Early last week, Weekly Industry News Editor, Gary Wolcott worked on the awards introduction for the PIA Oregon/Idaho company person of the year. The award went to Oregon Mutual’s Scott Esqueda.
Wolcott had a long, and he says, fun and interesting conversation about Scott with Kim Krogh, ARM, who is the Division Manager, Distribution for Oregon Mutual. She had an interesting message for the independent agents of the PIA and for independent insurance agents that aren’t members of the PIA or other agent groups.
She said agents need to keep supporting associations like the PIA. And agents that aren’t supporting the PIA, need to start. She told Wolcott that we — the members of the PIA — are the advocate for insurance companies and agents forget how important it is to advocate for companies.
Kim suggests if you know an agent that isn’t involved with an association like the PIA, you need to pass her message on to them.
It’s a message that is not lost on PIA leadership.
Chris DeVito of Larson Flynn Insurance in Silverton, Oregon is the chairman of PIA Oregon/Idaho. He addressed that issue in his annual address to the PIA Oregon/Idaho membership last week at the annual PIA Oregon/Idaho conference.
“One of the goals of this association is to help you promote yourselves, and to give you the tools you need to help you reach the 1-800 and direct dot www insurers before consumers dial their number or go to that website,” he said. “We, the independent agents of the PIA are consultants, educators and advisors. We are service oriented.”
It’s the service angle differentiates the independent agents of the PIA from the 1-800 and the direct dot www insurers. And the PIA gives those starting out in the business a strong push forward.
“The PIA gives newer, smaller agencies and agents access to carriers they have no hope to access,” DeVito said. “As we all know, getting an appointment to some carriers is nearly impossible. We also offer workers compensation through market access programs like SAIF and E&O programs via Utica and Liberty.”
This is where Kim Krogh’s message become so very, very important.
In his address to the PIA Oregon/Idaho membership, DeVito said, “The number of combined years of those attending this conference would be staggering sum. I’m not going to attempt to add it all up. Sadly, the old guard is retiring and has been for years. It’s time for the next generation to step up and support the independent agency system and the independent distribution channels.”
He said one of the goals of the PIA Oregon/Idaho going forward is to reach younger people and show them the value of a career in insurance, and the value of PIA membership.
“We know younger people want to make a difference. Surveys and interaction with them tell us they want to help people,” he said. “Insurance is a great business and a wonderful way to make a difference. One of the goals of this association is to reach out to younger professionals and let them know that this is the place to make a difference. Making a difference is not found, and never will be found at 1-800, or direct dot www.”
Another plus, it’s pretty easy for a hard-working agent to set their own schedule.
“The work from home culture can thrive in the independent agency system and in associations like the PIA. Insurance offers a lot of autonomy and, as a producer, you can take a lot of different, and interesting carrier routes,” he added.
Are you a non-member of the PIA? It’s easy — and affordable — to join. Click this link to find out more about the PIA and take our free member tour — https://piawest.com/take-a-member-tour/
You can also click this link and join right now — https://piawest.com/why-become-a-pia-member/.