Over 450 IIAN members and company representatives attended "Technology – It’s All GREEK To Me",
IIAN’s 104th annual convention held at the Embassy Suites in LaVista, just west of Omaha, October 5-7. "It was good to seeing so many IIAN members from Omaha and all over Nebraska – especially at the trade fair," commented Ritch A. Nelson
of Fort Calhoun, who was elected and installed as IIAN’s new president during the convention. "Thanks to Annual Convention committee chairperson Dee Sykora
and her committee, who did a great job of putting together the fun Greek theme and excellent educational programs.”
Over 60 insurance professionals attended “Customer Service Representative Day”
on October 5, with over 129 attending the Technology and CE tracks on October 6, and a record 220 attending “E&O Loss Control For Automated Agencies” on October 7. Click here for photos.
On Wednesday, October 5
, almost 100 golfers, along with 20 hole sponsors, enjoyed nice Nebraska fall weather for the convention Golf Tournament at Oak Hills Country Club, chaired by Jeff Allen
with Columbia Insurance. Golfers made good use of the Trusted Choice® sports watches they received compliments of IIAN!
In the meantime, back at the Embassy Suites, over 60 agents and CSR’s earned 8 CEUs and learned how to “close the communications gap” in their agencies to prevent losses, as well as how to write Flood insurance and cover in-home businesses at the Hold Advanced Learning seminar on Customer Service Representative Day, presented by national agency management expert John Dismukes. In a concurrent afternoon Technology track session, Vertafore system users learned how to use AMS360 for targeted agency marketing from top trainer Valerie Hamry.
A crowd of 300 conventioneers visited with 59 exhibitors during the opening Industry Night reception, and a number of exhibitors decorated their booths to complement the “Greek” theme. Risk Placement Services was voted the best by fellow exhibitors, winning the traveling “Exhibitors’ Spirit” award for 2011. Five lucky members who visited every booth won $100 cash each in the final trade fair drawing! After the trade fair, agents and company reps enjoyed late-night networking and simulated golf at the “Greeks & Geeks” after-party held at Beyond Golf, near the Embassy.
On Thursday, October 6, agents enjoyed earning 6 CEU’s as they learned how to use proven sales practices and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) to “beat the competition, along with how to avoid the legal risks and pitfalls from your agency’s online presence and activities – along with how to handle ten top coverage and claims issues – from entertaining national expert Chris Amrhein.
The convention’s Technology track continued on October 6 – “Connecting With Your Customer” - featuring top national expert Steve Anderson, who presented two morning sessions – “Agency Marketing & The New Consumer”, “Maximizing Your Internet Presence”, and then moderated two afternoon panel discussion featuring Nebraska Applied and Vertafore system users – who shared ideas on managing workflows and marketing using web sites, mobile apps, and social media.
Following a full day of education, Thursday evening’s Toga Party was the premier event of the convention, featuring a fantastic “progressive” feast with food tables hosted by company sponsors, along with “Chasing Change”, a Live Auction sponsored by IIAN’s Young Agents and Progressive Insurance, to benefit the IIAN Foundation’s insurance literacy and scholarship programs. Enthusiastic party-goers raised over $7,000 as they bid on a wide array of great items, including vacations, golf equipment, and Husker football tickets for the Ohio State Big Ten opener and Washington State game!
On Friday, October 7, Jason McCartney, head of the Nebraska Insurance Department’s Producer Licensing Division, welcomed 220 agency personnel to “E&O Loss Control For Automated Agencies”, presented by national expert Lisa Burnside. Attendees were also addressed by Nebraska Insurance Director Bruce Ramge, along with IIABA Chairman–Elect Bobby Bramlett, who travelled from Ardmore, Oklahoma with spouse Nanette to attend the entire convention.
Excellence In Education Recognized On October 5
CSR of the Year, CISR Designees, and Scholarship Winners Honored
IIAN’s Annual Education Recognition Luncheon was also held on October 5 in LaVista, west of Omaha, as part of “Customer Service Representative Day” during the association’s 104th annual convention. The annual event recognizes those who have achieved high educational goals.
Professional Development committee chairperson Katie Kochenower, CIC, ARM, AIP, gave an update on InVEST Nebraska, a cooperative effort by IIAN, the IIAN Foundation, and Project InVEST, the national Big “I” insurance education program for high school and college students. InVEST Nebraska is developing an insurance speaker’s bureau for high school students, and promoting the new online Insurance Studies associate degree program which started last year through Northeast Community College.
Kochenower went on to report that the winners of the IIAN Foundation’s two 2010 InVEST scholarships – Sophia Rose Held of Atkinson and Jennifer M. Vermeer with Cornerstone Insurance in Sterling, have completed the one-year Insurance Certificate program through Northeast, and Held is working towards her associate Insurance Studies business degree.
Then IIAN Foundation President Dave Chastain, CPCU took the podium to recognize the winner of the 2011 InVEST scholarship – Jason P. Nelson with Zimmer Insurance Group in Lincoln, who is currently enrolled in the one-year Insurance Certificate program. Chastain also honored the Foundation’s other four 2011 scholarship winners:
Elliott Memorial college scholarship – Joseph M. Beran from Lincoln, who is a junior at Concordia University at Seward, majoring in Business Administration.
Jacupke Memorial high school scholarship – Shannon Spencer graduated from Adams Central High School in Hastings, and is attending Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management.
Linder Memorial high school scholarships - Garrett Coble from Grand Island, valedictorian of his class at Central Catholic High School, now a pre-med student at St. John’s University in Minnesota; and Ashley Bodfield, valedictorian of her class at Burke High School in Omaha, now majoring in English at the University of Nebraska Omaha (scholarship partially funded by IIA of Omaha).
The highlight of the luncheon was the conferment of the Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) professional designation on 19 individuals who completed the five-course program of study during the past year. The conferment ceremony was performed by Society of CISR Board of Governors member Jeanette Machisic, CIC, AAI, CTM of Denver, CO. Machisic also honored Nebraska’s CSR of the Year – Kathy Miller, CISR, with Joe Morten & Son, South Sioux City. Present to receive their CISR pins were Michael James Hammerlun, CISR – Reiser Insurance, O’Neill; Laurie Dawn Kramper, CISR, Joe Morten & Son, South Sioux City; and Rhonda R. Roguski, CISR, Jones Insurance, Seward.
Cole Williams, AIP, with Insurance Associates, Norfolk, was also honored as “Top of Class” for IIAN’s rigorous year-long 2011 Elite Force Sales Training School, in recognition of his outstanding leadership and achievement.
New IIAN Officers & Directors Elected In LaVista
Ritch Nelson Of Fort Calhoun Is President
IIAN members elected new officers and directors at the association’s annual business meeting on Thursday, October 6 in LaVista, at the Big “I” luncheon during IIAN’s 104th annual convention.
IIAN’s new president is Ritch A. Nelson, CIC, LUTCF, with New Frontier Insurance in Fort Calhoun. Also elected were Lisa L. Davis, CPCU, ARM-P, Are, with Davis Insurance in Omaha – Vice President, Dee M. Sykora, AAI, AU, CPIW, Grace Mayer Insurance in Omaha - Secretary-Treasurer. Four IIAN directors were also elected: Mike Jones, CIC – Jones Insurance Agency, David City; Crystal Lessert, AIP – Lessert Insurance Agency, Morrill; Erica Tucker, CISR – Midwest Insurance Exchange, Eagle; and Scott Williams – Insurance Associates, Norfolk. Sandy Johnson, CIC, AAI, with Risk Placement Services in Omaha was elected to her fifth term as Associate member director by the IIAN Board on October 4.
IIABA Chairman-Elect Bob Bramlett of Ardmore, Oklahoma, installed officers Nelson, Davis, and Sykora at the convention’s Toga Party dinner that evening, and Nelson presented outgoing IIAN president Ed Mark, AFIS, LUTCF with a plaque in appreciation of his service to IIAN during the past year.
Annual IIAN Awards Presented October 6
Outgoing IIAN president Ed Mark presented IIAN’s annual agent and company awards at Thursday evening’s convention Toga Party and feast.
Member agents honored were: Danforth Loring, CPCU, ARM, CIC, Omaha – Distinguished Service Award, for over 17 years of advocacy through the annual Mid-America Technical Conference, including two years as Conference chairman; Mark B. Lisko, Omaha – Board Leader of the Year, for his pro-active leadership as president of Nebraska Agency Services, IIAN’s for-profit subsidiary; and Lori Ruzicka, CISR, Omaha - Young Agent of the Year, for her leadership as co-chairman of the Omaha Young Agents group.
Member company representatives honored were: Adam Crowe, AIC, AIS, North Star Insurance – Company Representative of the Year; and IMT Insurance -- Five Star Company of the Year. Both company awards were determined by nominations from IIAN members. At Thursday’s Big “I” Luncheon, Western Insurors based in Ogallala was named “Trusted Choice® Agency of the Year” by Nebraska Trusted Choice® Chairman Tom Greco, in recognition of the agency’s use of the national consumer brand in all of its customer communications.