigious awards. The program was named a Gold Award recipient of the Hermes Creative Awards 2007 competition by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. And the PIA Branding Program received an APEX Award for Publication Excellence.

    Additional information about the PIA Branding Program is available on PIA National's website.
    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America (SM). PIA's web address is

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  • Court Decisions on Contingent Commissions a Major Win for PIA Agents

    October 10, 2007

    Last week PIA reported on a series of decisions that, when taken together, reaffirm the legal arguments made by PIA in our court filings over the past two years. The September 28 ruling by a federal judge dismissing the remaining racketeering claims pending against several dozen insurers and brokers in a class action lawsuit is significant is several respects.

    The decisions reaffirm that receiving contingent compensation is neither illegal nor unethical, and that the kind of flawed disclosure regimes contained in questionable settlement agreements which were selectively imposed on Main Street agents who were never accused of any wrongdoing, are not required by the law.

    Background:  In the wake of scandals stemming from industry wide investigations by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into bid-rigging and client-steering allegations against a handful of insurers and mega-brokers, settlement agreements were negotiated. Some called for outright bans on the payment of contingent commissions, while others proscribed a disclosure regime.

    But instead of being applied just to those suspected of wrongdoing, these agreements were applied to all Main Street agents in all jurisdictions nationwide. While those suspected of wrongdoing were included in the negotiations leading to these agreements, Main Street agents were shut out, but then included in the sanctions that were imposed. Then, to add insult to our injury, some of those suspected of wrongdoing subsequently had the sanctions against them reduced by authorities, while the restrictions on Main Street agents were kept in place!

    In short, Main Street agents were getting used. That's why PIA decided to fight back. PIA made clear from the outset that we would write, speak, act and litigate - in short, we would fight hard to defend the integrity of PIA members.

    PIA had the fortitude of character to stand up when others were retreating, making clear to the media, insurers, insurance regulators, state AGs and other insurance trade associations that adverse comments and actions blindly taken against retail Main Street agencies were factually and legally wrong, unfair and would not be tolerated. PIA was the first to challenge such actions in court. PIA provided the most comprehensive legal briefs in the federal district court action.

    PIA was the only insurance trade association that provided the NAIC with the correct way to draft a producer compensation disclosure model and, when they did not act on our advice, we opposed their disclosure in the states. As a result, no state ever adopted the flawed NAIC disclosure model.

    It has been a long, hard struggle. Although some legal skirmishes may remain, PIA members have won a major victory in the battle to defend the integrity of all PIA members and protect their business interests.

    Courts Underscore Receiving Producer Compensation is Legal (PIA 10/2/07)

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  • PIA Branding Program Wins APEX Award of Excellence

    July 23, 2007

    Second Award in Two Weeks for "Local Agents Serving Main Street America" (SM)

    WASHINGTON, July 26, 2007 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents' (PIA National) "PIA Branding Program" has been named an APEX Awards for Publication Excellence award winner.

    The PIA Branding Program, Local Agents Serving Main Street America (SM), is an advertising and promotional campaign available at no additional cost to all PIA member agencies throughout the nation. The program currently consists of twenty-one print advertisements with 251 variations that PIA members can run in their local publications.

    The APEX Awards for Publication Excellence is an annual competition for writers, editors, publications staff and business and nonprofit communicators. APEX Awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. The PIA Branding Program was presented with the prestigious APEX Award of Excellence in the Marketing and Public Relations Campaigns category.

    "PIA is honored to receive the APEX 2007 Award of Excellence," said PIA National President Donna Pile. "Almost daily we hear from agents who see the benefit of branding their agencies using the advertisements PIA makes available through the PIA Branding Program. It's nice to have an independent group of professionals recognize the quality of this program."

    The APEX award was the second in two weeks for the PIA Branding Program. The program was previously named a Gold Award recipient of the Hermes Creative Awards 2007 competition. The Hermes Creative Awards program is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The awards program is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies.

    Additional information about the PIA Branding Program is available on PIA National's website here.

    Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America (SM). PIA's web address is

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  • PIA's 75th Anniversary

    January 3, 2006

    Ray L. Peretti, President, PIA NationalBy Ray L. Peretti
    PIA National

    The year 2006 marks an auspicious milestone for PIA.  It is our association's 75th anniversary.  In 1931, a group of independent insurance agents gathered together in Washington, D.C. and held the first meeting of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Agents.

    NAMIA's name was changed to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents in the bicentennial year of 1976. PIA's name was changed, but the mission remains the same.

    The mission statement of PIA National is: "To promote, protect and defend the integrity of our members, the value of their profession and the success of their businesses."

    And while it is great to make note the past, PIA's focus is always on the future success of PIA member agencies. That's why the PIA National Board of Directors decided that the best way to celebrate our association's 75th anniversary is to invest in PIA's future - not throw a party.

    PIA's 75th anniversary provides our association with a unique opportunity to let all the players in our industry, as well as policymakers and industry colleagues, know that PIA is strong, active, influential and committed to growth and success for many years to come.

    PIA National staff has developed a coordinated strategy of enhanced promotion and engagement that will occur throughout 2006. Beginning in January and continuing throughout the year, you will be seeing an aggressive national ad campaign by PIA in many industry publications, including the National Underwriter and Rough Notes. PIA affiliates will have the opportunity to participate in coordination with this campaign.

    The other elements of this strategy will be announced as the year progresses.

    All activities under the umbrella of the 75th Anniversary will be leveraged to build the PIA brand and increase membership, making PIA a stronger organization that is better equipped to directly benefit its members.  We will do this by substantially raising PIA's profile among independent insurance agents, the insurance industry generally and those policymakers we need to influence.

    Advocating for Agents

    Advocacy by an association is comprised of the positions it takes on key legislative and regulatory issues and its effectiveness at pursuing its agenda.  It encompasses grassroots advocacy as well as lobbying on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, at the NAIC, NCOIL and NCSL - and, when necessary, in the court of public opinion.

    PIA members must continue this long heritage of personal, direct engagement in the state and federal political process. This involves knowing your state representatives, commissioners and other officials. It involves knowing your Members of Congress, and sharing those contacts with your state and national PIA, so that we can work with you and get those leaders to "get things done!"

    It is sharing with policymakers on a regular basis what is important to your agency and how that affects you and your clients in your community. It is being a visible part of their campaign efforts. This is especially important to PIA members' individual interests on federal issues, because it take the votes of a majority in both the House and Senate - all coming from various states - to achieve the federal legislative victories that you need!

    PIA's ability to engage in detailed policy analysis at the NAIC, as well as in the various states, assures that PIA members' interests are being protected.

    Carrier advocacy is anot

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  • PIA Response to Hurricane Katrina Detailed in November Rough Notes Article

    November 8, 2005

    PIA's efforts to help Gulf Coast agents and their clients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were detailed in an article in the November 2005 Rough Notes magazine.

    "The PIA issued a call to members of the association from across the country to offer temporary housing assistance as needed to independent agents in the areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina," the article noted. "From its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, PIA National immediately began to coordinate the relief effort with PIA state affiliate offices in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama."

    "The PIA provided $100,000 in assistance to the three state affiliates hit by Katrina. Moreover, PIA National contacted state insurance regulators and federal authorities recommending they ease certain insurance regulations that apply to insurance claims processing to assist consumers beginning to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. On behalf of PIA affiliates in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, PIA National transmitted a request that the appropriate state departments of insurance issue [certain directives and orders]."

    In September, the National Underwriter published an article in which PIA members and affiliate executives from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama shared their experiences.

    Agents Respond to Hurricane Katrina (Rough Notes, November 2005)

    Besieged Agents Need a Helping Hand (National Underwriter 9/19/05)

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  • PIA's Besesparis Discusses How the Media Covers Insurance in PR Week Magazine

    November 8, 2005

    There are regular disasters and extraordinary catastrophes, and the media cover both differently. That point was made by PIA National Vice President of Communications Ted Besesparis in an article that appeared in PR Week, a national publication for PR professionals. Besesparis was interviewed for the article along with Robert Hartwig, chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute; Tom McCoy, editor-in-chief of Rough Notes; and Mechell Clark, media relations manager with Aflac Insurance.

    "Most disasters tend to play out over a shorter period of time, so you usually quickly see focused stories dealing with how to prepare for the next crisis," says Besesparis. "In a situation like Katrina, your second- and third-day stories have become second- and third-week stories because most reporters were dealing with the immediate situation for a lot longer."

    Crises Spotlight Insurance Issues (PR Week 9/23/05)

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