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 National Big I Recognizes States' Legislative Efforts (5/14/2020) 
   

National Big ‘I’ Recognizes States' Legislative Accomplishments

For many independent agents, political activism is part of daily life—not just a once-a-year visit to Washington, D.C. Today, during the 2020 Virtual Big “I" Legislative Conference, the Big “I" presented three awards to honor legislative involvement in the states.

The Big “I" gave the 2019 Sidney O. Smith Award—the association's highest honor for legislative activism—to Chris Heidrick, principal, Heidrick & Company, Sanibel, Florida. Heidrick has been chair of the Big "I" Flood Insurance Task Force since 2014. As one of the foremost experts on this issue, he has been called upon numerous times to testify before Congress on behalf of the Big "I." Members of Congress have sought out his expertise on the issue as they grapple with reforming and modernizing the NFIP. Heidrick is a perennial participant in the Big "I" Legislative Conference and state lobbying days. Year after year he is also a major donor to InsurPac while encouraging others to participate as well.

The 2019 Herndon Award went to the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana (IIAI) for successfully encouraging members to run for state elected office. The IIAI has members in both the state Senate and Indiana House of Representatives, including the Majority Leader. The state association has consistently increased its support for InsurPac, including an increase in its number of major donors. Additionally, IIAI has increased the number of agents that attend the Big "I" Legislative Conference year in and year out and successfully and effectively launched grassroots when called upon.

Finally, the Big “I" also honored Greg Sandrock with the 2019 Barney Burns Award for tireless advocacy for political involvement, not just in his state, but throughout the country. As chair of the Big “I" Crop Insurance Task Force, he has specifically engaged crop insurance agents to be greater supporters of InsurPac, as well as to attend the Legislative Conference. In her presentation earlier today, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) recognized Sandrock for his work. She thanked him for “representing Illinois on the Big 'I' Board and for your work on crop insurance." Sandrock has traveled on his dime to heavy crop states to speak at various conventions and conferences, all while educating attendees about what the Big "I" is doing to protect the Federal Crop Insurance Program and why political engagement is so important to keep lobbying effort strong.  He has used those venues to encourage InsurPac support, putting his money where his mouth is by maxing out each year himself.


 Agent Adopts from South Korea (5/11/2020) 
   

Agent Adopts from South Korea

John Hetrick and his wife Kelsey knew their child was out there somewhere, but a year ago they had no idea where. In November 2018, Hetrick, an owner at Tanner & Servies Insurance, decided with his wife that they wanted to adopt. They began the process assuming they would choose a domestic option, but after attending a meeting at their adoption agency they knew that South Korea was the right place for them. They were warned that it could take years and cost between $40,000 and $50,000, but despite those intimidating hurdles, the couple moved forward with the full support of their friends and family. 

In an unexpected twist, Mennonite Mutual Insurance Company raised $1,700 with its annual staff silent auction to help the Hetricks with the adoption costs. The unexpected gift was presented by Hetrick’s friend, Mennonite field underwriter Rick Nystrand. “We love being able to partner with agencies and work to create a new perspective of what insurance companies are,” Nystrand said. “Mennonite’s goal is to strengthen, restore and protect, and we love it when we have a chance to help our agency partners in some way.”

The Hetricks completed a home study and background checks and were prepared for the long wait ahead of them when they got a surprising call. Just one year and two months after starting the process, their son, Jackson Dahyeon, was waiting for them in a foster home in Seoul, South Korea. Jackson, 3, is older than many children who are adopted from the country. Most are less than two years old and so the South Korean adoption system worked to rush his adoption through quickly so he could get to his forever home faster.  

Soon they found themselves braving the 13 hour flight to visit him for the first time in December 2019. They were required to visit the country twice and go in front of a judge before they could officially adopt him. Some countries require a six-week visit before you can adopt, which was one of the reasons South Korea was a better fit for the couple. While in South Korea, the Hetricks had dinner with another American couple who were there adopting for the third time. They’d connected through an online support group and were able to get tips and feel a bit more prepared for the road ahead of them. 

That first visit was full of joy as they met their son, but it was also heartbreaking. They had to fly home, leaving him on the other side of the world, knowing it would be weeks before they could see him again. “It was gut-wrenching. We had two visits with him and just fell in love and then we had to leave,” Hetrick said. “Words can’t explain how hard that was.” Jackson’s foster parents had worked hard to prepare him. They made sure he would know who his parents were by showing him photos of the Hetricks and explaining what was going to happen.  

In January they flew back and officially took custody of Jackson. As their cab pulled away from the adoption agency and the only family he had known, their hearts ached for his loss, but they knew a bright future was ahead. After spending a short time in South Korea, they headed home. Before they had even reached the United States Jackson was calling them “Mom and Dad”. The toddler has adjusted well to life in America and his parents are glad to live near West Lafayette where there is a thriving Korean community. They are already planning to adopt from South Korea again in the future. 

“We’d love for him to have a sibling who shares his background,” explained Hetrick. “It would be so healthy for him. I’m not looking forward to that flight again though!”


 Big I Legend Ron Smith (4/14/2020) 
   

Big I Legend: Ron Smith

By Melissa Hall

“I’ve always been all in on my job, the association, and my family.” That’s Ron Smith in a nutshell. If you’ve met him and worked with him, you can’t help but respect him. In 1969 his life catapulted him forward. In the span of a single year he graduated from college, married his hometown sweetheart Maurine, got his insurance license, joined the family agency, Smith Sawyer Smith, Inc., and learned he was going to become a father. Those huge life milestones came in rapid succession, but Smith took them in stride. In the 50 years that have passed since then, his rich career in insurance has taken him from trips to Tokyo to a chat with President Bill Clinton in the oval office. He received one of the industry’s highest honors, the IIABA’s Woodworth Memorial award, after serving on the national level and was given the Harry P. Cooper, Jr. award by his Indiana peers. He has testified in front of Congress and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, but his start was much humbler than those later achievements would indicate.

When Smith’s mother’s family started the agency in the 1930s it was originally called Jones and Jones. Since then it has grown through the addition of family members and a talented staff. Smith was the first of his siblings to join. He was fresh out of college and he’d received a few job offers from companies, but working at his family’s agency allowed him to return home from Bloomington, where he’d attended Indiana University, and start his family in the area where he’d grown up.

His father, Wayne, set a wonderful example for him. From his earliest years as an agent he constantly strove to emulate his father’s dedication to his community and his clients. “I was driven to do anything I could for somebody. That’s the way I was raised,” Smith explained. “I had a great mentor in my Dad. He really helped pave my path.”

Smith’s experience taught him the value of having a great mentor and he has continued that legacy. “Ron's presence is still felt within the industry today, and will be greatly felt into the future. Personally, he has helped me find my footing in our agency,” said Ryan L. Zimpleman, MSM, Smith Sawyer Smith Agency. “He took a chance on me, and I will always thank him for that opportunity. “He has been an excellent ambassador for our industry, but he has proven to be more than that; he’s a good man.”

As Smith grew as an agent, he started a decades-long commitment to giving back to his industry and community. He got involved with the Kiwanis, chamber of commerce, and the Big I. His activism helped shape his career as he saw the insurance trends play out on the national level. Smith was elected to the national executive committee in 1993 after serving on the Indiana Big I executive committee and as the Indiana state national director. While serving as the national association’s president he traveled around the country attending Big I conventions in almost every state. “It gives you a whole new perspective,” he explained. “Every place is different and you learn that you have to adapt to survive.”

From Alaska to Hawaii, east coast to west, he spoke with agents who faced similar struggles to those in Indiana and he saw agencies tackling other issues that demonstrated our state’s strengths and weaknesses. Over five years, he helped spearhead the creation of Trusted Choice, the brand that unites independent insurance agents. He also spent five years serving on the state government affairs committee and working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

His time serving on the national level highlighted the importance of what Big I lobbyists do in Washington D.C. He watched the fruits of their labors trickle down through the entire country and saw how critical that role is to creating a healthy insurance climate. “Ron Smith is the gold standard when it comes to political advocacy. Over the years he has spent countless hours advocating for the independent agency system at the national, state and local levels,” said Nathan Riedel, the national Big I VP of political affairs. “Whether encouraging participation in political action committees or grassroots, Ron truly understands the value and effectiveness of agent participation, which at its core is the strength of our national and state associations.” 

Despite the many changes he’s witnessed in the industry over the years, he still believes that an agent’s goal should be to connect directly with their clients. “I think we should be as personal as we can with as many people as we can,” Smith explained. It’s that personal aspect that has kept Smith Sawyer Smith so deeply rooted in its community. The agency had one account that was opened in 1948. Smith took over its management from his father and in the decades that followed he continued to handle it, even when the business grew and was sold, first to a company in Lafayette, then to one in Japan, and eventually to Germany. Through all of those transitions, the account remained in Smith’s hands because each new owner recognized his expertise. While it was headquartered in Japan he was even asked to serve on the company’s board for 13 years, which included traveling to and from Asia for meetings each year.

After that experience, international travel became a passion for both Smith and his wife, Maurine. “I think travel changes your perspective so much,” he said. “It’s incredible!” After years of work and serving others, the pair loves having the chance to enjoy this sweet stage of life together. Smith vividly remembers seeing his wife of 50 years walking across the street before they were dating. In a moment that seems straight out of a movie, he knew that was it and a year later they were married.  Now their family has grown to include four grandchildren and as Smith begins to step back from his work, he feels blessed to be able to focus on them. He said, “It really is an incredibly rich life.”

The Big I Legends series features individuals who have had a positive impact on our industry through their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, please email Melissa Hall at hall@bigi.org.

Ron Smith (back right) with his son Craig and father Wayne. 

Smith with his family.

Smith meeting President Bill Clinton.

Golfing with his son and grandsons in Scotland.

Smith with fellow Big I member, Todd Jackson. 

Industry friends, L-R, Ron Smith, Hugh McGowan, Steve Duff, Marty Wood, and Kevin Kelly.

 


 ICRB Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (3/27/2020) 
   

ICRB Response to “Stay-At-Home” Order

To help combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb issued a mandatory ”Stay At Home” order, in effect through 4/6/2020. The safety, health and well-being of our associates, families and community remains our highest priority. The ICRB has taken measures that are consistent with recommendations made by global and local public health officials.  All ICRB personnel are working remotely from their homes until it is safe to return to our offices. 

During this period of remote work, ICRB staff are available to you by email and telephone (at their office number) as we satisfy our statutory and regulatory obligations and deliver on our mission to our workers’ compensation stakeholders. We know that our customers have become accustomed to and expect a high level of service from the ICRB, and we will continue to deliver it during these uncertain times. Please rest assured that we will work tirelessly to avoid any service disruptions. We will monitor events closely and take all necessary steps to keep our staff healthy. 

Moratorium on Policy Cancellations:

On 3/26/2020, Insurance Commissioner, Stephen W. Robertson, issued a moratorium on ALL policy cancellations. This moratorium states that no policy can be cancelled for any premium payment due between 3/19/2020 to 5/18/2020. This action was taken as a direct response to Governor Holcomb’s declaration of a public health emergency in Indiana via Executive Order 20-05 which was issued on 3/19/2020. 

Note: The moratorium applies only to cancellations and non-renewals attributed to a failure to pay premiums. If a policy is to be cancelled or non-renewed for any other allowable reason, the cancellation or non-renewal may be made pursuant to the statutory notice requirements.

For full details, refer to the Department’s Bulletin 252

Nature/Cause of Injury Codes: 
In response to COVID-19, ICRB has been working in collaboration with the Workers Compensation Insurance Organization and NCCI to establish an Extraordinary Loss Event (ELE) code. Unit Statistical reporting requirements for claims attributable to COVID-19 have been recommended as follows: 

Catastrophe Number = 12
Nature of Injury Code = 83 (COVID-19)
Cause of Injury Code = 83 (Pandemic)
Accident Date = 12/1/2019 or subsequent

The industry is still evaluating the following for the impact and treatment of COVID-19 claim data:
Submission of a national item filing to add new code 83 for Nature of Injury and Cause of Injury in the Statistical Plan for Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance
Establishing the ending Accident Date for Catastrophe Number 12
Use of COVID-19 claims in Experience Rating and Ratemaking
Applicable edits and validation

Note: The reporting of new code 83 for Nature of Injury and Cause of Injury is contingent upon approval from the Indiana Department of Insurance following our Item Filing. 
Once filed and approved by the Indiana Department of Insurance, a Circular will be provided to outline those requirements for Unit Statistical data, Financial Call data, Indemnity Data Call, and Detailed Claim Information.

Assigned Risk:
With so many businesses impacted by COVID-19 and Indiana’s “stay-at-home” order, we understand it may be difficult for Servicing Carriers to meet their Servicing Carrier Performance Standards during this time. As such, we are asking that Servicing Carriers take appropriate actions when providing services to policyholders; to include audit, loss control, policy issuance and claims administration functions. 

If Servicing Carriers are not able to complete audit or loss prevention surveys as a result of concerns from the COVID-19, either from the policyholders or your own internal procedures, please document your files accordingly.  

ICRB expects normal procedures to resume once the current COVID-19 situation subsides. 

These are unprecedented times, but the workers compensation community is strong. ICRB is here and ready to help you with your business needs. We look forward to continuing our work together and wish everyone health and safety.

Sincerely,
Karen H. Byrd
President & CEO
Indiana Compensation Rating Bureau
icrb.net 


 E&O and COVID-19 (3/24/2020) 
   

E&O Risk Management and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By Swiss RE Corporate Solutions

You are all very aware of the events of the last several weeks and the Coronavirus. We are not health experts and there are many others more qualified to give you that advice. We CAN, however, give advice regarding how to reduce the likelihood of an errors and omissions exposure as a result of this event. We have already become aware of some attorneys who are trying to take advantage of this situation for monetary gain against insurance agents. Our advice during this event is no different from what we have said in the past.  If your agency has developed good practices, you will be better positioned to avoid problems.  Here are the practices of a good insurance agency:

  • DON’T MAKE CLAIMS DECISIONS! Let the insurance carriers do that.

  • DON’T ADVISE YOUR CUSTOMERS IF CORONAVIRUS related claims are COVERED OR NOT! Let the insurance carriers do that.

  • If a carrier takes the position that losses arising from the Coronavirus are not, or may not be covered, do not engage in advocacy asserting that "We thought it was covered..." That will simply be used by your client to prove that you knew the client wanted coverage for perils like the Coronavirus, but you failed to procure coverage.

  • Report all claims and potential claims to EACH AND EVERY CARRIER that could potentially have a policy that could apply. This includes CGL, Personal lines, Umbrella, Excess, Workers Compensation, Specialty and any other policy in place for your customers.

  • USE THE RESOURCES PROVIDED TO YOU BY THE IIABA. Follow this link to the Coronavirus webpage. It is a valuable resource for you, your staff and your agency that provides many sources of information.

  • Be empathetic, but don’t tell anyone that something is covered or not. You can continue to tell them you feel sympathy for all affected by the Coronavirus, but customers MUST report a claim to their insurance carrier to determine if there is any coverage for the event.

  • Remember, if you executed an agency agreement with one or more insurance companies, you MUST report all claims or potential claims as required by that agreement, even if your customer tells you not to do so.

  • Maintain vigilant contact with your insurance carriers to determine what action THEY want you to take.

  • DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT!!! This continues to be the foundation of sound E&O risk management. DOCUMENT EACH AND EVERY TELEPHONE CONVERSATION, EMAIL, TEXT, TWEET, OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS!

  • Assume that any telephone conversation with your customers or carrier claims representatives ARE BEING RECORDED. While some states prohibit the recording of telephone conversations without advising that they are doing so, IT DOESN’T STOP SOME PEOPLE FROM DOING SO.

  • If you use social media for your business, make sure it is up to date! Do not make any promises that something may or may not be covered by insurance companies and policies.

  • DO NOT GIVE ANY STATEMENTS, RECORDED OR OTHERWISE, WITHOUT FIRST CONTACTING YOUR E&O PROVIDER. The Swiss Re Corporate Solutions/Westport Insurance Company/First Specialty Insurance Company claims staff are available if you have any questions about any communications you receive.

  • If you have a conversation with your customer that leads you to believe they may be fishing to make a claim against you, DO NOT HESITATE to contact our claims department.

  • DON’T MAKE CLAIMS DECISIONS! DON’T ADVISE YOUR CUSTOMERS IF SOMETHING IS COVERED OR NOT! Let the insurance carriers do that. We know this was stated before, but it must be ingrained in your mind.

  • If the Coronavirus ends up being declared a "catastrophe" by the ISO Property Claims Service, you may be eligible under your Westport policy for "Cat Extra Expense" benefits:

"CATASTROPHE EXTRA EXPENSE. We will pay up to $25,000 per catastrophe subject to a per POLICY PERIOD aggregate limit of $50,000 for the actual extra expenses incurred by you as a result of a catastrophe during the POLICY PERIOD beginning on the date of a catastrophe and for thirty (30) days thereafter. The extra expense incurred must be incurred by you only to assist in the insurance claims processing needs of your customer(s) who have been affected by the catastrophe. The catastrophe must be a declared catastrophe by the Property Claims Services. A $500 deductible for each catastrophe shall apply. Limits provided by this paragraph are part of and not in addition to the limits provided by this POLICY."

We hope that this will help you as this event progresses. If you should have any questions, please let us know.

This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the Swiss Re Group ("Swiss Re") and/or its subsidiaries and/or management and/or shareholders. 

Copyright 2020 Swiss Re

 


 Coronavirus: Member Info and Resources (3/17/2020) 
   

Coronavirus: Member Info and Resources

The members of the Big I Indiana are at the center of everything that your association does for you. We understand that we have all entered uncharted waters with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak and our utmost concern is for the well-being of all of our agencies and employees.

Cancellation of Events and CE

It's probably no surprise to you that due to the virus, Big I in-person events will be cancelled or rescheduled, likely through May. We are closely monitoring this situation and will keep registrants updated about all events that are scheduled in the coming weeks. The National Alliance (CIC/CRM, etc.) is also offering a case-by-case review for extension requests by contacting them directly at (800) 633-2165.

Meanwhile, we have plenty of web-based CE options which may be particularly helpful during these next few weeks and we will be sending an email with detailed information in the coming days.

Indiana Auto Insurers Offering Premium Savings Programs to Help Hoosiers Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson recently approved requests from several auto insurance carriers to offer refunds, credits and other programs for consumers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The total estimated amount of savings to consumers is over $129 million dollars. Indiana is already one of the states with the lowest auto insurance rates. 
“I want to personally thank all of the auto insurers who have stepped up to help Hoosiers by offering discount, refund and credit programs during this pandemic,” said Commissioner Robertson. 
A list of companies offering a program for their customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Indiana Department of Insurance COVID-19 Actions, Auto Insurance Rates.


 Big I Members Get Free Access to ACORD Forms (11/26/2019) 
   

Big I Members Get Free Access to ACORD Forms

First a significant tax cut and now ACORD forms. Your association is constantly working to benefit you where it helps the most: your bottom line.

Beginning January 1, 2020, ACORD will begin charging all users of ACORD forms a fee. Currently, most users of ACORD forms have access via their agency management systems. In light of this development, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) negotiated an agreement with ACORD whereby your association will pay ACORD an annual fee for use of the forms, and all Big I member agencies with $50 million or less in revenue will have "free" access to the ACORD forms. This is a new and significant benefit for Big I members!

"Industry-standard forms are a critical component of an independent agent's business," said Bob Rusbuldt, Big I president & CEO. "With this licensing program, the Big I is helping our members improve their operational effectiveness. We are proud to play a key role in facilitating the delivery of these assets to our members and to further enhance the value of their Big I membership."

Non-Big I members, at this time, will have to pay fees to ACORD. 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions that you or your staff may have regarding this exciting new member benefit.

What has changed with ACORD form and agent access?

ACORD has been maintaining a complete library of forms for our industry for almost 50 years - They are working through updated agreements with their management system partners. ACORD will be charging new fees for the users of their forms, beginning on January 1, 2020.

How does this affect Big I member agencies?

The Big I has worked to ensure their members are covered and will not incur fees when accessing needed ACORD forms. All Big I members with less than $50 million in revenue will get the forms free as part of their Big I membership.

Does this affect my current agency workflow?

No - Agents will still access forms via their agency management system workflow as they have previously.

How will ACORD know that I am a Big I member agency?

Big I staff is working with ACORD to validate Big I membership through our databases - This validation will be transparent to agency users. 

What if I have questions or need further help?

More background on ACORD Forms is available at www.acord.org/forms, and members can also call ACORD directly at (845) 620-1700.

Read more in a press release from ACORD announcing the partnership with the Big I. If you have questions or need more information, please let me know. Thank you for your continued support and membership in the Indiana Big I.  


 Lemont Receives 2019 Distinguished Customer Service Award (11/12/2019) 
   

Lemont Receives 2019 Distinguished Customer Service Award

Kathleen Lemont, CIC, ACSR, LOMA, from ONI Risk Partners in Indianapolis, Ind., is the winner of the 2019 Big I Indiana Distinguished Customer Service Award. The award is presented annually in memory of Ethel Heckman, IIAI’s Director of Administration from 1948 to 1983. The criterion of this award recognizes an employee of a member agency who demonstrates loyalty, dedication to the achievement of results, and continued professional growth in the servicing of the agency’s clients. 

Lemont has made her continuing education a priority. She’s earned her CIC, ACSR, and LOMA designations and completed the Indiana Insurance Company Commercial Property and Casualty Agent’s School. She manages the commercial service operations, including claims, surety, and P&C at ONI Risk Partners and has been in the industry for more than 30 years.

Though there are many elements in the insurance industry that are out of an agency’s control, customer service is not one of those. Lemont makes it her goal to go above and beyond with every single client. “In my opinion nothing has a more direct impact on client retention than customer service,” she explained. “Whether it's staying late to make sure an urgent request for a certificate is met, spending your weekend supporting a client who's had a claim, or just making sure everyone you've talked to that day had a positive experience.”

 


 McEldowney Named 2019 Agent of the Year (11/12/2019) 
   

McEldowney Named 2019 Agent of the Year

Jason McEldowney

Jason McEldowney, CIC, CRM, AFSB, from Pillar Group Risk Management in Indianapolis, Ind. is the recipient of the 2019 Big I Indiana Agent of the Year Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize the outstanding performance and achievement of an individual who is an agent member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana. This individual must be a licensed agent and contribute to the agency’s performance through production and/or other management activities.

McEldowney is the vice president of Indiana sales with his agency. He believes an independent agent’s role is the pivotal bridge between clients and insurance companies. He strives to understand everything about his clients’ needs and have excellent relationships built with carriers so that he can provide the perfect fit. “The best agents are dedicated to their careers, are loyal and responsive to their clients, and are committed to continuous learning and growing as professionals,” he said. He has made education a priority and has earned three designations. 

Throughout his career, McEldowney has been honored with multiple awards, including Producer of the Year from Diamond Brothers Insurance (of which Pillar Group is a division) and the Gold Award for Excellence from the Indiana Surety Association (ISA). He’s served on the boards of the Construction Financial Management Association and the Indiana Surety Association and committees for Indiana Construction, Inc. and Indiana Subcontractors Association. 

 


 WalkerHughes Insurance Named 2019 Agency of the Year (11/12/2019) 
   

WalkerHughes Insurance Named 2019 Agency of the Year

WalkerHughes

WalkerHughes Insurance, based in Carmel, Ind., has been recognized as the 2019 Big I Indiana Agency of the Year. This award is given to a member independent insurance agency that exemplifies leadership and innovation within the independent agency system.

After its recent merger, WalkerHughes has grown rapidly. The agency has doubled its premium volume in just two years. It now has 17 branches and more than 100 staff members. Though its size has changed, its principles have not. The leadership at WalkerHughes believes that the GAP (Guide, Advocate, Pioneer) policy they have in place is the best way to serve their clients. They work hard to center the agency around those core principles. As they’ve grown, they’ve maintained each branch location because they want their clients to be able to connect with them wherever they are. “We believe in the value of being part of the community in which our clients and employees reside,” said President Doug Walker. The agency leaders strive to give back to the industry, serving on carrier advisory councils and association boards.

Employees are a top priority at the agency and technology is used to “empower and not replace”. The agency built its management system, Violet, that handles CRM functionality, advertising requests, PTO management, secure password retention, and all direct/agency bill processing. “Our focus on our people is at the forefront of our automation efforts as well,” Walker explained. “By automating transactional processes, we enable our people to focus on our customers and other value-added services.”

 

 

 


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