The Western Alliance is proud to announce CPIA designation courses will be available via webinar format beginning in January 2024 at  


Check our calendar of events for course informatioin.  

Registrations will be open soon!

CPIA - Certified Professional Insurance Agent

Empowering Insurance Professionals into the Future

The CPIA designation is first-of-its-kind, hands-on, how-to training. To earn the CPIA designation candidates are required to participate in a series of three, one-day seminars THE BEST PART IS NO EXAMS!
Completion is due three years from the first course.

These seminars are designed to enhance the ability of producers, sales support staff, and company personnel to efficiently create and distribute effective insurance programs. Participants leave with ideas that will produce sales results immediately.

While not a requirement, it is recommended that courses are taken in order.E&O Discounts apply for Utica National Policy Holders.

Each of the 3 courses are approved for 7 CE in
AZ | CA | ID | MT | NM | NV | OR | WA

Course Modules

Position for Success

Implement for Success

Sustain Success

During this workshop, participants focus on internal and external factors affecting
the creation of effective business development goals.

Factors discussed include:

current state of the insurance                 marketplace

competitive pressures

insurance carrier underwriting criteria

consumer expectations.

During this workshop, participants learn:

specific tools for analyzing consumer needs

how to utilize risk identification techniques to gather pertinent prospect

skills necessary to assimilate information gathered into customized coverage recommendations

how to prepare a complete submission

tips for preparing and presenting a comprehensive insurance proposal

This workshop focuses on fulfilling the implied promises contained in the insuring agreement.

Participants will:

review methods of providing evidence of insurance coverage

discuss policies and procedures for controlling errors and omissions including policy review and delivery, endorsements, claims-processing, and handling of client complaints

learn how to calculate the lifetime value of a client and techniques for generating referrals.

CPIA Update Requirement

The Certified Professional Insurance Agent designation stands for professionalism, commitment to professional training and results, and technical knowledge. To maintain the right
to use the CPIA designation, designees must complete an update on an annual basis * or maintain a Ruby, Sapphire or Diamond level membership with the CPIA Program.

* CPIA 1, CPIA 2, CPIA 3, Special Topics:

An Agent’s Guide to Understanding and Mitigating Cyber Exposures

Disaster and Continuity Planning for Business and Families

An E&O Loss Control Program for Agencies

Every business has an anchor. They’re the go-to person who knows every corner of the business and is familiar with all operations. In a crisis, no one is more valuable.

Often the anchor doubles as the company historian and that — combined with knowing all aspects of company operation — is invaluable and almost impossible to replace.

For the PIA Western Alliance the impossible to replace person is Sue Smith, the Vice President of For Profit Operations. After 22 years of worrying about employees, company finances, the technology that fuels all things these days and more, Sue is retiring.

PIA Western Alliance Executive Vice President and CEO Clark Sitzes says Sue’s loss will be deeply felt by the staff, the boards of directors and by its membership.

“Every company has that special someone who makes everything — for lack of a better word — better,” he said. “She knows every corner of this business from accounting, to membership, to marketing and — for years — has managed the technology we use to keep things going.”

That’s Sue Smith at work. On a personal level, he said, “Sue has been my employee, colleague and friend for the better part of 22 years. It’s hard to imagine not having her around on a daily basis. To say Sue will be missed is an understatement. We — those she works with daily — will miss her terribly.”

Retirement will be more interesting for Sue than that of the average retiree. Sue and her husband have purchased a home in Costa Rica. She says it’s the least humid part of the country and has the least amount of rainfall.


Still, she will — however — miss the PIA. “I’m going to miss the people at the PIA the most,” she said. “I will miss them a lot. Over 22 years, I’ve worked with a lot of people here. We’ve had a lot of great people working here and I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of them. So the worst part about retiring is missing all of them.”

Sue — like all of those blessed to work in the insurance business — has found it to be a fascinating career. Much of what she learned about insurance was learned from Clark.

“He’s been great to work with. He soaks in everybody’s knowledge,” she said. “Clark is not one to micromanage you. He wants you to give him the information he needs to make decisions. Clark is also an expert in association management. Working with him you get more of an appreciation of what everybody else doing. I’ve loved working with him.”

At one time — most people do not know — Clark worked as a lobbyist. “A big plus,” Sue said, “has been learning a lot about the lobbying side of the business. The Political part. Until I met him, I didn’t know how all that worked. That gave me a perspective of insurance from a whole different level.”

Why Costa Rica?

“I love the climate,” she said. “The weather is great, the cost of living is affordable. Other than always having 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, it is perfect for retiring.”

Sue doesn’t plan on wasting her 22 years at the PIA and won’t do a complete retirement. “I’ll do some work for PIA in the future, and some consulting. So I’m not totally leaving.”

That’s something Senior Vice President Kim Legato likes to hear.

“Her knowledge and expertise have served the association well,” she said. “On a personal level, and as a colleague, and a partner who has worked with me to manage the day-to-day operations of the company, Sue has been a rock and, on a daily basis, has made my professional life at the PIA better.”

Kim — like her PIA colleagues, Clark Sitzes and the various PIA boards — will miss Sue.

“We wish her nothing but the best in her new life as she moved to Costa Rica. We will miss her but we know that this next phase of her life will be exactly how she wants it, by the pool sipping umbrella drinks.” 

We All Know Someone… PIA National Wants Your Awards Nominations

We all know someone in this business who goes above and beyond. Maybe it’s customer service, or involvement in the community. It could be any number of things that separate that special someone from the rest of the pack. PIA National is looking for three special someones. Every year PIA National gives out three special …

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ObamaCare Turns 12

ObamaCare turned 12 last Wednesday. President Joe Biden took time last week to celebrate the Affordable Care Act and to brag about how it has expanded access to health care to the masses. “Twelve years ago, I proudly stood beside President Barack Obama as he signed into law the most consequential expansion of health care …

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California Considers Ethics & Transparency Bill for Department of Insurance

  In 2020 the California Department of Insurance and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had a series of ex parte communications with a couple of former California legislators who were lobbying on behalf of Allied Underwriters. Lara and staff member, Bryan Henley met with Fabian Nunez and Rusty Areias who represented Allied while the California Department …

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California Commissioner Lara Goes After Businesses Doing Business in Russia

  California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King are pushing insurance companies to take any investments they have in Russia out of that country. “California stands with the world community in rejecting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its assault on freedom and equality,” Lara said. “As the nation’s …

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

California — Consumer Protection Board Appointees: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced several new appointments to multiple statewide boards to advance the Commissioner’s and the Department of Insurance’s mission to protect California consumers. These appointments include one new member to the California Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Task Force, one member to the California Earthquake Authority …

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