The 2015 Annual PIA-IIABWJoint Conference was held recently at the Tulalip Resort in Marysville Washington. As always the event included plenty of education and a sold-out trade show.
At the event the PIA Washington/Alaska elected its new board of directors and awarded its annual Agent of the Year and Company Person of the Year
Amy Perkins of DW Ferguson & Associates in Kingston, Washington is the new president of the association. She’ll serve a two-year term. In addressing the association, she said, “My goal — like those before me — is to enhance education and to stay politically focused. We can never let down our guard. Legislatures love B&O taxes and new fees, and rules and regulations, few of which benefit you and me. And when you really look at those efforts, few of them actually benefit those we serve. That would be our customers and other consumers.”
She also recognizes — as do surveys like one done by PIA National — that people want one-on-one contact with an agent. “I am going to go out on a limb. I will even say social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the old way of doing things. You’ve never heard it put that way, but I say they are. They have reach. Yes. Most people access one or the other, or all three. They are the common way of doing things and of communicating. Yes. But are they really that effective?”
And that led to her conclusion, “survey after survey after survey show that people don’t want to call an 800-number to buy insurance or go online to buy insurance. They want to talk to a professional about their needs.”
One of her goals will be to provide members of the association the tools they need to better serve their clients.
Amy Perkins was also the PIA Washington/Alaska 2015 Agent of the year. The Agent of the Year Award is the PIA’s way of saying thank you and recognizing that special individual whose accomplishments exemplify the best qualities an independent insurance agent can possess: integrity, dedication and commitment to the members and goals of the PIA. As an organization, we offer no greater recognition than the PIA Agent of the Year.
Amy has all of the qualities of our agent of the year description. Integrity. Check. Dedication. In spades. Commitment to this organization, it’s members and our goals. That, too.
The other award given is the Company Person of the Year. Each year PIA members benefit from the contributions of time, money and expertise that come from our insurance company partners. In recognition of those contributions, the PIA honors one individual whose active involvement with PIA helps drive their company to support our efforts with our members.
Our 2015 PIA Company Person of the Year is Charlie Anderson of Multico. Though he has now retired, Charlie was always — and still is — a big supporter of the PIA and PIA thanks you for your years of service.
Later Charlie sent an email to Kim Legato of the PIA Washington/Alaska staff.
“Kim, I was very surprised and flattered to receive the award last week. There are so many in the region who do so much for the industry, the associations and independent agents that it’s humbling to be singled out. I’m grateful to all of you at PIA for the opportunity you have given us for so many years to promote our services and connect with you and your membership. I am very happy to be entering a new chapter in my life, but there is much I will miss about my life as a part of the insurance business. Keep me on your mailing lists, I don’t think I can let go completely,” he wrote.
Now Immediate Past President Dale Kelley of Dale Kelley Insurance Agency in Roy, Washington gave a farewell address after his two-year term. He praised those attending for staying involved. “Your involvement here means you care. Your attendance makes us stronger as an association. It makes us stronger as an industry. And it is that involvement, and the passion you have for PIA and for this industry that has inspired me to serve.”
He talked about how much better things are today compared to when he assumed the presidency and he praised the association leadership for its ability to fight for the independent agency system. “The PIA — along with our allies like the IIABW — fight for you in Olympia. Budget shortfalls are a daunting challenge for the legislators of this state and business is almost always the first target when the words ‘tax increase’ come up. This year — as in the past — we were able to stop an increase in your B&O taxes.”