One of the most valuable members — and some say the most valuable — of any insurance team is the customer service representative. Often this person is the face of the company and the first face — or these days, voice — a new client sees.
For the past 30-years the National Alliance has been teaching CSRs about insurance in its Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) program. Thirty years of success deserves an anniversary celebration.
Here’s some history. In 1986, a group of dedicated CICs in Kansas founded the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR). One year later, the dream of a national program was on its way to becoming a reality when the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors in Austin, Texas, assumed responsibility for the CISR Program.
By1996 CISR was a national program.
In a news release celebrating the CISR anniversary the National Alliance said, “Today, CISRs are truly the face of insurance and risk management for their clients, representing access to prompt and effective customer service. Expansions to the program, including the CISR Elite distinction for those who complete all nine courses, have made CISR a global community, with more than 27,800 designated CISRs and approximately 1,500 courses conducted worldwide each year.”
The news release continued, “For all insurance professionals who consider service their personal responsibility, CISR courses are a popular resource for practical insurance knowledge, stressing the understanding and analysis of risks and exposures. All employees of agencies, insurance companies, and insurance-related businesses benefit from CISR courses.”
PIA Western Alliance’s Director of Education, Pam Busch said, “as the association’s education coordinator for the past 12-years, I have watched it evolve and improve each year in content and quality. We have talented, knowledgeable faculty that truly love to teach and have wonderful interaction with their students.”
Like all good things, the CISR program has evolved over time. “The courses are offered in several cities within Oregon and Washington and are also available to take on-line. With the addition of the new CISR classes a few years ago, there is a much wider variety and options in obtaining the CISR designation. Also, adding the new CISR Elite designation has been incentive for those that are already CISRs to have a new goal to achieve.”
Both Oregon and Washington had their first CISR Elite designees in 2015. Rosie Garrison of Hagan Hamilton Insurance in McMinnville is one of the first CISRs to pass the Elite course. “I am very proud to be the first CISR Elite in Oregon. The classes that the PIA offers have done a great deal for me over the years in pursuing a career in insurance. Receiving my CISR Elite, has given me pride in my career but also the confidence to pursue further educational and professional goals.”
Erick Nauch of Kirkland earned the first CISR Elite status in the state of Washington.
| One picture is with Kathy Fraley, Rosanna Garrison, and The National Alliance representative, Dino Gavanes.
Left to right: Kathy Fraley, Gary Thompson, Erick Nauch, Dan Weedin, Corey Wilkins
Every year the National Alliance hands out the Outstanding CSR of the Year Award. It is open to any service or account representative who is a model for their colleagues. A national winner is selected based on an essay on current customer service issues. Each state winner then goes on to complete for the national award.
The PIA Western Alliance is proud that both Oregon and Washington have produced national Outstanding CSR of the Year winners:
1997 — Brigitte Dimmitt, CIC, CISR for Oregon
2006 — Sharnel Hawkins DiVona, CIC, CPCU, CRM, CRIS, AIS for Washington