At the recently completed 2023 PIA Washington and Independent Agents & Brokers of Washington annual conference, the PIA Washington gave out its annual agent and company person of the year awards.
The Agent of the Year award went to Gary Trautman, the founder and owner of Basin Pacific Insurance and the Company Person of the Year in 2023 is Kristen Horlacher of Superior Underwriters.
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.
If anyone exemplifies the attributes just listed it is Gary Trautman. To put it in the simplest possible terms — he walks the talk. Gary knows the business of insurance inside and out and shares that information with his staff, and with his clients.
In the Book of Luke in the Bible…chapter 6, verse 38…says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”
Gary is a Christian and believes in giving and has been a giver all of his life. His faith demands that he use the adjectives we used when I described how the PIA views an agent of the year.
He lives the words, integrity, dedication, and commitment.
As most of you know, most agency owners usually own the book of business of the agents working for them. Gary’s producers don’t face that problem. Keeping with his belief the blessing of being a giver, his agents own a percentage of their book of business.
Plus, he gives them one of the highest commission rates found anywhere.
When it comes to the practice of insurance, he is unquestionably an expert. And like all great leaders, he is always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. He never holds anything back.
That’s why companies recommend him and why a lot of producers would love to work for his company.
As for the PIA Washington… we love you, Gary Trautman, and if you have some time, we can always use a bit of prayer, too.
Kristen Horlacher of Superior Underwriters picked up the Company Person of the Year award.
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.
Kristen doesn’t work at the home office. In theory she works from home. Reality looks much different. She actually lives in her car most of the time and is constantly on the road meeting with agents and helping them place business.
One of her coworkers described her as always making connections. It’s not even intentional. She’s just one of those people that is a people magnet.
That personal magnetism is just one reason that agents love working with her. A lot of times instead of talking to them on the phone, or handling business via email, or text, or whatever, she’s there, in person, ready to help.
In her mind, agents are the most important people in her world and in her company’s world. They love her ability to focus on them and their needs. And like all of our company person of the year recipients, when agents reach out to her she’s always there with an answer.
Or if she doesn’t have an answer, she’ll find it quickly.
Another plus, if Kristen has to refer them to another department in her company she doesn’t just assume that other department is meeting their needs. She follows up and makes sure things turn out as they should.
One of her coworkers told us that Kristen always underestimates her impact and importance to agents and to her company. The underestimation is because she is a total team player and her focus is the team and not her individual success. That coworker says that’s why she’s a star on her team, and why her company — and the agents of the PIA Washington — are lucky to have Kristen Horlacher of Superior Underwriters their team