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POLICY Impact: 2013 Tornadoes

Oklahoma’s

magazine

Finding Our Next President/CEO

Fall 2013

CHAIRMAN David Eaton


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Vol. 36, No. 1

EDITORIAL STAFF

PUBLISHER Dan Ramsey, CIC EDITOR Kathy Rose, CPIW MANAGING EDITOR Kathryn Jenson White ASSISTANT EDITOR Sarah Cavanah PRODUCTION EDITOR Cathy Cinotto

PROFESSIONAL STAFF President/ Chief Executive Officer Dan Ramsey, CIC business manager/comptroller Malinda Day

30

AFTER THE STORM

COLUMNS 2

4 Extra Dan Ramsey, CIC 7 STATE DIRECTOR

EVENTS & COMMUNICATION MANAGER Cathy Cinotto Farm/RLI Program Manager Cindy Munden, CISR E&O Program Manager Lyra Roberts EDUCATION/MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Candy Burton

8 12 17

Denise Johnson, CIC

OkMAP Administrator Cindy Munden, CISR Education Director Susie Current

Chairman David Eaton, CIC

FEATURES 15 26 39

Young Agent Spotlight: Vaughn Graham Jr. Leading Man: IIAO’s Chairman David Eaton, CIC

undertakes task of finding new president/CEO

45

48

ABOUT IIAO

Correspondence and advertising inquiries may be addressed to IIAO, P.O. Box 13490, Oklahoma City, OK 73113. Ph: 405-840-4426 or 1-800-324-4426

Young Agents Committee Daniel O’Neil

Research shows insurance agents need to increase focus on life insurance IIAO Membership Matters

NEWSMAKERS 20

New IIAO Chairman David Eaton, who says he looks forward to a year of continuing to develop association strengths while beginning the challenge of finding its next president/CEO.

POLICY is the official publication of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma. POLICY is published quarterly and distributed to all member agencies and other interested parties in Oklahoma. Manuscripts and contributions are welcome, and will be considered for publication at the discretion of the IIAO Publications Committee.

EDUCATION Susie Current

43 President/CEO search committee

Kairos 2013

ON THE COVER

LEGAL Tom Cooper

The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma is the largest insurance trade association in Oklahoma. With more than 475 independent insurance agencies, we represent nearly 4,000 independent insurance agents and their employees. IIAO member agencies range in size from one person to some of the largest agencies in the region.

staff located in Oklahoma City. IIAO’s mission, shown below, is carried out through a variety of programs designed to enhance the business of independent insurance agencies.

Founded in 1906 as the Oklahoma Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents, IIAO is a result of the consolidation of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, Inc. (IIAO) and the Oklahoma Association of Professional Insurance Agents (OAPIA) on Jan. 1, 1992.

IIAO is affiliated at the national level with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America with offices in Alexandria, Va., and Washington, D.C.

IIAO policy is set by a board of directors elected at the annual convention. Policy is implemented by a professional

IIAO MISSION STATEMENT

IIAO is an active advocate on behalf of independent agents before legislative, regulatory and judicial groups in Oklahoma and at the federal level.

IIAO is an excellent source of information through POLICY magazine, published quarterly, and the Oklahoma Agent, a monthly newsletter of time-sensitive material for its members.

The mission of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, working in the public’s best interests, through active member participation, is to be the unrelenting advocate of independent insurance agents and to fulfill the education, political and business needs of its members.


CHAIR

Change:

The Only Constant As we IIAO officers head into a year of change in our leadership, change in our board structure and change in what will surely be other elements of our association and the industry we serve, we need you. David Eaton, CIC

T

Advantage Insurance Group, El Reno

he past IIAO chairmen and staff tell me that as the incoming IIAO chairman, I am supposed to write this column for Policy magazine. Someone suggested I write about my goals for the coming year. That’s easy: My first goal is not to screw things up. So there you go: article complete. More seriously, change is the word I would like to focus on in my first article. Boy, have things changed in the 34 years since I started in this wonderful business. Those who are close to my age must remember typing homeowners’ policies with at least four pieces of carbon paper. What a mess it was when you made a mistake and had to correct four or five copies. I think the first really big and exciting change was the fax machine. What a deal: You could type out an application and fax it immediately to an underwriter. There was something special about the thermal paper that came with that first fax machine. You would fax the application and have a quote back in a few days, possibly a week, and everyone seemed OK with that. Today, a few days or possibly a week to obtain and share information just won’t work. We, as well as our clients, expect instant information and gratification. You ask for a quote, and you should have it immediately. That’s technology, and that’s the way of the future. When talking about change and our future, especially the future of the independent insurance agent, we must talk about Project CAP. As mentioned in previous Policy magazine articles, nearly 75 percent of personal insurance consumers will begin their search for new coverage online. I hope that you and your agency are taking advantage of this new agency marketing program that provides IIABA agents with the tools needed to attract and interact with today’s consumer. Information can be found at projectcapmarketing.com. The way we obtain our continuing education has certainly changed since back in the day of sitting in classrooms without our electronic tablets and smart phones. While

CHAIRMAN

IIAO Leadership Officers

CHAIRMAN-ELECT

Mark Carlin, CIC Cole, Paine & Carlin, OKC TREASURER

Phil Eitzen, CIC Eitzen Agency, Fairview SECRETARY

Thad Leonard Carl M. Leonard & Son Inc., Tulsa STATE DIRECTOR

Denise Johnson, CIC ECI Insurance, Piedmont IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN

Ed McGrath CIC, CRM Wilcox & McGrath Insurance, OKC

directors Guy Landes, CIC Louis Blosch Agency Tulsa

Mark Tedford, CIC Tedford Insurance Jenks YAC CHAIRMAN

Daniel O’Neil Oklahoma Agents Alliance, OKC

When talking about change and our future, especially the future of the independent insurance agent, we must talk about Project CAP.

classroom education is still available, we are seeing more offerings of online video webinars, with numerous topic choices available. Be sure to visit iiaok.com for class availability as well as future webinars for CE credit. With the 2013 by-laws changes voted on during our recent annual meeting, the size of the IIAO Board of Directors will now be 10 members instead of the current 18. We will achieve this reduction through the normal attrition of the terms of the current board members. The 10 board positions will include chairman, chairman-elect, secretary, treasurer, immediate past chairman, state director, chairman of the Young Agents Committee and three other members. The chairman will appoint two non-voting members to serve a one-year term. These members will represent an insurance carrier and managing general agency. With these changes, we will have more need for volunteers to serve on committees. If you’re asked, please serve your association. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve as your chairman in the upcoming year.

REGIONAL DIRECTORS RED CARPET ZONE 1

GREAT PLAINS ZONE 2

Wes Magill, CIC

Larry Neal, CIC, AAI, LUTCF

Magill Insurance Agency, Weatherford

2

POLICY

Fall 2013

J.T. Neal Agency Lawton

GREEN COUNTRY ZONE 3

FRONTIER COUNTRY ZONE 4

LAKE & TRAIL ZONE 5

KIAMICHI ZONE 6

Karen Dunn

Chris Torres, CIC

Archey-Warren-Dunn Insurance Agency Broken Bow

Mike Somers, CIC

Kelly Smith, CIC

Oklahoma Agents Alliance OKC

Somers Insurance Agency Lindsay

JWB Insurance Holdenville


Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma

2013Partners Diamond

Independent Insurance Agents Association of OKC

E A G L E A G E N C Y

Platinum SPECIALTY INSURANCE MANAGERS of Oklahoma

Gold Taber Brokerage Services Patriot National Underwriters Inc./Old Glory Insurance Company

Columbia Insurance Group M.J. Kelly Company CNA Insurance Hartford Insurance Group

Swett & Crawford of Texas Farmers Alliance Insurance Companies Graham-Rogers, Inc. Risk Placement Services, Inc. Republic Group of Insurance Companies Bailey Special Risks, Inc.

Silver

Bronze

Chubb Group of Insurance Companies National American Insurance Company Safeco Insurance State Auto Insurance Company

Triangle Insurance Company Cornerstone National Insurance Company Equity Insurance Company Westphalen Insurance Services Acton, Inc. AMERISAFE

www.iiaok.com


EXTRA

Relevance Whether we’re talking about membership, legislative impact or industry support, “relevance” is the concept we need to focus on as we chart the course for our association’s future, short term and long term. Dan Ramsey CIC

PRESIDENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

I

am returning from my 15th annual meeting with my counterparts, and, I must say, I believe it was perhaps the best. The setting was Newport, R.I., one of the real treasures in this great country. The weather was perfect, restaurants and shopping opportunities were everywhere, but most importantly, the content of the program was truly outstanding and timely. We heard presentations regarding what IIAO and every trade association must do to remain relevant to their members. We have actually already begun to implement many of the ideas talked about at this meeting, beginning last year when the IIAO Board of Directors embraced the principles presented in the Race for Relevance. I will ask them to review another book this year, Road to Relevance, which captures the strategies needed to enable IIAO to remain an even stronger business partner for your agency. So stand by.

We also heard a presentation, the End of Membership as We Know It, a perfect fit for our first session. It addressed the changing demands of the various generations and what we must do to assure IIAO continues to provide value to our members. As most of you know, I will retire from my position as your president/CEO a year from now, so a presentation from two of my counterparts who retired this past year was of special relevance to us. They provided excellent input and insight that will be extremely valuable to the search committee as it seeks to find my replacement. It has been my distinct pleasure and privilege to have been involved with IIAO since attending my first state convention at the Camelot Inn in Tulsa in 1976. I served as president of a local association board in Chickasha when I owned my agency; served as chairman of the IIAO Education Committee, a member of the IIAO Board of Directors and association president — now called chair-

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EXTRA

man. For the past 15 years, I have had the honor to serve as president/CEO. Marilyn and I, from time to time, have had many mixed emotions about this change, but that is for another article in a future issue. While there were great takeaways from all the sessions, I must say the presentation on Project CAP was the one that will have the most important long-term significance for IIAO members. Many of you have perhaps heard of it, but to date only nine IIAO member agencies have taken the time to register for this tool that is your gateway to online marketing and sales. I can see many reasons for that, but I hope that after you read this article, you will take time to register and see what an outstanding tool IIABA is building to help you meet the challenges of a new generation of shoppers. These shoppers will not value the brick and mortar of the good old days; these shoppers will prefer to learn about insurance online. They will do research at all hours of the day and night and expect to find an insurance agency or company that can provide them with answers to their questions, comparative prices, the coverage they need, options available and a user-friendly website. Your website, not only its relevant content but also its functionality and ease of navigation, will be your footprint for these

shoppers. It is critical that your Web presence sends the clear message that your agency is ready and able to serve those who look to you as an insurance provider. Project CAP, in my opinion, may very well be the most important project IIABA has ever undertaken for its members, but it has gotten off to a bumpy start. It has experienced tremendous challenges and growing pains since its inception. This is understandable because Project CAP is an extremely complex model to build. Just think of the monumental task of building something that will work for 30,000 agencies in every state and satisfy the needs of the many carriers who will be willing to be a part of the CAP initiative: The mind boggles. I do believe, however, that those leading this important effort now have a team in place that is building the platform that will help take your agency to a new level. It is, perhaps, easier to understand CAP by looking at it through two prisms. The first prism is the consumer/agent portal, which is where the acronym CAP comes from. This is the gateway that will allow a shopper to visit your agency’s website and do some comparative shopping for rates. The second prism, and in my opinion the more important piece, is the Digital Marketing Service. It is the service available Continued on Page 6

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POLICY Fall 2013

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EXTRA

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POLICY Fall 2013

Continued from Page 5 through Project CAP that will help you design a professional website for your agency that establishes your footprint on the Web. It allows various options for agencies to help them market their agency online more effectively. Without this part, to me anyway, the rest is rather meaningless. If your website doesn’t look professional, if your website doesn’t tell your story and if your website doesn’t provide the consumer a robust, vibrant, interactive experience, that consumer will never get to the comparative rating prism. Consumers are not looking for a billboard; they are looking for an agent who is ready, willing and able to deliver them the services they want and need in an entirely new way of doing business. If your website doesn’t offer that, potential consumers will just click to another screen and another until they find an agency that gives them the feeling of confidence that it knows what it is doing and is prepared for a new generation of consumers. As we were told at the conference, CAP is and will be ever changing; in effect, it isn’t something that will ever be finished. What you see today will continue to be enhanced to be even better as time goes along because that is the world of the Internet. That reality may not feel real comfortable for us old timers, but I am absolutely convinced it is the wave of the future. For that reason, I encourage you — no — I implore you, to catch that wave or risk being left behind. The obvious question, then, is, “How do you register?” The answer is simple: Go to projectcapmarketing.com and choose Log in as Agent in the upper right corner. Log in with your IIABA username and password, click Sign-Up Now and then the Get Now button on the following page. Complete your profile, click Save Changes and, if you are ready to go live, click Save and Publish. It’s that easy. The sooner we get IIAO members registered, the sooner more companies will be ready to add Oklahoma to the comparative rating prism. Until then, you have the opportunity to jump aboard and get your website ready by using the various tools available through the Digital Marketing Service. This is the tool that will help prepare your agency for the exciting opportunities available to you through the Internet.


SD

National News As I work with other state directors on a wide variety of concerns of vital importance to all insurance professionals, I learn each day of more issues and activities to be aware of beyond our state borders.

S

o many new things are on the horizon at a national level with IIABA that it is a challenge to know what to focus on in this column. First, we’re preparing for our Fall Leadership Conference to be held at the end of September. Your leadership will be addressing many important issues that affect our members. The Trusted Choice Consumer Agent Portal — Project CAP — is up and running. I would encourage you to go to trustedchoice. com to look up your own ZIP code to make sure you are listed as a Trusted Choice agent. It’s imperative that all of our members have a presence on this site to strengthen it and create a win/win reality for all of us. Next, an update on InVEST, a school-to-work insurance program that works with high school and college educators to provide a useful insurance curriculum for students. In 2013 the program has grown to an all-time high in all the important numbers. It’s active in 45 states, including Oklahoma, has more than 15,000 students nationwide, is involved with 451 programs and has awarded $70,500 in scholarships. InVEST is our best chance at broadening the workforce in

in the health realm. Legislators and IIABA staff members alike are earmarking and reviewing the Navigator program to ensure there are safeguards and subsidy eligibility verification mechanisms in place. We are also keeping an eye on a bill regarding regulatory and consumer protection. This is just one of many issues we’re involved with on Capitol Hill. And finally, just a few more things always to be aware of: InsurPac is of vital importance. The many legislative issues coming up in Washington require funding of InsurPac to serve as your voice. Always be sure to check out the products available to our members: E&O and Big “I” Advantage. Many valuable assets are yours when you are a Trusted Choice independent agent. On a personal note, kudos to my good friend Bobby Bramlett as he finishes his year as IIABA chairman. He has proved himself to be a great leader and mentor for our association on a national level. After this busy year he deserves a rest and our gratitude for serving our industry so unselfishly.

Denise Johnson CIC ECI Insurance Piedmont STATE DIRECTOR

Government affairs never stops working for you in Washington. our industry. To continue this strong growth, I need your help on two levels: 1) Contact your local high school or career tech and visit with its business teacher. Let that educator know that if her or his school becomes an InVEST school, it will be eligible for free curriculum and scholarships for its students (and schools). 2) Once you connect us with a participating school, consider serving as a volunteer to go into the classroom to tell them about our industry. You have many levels of opportunity here, and it will take all of us to make it happen. Please go to the website for further information: investprogram.org. There you will find tabs for agencies, teachers and students. Check it out. Also, in case you hadn’t already figured this out, government affairs never stops working for you in Washington. For being an association primarily made of P&C agents, the government affairs staff is spending quite a bit of time

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LEGAL

Combating Rebating We have an answer to the important question of whether certain types of non-insurance related services offered at no cost or a reduced one violate Oklahoma’s anti-rebating regulations, but the issue isn’t settled.

Tom Cooper Pignato, Cooper, Kolker & Roberson, P.C.

COLUMNIST

T

he insurance code of most states contains some type of prohibition against what is called “rebating.” In Oklahoma, section 1204 of our insurance code provides, in essence, that it is unlawful to pay, allow or give (or offer to pay, allow or give), whether directly or indirectly, as inducement to any contract of insurance, any valuable consideration or inducement that is not specified in the insurance contract itself. The statute goes on to provide that no insurer or agent shall, as an inducement to purchasing insurance or in connection with any insurance transaction, promise or allow any special favor, advantage or other benefit in the payment, method of payment or credit for payment. A few years ago, producers from the Dean Group, LLC (now known as the Dean Morton Group, LLC), Sterling Management Group, LLC, and Alexander & Strunk, Inc., learned from some of their clients that a competing agency was allegedly offering to provide non-insurance related

The IIAO appeared in the case as what is known as an “amicus curiae,” which translates to “friend of the court.” services, for which there is normally a significant charge, either at no cost or at a significantly reduced cost, to obtain (or perhaps retain) insurance business. The non-insurance related services included renewing and/or obtaining medical facilities privileges for the clients and/or the negotiation and renewal of physicians’ third-party payer contracts (collectively referred to as “credentialing services”).

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POLICY Fall 2013


LEGAL

The group of agents first sought guidance from the Oklahoma Insurance Department, asking for an interpretation of whether an agent’s provision of, or paying for, credentialing services is violative of the anti-rebating statute. Believing that the Oklahoma Insurance Department did not adequately address the situation, the group of agents filed suit against the Oklahoma Insurance Department. The agents filed what is known as a declaratory judgment action. In other words, the producers — represented by local attorneys Ken McConkey of Klingenberg & Associates and Doug Rice of Derryberry & Naifeh — were not seeking damages, but rather were seeking a judicial determination as to the validity and applicability of the Oklahoma antirebating statute to the issue of providing credentialing services to a customer or prospective customer for free or at a reduced cost. They filed the lawsuit in 2011, but it was dismissed on procedural grounds by a now-retired district judge. The producers succeeded in having the matter reversed on appeal, at which time it was assigned to Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish. Although not a party to the case, IIAO appeared in the case as what is known as an “amicus curiae,” which translates to “friend of the court.” The governing board of IIAO determined that, if an agency were indeed offering credentialing services either for free or at a reduced cost to existing or prospective customers/physicians, it should be deemed violative of the anti-rebating statute. The association was understandably concerned that if such a practice was not found to be an unlawful rebate, it could very well negatively affect the industry as a whole, allowing for the success of only those agencies with enough resources to provide the questioned services. Accordingly, IIAO retained me to appear in the case and argue in favor of the plaintiffs. All participants, including IIAO, submitted briefs to Parrish. These briefs pointed out to Parrish that other states, including Arkansas, Connecticut and Kansas, had declared other, analogous situations to be unlawful rebates. For example, in Arkansas, a court found it unlawful for an agent to pay part of a customer’s professional association fee to retain the customer’s business. In Connecticut, a court found it unlawful for a producer to offer $40 off the initial down payment for any new auto insurance customer. And, in Kansas, a court found it to be an unlawful rebate when an insurance agent decided to pay the difference between the premium amount he thought, based on past experiences, he

could obtain for a life insurance customer and the amount actually charged by the insurer, which amounted to close to $180 per year. On July 15, 2013, Parrish conducted a hearing. After listening to the arguments of all parties, she ultimately decided that, if a producer or agency provides, or offers to provide, either for free or at a reduced cost, credentialing services to customers or prospective customers, it would indeed be violative of the anti-rebating provisions of the Oklahoma Insurance Code. As of the time this article is being written, Parrish’s order has not been formally entered, meaning that the time within which to appeal has not yet begun. It is unknown whether the Oklahoma Insurance Department will seek relief through the appellate courts. Accordingly, future articles may address this continuing saga.

POLICY Fall 2013

9


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EDUCATION

Virtual or Real? No matter how you want to earn your continuing education credits or your professional abilities through courses leading to designations, you can find what you need on IIAO’s website on our education pages. Susie Current

EDUCATION DIRECTOR

E

verywhere you go, it seems, people tell you to like their business on Facebook or to download their amazing app, which can do something you need done. Those likes and apps have saved me time and money and even given me some peace of mind. If that digital ease is what you are looking for, including more online learning courses is something you should explore. We have video webinars that require no test to earn your CE. The video webinars are on a variety of topics, including ethics, commercial basic and advanced topics, E&O, agency management and many more. We even have an online designation program called associate in insurance account management. You can start earning that designation, known as AIAM, in our video webinar format. However, if you would like to take a second to slow

We have video webinars that require no test to earn your CE. The video webinars are on a variety of topics, including ethics, commercial basic topics and many more.

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POLICY Fall 2013


EDUCATION

down and connect with others who are in this wonderful industry alongside you, we also offer the same number of classroom CE courses as we always have in the same cities; our commitment to meeting different learning needs and preferences remains. In fact, we offer more variety on our classroom calendar than ever. For instance, did you know that now the Certified Insurance Service Representative program has nine parts from which you can pick any five to earn the CISR designation? Of course, if you really like to learn as much as possible, you can earn the CISR Elite designation by taking and passing the exam for all nine courses. If you already have the CISR designation, you can take just the four new courses to earn the CISR Elite designation. The four new courses to the CISR program are Commercial Casualty II (BAP, WC, excess liability); Personal Lines (miscellaneous; life and health essentials); and Elements of Risk Management. We have also added the Certified Risk Manager courses to the calendar. We offer two every year, one in February and one in September. The CRM designation demonstrates that you are knowledgeable in all areas of managing risks, hazards and exposures. The courses provide you with an in-depth knowledge about today’s highest priorities: identifying, analyzing, controlling, financing and administering operational risks. In addition, they educate you about political risks, catastrophic loss exposures, third-party exposures, fiduciary exposures, employee injury exposures, juridical risks, legal risks and more, whether insurable or not. The knowledge you obtain will make you more proactive and valuable to your organization in discovering how risks can interrupt the flow of earnings and how to protect against such disruptions. The five CRM topics are Principles of Risk Management, Analysis of Risk, Control of Risk, Financing of Risk and Practice of Risk Management. We continue to offer the Certified Insurance Counselors courses with one graduate seminar a year for those with either a CIC or CRM designation. We are working continually to update the curriculum so that it introduces you to the most current and relevant topics. The E&O courses also continue to make appearances on our calendar. So whether you prefer the online world of ease through technology or you like taking yourself to a classroom for the experience that gives you, your association has the variety of education opportunities you need and want. Visit iiaok.com/education for a full listing of our classes.

The Insurance Department’s 2013 rule amendments have been approved and published in the Oklahoma Register. Copies of the amendments can be found on the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s website: ok.gov/oid/Public_Information/Legal/Rule_Amendments.html. See Chapter 25 for continuing education revisions/changes. If you have any questions, call William “Buddy” Combs at 405.521.2746 or email him at william.combs@ oid.ok.gov.

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M. J.

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POLICY Fall 2013

13 M. J.


Union Standard Insurance Group®

League of Heavy Hitters

Union Standard is committed to working with young independent agents because they are the future of our business. That’s why we are partnering for success with Oklahoma’s Young Agents. Union Standard recognizes the need to foster the growth of new talent to perpetuate the Independent Agency System as well as provide young agents a competitive advantage.

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Congratulations 2013 League of Heavy Hitters Bob Sullivan Chad Patzke Chris Webb Clayton Howell Cody McNeill Creighton Haddon John Rogers, Jr. Kelly James Kreta Powell Lena Sullivan Lindsay Neal Michael Lowery Michael Towe Nick Karlovich Rocky Moore Russell Hollingsworth Vaughn Graham Jr.

Rich & Cartmill, Inc. Universal Insurance Agency, Inc. Rich & Cartmill, Inc. Howell-Stone Insurance, Inc. Insurance Agency of Mid-America, Inc. Wilcox & McGrath Insurance Insurance Agency of Mid-America, Inc. Wilcox & McGrath Insurance Cole, Paine, Carlin Ins. Agency, Inc. John F Sullivan, Inc. J T Neal Insurance Agency, Inc. Glenn Harris & Associates, Inc. INSURICA Commercial Insurance Brokers, LLC Insurance Agency of Mid-America, Inc. Universal Insurance Agency, Inc. Rich & Cartmill, Inc.

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POLICY Fall 2013

A Berkley Company


Young Agent Spotlight

presented by

Vaughn Graham Jr. Rich & Cartmill Tulsa

V

aughn Graham Jr. has been a producer at Rich & Cartmill since 2009, joining the agency after a successful seven-year career in commercial lending. His wife, Natalie, is an assistant editor at Pearson Education, supporting schools in their use of online textbooks. They have two children, Vaughn III, 4, and Eva, 1. Graham, who graduated in 2003 with a degree in finance from the University of Oklahoma, comes from a family in which insurance has played a major role. His father is Vaughn Graham, president of Rich & Cartmill and IIABA Executive Committee member. His paternal grandfather worked for Mid-Continent Insurance, and his maternal grandfather worked for State Farm.

KJW VG

Was insurance always the plan?

You might think so given my family, but growing up I never thought about getting into the insurance and bond business. I accepted an offer from Bank of Oklahoma in a credit training program to become a commercial lender right out of college. My dad, and I really appreciate this from him, just wanted me to do what I’d enjoy. He never pressured me in any way.

KJW VG KJW VG

Well, if you’d said you wanted to be an English major, he might have been a bit more inclined toward pressure. I couldn’t have lasted a year as an English major, so there was no possibility of that. How did the career change take place?

It was a difficult decision to leave. I had a great team to work with and great bosses in the corporate and health care lending group. In 2008-2009, the lending environment was in a bit of turmoil. We had to deal with a lot more red tape and paperwork, which was fine, but it did lead me to ask myself whether this was what I wanted to be doing 10 years in the future. The honest answer was that I wasn’t 100 percent sure. I thought if I had even some doubt, I should at least think about insurance as a career option.

KJW VG

And what flipped the switch?

Whenever my father had talked about his career, he had stressed that in independent insurance, your

career is a direct result of your own choices. If you want a raise, you have to earn it yourself. If you don’t want to work as hard, you don’t have to, but there are repercussions. I liked that idea. My first child was just about to turn 1 year old, and I thought about the kind of father I wanted to be. My dad had always been so involved in my sister’s and my lives. He attended every activity. That flexibility came from his work. I knew it would be easier for me to be the kind of father my dad was in this business.

KJW VG

So it was more your father’s success as a father than his success as an insurance professional that led to your decision? Yes. And it was a bit scary. I went from a nice salarybased job plus commission and stock options and other perks to telling my wife, ‘We’re going to start from zero.’ Fortunately, Rich & Cartmill has a great philosophy about its treatment of young agents. Seasoned pros advised me not to worry too quickly about the future and the big issues. They told me to focus on doing the right things, learning the business and making my calls, and the rest would follow.

KJW VG

Well, you are four-plus years in now. Was it the right decision? I can definitely report that it was a great decision. It’s an exciting and challenging career. Some people still think of insurance as just a commodity. My challenge is to build relationships and show customers the kind of service involved in good insurance support. Fortunately, I have a great support staff. I have a great account manager and we have the best bond CSRs in the business. And look at our roster of agents. We have seasoned professionals in every area of business. It’s a very rare thing for me to have a question I can’t find the answer to by walking down the hall or picking up the telephone. Continued on Page 16 POLICY Fall 2013

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Continued from Page 15

KJW VG

So what’s your answer now to the question, ‘Is this what you want to be doing in 10 years?’ A solid yes. I look forward to new experiences and more involvement as the years pass. I’m vice president of the Independent Insurance Agents of greater Tulsa. I’m on the Young Agents committee of IIAO. I also want to develop my capacity at Rich & Cartmill and become the kind of leader this organization would be proud to have working for it.

KJW VG

How has it been working almost daily with your father? It’s definitely made us closer. He’s now two offices down. Of course, as president of Rich & Cartmill and part of the Big “I” board, he’s gone a lot. Not that I needed to be any prouder of him than I have always been, but seeing him as he functions in his many capacities, seeing the respect he has from his peers, does make me really proud.

KJW VG.

Does your knowledge now lead you to wish you had started in insurance earlier? I’m glad I took the path I took to get here. I grew professionally in that corporate environment and developed as an individual as well. Building that foundation individually was important for me.

KJW VG

Well, congratulations on your successful career switch. Thank you. And I want to thank Union Standard for letting me tell my story. We’re fortunate here to have relationships with representatives from many great insurance companies. When you first begin, your head is spinning with all of them. Union Standard has really focused on young agents, and it deserves a lot of praise for that. The Heavy Hitter Program has been a real help to me as a young professional, and Union Standard has been an important market for me.

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POLICY Fall 2013


YAC

Golf for Good As a father myself, I feel deeply for those fathers whose families have been displaced by the May tornadoes and look forward to helping them with the money we raise at The Young Agents President’s Golf Classic.

I

can’t believe we are already approaching cooler fall temperatures and almost have three-fourths of the year behind us. A lot has been going on both professionally and personally for me. My wife, Jennifer, and I welcomed our son, Daniel Michael O’Neil IV July 17. Needless to say, we are not getting much sleep around our house. In addition, a lot of exciting things are going on with IIAO and the Young Agents, with plenty of opportunities to

Your membership in the Young Agents is a valueadded benefit of your IIAO membership, and you really should take advantage of this great networking group.

network this fall. The next big event is The Young Agents President’s Golf Classic. This year’s annual tournament will be held at Coffee Creek Golf Course Monday, Oct. 14. Each year, the Young Agents host this golf tournament to give back to the community. After all, this industry is about service and helping others. For the past few years, the proceeds from the tournament went to help the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food For Kids Backpack Program. With the recent tornadoes ripping through our state, the Young Agents committee wanted the proceeds to aid in the rebuilding process and to help the affected families in some way. Even with the tornadoes being four months ago, the need is still there and many families are still displaced. All of the proceeds from the tournament will go to the Regional Food Bank Disaster Relief Program and directly benefit the affected families. We look to raise as much money as possible, and we know we can’t do it without your generosity and support. We hope to see everyone out there. Your membership in the Young Agents is a valueadded benefit of your IIAO membership, and you really should take advantage of this great networking group if you haven’t already, and participate in the future of your industry. Make sure to check us out online at youngagents. com or on Facebook at facebook.com/OKYAC. Be on the lookout for upcoming events and feel free to contact me or Lyra Roberts in the IIAO office if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Daniel O’Neil Oklahoma Agents Alliance OKC CHAIR YOUNG AGENTS COMMITTEE

POLICY Fall 2013

17


OID UPDATE

Catastrophe Management The National Tornado Summit in February is central to our ongoing understanding of how to work together in preparing for what we can be sure will be the challenges of future storm seasons.

John Doak

OKLAHOMA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER

M

ay 2013 will go down as one of the worst months ever for severe weather in Oklahoma. The devastating tornadoes, hailstorms and floods took 49 lives and caused billions of dollars in damages. While the road to recovery is a long one, I am proud of the way the industry responded and worked with state officials to get survivors the help they so desperately needed. Major catastrophes such as these are the driving force behind the National Tornado Summit, now gearing up for its third year in Oklahoma City. It’s the perfect venue for collaboration and innovation among insurance professionals, emergency managers, regulators and weather experts. It was at the Tornado Summit that we first discussed the possibility of an insurance village. The day after the EF-5 tornado tore through Moore, that idea became a reality. Upon arriving at the state’s Emergency Operations Center

While the road to recovery is a long one, I am proud of the way the industry responded. on May 20, my first goal was to secure a location for the insurance village, a one-stop shop enabling survivors to jumpstart the recovery process. We decided to stage it at the First Baptist Church of Moore because of its high visibility from the interstate. Once we received the final go-ahead, I dispatched members of our Anti-Fraud Unit to the church to work

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POLICY Fall 2013

Elba, Alabama • 800-239-2358


OID UPDATE

out the logistics and prepare for the insurers to arrive. Then, our communications director made contact with our Catastrophe Response Team members to let them know the location of the village. Within hours, it was up and running. By daylight, a dozen insurers were already in place and ready to help consumers. But that was just the beginning. We also issued an alert that required adjusters to obtain identification badges before entering the disaster zones. The goal here was to protect consumers from bad characters and also to make it easier for the adjusters to do their job. We notified all the local law enforcement officers about the badges so they would allow adjusters through the safety checkpoints. I’ve heard from many in the industry who said that immediate access was very valuable. Back at the insurance village, the services expanded significantly. Storm survivors could not only file their claim and meet with an adjuster, they could also rent a car, get cash and even charge their cell phones, all in one location. Members of the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s consumer assistance and legal teams were also there to

help with consumer questions. Another important partnership during this time was with Oklahoma Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson. Our sharing with him some of the financial challenges the survivors were facing, allowed him to work with the state banks and financial institutions to reduce the hold time on insurance payments. Checks were processed quickly, and without the traditional hold. We all know this won’t be Oklahoma’s last disaster. We will never be 100 percent safe from a tornado, wildfire or hailstorm. But with continued planning and key partnerships, I know we will improve both mitigation techniques and catastrophe response. You are a big part of that. I encourage you to attend the 2014 National Tornado Summit to share what you’ve experienced and learn from national experts as well. We are assembling a very impressive lineup that you don’t want to miss. It’s all happening Feb. 9-11 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Registration will be available soon at tornadosummit.org.

POLICY Fall 2013

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NEWSMAKERS

Castle celebrates 75 years of service to Magnum

IIAO EAGLE AWARD RECIPIENTS

2013 Susan Titus 2012 Vaughn Graham 2009 Dan Ramsey 2008 Bruce Magill 2002 Kent Carlin 1998 James Ware 1993 Charles E. Simone 1990 Robert S. McKown 1982 C. Courtney Wood 1981 Richard Teubner

SUSAN SAYS GOODBYE

Dear IIAO Colleagues, Pam Tinney Simmons, Pansy Castle Tinney and Roy L. Tinney Jr. The J. Elmer Castle Agency in Mangum recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Castle opened the agency in 1938. His son-in-law, Roy L. Tinney Jr., joined the agency as a licensed producer in 1963, and his granddaughter, Pam Tinney Simmons, joined in 1982. Pansy Castle Tinney, Elmer’s daughter, has been part of the agency’s support staff for many years.  “Our agency founder’s wisdom and knowledge created a strong foundation for running a business and providing customer service,” said Roy L. Tinney Jr. “He practiced his profession with a commitment to excellence and ethics and passed down that commitment through the generations. He thought good listening was the most important part of providing good service. His motto was, ‘You’re only as good as your service.’” Rep. Todd Russ, R-District 55, presented a citation to the Tinneys commemorating the 75th anniversary. 

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POLICY Fall 2013

I have resigned It is with much sadness that s a ver y dif ficult my position with IIAO. This wa t needed to be made decision to make but one tha and my family. so I could focus on my health redibly rewarding My time at IIAO has been inc fessionally. I for me, both personally and pro e some of the best was blessed to work alongsid y. I am pleased insurance people in the countr O’s members as to be able to count many of IIA encouragement my friends. I appreciate the members have and support both IIAO and its provided me. of life, I will As I move into this new season laughs and always cherish the memories, successes we all shared. Please keep in touch! Sincerely, Susan


NEWSMAKERS

IIAO adds Titus to list of distinguished insurance honorees The association presented Susan Titus, who served IIAO for almost 20 years before her resignation in August, an Eagle Award of Excellence during the 2013-14 installation of officers July 18 at the IIAO offices. It was a pleasure to present Susan with this honor, IIAO Chairman David Eaton said. “Her service has been essential to building the strong, successful association we have today. The award is presented in recognition of those who have shown a constant commitment to excellence on behalf of the IIAO and its members.  “Susan has served us in many capacities,” President/CEO Dan Ramsey said. “She has been on quite a journey over the past several months, but she knows that she hasn’t been on that journey alone. We have a great staff in place who will continue Susan’s legacy of inventive, responsible leadership.” The association also presented two IIAO Eagle Legislative Awards this year. “This award is not given every year,” Ramsey said. “It is reserved for those legislators who perform exceptional service on matters of great interest to independent agents. Rep. Randy Grau, R-District 81, and Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-District 34, certainly met those criteria this past session. Their knowledge, understanding and presentation of the issues were exceptional. IIAO is very proud to present them with this recognition of our appreciation for their service. “

IIAO Chairman David Eaton, Advantage Insurance Group, El Reno, celebrates with IIAO former COO Susan Titus on the occasion of her receiving the Eagle Award of Excellence.

Dan Ramsey, IIAO president/CEO, presents legislative Eagle awards to Rep. Randy Grau and Sen. Rick Brinkley during IIAO’s installation of officers and luncheon

POLICY

Fall 2013

21


NEWSMAKERS

ECI Agency website honored

American Agent & Broker magazine has awarded The Earnie Cornelius Insurance Agency its 2013 Best Agency Website award. Sponsored by National Underwriter and American Agent & Broker, the Commercial Agency Awards for Excellence recognize agencies that serve as role models for their peers. This prestigious awards program evaluates agencies on growth and development; management of client relationships; technology aptitude and efficiency; innovative solutions to sales challenges; and projections and maintenance of brand identity. “Over the course of the last three years, we have tripled our business and now have a debt-free agency,” Cornelius said in a story titled “Best Agency Website Winner: Earnie Cornelius Insurance Agency” in the June 2013 issue of American Agent & Broker. “We attribute most of our success from our Internet leads and the opportunity to write additional lines of business.”

Scott Cornelius and Denise Johnson, principals of Piedmont’s ECI Agency

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POLICY Fall 2013

According to the story, the judges singled out ECI in several areas, including website look and feel, mobile optimization, client services available, social media integration, ease of use and content quality.


NEWSMAKERS Chris Torres, president, Oklahoma Agents Alliance, Oklahoma City; John Hoefer, owner, Jordan Insurance Group, Durant; Gregg Jones, senior vice president, MidContinent Group; and Dan Ramsey, IIAO president/CEO, teamed up to show IIAO’s support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Trusted Choice was a proud sponsor of the foundation during its June Wish Upon A Par Golf Tournament at Oak Tree National in Edmond. The golf tournament raised about $52,000 to fund wishes.

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POLICY

Fall 2013

23


NEWSMAKERS

Burnett appointed to lead business insurance distribution

Liberty Mutual Insurance’s commercial insurance strategic business unit has appointed Executive Vice President Julie Burnett to head distribution for the company’s business insurance operation. In addition to this appointment, Burnett will continue to lead the company’s small commercial strategy and execution, also within the business insurance operation. As general manager for distribution, Burnett and her Boston-based team develop and implement field strategies for sales, compensation and training support to approximately 9,500 independent agency storefronts served by more than 200 field personnel across eight regions countrywide. “Julie’s new dual role reflects our company’s push for profitable growth and greater market share in the small commercial arena,” Business Insurance President Mike Hughes said. “Her expertise and leadership reinforce our commitment to provide the superior products, services and efficiencies tailored to our agents’ needs, so that we are the carrier that best helps them be successful.” Burnett’s insurance career spans more than 25 years and includes numerous executive capacities, including in-field sales and operations. Before her current roles, she was president and chief executive officer for Liberty Mutual’s northwest regional operation. Guided by the commitment of “helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2012 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of larg-

est corporations in the U.S. based on 2012 revenue. As of Dec. 31, 2012, Liberty Mutual Insurance had $120.1 billion in consolidated assets, $101.5 billion in consolidated liabilities and $36.9 billion in annual consolidated revenue. Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, workers’ compensation, property, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, reinsurance and surety. Liberty Mutual Insurance (libertymutualinsurance.com) employs more than 50,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

Young Agents Chairman Daniel O’Neil, producer at Oklahoma Agents Alliance, and his wife, Jennifer O’Neil, commercial lines CSR at Oklahoma Business Insurors, welcomed Daniel Michael O’Neil IV on July 17. Daniel weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces and was 17.5 inches long. He is at home and thriving.

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POLICY Fall 2013


NEWSMAKERS

Mid-Continent Group promotes three to leadership positions Mid-Continent Group has named Jim Davis president and chief operating officer, succeeding Mike Coon, who will retire at the end of 2013.   Davis joined the company in 2009 as vice president of underwriting and was promoted to senior vice president in 2011. Before joining the company, he held various management positions with RLI, TIG, AIG/New Hampshire and Zurich, for a total of 30 years of leadership and property and casualty insurance experience.

ing and appointing new agency partners in key developing states.  Promoted to vice president in 2010, Gant has worked with all agency partners across the country, managing all contractual matters and agency relations. In his role as vice president of commercial underwriting, he will draw upon his 29 years of commercial underwriting experience and extensive marketing knowledge to continue to provide the company’s agent partners with fast, reliable and consistent service.

Jim Davis Davis holds a bachelor of science in mathematics from Eastern Illinois University, an MBA from DePaul University and an executive management training certificate from Northwestern University.  He also holds the chartered property casualty underwriter designation. With his wife, Denise, Davis currently lives in Broken Arrow. They have four daughters, Stacey, Andrea, Katelyn and Jamie, along with two grandsons, Davis and Liam.

John Gant

Belinda Ervin

Also promoted is John Gant, now vicepresident of commercial underwriting. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Gant began his underwriting career at Hartford, working through various underwriting positions with increasing responsibilities ranging from select to major accounts including supervisory responsibilities. He has been a member of the Mid-Continent team since 2000, playing vital roles in both the underwriting and marketing departments.  As a casualty underwriter for MidContinent, he worked closely with the company’s key agency partners in Oklahoma and Texas. In 2008, Gant assumed leadership of an expanding marketing department, focusing efforts on prospect-

The company has moved Belinda Ervin into the newly formed position of assistant vice president of product management and underwriting services within the commercial underwriting department.  She joins Mid-Continent leadership with more than 16 years of experience within the commercial underwriting and product management disciplines. Ervin holds the CPCU, CIC, ARM, ARe and INS professional designations and is also a faculty member and instructor for the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. She is acting president of the Dallas Chapter of CPCU and a graduate of the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, banking and finance. She has also worked toward an MBA degree in risk management at Walden University. In her new role with Mid-Continent, Ervin will assume direct responsibilities for all product management and underwriting service departments, including state filings/compliance, policy services, premium audit services and loss prevention services.  She will lead her teams to provide better product and service solutions to internal and external customers within the specialty casualty, marine and surety product lines.

POLICY

Fall 2013

25


lead ing

MAN Kathryn Jenson White managing editor

IIAO Chairman David Eaton is the owner of Advantage Insurance Group in El Reno. He steps into the association’s top volunteer leadership position as president/ CEO Dan Ramsey is preparing to retire in September 2014 and former Chief Operating Officer Susan Titus has resigned to focus on her health and work for a family business. Policy talked with Eaton about what he sees as the primary focus of this transitional year in office and found out a little about how insurance became his professional path. 26

POLICY Fall 2013

KJW

IIAO is in a state of transition from two longtime leaders and enjoying a high level of national recognition with two members holding national office. How does that reality shape the way you think about your upcoming year as IIAO leader? The impact is tremendous from both of those, of course. We are more visible with our national connections, and we are facing the challenge — over both my term and that of Mark Carlin, who is chairman next year — of finding a new president/CEO. We can’t replace Dan, but we have an opportunity to bring new ideas and approaches into IIAO. That can be a revitalizing event. The search committee has been meeting for six months, and we’re already getting résumés in and hope to start interviews in December or January. For many years, if Dan wasn’t working on something,

DE


IIAO Chairman David Eaton in front of his office in El Reno. The city is the only one in Oklahoma with an operating streetcar serving its downtown.

Susan was. She was central to many of our association’s functions. What makes this change manageable is that we have a strong staff in place and a solid organizational structure. Cathy Cinotto and the rest of the staff have assumed many of Susan’s duties.

KJW DE

In addition to the leadership changes, what else are you focused on for the

coming year? My intention this year is to continue developing our successful ongoing initiatives and working to meet our stated organizational goals. Of course, new leadership connects to both of those pretty closely, so we will look for an individual who, as our next CEO, can help us do those things. The search will be at the top of the list for all of us. The individual we hire must have strong interpersonal skills first and foremost. We understand that

our new president/CEO will have a major impact on staff. A smooth transition for the staff matters greatly to us. We would like to find someone with a legislative background, but we have a superb lobbyist to work with as we need to, so that’s not absolutely necessary. The real key for continuing success is growth in membership. In our planning session last week, we talked a lot about marketing of the association. Oklahoma still has non-member agencies we would benefit from including in our membership and who would benefit from joining us. We want to be as inclusive as possible. And we want to serve our existing members better, too. One of our goals is figuring out how to communicate successfully with agencies of all sizes and at various technological levels. We want to seek input from all and involvement in the association from as many as possible. That’s our continuing challenge. Continued on Page 28 POLICY Fall 2013

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Continued from Page 28

Eaton with his sons, who are both producers in the agency: Geoff Eaton (left) and Ryan Eaton (right).

Continued from Page 31 We also want to continue nurturing our relationships with our company partners. How to work together for our shared goals has become better defined in the last few years, and we want to continue to build on that. The supporting professional staff and volunteers make doing a good job possible. The support structure IIAO provides, even at this time of major leadership change, is a testament to how well it has been organized and what a strong foundation we have.

KJW DE

And how will your term affect the running of Advantage Insurance Group? I am incredibly blessed to have a personal and professional support system at home and in the office as well as in IIAO. My wife, Shanon, and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in September. We took all four children and their spouses to Las Vegas to renew our vows. We have seven grandkids and our eighth is due in January; that will make four boys and four girls for us. Everyone lives in El Reno. My two sons are in the agency with me. My older daughter is an R.N., and my younger daughter is the administrative assistant for a city manager. With all that help and support, I can safely focus on IIAO during this year.

KJW

It’s a rare thing to have a full family so close.

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POLICY Fall 2013

DE

I didn’t have that growing up, and it means a great deal to me now. I was one of four kids, but we were always living away from the family because my father was in the Air Force. Shanon grew up here, but I didn’t move to El Reno until I was 13. I lived in Newfoundland; Goose Bay, Labrador; and many other places.

KJW DE

Was insurance your first job?

No. I started out in life working for OTASCO. I had been there five years and was working 70-hour retail weeks. One day, the owner of one of El Reno’s five independent insurance agencies, The Gadberry-Meyer Agency, approached me about coming to work for him. He told me he wanted me to work with him for one year, at which time, if I liked it, he would give me the opportunity to buy 49 percent. I fell in love with the business. I told him I knew this would be my lifelong career, but I didn’t want to be a minority owner. He didn’t hesitate; he sold me the agency outright. He also had a savings and loan and a real estate agency, and he had no children to take over the insurance arm of his business. That was 1980, so I was 26. In 1982, the bank took over one of the other agencies, and I bought it. Then we acquired one of the remaining agencies as the owner retired and I rolled over his book of business. Eventually, there was just us and The Morris-Hopson Agency. The


YMCA, among other civic groups. I’ve also served as president of my church’s Parish Council. That involvement has helped us build a solid foundation in the community.

KJW DE

Eaton with Ann Frizzell, office manager/CSR

Fred S. James Agency bought that out and moved it to Oklahoma City. That left just us.

KJW DE

How many agencies are there in El Reno now? Don’t tell anyone, but while we have a couple of other agents doing some work in substandard auto and a couple other areas, we are the only full service independent agent in El Reno. We have positioned ourselves well, I am proud to say. We have served the community for more than 30 years now as insurance agents, and I have done my best to serve in other ways, as well. I’ve been president of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and

KJW DE

What led you to become involved in the leadership of IIAO? I was involved in the Young Agents Committee early on, but when it was just me and one part-time help, it was hard to get away. When I bought the agency, we had three children and then had our fourth soon thereafter. We had four children under the age of 7, so we had our hands full. I continued as a member, attending conferences and participating in some initiatives until about four or so years ago. I was honored and flattered to receive a phone call asking me to go on the board. Then a couple years later, Ed McGrath and I were riding together to a Day at the Capitol and he asked me whether I had thought about becoming part of the Executive Committee. Quite honestly, I had never thought of doing that. I had held many leadership positions, but I had just never seen myself in a leadership role in the association. I was kind of taken aback. I thought, ‘But that would mean I would be chairman of this association one day.’ Now, three years later, here I am. I am still kind of surprised to be in this position. How have your first weeks played out?

I am thoroughly enjoying the process of getting to know the staff and our board members better. We aren’t just members of the same association; we’re good friends. The experience of representing the association at events out of the state has been made even better by our national presence because of Bobby Bramlett and Vaughn Graham. Even with the significant task of helping find our new president/CEO, I’m looking forward to a great year for myself and for IIAO. POLICY Fall 2013

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AFTER

THE STORM

Those in Oklahoma’s insurance industry experienced Oklahoma’s deadly and destructive May 2013 tornadoes not only along with their fellow Oklahomans as victims of weather’s destructive capabilities, but also as key players on the team of first responders and professionals working on recovery and rebuilding. In this special section, Policy presents statistics telling the story financially and in other quantifiable ways and more human stories highlighting the impact on those in our industry and their responses not only as professional independent insurance agents but also as neighbors, family members, friends, colleagues and other roles in which they reached out to offer help or to accept it. In the numbers collected below, you will get a sense of the magnitude of the impact on our state and our industry as well as on the depth of compassion and generosity of those who provided aid. In the stories from the field, you will hear from your fellow IIAO members in their own words their experiences during those challenging days and weeks following the tornadoes. In the images provided from our members, you will see both the devastation of the tornadoes’ destruction and the inspiring efforts of concerned individuals working to offer help, provide comfort and support those in need. Stories condensed and edited by Kathryn Jenson White, Managing Editor

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POLICY Fall 2013

THANKS

NUMBERS CLAIM TYPE

CLAIMS RECEIVED

PAYMENTS MADE

MAY 19 & 20 Tornadoes Homeowners

21,320 $552,093,562

Auto (Private)

25,035

$94,886,333

1,146

$83,196,780

Commercial Auto

Commercial Property

579

$2,852,224

Other

968 $15,556,621

TOTAL

49,048 $748,585,521

MAY 30 & 31 Tornadoes

Homeowners

24,044 $187,065,992

Auto (Private)

14,152

$47,182,163

2,911

$79,968,683

643

$5,437,035

Commercial Property Commercial Auto Other

TOTAL

2,175 $16,542,997 43,925 $336,196,870

FEMA stats: More than $52.8 million in state and federal disaster assistance has been approved


story

Kathy Rose, Manager Universal Insurance Agency, Moore

A

fter one month in the insurance business in 1999, I experienced the first EF-5 tornado in Moore. As I look back, I see many similarities, mostly many improvements in response and a quicker system for recovery. In those 14 years, however, one thing has not changed; the tragedy of a storm of this magnitude and the ancillary damages it causes to an insurance agency, its staff and the insurance markets. Given this was the fourth tornado to hit Moore in my 14 years, I should know what to do and I should know how to act. I learned that was not the case. May 20 started out with caution. Those that live on the north side of Oklahoma City and in Edmond were in their shelters for three to four hours as a result of the tornadoes bouncing around and landing in the Shawnee area. It was a tense day. Around 2:30 p.m., all employees in our Moore office left to find shelter, and, more importantly, to gather their children. Two employees rode out the storm at the office. As I watched a live telecast from our Edmond office, I had no idea how anyone who worked for us was doing or whether they and their families had survived. We spent the rest of the day and long into the night making certain our co-workers and their families were alive. Some were crying as they recounted the loss of their homes, while many had not yet been reunited with their children attending Briarwood Elementary, one of the schools destroyed. Our office was not damaged, but we did not have electricity, phones or water. Of 25 employees, Horace Phillips and Tom Green (owners) brought four to the Edmond office the next day with laptops in hand to get to work. There is no time off for an insurance agency when our customers need us, and this was certainly that time. During this transition period, our staff members spent most of their time taking claims and assisting customers on where to go for help and what to do. Our insurance carriers were conscientious and informative every step of the way. The city of Moore was even more remarkable as we had

all of our services, though there were periods of interruption, up and running by the Thursday after the storm. Four employees had to seek housing elsewhere given the state of their homes, and five with homes on the perimeters of the storms lost all of their food and were in need of cleanup assistance. We helped get food, clothing and shelter to our colleagues as was needed as we also worked to ease the suffering of our insureds by finding information about available help and, more importantly, providing information from their insurance carriers. The financial stress was great, as families had to operate generators for two weeks and replace food for families of all sizes. It was cathartic for all of us living normally to help those who could not. After two weeks, our four displaced employees returned to work. It was a difficult task for them to take claim calls and to help others when their own lives had been so severely affected, but they did it. We were down only two employees, but for medical instead of storm-related reasons. The volume of work and the magnitude of the damage placed a strain on the entire staff. We had an occasional outbreak of frustration, but on the whole everyone was as brave and professional as they have always been. Many of our employees volunteered in the recovery efforts when they weren’t working. The insurance companies’ ability to keep us well informed on their processes was essential to our success. Donations poured in from all over the country for our agency staff. How blessed are we to work in an industry that understands what we are going through. One month after the storm, we experienced probably our most gratifying and proud moment. The four displaced employees found out that our tenant in Moore, a father of five, was in the same situation as they were. They took some of their gift cards over to him and paid it forward. As insurance professionals, we are all trained on how to handle the physical aspects and issues of our employees, but addressing the related emotional issues is much more challenging. No manual exists to explain how to help with profound sadness and anxiety, or to instruct on what to say when parents of children in Briarwood Elementary don’t want their children to go back to school. We learned all we could do was our human best to support and understand. Since May 20, our agency staff has experienced much. We have an engagement, a new baby and a cancer survivor to be thankful for, and, in all probability, one of our displaced employees is going back home this week. The numbers are easier to tally. The claim count from the 1999 tornado and this one are just two losses apart. However, the dollar amounts indicate the inflationary costs of construction. In 1999, our losses totaled around $30 million. Year to date, including reserves, they are $55 million. I am proud to be part of the independent agency system. I am in awe of the responsiveness and professionalism all of the carriers we represent have shown. I pray to God we will not have to go through this level of devastation again. POLICY Fall 2013

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story Terri Hestand, CIC, CISR Universal Insurance Agency, Moore

M

ay 20 was a typical day in the world of the Hestand family, me; my husband, Mo; my son, Dylan, 15; and my handicapped sisterin-law Bessie, who lives with us.  We were all at work or school.  Around 2:30 our boss came in to say a huge hailstorm was coming, and we could leave if we wanted to take our vehicles to cover. I left to pick up Dylan from Moore High School football practice. When I arrived at 2:45, the tornado sirens started going off, so we drove home the half-mile we had to go and immediately got into our neighbor’s cellar. It was 2:55. My husband, who was at work, called to find out where I was and tell me the tornado was large, deadly and headed straight for us and to get to the cellar ASAP. As I prayed for safety and for protection for my neighbor’s son, who was still at the junior high school,  my neighbor’s husband came running to the cellar telling us to get down and get the door shut because it was right there. The 10 of us in the cellar knelt. Our ears started popping, and we could hear debris hitting and glass breaking, along with the loud roar like a freight train was going over the top of us. Then it was quiet. We waited, wondering if we needed to stay and not open the door, afraid it wasn’t over. My neighbor Donnie had to leave to check on his son at school, so he opened the door upon a scene of many houses gone and our own houses heavily damaged. It was like a scene out of a movie and felt like a dream.  My husband drove up about 20 minutes later after parking several blocks away and running from where he parked because debris was all over the road. We all just hugged and cried. “Dad, where do we start?” my son asked.

“Bubba, I don’t know, but I know God will help us through this,” my husband replied. My husband, son and neighbors started finding and turning off all the gas meters they could and helping pull people out of what remained of their homes. The sounds of sirens, people screaming and hissing gas from all the broken lines was unnerving. Fortunately, we did not have any casualties in our neighborhood.  Bessie’s room was heavily damaged, which was upsetting for her. She was most distressed about the loss of her lamp, stuffed animals and bike. Several workshops for the handicapped donated money to help her replace those items, which she has loved picking out herself.  For a full week we worked 10 to 12 hour each day packing and moving as much out as possible. Our insurance company, Safeco, sent people out to help us pack, got us a hotel and then helped us find an apartment. I cannot express enough thanks for our neighbors, families, volunteers, Red Cross, Target, Wal-Mart, several churches and many, many others for helping with packing and cleanup and bringing supplies such as rakes, gloves, shovels, brooms, water, food, snacks and gift cards. Thanks, too, to the many that just stopped to talk to us and pray over me and my family. Being a part of the insurance industry has been amazing, as we have received so much help from all aspects of insurance. My wonderful family at Universal Insurance Agency has taken care of us every step of the way with emotional, physical and monetary help. They have offered this same kind of support to the three other women in our agency whose houses were severely damaged or leveled. 

Universal Insurance Agency’s staff, including Terri Hestand, had to support others while dealing with their own losses and living in a decimated community.

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Photo Steve Buchanan POLICY Fall 2013


Dan Ramsey, IIAO president/CEO, (center) presents a check for the IIAO Insurance Foundation to Universal Insurance Agency (Moore) staff who lost homes in the May tornadoes (from left): Kim Allred, CSR; Sunny Choate, claims/CSA; Terri Hestand, CL, CSA; and Tebra Thompson, CSR.

The last two months have been chaotic around Universal, to say the least, as we have worked to help all our insureds affected by the disaster. We have all held each other up and are getting through this together.  The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, Trusted Choice and many of our insurance companies sent gift cards and money from all over the U.S.  Many independent insurance agencies across the country have also sent gift cards and money.  I know I am missing someone we should be thanking, but I know this from very intense personal experience: The insurance world as a whole is a supportive and helpful community. My family and all those you have helped through this thank you. My husband’s work family at Pumps of Oklahoma has also been supportive, as have the Moore High School football team and staff and the South Lakes Soccer Club, who have helped my son out in many ways. The Work Activity Center in Moore has been a blessing for Bessie. It has been more than two months as I write this, and we are about three weeks from being home. The journey is not one I would wish upon anyone, but for us it is somewhat coming to a close. The emotional scars, I am afraid, will always be there, but my husband and I have lived our whole lives in Moore, and we love this town. We aren’t going anywhere; we will all get through this and rebuild as a community. MOORE STRONG! We praise you, God, for saving us for something bigger in your kingdom. We thank everyone who gave of his or her time and money and who remembered us in their prayers. To this great state of Oklahoma and to the tornado victims all around: May God bless you each and every one.

NUMBERS donations to REGIONAL FOOD BANK OF OKLAHOMA

Dan Ramsey

$250

John Swineford

$1,000

Frates Insurance & Risk Management

$1,000

Wilcox McGrath

$1,000

Eitzen Agency Inc.

$500

Advantage Insurance Group

$250

Fansher Stone & Hess

$250

Rich & Cartmill Specialty Insurance Managers of Oklahoma Sean Parker

$1,250 $10,000 $50

Helen Wolford

$1,000

William Minick III

$5,000

Julie Lambeth

$100

Tammy Bolinger

$100

Robin Keefer

$100

ECI $250 Margaret Hubbard Claybaker Crop Insurance

$500 $1,000

Montgomery IIA

$250

Alabama IIA

$750

Insurance Center Agency

$600

Dillingham Insurance

$1,000

Florida Association of Insurance Agents

$2,500

Bramlett Agency

$500

Magill IA

$100

CHUBB/golf winnings

$500

MJ Kelly-Partner Disc Kairos

$85

TOTAL $29,885

POLICY Fall 2013

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story

Houston International Insurance and the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston

H

IIAO Chairman David Eaton, Advantage Insurance Group, El Reno, loaded up his truck with supplies for El Reno residents.

story David Eaton, owner Advantage Insurance Group, El Reno

B

y the grace of God, the community of El Reno was spared on May 31 when the largest tornado on record — not that we knew it at the time — was headed in our direction. If what turned out to be a massive two-and- one-half-milewide collection of tornadoes had not made a sudden change in direction, it would have destroyed our community, taking many lives with it as well. We were saddened to hear of the loss of life and property this change in direction caused, but it could have been an even greater disaster. Although we were spared the devastation of a direct tornado hit, we did endure the largest hailstorm I have ever witnessed in my 34 years in this business. We had hailstones the size of baseballs, softballs and even cantaloupes. These hailstones came through our clients’ roofs and into their living rooms. There was very little questioning of damage when the mass of insurance adjustors converged on our town. They were quickly followed by the swarm of roofing contractors who suddenly wanted to be our best friends. Two months have passed since this extraordinary event. Our office is close to being back to normal after receiving and reporting more than 300 claims.

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POLICY Fall 2013

ouston International Insurance Group and the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston are no strangers when it comes to helping communities after natural disasters, so it was no surprise that after the May tornadoes, HIIG and IIAH teamed up to help their Oklahoma colleagues with a donation of $16,175. “The support of our employees across the nation was tremendous, and with the local support of Joe Kem, Oklahoma-based HIIG senior vice president, we were able to assist some very extraordinary relief groups in Moore and Carny,” said Byron Way, Houston-based HIIG senior vice president. Funding went to Serve Moore, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Habitat for Humanity, First Baptist Church of Moore, Crosstown Community Church and Operation Blessing. “Community service plays an important role in IIAH’s mission statement,” IIAH Executive Director Carole Shelton said. “We know how devastating it can be to rebuild from a tragedy such as the tornados that hit Moore. Our members immediately called for a relief drive through our IIAH Charitable Foundation to assist their fellow agents and other Moore residents.” Kem saw firsthand how great the need was for this kind of generosity. “There is still so much work to be done in these hard hit areas,” he said. “These funds will go a long way toward helping these folks get back on their feet.”

story Jeff Mann, president, and Steve Manning, marketing representative, MDOW Insurance Company and FarmAssure, Houston, set up temporary claims operations at First Baptist Church in Moore.


NUMBERS

donations to IIAO DISASTER RELIEF These donations were made to the IIAO Insurance Foundation to be distributed directly to members affected by the May tornadoes. Blake Stock, CEO, Combined Group, with a member of the White family, whose home was heavily damaged in the May 20th Moore tornado.

story

Combined Group, Dallas

C

ombined Group employees traveled from Dallas to Moore July 26 to spend a day volunteering with Serve Moore to lend a helping hand to our neighboring state. Even two months after the horrible tornado that hit Moore, we found much work to do. After a rainy morning, we were sent out on a work order to help the White family, whose heavily damaged home required the removal of all sheetrock, insulation, flooring and brick. Our Groupers got to work with crowbars, hammers, sledgehammers, wheelbarrows and shovels. An empty driveway slowly filled with a pile of demolition. The contractor told us the help Combined Group volunteers gave that day saved the homeowners $25,000 in demolition costs. That savings would allow them more money to invest in the rebuilding of their home. We were blessed to meet the homeowners and hear their story of that horrible day in May. It was rewarding to see the joy on their face — especially that of their young son — and to know that they are one step closer to returning to their home of 20 years. It was a good day for Combined Group volunteers; some expressed a desire to return on their own time to support other families in their time of need.

Mike Somers

$500

Fred Daniel & Sons

$100

Bainswest Inc.

$1,000

The Arrow Group

$1,000

Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance

$100

Allabama IIA

$750

Montgomery IIA

$250

United Fire Group

$750

Florida Association of Insurance Agents

$2,500

IIANC $10,000 Bramlett Agency

$500

Specialty Insurance Managers

$1,000

InsurBanc $500

TOTAL $18,950

donations to TRUSTED CHOICE DISASTER RELIEF The TC Disaster Relief Fund was established by the IIAA Educational Foundation of IIABA to assist others who have suffered losses due to natural or man-made disasters. The fund provides a way for the insurance industry to make financial contributions to aid victims of disasters. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) entity. Mid Continent

$7,000

Stephen & Melanie Pancoast

$250

Safeco/Liberty $5,000

TOTAL $12,250

Jeff Mann, president MDOW Insurance Company, Houston

M

DOW Insurance Company and MGA FarmAssure were proud to be the smallest participants to set up temporary claims operations at the First Baptist Church in Moore, following the massive

EF5 tornado. “We were warmly greeted by Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak when we arrived two days after the storm,” said Jeff Mann, president of MDOW and FarmAssure. “I think the commissioner was surprised that MDOW and FarmAssure sent the president of the company, but we wanted to signal our intent to participate fully in the recovery.” Although this was the first time the small home and farm insurers fielded a mobile claims unit, it was not

Mann’s first experience with an EF5 storm.The May 3, 1999, storm followed a similar path and destroyed the Del City home he grew up in. Mann’s parents narrowly survived the 1999 tornado, as it sucked up the roof, outer walls and mattress they had dragged to an interior hallway to protect themselves from debris. “This was an important time for me to pay it forward because the insurance industry had taken care of my family in 1999,” he said. MDOW and FarmAssure flew Mann and another employee from Houston to Dallas, where they rented an RV and drove to Moore. They stayed through the Memorial Day weekend and met with several insured customers to provide funds for living expenses when their homes were uninhabitable and to help answer questions in person. POLICY Fall 2013

35


story

Liberty Mutual, Oklahoma and Arkansas regional office

L

iberty Mutual’s Oklahoma and Arkansas regional office served BBQ and sides to more than 150 claims adjusters, local agents and their family members during an appreciation dinner in southwest Oklahoma City May 30. “This was our way of saying thanks to the men and women who make up such a vital part of our organization,” said Ron Hall, regional vice president for Liberty Mutual’s OKAR office. “Some of these adjusters had worked nine straight days by the time we held this dinner and had many more days of work still ahead of them.” Teams of U.S. CAT adjusters were part of the many hard working insurance professionals responding quickly to the May 20 tornado. They handled multiple claims for Liberty Mutual Commercial, Safeco and Liberty Mutual personal lines customers. Liberty Mutual Claims had adjusters at the site within 24 hours after the storm. It had a large RV dedicated to storm support on site within 48 hours. Adjusters came from as far away as California and New Jersey. It also deployed a catastrophe command center from Florida. “In this state, our agents have lived through events like these many times,” Hall said. “They come through under very difficult situations, providing the service and support their customers, neighbors and friends have come to rely on. “We’re proud to be partnered with such resilient and supportive people, and we’re committed to helping them maintain that level of dedication, trust and support to our mutual customers. The members of the OKAR regional office live here and are part of this community. Showing them how much we appreciate that was the right thing to do.”

S

story

cott McCraw, Progressive regional sales manager for Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, was in Moore May 20 after attending his daughter’s wedding. “I was trapped at my daughter’s house about a mile from the funnel cloud,” McCraw says. “The sky was clear except for an eerie gray cloud, accompanied by a loud, roaring noise.” The next day, the news relayed stories about Plaza Towers and Briarwood elementary schools, which were destroyed. People across the country read about children and their teachers cowering in restrooms for shelter. Many families lost everything but the clothes they wore. Seeing this, members of Scott’s Oklahoma agency sales team felt a need to help the Moore community. The team came up with the idea of offering a pre-release screening of “Despicable Me 2” to the students of the two schools. An email about their idea found its way to Wanda Shippy, social responsibility and community outreach manager. She presented the idea to Progressive’s marketing team. “Through our partnership with Universal Studios, we negotiated 10 pre-screenings of the

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POLICY Fall 2013

Liberty Mutual/Safeco Insurance presented a company check to the IIAO Insurance Foundation for distribution to members affected by the May tornadoes. Additionally, Liberty’s employees in the Pacific Region, Business Insurance-Aliso Viejo, Calif., office contributed $540 worth of Target and WalMart gift cards with personal notes attached for distribution to Oklahomans. Photo: from left, Paul Jones II, regional Manager, Safeco Insurance; Kevin Link, vice president, regional general manager, Safeco Insurance; Dan Ramsey, IIAO president/CEO, Ron Hall, regional vice president, Liberty Mutual; James Becker, regional claims manager, Safeco Insurance.

Progressive

movie,” Senior Media Manager Diane Schiever says. “Six were earmarked for employee events in major Progressive cities, so I contacted Universal about using three of the remaining screenings for the families of students who attended Plaza Towers and Briarwood. Universal thought it was a great idea and got the ball rolling on its end.” Universal reached out to the Moore Warren Theater to arrange the special screenings for July 2. This gave the team about a week to get the project organized. Shippy coordinated the details of the screening with the principals of both schools and the Moore donation center, a clearinghouse for donations, requests and other offers of assistance for the city. Together, they contacted all the Plaza Towers and Briarwood families, as well as other families in the area. “It was an incredible example of teamwork and a desire to do something for the community to pull off an event of this size in a week’s time,” Shippy says. When Scott and his team arrived at Moore High School the day before the screening to hand out tickets, they found about 200 eager, excited and grateful people waiting. In three hours, event volunteers handed out 700 to 800 tickets.

“A local morning TV news show got wind of the event and broadcast the story,” McCraw says. “It was also posted on Facebook. The morning of the screenings, my team went to the theater to get set up. We were greeted by 100 to 200 more people who’d been waiting in line for some time and were thrilled to get tickets.” Overall, Scott’s team handed out more than 1,500 special commemorative tickets for three showings. As families entered the theater, they were greeted by cutouts of Flo and the Minions. Folks posed for photos with the cutouts and kids received activity sheets and coloring books. Parents approached McCraw and his team to say how thankful they were for the movie and the gifts. Scott gave a quick talk to the audience before each screening to thank everyone for attending. The crowds thanked him with loud, enthusiastic applause. “I actually started to tear up,” he says. “Their gratitude was overwhelming. We had no desire for publicity from this, but we had a huge desire to do something for the community. The movie gave everyone some time to relax, enjoy themselves and forget about the storms. We’re humbled by the community’s strength and thankfulness.”


story

Tebra Thompson, API, CISR Universal Insurance Agency, Moore

W

hile the losses of May are difficult to move beyond, I am thankful to be an employee of Universal Insurance Agency, which gave me two weeks of paid leave to start rebuilding our lives. My employers and fellow employees were my lifelines for sorting through the systems put in place to help those of us displaced by the tornado. From questions about how and where to get our mail to accessing various aid options, Universal had the answers or found someone who did. My family and I are blessed to have experienced such an outpouring of financial support from IIAO and too-manyto-count others in the insurance industry. As I remember the day this journey began, my daughter and I bolted out of the house at 149th and Eagle Drive, the first street south of Plaza Towers School, as we realized what was coming. As we jumped into our car, our ears popped and everything was dead calm around us. When we hit 149th and Eagle, the tornado was on the ground at Sante Fe. We drove south to Tecumseh Road and circled back around to go home. We arrived at 149th and Western about 10 minutes after the tornado went over I-35.  We had to park there and walk down 149th to our home. I will always see the images from that walk, as I stepped over metal, wires, pieces of roofs, dead animals and trees. I saw terror on the faces around me. Injured people walked down the roads, and children huddled in groups around, often, one adult. The most powerful image I have is of the dads in suits running down the street stricken with fear and panic to find their families. As I walked into our neighborhood, I started crying. My neighbors’ and friends’ homes were gone. The babies at Plaza Tower were being pulled from the school, some of them lifeless.  The EMTs, firefighters and police officers already on the scene were calm, but I could see tears in

their eyes and fear on their faces.  My home was destroyed.  Everything in it was gone or damaged beyond use. I immediately began searching for Maggie, our dog, whom we found safe. I stayed at the house for hours waiting because I knew my husband and my sons would come looking for me.  No calls or texts could come in our go out. When we finally left, it took us three and a half hours to get out of the city. Our lives have changed dramatically. I used to go home for lunch every day. I can no longer do that. I drive 25 minutes to and from work now; it used to be seven. I have a landlord for the first time in 15 years. My 3-year-old granddaughter asks often if we are going to the old house to get her toys. But, on a brighter note, the simple act of finding a pond near our little rental house has helped with our recovery. My husband often took our grandchildren fishing at the pond near our home; to be able to continue that tradition has been a real pleasure. When Mandalay Homes learned about difficulties we were experiencing, they reduced the rate on the home they plan to build for us. And a co-worker found a company to do slab removal for half the price we thought we would have to pay. Once our claim is settled, our builder tells us we will have our new home in eight months. Our paperwork is all in to the mortgage company and our insurance carrier, so we’re on the way. Again, my gratitude to all those in the insurance industry and beyond who have helped us during this challenging time. We will never forget it.

IIAO members who lost homes or had partial losses and benefitted from donations

Terry Hestand/Universal

Tebra Thompson/Universal

Kim Allred/Universal

Sunny Choate/Universal

Gelnda Stark/Insurance Agency of Mid America

Jacquie Ford/Wilcox McGrath

Debbie Johns/Insurica

Malinda Day/IIAO Safeco brought $540 in gift cards that were distributed to members affected.

NUMBERS DISASTER RELIEF 2013

Regional Food Bank Trusted Choice Disaster Relief IIAO Disaster Relief

$29,635 $12,250 $18,950

TOTAL $60,835

POLICY Fall 2013

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story

Stephanie Ruminer, Director of Operations Gallagher Benefit Services, Edmond

T

he night of the May 20 tornado, we received numerous emails, phone calls and texts from our offices throughout the region inquiring about our employees. Pat Gallagher, chairman, president and chief executive officer, inquired regularly regarding the status of our employees and asked that we keep him updated. Over a series of weeks we sent out updates to the entire South Central Region on Barb Mitchell, an employee who lost her home. Within three to four weeks, we raised $15,000 to help her replace her belongings. Several very generous checks arrived from our corporate office in Illinois, as well. It began on the morning of May 21, when we sent an email explaining that Barb’s home was gone and asking those who wanted to help to send donations to our office. In part, that email read as follows: “We are taking up a fund to help her with basic living necessities, if you would like to help:  please remit checks, gift cards or cash to the attention of Joyce Roberts in our office. We have received numerous emails, texts, and inquiries last night and today.  We can’t tell you how great it is to see everyone be so proactive, pulling together and supporting each other through this: That’s the Gallagher Way. We will keep you advised as we get additional details from her family, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they begin rebuilding.” Barb had been concerned about her pets, which she couldn’t find in the immediate aftermath of the tornado. On May 22, we were glad to send out this update: “Thanks again for everyone’s generosity and support during Barb’s time of need. She found her pets, and they are all fine :)   She is picking up her dog, Lucky, this morning at one of the many rescues that are helping out. She stopped by the office this morning and was presented with the donations received so far. ‘Completely overjoyed and grateful’ don’t even begin to describe her emotions.”

thanks This letter accompanied $540 in gift cards

We first want to express with our empathy for those in Oklahoma City, Moore and other cities upon which the May storms had such a major impact. These catastrophic tornadoes, which have affected more than 33,000 people have, we know devastated many Oklahoma residents. However, they have also created a sense of patriotism and unity in all Americans. Our hearts are with the families who have suffered loss. We understand the immeasurable value in one’s loved ones and pets, as well as the emotional and financial value in personal belongings and homes. We are extremely relieved our Oklahoma affiliates were far enough from the tornado’s destructive path to avoid fatalities. While some

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POLICY Fall 2013

Barb sent a moving thank-you letter to the Gallagher staff. Here are selections from that: “I would like to tell each and every one of you who have contributed, said prayers for me, called me or emailed me how overwhelmed I am by your generosity and support. I had no idea what it would be like to lose Rubble is all that’s left of the home of Barb everything. It’s certain- Mitchell, account manager, small group, of ly not easy.  But  this Gallagher Benefit Services in Edmond. Photo by Barb Mitchell is a new “adventure” God has given me, and I will come through it even stronger than before. “With all of your help, I will be able to rebuild (on my lot as soon as I can finalize the debris removal and secure a builder!!) The plans include a tornado shelter. I can’t describe for you what it feels like to have my co-workers, the WHOLE South Central Region and many Itasca-based employees have my back!  It’s amazingly overwhelming, and I can’t say thank you enough! Gallagher is a great place not just to work, but to “be.” We are a family, and that is abundantly clear to me.”  As of early August, we learned that Barb now had the slab removed and has signed a contract with a builder who is projecting she’ll be in her home by Christmas of 2013.    

From Liberty Mutual Insurance, Aliso Viejo Office employees were direct victims of material loss, many others indirectly absorbed the difficulties their families and friends experienced.

Within one week, we gathered 22 Target cards and 25 Wal-Mart cards totaling $540 in donations.

We are proud that Liberty Mutual was intensely involved in organizing relief efforts for their agency network. Oklahoma-based Underwriter I Carolie Cremer helped bring order to the chaos surrounding your communities. She praised the selfless acts she saw displayed. California-based Samantha Boschn, an underwriting development program associate, and Ron Hall, regional manager BI in Oklahoma, helped coordinate assistance.

All of us continue to follow Oklahoma’s recovery. This relief coordination reminds us how national pride brings all Americans together in times of need, regardless of geographic proximity.

The Aliso Viejo office decided to collect $10 gift cards for Target and Wal-Mart, so victims could walk to nearby stores to purchase necessities. The initial response in Aliso Viejo was greater than we could have anticipated.

Please distribute these gift cards in the way that best supports your ongoing efforts for local victims. We genuinely hope these gift cards provide not only financial assistance bit also some sense of optimism and recognition of the concern we feel. Sincerely, Employees of the Pacific Region, Business Insurance, Aliso Viejo


FEATURE

President/CEO search committee undertakes task of replacing Dan Ramsey

W

ith President/CEO Dan Ramsey’s plans for retirement now in place, our search committee is in full swing. Our job is to find a president/CEO who will not only continue the successes that our association is defined by, but also continue to build on them. I would like to share our timeline and strategy for hiring a new leader for our association. We began by forming a succession committee of past presidents and board members: Bob Bramlett, Mike Ross, David Eaton, Jenny Wood and Mark Carlin. We have had initial meetings resulting in a timeline and a list of attributes necessary for our next CEO. We have hired a consultant to assist in keeping us on task, finding qualified candidates and determining the best fit

from among the many qualified candidates we know we will hear from. Our next step is to get the word out to those potential candidates. We need you, our members, to help us find those candidates. Please send names and/or résumés of anyone you believe would be a good candidate to any member of the search committee. We have targeted Oct. 15, 2013, as the deadline for all names and résumés. At that time, we will begin the vetting process and interviewing the cream of the crop. Top candidates will have strong management and communication skills and a big-picture financial understanding, They will be visionaries as well as planners. They will possess insurance knowledge. We are looking for someone of the highest integrity, of course. Legislative experience will be Continued on Page 44

Mark Carlin, CIC IIAO CHAIRMAN-ELECT Cole, Paine & Carlin, OKC

POLICY Fall 2013

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FEATURE

Continued from Page 43 a big plus. We will conduct the first round of interviews this fall/ winter. In winter/spring, our consultant will perform background checks, run Caliper tests and check references. Our goal is to have a candidate hired by late spring, with a June start date. A June start date will allow for a three-month transition overlap before Ramsey departs, so he can provide guidance for our new leader. We have met with the staff and are including them in the process, as they are an integral part of all that we do. We are looking forward to the opportunities ahead of us. With the help of our membership, I know our committee will find our next great leader.

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POLICY Fall 2013

Our goal is to have a candidate hired by late spring, with a June start date. A June start date will allow for a threemonth transition overlap.


Research shows insurance agents need to increase focus on life insurance

L

ife insurance can do some pretty amazing things for people. It can buy loved ones time to grieve. It can pay off debts and loans, providing surviving family members with the chance to move on with a clean slate. It can keep families in their homes and pre-fund a child’s college education. It can keep a family business in the family. It can provide a stream of income for a family to live on for a period of time. Life insurance can do all of these wonderful things for a family, but there’s just one small catch: You need to own life insurance. We face a growing crisis around the reality that too many Americans do not have adequate life insurance protection. According to the industry research group LIMRA, 30 percent of U.S. households have no life insurance whatsoever. Today, 11 million fewer American households are covered by life insurance than were covered six years ago. Here’s the bottom

line: A majority of families either have no life insurance or not enough, leaving them one accident or terminal illness away from a financial catastrophe for their loved ones. Whether you already knew the information above or not, I have a question for you. Have you considered adding life insurance to your portfolio of services but not been sure where to start? I encourage you to investigate how you can help your business by showing your clients their options in terms of life insurance. My hope for all is that your other lines of business keep you busy enough that you can’t even think of adding anything else to your already full plate, but I’m betting that this isn’t true for anyone reading this. Consider the following: • 44 percent of U.S. households say they need more life insurance

FEATURE

Zack Taber PRINCIPAL

Taber Brokerage Services

Continued on Page 46

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EagleEZLife.com helps you service your clients faster, which makes you look like a true expert in their eyes. There’s no cost, no risk, or commission reduction. It simply couldn’t be easier. Visit EagleEZLife.com with your next application. Or, give us a call today at 800-627-3100 with questions. You’ll be amazed at how “EZ” life can be.

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POLICY POLICY Fall 2013

45


FEATURE

Continued from Page 45

IIAO Half

• 27 percent of U.S. households plan to buy insurance in the next year According to LIMRA, these things are also true about potential life insurance cusomers: • 41 percent of recent shoppers say life events like marriage, children, buying a house, etc. motivated them to shop for life insurance. • Among consumers who said they wanted to review their coverage or thought they might need more, half shopped for life insurance. • When life insurance is suggested, either by a financial professional or through advertising, 37 percent of people surveyed shopped for life insurance. That last bullet alone should get you excited about adding life insurance to your portfolio of services. Working with clients to find life insurance to fit their needs will not only page ad:Layout 1 7/24/2009 11:14 AMalso Page help them prepare for the future, it will help1secure

How can you help your clients learn about life insurance options while helping your business? the future of your business. I can cite several specific benefits to focusing some of your attention on life insurance. • Increased client retention: Studies show that adding life insurance to a client’s portfolio can help increase the likelihood that she or he will keep her or his business with you.

  

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FEATURE

• Additional agency revenue: In addition to life insurance premiums paid, the improved retention that often comes with the life insurance sales can help increase your agency’s revenue stream and help your business grow. • Higher client satisfaction: As clients buy additional policies or financial products, they often report a higher level of satisfaction with their insurance professional. More client satisfaction can translate into more referrals and longer-lasting relationships. Now that we have your attention, you might be wondering how you are going to get started. When you are ready to start selling life insurance, the best place to look for new 7.5 x is4.625 clients your current book of business. The advantage of focusing on this segment is that you have already earned jgs_umbrella_7.4x4.625v1 your exsisting cusomers’ trust, which makes it easier to 2012 pivot to a discussion about their life insurance needs. Transitioning to a discussion about life insurance is easy

if you watch for key life events that can make a client more likely to purchase or increase his or her life insurance coverage. Some events that often motivate clients to re-evaluate their life insurance needs include getting married; buying a new home or car, which increases debt; having a baby; or starting a new job. In addition, remember that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. The life insurance industry developed this awareness campaign to draw attention to the benefits of life insurance for individuals, businesses and estate planning. Several insurance industry leaders market the awareness campaign in the public domain to support a coordinated effort to gain the attention of consumers. September is a great time to start a dialogue with your clients if you haven’t already done so. And if by the time you read this, it’s October or later, that’s a great time, as well. In fact, there is not a bad time to begin focusing on life insurance as part of your portfolio of products.

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POLICY Fall 2013

47


IIAO MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

IIAO:

V

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POLICY Fall 2013

V

ari

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Thank y ou sent to o so very much for the b ur office ea for the 7 receptio 5th Ann utiful plant tha n was a ty su ive surprise d. We so ccess, and my m rsary celebrat ou ion. The apprecia om and Agency, da te La his sche wton and IIAO d Mr. Larry Nea d were very dule to c board m l (Neal I ome and ember) ns f o celebrat r taking urance  Mr. Nea e time fro w ith us an la m d repres of the as sked me how m ent IIAO sociatio any yea .  n and I a r question m sorry s we have been . I member that I co (lol). My did tell him pr s uld ob d rememb ad said we have ably from the b not answer tha e t er. That g inning o is somet been members spare tim f t im e a hing tha s far bac e.  t I plan ka t o research s he can  I will te in my ll y are prou ou that althou gh d events in members of IIA we are a small, O.  We w rural ag t ere able en all mate he past than w t e o attend cy, we ria h more apprecia ls, publications ave been in rec e te all th at you a and emails. Ple nt years, but I r a n ead s d e IIAO do We are s for the a know that we o blesse gents.        dt be able t o call yo o have you repr u our fr esenting iend.  us with IIAO and to Pa m S i m mons J. Elmer Castle A gency, M angum, O kla.

NEW MEMBERS

Alliance Benefit Group, Inc.

Redland Roofing

Muskogee, Okla.

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Giaudrone Insurance Inc.

FarmAssure

McAlester, Okla.

Houston, Texas

Mavros Insurance Group Edmond, Okla.

48

in a

f o ety

ays


Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Oklahoma City, OK Permit No. 1659

PO Box 13490 Oklahoma City, OK 73113

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405-202-8102


Policy Magazine, Fall 2013  

The official magazine of the Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma.

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