Annual Convention

IIAN's Annual Convention is held in October and rotates between Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney.  It has a long standing tradition of an over 50-exhibitor trade fair, timely insurance education approved for Nebraska CEU credits, outstanding technology sessions, over 250+ agents and company attendees, and fun networking opportunities.   
Future Dates:
2018 - October 10-12 - Embassy Suites, LaVista, NE
2019 - October 9-11 - Younes Conference Center, Kearney, NE

Event Contact:

Nancy Robeson
Director of Operations


Just over 400 IIAN members, company representatives, and industry leaders attended IIAN's 110th annual convention held at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, October 11-13.  "It was great to see so many IIAN members from all across the state at the convention – especially over 80 young agents and 36 first-timers," commented Greg Zimmer of Lincoln, who was elected and installed as IIAN's new president during the convention.  "Thanks to Annual Convention committee chairperson Michael Luna, AIP, and all of our Convention committee members, for putting together such a fun and educational event."  Committee members are Benjamin Anderson, AIP; Brian Bradley; Mindy Haag; Jon Hongsermeier, AIP; Machell Naylor; Julie Richt, CIC; Riley Tonkin, CPCU, CIC; and Mark Weidner.

The convention started with a bang on October 11 with a record-breaking golf fundraiser at Woodland Hills near Eagle, along with a concurrent CISR CE session – Elements of Risk Management – presented by veteran instructor Chuck Hembree.  The day was capped off with Happy Hour at iconic Husker bar Barry's in the Lincoln Haymarket.  The 22nd Annual IIAN Foundation golf tournament in memory of Jay Jacupke, was packed with 144 golfers, 34 hole sponsors, and 13 event sponsors – and raised over $22,000 to support the Big "I" Talent Network program and scholarships.

Thurs lunch 4 cropped.jpgCE sessions were packed on October 12 – with national insurance experts Jerry Kennedy presenting the Personal Lines Hot Topics, and Angie Heavener presenting Falling Through The CGL Cracks – D&O/Fiduciary/EPL/E&O/Cyber Liability.  Nebraska Insurance Director Bruce Ramge and State Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward were the featured speakers at the Leadership Luncheon and Annual Meeting, along with IIABA Chairman Vaughn Graham from Tulsa, Oklahoma – giving members an update on agent legislative issues in Nebraska and Washington, D.C.  And IIAN's "nextgen" Young Agents sponsored two sessions – Boost Your Online Marketing presented by Sydney Roe, and Increase Your Marketing ROI 8-10x presented by Steve Maly, followed by a "nextgen" networking reception and fun wine bottle ring toss to raise funds for IIAN's political action committee.

Then the "Oktoberfest" fun really began with the trade fair, where members visited with 58 exhibitors, filled their bags with swag and munched on pretzels, German sausage and potato skins.  Employers' Halloween theme was voted the best-decorated booth, and four lucky members who visited all 58 booths each won $100.TradeFair Entrycropped.jpg

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Following the trade fair, conventioneers filled the "Oktoberfest" hall, and enjoyed tasting beers from three Lincoln breweries, and a buffet feast featuring schnitzel, sauerbraten, dumplings, and German chocolate cake, while IIAN's annual award winners and professional designation achievers were recognized.  A live auction to benefit Big "I" advocacy capped off the evening, raising just under $5,000.

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IIAN Past Presidents line up for recognition at the Oktoberfest Awards Dinner.

PAC Winner.jpgThe new Big "I" loss control seminar presented by Heavener -  "E&O:  Roadmap to Policy Analysis" - dominated the CE program on October 13, while another "nextgen" sponsored program"Your Agency In 2030 – The World Is Changing" was presented by agency management guru Mary Eisenhart Belka.  IIABA Chairman Vaughn Graham installed IIAN's new officers during the President's Luncheon on October; and new President Greg Zimmer presented outgoing President Krae Dutoit with a plaque in appreciation of his service to IIAN during the past year.  Graham and Zimmer wrapped up the convention with heart-felt presentations about their visions for the association in the coming year and beyond. 

And finally, Graham drew the lucky winner of the raffle to support Big "I" PAC'S – Vincent Christensen, IIAN's Nebraska PAC chairman, won the Green Bay v. Tampa Bay football weekend package raffle prize – lifting the total raised during the convention to $10,880!


Photo:  Vincent Christensen is the "Big Cheese" PAC Raffle Winner!

Below:  Jim Cavanaugh, Vaughn Graham, Sen. John Lowe, Carol McClelland, Greg Zimmer, and Krae Dutoit - lining up for the President's luncheon.

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2016AnnualConventionLogo.jpg October 25-27, 2016

It was a "Spooktacular" event!


View Photos from the Event on our Shutterfly site by clicking here.

2016 Exhibitor and Attendee Directory.pdf



Just over 400 IIAN members and company representatives attended IIAN's 109th annual convention held at the Younes Convention Center in Kearney, October 25-27.  "It was great to see so many IIAN members from 'greater Nebraska' at the convention – especially over 110 young agents and 68 first-timers," commented Krae Dutoit of Grand Island, who was elected and installed as IIAN's new president during the convention.  "Thanks to Annual Convention committee chairperson Peggy McDonald, CIC and all of our Convention committee members, for putting together such a fun and educational event."

      The convention started with a special appearance by U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith, who met privately with IIAN Circle of Eagles members, and then addressed members on national issues and upcoming elections during lunch on October 25.





After sessions on digital marketing, customer service, sales, and professional development for young professionals presented by top agency experts Mary Belka, Sydney Roe, and Paula Skartland - members joined area Make-A-Wish® kids decked out in their Halloween costumes at the trade fair, visited with 60 exhibitors, and filled their bags with swag and treats. Method Insurance's "scary clown cave" was voted the best-decorated booth, and four lucky members who visited all 60 booths each won $100.


 CE sessions were packed on October 26 – with national insurance gurus Keith Wilts presenting the Top 10 Personal Lines & Commercial Lines issues, and Catherine Trischan presenting Cyber Liability and Certificates of Insurance.  Then the Halloween fun really began with a unique beer and wine tasting event, live auction to benefit Big "I" advocacy, and Awards Dinner - all capped off by a "spirited" costume contest judged by Peggy McDonald, John Deardorff, and Mark Weidner.  Machell Naylor's amazing "Trusted Choice® Eagle" was the grand prize winner, with Roxie Roth as a scary Red Riding Hood taking second, and Julie Richt and Rob Hynek coming in third as traffic cops.   


      "Bushwood Country Club vs. Danny Noonan's No Risk Insurance Agency", based on characters from the comedy film classic "Caddyshack", dominated the CE program on October 27.  The mock E&O trial starred The Big "I" Thespians – John Deardorff, Tom Greco, Mindy Haag, Brenda Kaiser, Michael Luna, Peggy McDonald, Machell Naylor, and Mark Weidner – with real-life attorneys Sean Minahan and Cathy Trent-Vilim for the prosecution and defense, and IIAN's Jim Cavanaugh as the judge.  IIAN's Jeremiah Gudding served as narrator, and the audience was the "jury".  Unfortunately, in this case the jury found for the prosecution, and against the insurance agency.  Conventioneers also attended CE sessions on Time Element and Drones presented by top instructor Jay Williams.


     Past IIAN president Tom Greco, CPCU, CIC, second from left, installed IIAN's new officers during the President's Luncheon on October 27 - Sandra Ryks, left, Secretary-Treasurer; Greg Zimmer, second from right, Vice President; and Krae Dutoit, far right, President.  (They look happy, don't they?!)  New President Dutoit presented outgoing President Michael E. Jones, CIC with a plaque in appreciation of his service to IIAN during the past year. 

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      IIABA's Vice President of Federal Government Affairs Jen McPhillips was the keynote speaker, and addressed top national agent legislative issues, including the new U.S. Department of Labor overtime rules set to go into effect on December 1.  McPhillips drew the lucky winner of the raffle to support Big "I" PAC'S – Jim Cavanaugh, IIAN's own legislative representative, won the Samsung curved 4k Ultra HD TV with HDR! 


ConventionGraphic.jpgOver 425 IIAN members and company representatives attended IIAN’s 108th annual convention held at the Embassy Suites in La Vista, October 13-15.  "It was great to see IIAN members from the Omaha area and all over the state at the convention – especially all of the young agents and 50 first-timers," commented Mike Jones, CIC of David City, who was elected and installed as IIAN’s new president during the convention. 

 "Thanks to Annual Convention committee chairperson Lori Ruzicka, CISR, AAI, CIC from Omaha for putting together a successful new program format, and the Young Agents of Omaha, who manned the Young Agents booth throughout the convention.”  Selfies were posted throughout the convention on IIAN’s Facebook page, including one of the entire Awards Dinner crowd taken during IIABA Chairman-Elect Spencer Houldin’s presentation. 


Following three days of great sessions featuring managing generational issues, online marketing strategies, and CE (including a live risk management tour of the hotel), the convention ended on a high note when IIAN past president Jim Peterson, CIC, of Eagle presented IIAN’s “Spirit of Nebraska” award to Ashland native Jeff Raikes, former Microsoft Business Division president and head of the Gates Foundation, in recognition of the Raikes Foundation’s work to improve educational opportunities for children at risk.

On Tuesday, October 13, over 110 golfers, along with 24 hole sponsors, enjoyed a perfect Nebraska fall day for the 20th Annual Jay Jacupke Memorial Golf Tournament at Eagle Hills golf course, chaired by past IIAN presidents Mike Glaser and Tom Greco.  The tournament – along with a fun “Bucket Raffle” – raised $14,000 to support the Foundation’s scholarship programs for Nebraska college students

At the convention President's Luncheon on October 15, President Jones talked to IIAN members about his vision for the association and members in the coming year, tied together by one theme: "Influence" - with consumers, the media, our company partners, insurance regulators, and elected officials.  He introduced IIAN's new   initiative to build member awareness and involvement in Big "I" government affairs - the Legislative Advisory Council/Ambassadors programs, and introduced Nebraska Senator Bob Krist (Dist. 10), who wrapped up the luncheon with thoughts on why effective grassroots advocacy is so important to good government, and how IIAN members can be involved.  Sen. Krist drew the lucky winner of the raffle to support Big "I" PAC'S - Dan Keller with Doran Post & Associates, Lexington, won the Samsung curved UltraHD TV





October 1-3, 2014 - Embassy Suites, Lincoln
Photo Booth Pictures from Oct 1 at the Trade Fair, click here.
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Photo Booth Pictures from Oct 2 at the Main Event, click here.
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General Convention Photos, click here.
Over 400 IIAN members and company representatives attended "
Lighting Up Our Future", IIAN’s 106th annual convention held at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, October 15-17. "I was happy to see so many IIAN members from the Lincoln area at the convention – especially all of the young agents and first-timers," commented Dee Sykora of Omaha, who was elected and installed as IIAN’s new president during the convention. "Thanks to Annual Convention committee chairperson Erica Tucker, CISR from Lincoln, and her committee, who did a great job of putting together an excellent program.”
The highlight of the convention was the 3rd Annual IIAN Foundation Live Auction on October 16, where members noshed at elegant food tables in the star-studded ballroom, and raised $14,500 to support the Foundation’s programs to attract new talent to the independent agency system.


On Tuesday, October 15, over 100 golfers, along with 28 hole sponsors, made the most of cool, windy Nebraska fall weather for the convention Golf Tournament at Firethorn Golf Club,, chaired by Jeff Allen with Columbia Insurance. Golfers made good use of the glove/sock combo they received compliments of IIAN! In the meantime, back at the Embassy Suites, 50 agents and CSR’s earned 8 CEUs and learned about insuring home-based businesses, as well as how to handle Excess & Surplus Lines risks, and understanding the claims process, at the Hold Advanced Learning seminar on Customer Service Representative Day, presented by popular instructor Angie Heavener, CIC.
On Tuesday evening, a crowd of almost 300 conventioneers and guests visited with 51 exhibitors during the opening Industry Night reception. The “stars” of the evening were Annual Convention chairman Erica Tucker, CISR, and National Director John Deardorff, costumed as “Cinderella” and Alladin’s “Genie” to encourage conventioneers to buy a star for Make-A-Wish® Nebraska – and raised almost $500 during the evening. IIAN welcomed Kearney-area Make-A-Wish® kids and their families to man their own booth during the reception. A number of exhibitors decorated their booths to complement the “Lighting Up Our Future” theme. Paul Davis Restoration was voted the best by conventioneers, winning the traveling “Exhibitors’ Spirit” award for 2013. Five lucky members who visited every booth won $100 cash each in the final trade fair drawing – Carrie Brown, Susan Conway, Tim Haley, Deb Peters, and Margaret Reiser.
On Wednesday morning, October 16, agents got a very informative update on the impact of Nebraska’s federally-facilitated Health Insurance Exchange from national expert Jesse Patton, LUTCF; or learned why real personal lines claims are denied from Angie Heavener. Heavener also presented “Employment Practices Liability & Benefits Administration” in the afternoon for another 3 CEUs.
The convention’s Technology track - “What’s Hot – Emerging Technology Issues & Going Mobile” - featured technology expert George Robertson, CISR. Chubb’s Nickie Hunter joined Robertson in the afternoon for “Cyber Liability and Data Security”, approved for 3 CEUs. In a concurrent Technology track session, Vertafore system users learned what’s new with 7.5 and accounting tips and tricks in AMS360, from top trainer Kerry Kuntz.
Following a full day of education, Thursday evening’s “Star-Studded Dinner & Live Auction” was the premier event of the convention, featuring an elegant “progressive” feast with food tables hosted by company sponsors, along with “Chasing Change”, the 3rd Annual Live Auction to benefit the IIAN Foundation’s insurance literacy and scholarship programs. Enthusiastic biders raised over $14,500 as they bid on a wide array of great items, including jewelry, wine, Omaha Steaks, golf equipment, Husker football and volleyball game tickets, autographed Husker player photos and and autographed Rex Burkhead game jersey!
On Thursday, October 17, IIABA Chairman Elect Dave Walker, a Nebraska native and UNL graduate, received kudos for his presentation of “E&O: Meeting The Challenge of Change” to over 100 attendees. The convention was capped off with the “PAC Your Lunch” featuring keynoter Nebraska Senator Burke Harr of Omaha, and drawing of the winners of two $500 VISA cards – Lori Williams of Norfolk, and Ralph Schmadeke of Albion. Conventioneers who joined IIAN’s “Buck-A-Week” Club to support Big “I” PACs were qualified for the drawing.