Big “I” Offers New Training Series for Startup Agencies and New Agency Owners

Over the past few years, the Big “I” Diversity Task Force has met with agency owners from across the country to learn about the challenges they face within their businesses. One of the main obstacles they voiced was their inability to gain appointments with top carriers—which paved the way for the new four-part Right Start Training Series: An Agency Toolkit to Grow Your Business and Gain Appointments

This training series, which starts June 29, gives new agency owners and startup agencies the tools and techniques they need to not only gain but also retain appointments with top carriers. A certificate of completion will be provided at the conclusion of the series to participants that have attended all four sessions.

Click here to register and learn more.


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Rick Dudney to Serve as IIAT Chair

New board members and officers were introduced during IIAT’s annual business meeting in Fort Worth on June 17. Rick Dudney, CIC, LRM, CRM, of TCOR Management in New Braunfels, was elected as IIAT chair for 2017-2018. Jeff Brady of Brady, Chapman, Holland & Associates in Houston, will serve as chair-elect; and Mark Ray of Borden Insurance in Corpus Christi, will serve as vice-chair.

Elected to the board of directors for three-year terms each were William Page of Wortham Insurance in Austin; Brad Hempkins of Hempkins Insurance in Allen
and Nathan Sawyer of Sawyer & Associates in Monahans.

Go to’s Press Room to read more about the officers and board members.


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Award Winners Honored at Annual Conference

U.S. Senator John Cornyn Receives IIAT Independent Leadership Award
IIAT’s Governmental Affairs Director Lee Loftis presented Sen. John Cornyn with the IIAT Independent Leadership Award at the Annual Celebration & Business Luncheon on Saturday, June 17, during IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show in Fort Worth. This award is given to outstanding individuals who demonstrate profound leadership in the spirit of independence — the hallmark of the independent agency system.

Sen. Cornyn has served the people of Texas for the last three decades, first as a district judge and later as a member of the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Attorney General. Sen. Cornyn strongly believes that we need more Texas solutions in Washington, which is why he consistently fights to bring the Lone Star State’s commonsense solutions to the federal level.

“Those who have had the privilege of knowing and working closely with Senator Cornyn know him to be a strong leader, as is reflected in his being selected as the Senate Majority Whip, where he skillfully leads without being overbearing or heavy handed,” said IIAT Governmental Affairs Director Lee Loftis. “Senator Cornyn is a true Texan and someone who has earned the respect and admiration of those whom he leads.  In Washington, this is a very rare distinction”

André P. Juneau ELITExas Young Professional of the Year Award
Tyler Spears of BKCW in Austin was named the André P. Juneau Young Professional of the Year. This award is given annually to a young insurance professional who has achieved success through hard work, community engagement and industry participation in a manner that would be considered exceptional for a person of his or her age.

CSR of the Year Award
Cheryl Rogers, account manager at K&S Insurance in Rockwall, was named the CSR of the Year. This award is given annually to a CSR in Texas who exemplifies outstanding leadership and service to the independent agency system and to the public.

Read more about the award winners and their accomplishments.


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Thanks to 2017 Annual Conference Underwriters and Sponsors

IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show was a success due in part to the generous contributions of numerous conference underwriters and industry sponsors. Be sure to thank representatives from our sponsoring companies the next time you see them. Each year, they help make the conference special.

Special thanks go to IIAT’s lead underwriters: 

  • VIP Insurance
  • Union Standard Insurance Group
  • Republic Group
  • United Fire group
  • Allied Trust
  • Mercury Brokerage Group
  • Central Insurance Companies
  • Service Lloyds
  • Texas Mutual Insurance Company
  • AmTrust North America
  • Travelers
  • Safeco Insurance
  • State Auto Insurance Companies
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Capstone Associated Services


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View Pictures from IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show


View photos from IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show.


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The Importance of Pre-Call Planning

A recent Texas Agent article on “seeking first to understand” stressed the importance of listening during an opening appointment. This article extends that concept to pre-call planning even before the opening appointment is secured. Good pre-call planning enables you to learn about a prospective customer’s concerns, business agenda, business pressures, and key decision-makers which can be used in networking, drip marketing, cold-calling and to set the agenda for the opening appointment.

Useful Information to consider:
(Taken from the Pre-Call Planning Primer in IIAT’s Sales Management Toolkit)

  • Organizational overview including organizational mission, vision and values as well as number of employees, geographic scope, revenues
  • Names of key decision-makers or potential influencers inside and outside the company
  • Relationships of key decision-makers to other organizations, industries, community
  • News about recent product or operational developments, key hires, acquisitions
  • Information about subsidiaries, branches, and other business relationships
  • Prospect’s target client segments
  • Prospect’s competitive value proposition in promotional material
  • Prospect’s competition or competitors
  • Vendors serving prospect
  • Company’s position within the industry
  • Industry’s growth or decline in recent years
  • Industry’s operational, political, economic, or regulatory issues

Sources of information:

  • Company materials (i.e., website, brochures, annual reports, erc.)
  • Mutual centers of influence, vendors
  • Industry resources (i.e., trade group/association websites, publications, etc.)
  • Government resources –,,,,
  • Free or inexpensive resources –  Google the company/key decision-makers,;
  • Telemarketing – use an external or internal telemarketer to gather information


Time is running out to sign up for this summer’s Producer Development Program, sponsored by Texas Mutual.

Students get a solid foundation in commercial insurance and learn how to apply the knowledge in selling situations. The program includes five days of technical training in commercial lines, five days of sales and marketing training and two-and-a-half days dedicated to guidance on building a quality book with mandatory ethics training for all licensees. The first segment starts July 10. View the curriculum and register today.

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Register for FEMA Flood Insurance Webinars for Agents this month for FREE!


Earn CE with this month’s FEMA Flood Insurance Webinars for Agents Presented by the National Flood Insurance Program. The webinars are available for FREE on a first come, first served basis.

Key Fundamentals of Flood Insurance for Agents

Part One: June 28, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CDT – Register
Part Two: June 29, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CDT – Register

This webinar is a two-part course on the National Flood Insurance Program. It includes the topics listed in the Federal Register notice on training and education requirements related to Section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, otherwise known as FIRA 2004.

It brings participants the latest information on reform legislation impacting the NFIP as it reviews the key elements that insurance agents need to know about the NFIP and how it works. It also discusses many of the federal flood program’s general rules as well as some more advanced topics. For more information visit the Key Fundamentals of Flood Insurance overview.

Attendees must complete both sessions in order to cover all topics required by the Flood Insurance Reform Act (FIRA) of 2004.

Questions? Contact Aaron Montanez at

FEMA Mapping Changes: How to help your clients make the transition

June 29, 2-4 p.m. CDT – Register (No Continuing Education credits are offered for this course in any state.)

This webinar provides insurance agents a practical look at how FEMA flood map changes can affect property owners in their roles as flood insurance policyholders as well as borrowers.

Find out how to ease the transition to new flood maps for your clients. Learn how to provide better service to them by understanding how mapping changes affect policy rates, premiums, and the mandatory purchase of flood insurance.

This course will also review flood mapping issues related to Letters of Map Change and the Newly Mapped procedure. Enroll in an upcoming session and learn how to best help your clients both before and after map changes occur.

If you have questions regarding NFIP Training, please email

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See You in Fort Worth! A Plethora of Prizes and Sen. Cornyn Closes Out the Conference on Saturday

We’re packing up and heading to Fort Worth tomorrow for IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show which kicks off Thursday at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Here are a couple of things you might want to take note of for the conference:

Prize drawings galore!
We will be giving away a $250 attendance prize at all conference sessions, plus, we’ll have a $500 attendance prize drawing at the Thursday afternoon session, “The Greatest Industry that No One Knows About,” and at the Friday morning general session, “Be Your Own Superhero.” Additionally, a total of four lucky attendees will win $500 each at the Trade Show on Friday and Saturday. Make sure you are at all these events for a chance to win!

ELITExas sessions for young professionals
ELITexas is hosting a special conference track just for young insurance professionals age 40 and under. Click here to take a look at the special ELITExas schedule. Here’s why you or your agency’s young agents should come to the ELITExas sessions at the conference:

  • Learn how to go from agency producer to partner.
  • Discover the mentality you must have to become an agency owner.
  • Find out how to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities insurance professions provide.
  • Meet potential new hires for your agency (insurance students and other young professionals outside the industry will be in attendance to learn about the insurance industry)
  • Learn effective recruitment strategies to attract new talent into the industry and explore how to dynamically promote our industry to young job seekers.


Senator Cornyn speaks at the Saturday Celebration Lunch.
Big “I” President Bob Rusbuldt will host a candid conversation with U.S. Senator John Cornyn to close out the conference at the Celebration & Business luncheon on Saturday afternoon starting at noon. You won’t want to miss this exclusive chance to hear a top U.S. legislator discuss the salient issues of the day:

  • Healthcare reform,
  • Tax reform/reductions
  • Flood insurance reauthorization (expires in September)
  • The challenges facing the Republican majorities in Congress, and more!

Download the conference app.
Everything you need to know about the conference — including agendas, speakers, attendees, exhibitors, and much more — is in the IIAT mobile app. If you haven’t yet, please go to the iTunes or Google Android app store on your mobile device and search for “IIAT” to download the app.

Still haven’t registered to attend? You can register for the conference on-site at the Fort Worth Convention Center.


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Free MarshBerry Webcast: Creating an Agency Sales Culture

Register to view a free webcast hosted by MarshBerry and IIAT on Tues., June. 27 (10-10:30 a.m.).

Predictable, profitable, organic growth requires focus on the “three T’s” critical to driving changes within your organization’s culture. During the webcast, MarshBerry VP Nick Kormos will tell you about the three “T’s” and what you need to do to implement them. There is no CE for this webinar.

Click Here to Register

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2017 Company Appointment Guide Now Available Online

IIAT staff recently surveyed IIAT member insurance companies in Texas to update their agency appointment strategies, resulting in the 2017 edition of IIAT’s Company Appointment Guide. Find out which companies are considering additional agency representation in various parts of the state.

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