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27 September

Becoming the Agent of the Future

Frank Pennachio

The app-based agency is here. What are you doing to keep your agency relevant in this age of instant information, instant quotes, instant policies, and instant service? Join us as we dive into the technology changes that are driving the market forwa...

4 October

Fix My Broken Commercial Property Policy

Kevin Amrhein

Your insured’s commercial property insurance policy is broken.

11 October

Insurance and Pets: Expanding exposure, expanding coverage

Joe Harrington

Years ago, household pets were just animals. In general, they could be disposed of or replaced with little more thought than you would give to a cow or goat. If a pet took ill, its owner would often "put it down" (euthanize it). If you accidentally k...

18 October

COPE and Commercial Property

Patrick Wraight

The principles behind property underwriting have been consistent from the very beginning of property insurance. In this two-part series, we will explore what these principles mean to you, whether you’re an agent, an underwriter, or a risk manag...

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Chris Behymer
Rita Hollada
Laurie Infantino
Chris Marinescu
Stacey Cheese
Ted Koeth
Nick Kormos
David Chetcuti
Stuart Powell

*Click on an instructor's headshot to view their bio.

Patrick Wraight

Patrick is the Director of Insurance Journal’s Academy of Insurance. As such, he sees himself as the Senior Brand Promoter of the Academy. His goal is to help the industry to see the Academy the way he sees it, as a valued partner in the training and development of insurance professionals.

He started his insurance career as a commercial underwriter for an MGA that wrote fire departments, ambulance companies, home medical equipment dealers, and other niche markets. It was there that he also started his journey in insurance education. He designed and implemented a new underwriter training program.

From there, he moved to one of the largest Florida-based property insurers to become an underwriter trainer. While there, his role expanded beyond classroom and online training to become a learning consultant. He spent time with his customers to determine their learning needs and develop a plan to meet those needs.

Patrick has earned several industry designations:

  • CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor)
  • CRM (Certified Risk Manager)
  • CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative)
  • AU (Associate in Commercial Underwriting)
  • AINS (Associate in General Insurance).


When he’s not working, he loves to spend time with his family, traveling with his beloved and guiding their adult sons through adulthood.

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Kathy Ryan

Kathy Ryan, SPHR, is an award-winning author and owner of Pinnacle Coaching Group, LLC.  Over the last 30 years, Kathy has influenced thousands of people in the business and non-profit sectors through her coaching, consulting, speaking and on-site training. Her expertise covers a wide range of subjects including leadership, communication, human resources management, team dynamics, and performance management.

Kathy earned her B.A. degree in psychology and history from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and has been awarded a lifetime certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Society for Human Resources Management. She has experience working with diverse industries including insurance, hospitality and entertainment. She is certified in the use of the Myer-Briggs Type Assessment (MBTI), as well as a number of other assessments and tools to support development.

Kathy is author of the book, "You Have to Say the Words" An Integrity-Based Approach for Tackling Tough Conversations and Maximizing Performance, which won a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association.  Her interactive training program based on the book has helped thousands of managers to improve their coaching skills and drive performance. Her articles on leadership and other personal development topics have been published in numerous magazines including the Insurance Journal. You can follow Kathy’s blog, Inspired Leadership, at www.CoachKathyRyan.com .

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Frederick Fisher

Frederick J. Fisher, J.D. is currently the President of Fisher Consulting Group, Inc. and was the Founder of E.L.M. Insurance Brokers, a Wholesale & MGA facility specializing in Professional Liability and Specialty Line risks. He is a Member of the Editorial Board for Agents of America;  a Faculty Member of the  Claims College,  and Member of the Executive Council, School of Professional Lines sponsored by the Claims & Litigation Management Association and course designer and webinar Instructor for the Academy of Insurance (sponsored by the Insurance Journal).

Since his career began,  Mr. Fisher focused on one vision: providing financial security to the client. The result was a  successful 40 year career in Specialty Lines Insurance.   In 1975, Mr. Fisher began his career on the service side, as an Independent E&O claims adjuster. In 1982, he bought the Company, continued with claims, while expanding the firm’s services to include  qualitative claim auditing, risk management & loss control services, and acting as a TPA. In only 4 years, the annual billings increased by 400%.  His claim auditing techniques and recommendations resulted in substantial client savings (including the SCRTD now known as the Los Angles MTA). Many Insurers and self-insured’s adopted not only the performance standards raised in the audits, but adopted his recommended Attorney Management Guidelines as a base, which are still in use today by many major insurers. 


In 1995, he formed what is now known as ELM insurance Brokers, a firm that has acted as an MGA and Wholesale Broker of Professional Liability Insurance  and Specialty Lines. From nothing, the firm grew rapidly to a $30 Million dollar facility when sold in 2008. He has lectured extensively on professional liability issues since 1978, and authored over 64 articles in trade journals and periodicals. He is the author of BROKER BEWARE, Selling Real Estate within the Law. He designed a program to conduct on site pre-underwriting risk management assessments of a clients' professional liability exposures. In 1993, he was elected to the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) Board of Trustees. After serving in all Officer capacities, he was elected President in 1997.  He remains a Special Materials Expert for several RPLU courses and is the Senior Technical Advisor for The Professional Liability Manual, first published by the International Risk Management Institute in 1990. He has taught over 100  CE classes and lectures. He testifies regularly as an expert witness in cases dealing with the duties and obligations of professionals as well as on coverage and claims-made issues.


Mr. Fisher can be reached at 310/413-6200, Email-fjfisher@fishercg.com

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Nancy Germond

Nancy Germond is the President of Insurance Writer, a consulting firm located in Phoenix, Arizona. With more than three decades of risk management experience, her unique insights and abilities help businesses better understand and manage their risk. Nancy has authored scores of risk management-related articles, white papers and has consulted and presented to both public sector and private sector insurance organizations.


A second-generation insurance professional, Nancy was the first risk manager of the City of Prescott, Arizona, and has worked in the private and public sectors as a claim and risk manager. In 1997 she founded Insurance Writer to assist insurance organizations to better manage their employment-related issues and to better penetrate the competitive insurance marketplace. Nancy holds a B.A. in Communication from Mills College and a Masters degree in sociology from Lincoln University. She also holds the Associate in Risk Management, the Associate in Claims designation from the Insurance Institute of America, the Insurance Training Professional Designation from the Society of Insurance Trainers and is a Senior Professional in Human Resource Management.

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Chris Burand

Chris Burand is president and owner of Burand & Associates, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in the property-casualty insurance industry.  Chris is recognized as a leading consultant for agency valuations, increasing profits, and producer compensation plans.  His services include: Agency valuations/due diligence, producer compensation plans, expert witness services, E&O carrier approved E&O procedure reviews, and agency operation enhancement reviews.  He also provides the acclaimed Contingency Contract Analysis® service and has the largest database and knowledge of contingency contracts in the insurance industry.


Chris has more than twenty-five years’ experience. He brings his broad experience and wealth of knowledge into every agency.  He is a featured speaker across the continent at more than 300 conventions and educational programs. He writes a monthly article for the Insurance Journal.  Prior, he wrote a monthly column for American Agent & Broker for 11 years.  His articles have been published more than 250 times and have been published by Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, A.M. Best, and approximately a dozen regional insurance publications. He also publishes Burand’s Insurance Agency Adviser for independent insurance agents.

Chris holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business with emphasis in Finance from the University of Colorado and a MBA from the University of Denver. He is a member of the Institute of Business Appraisers, NACVA, a Department Head for IIABA's Virtual University, a contributing consultant for IMMS, and a volunteer counselor for the Small Business Administration's SCORE program.


Areas of Expertise:

  • Insurance Agency Appraisals/Due Diligence: Chris performs appraisals for Acquisitions and Sales, Buy/Sell Agreements, Mergers, Dissolution, and Perpetuation Planning.
  • Contingency Contract Analysis: Contingency contracts offer opportunities to increase compensation through negotiations and strategically placing business. Chris’s Contingency Contract Analysis® service provides the information agents need to take advantage of those opportunities.
  • Agency Operations Enhancement Review: Chris provides comprehensive reviews to help agencies identify opportunities, fix weaknesses, and succeed.
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Chris Christian

Chris Christian stumbled into insurance in 1985 as a temporary employee at GAF Insurance Services, a bank-affiliated insurance agency in San Diego.  After six years with GAF, Chris moved to the carrier side, opening the San Diego branch office of RLI Corp, an underwriter of specialty lines of insurance.  The San Diego office was dedicated to Directors and Officers Liability coverage, and was the launching pad for Chris’s specialization in professional liability.

Chris left RLI in 1997 to establish her own underwriting facility at London American General Agency and branched out thereafter into professional liability broking.

Chris joined U.S. Risk in November of 2005 and six months later relocated herself, her significant other, and 26 animals to Tennessee, where she continues her pursuit of the art and science of professional liability broking, and contributes to the industry as a frequent speaker, author and association participant.

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Chris Behymer

Chris Behymer received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Risk Management and Insurance and Marketing in December of 1976.


He began his insurance career with Sentry Insurance in January of 1977 in the Personal Lines Underwriting Department and moved from Stevens Point, WI to Scottsdale, AZ in the fall of 1977. He became Underwriting Manager of a Personal Lines department in April of 1980 and was promoted to Marketing Sales Specialist in May of 1981 and Sales Training Manager in March of 1985.


He joined Scottsdale Insurance Company in October of 1987 as the Manager of Education and Training and was promoted to Director of Training and Development in February of 1991. In December of 1993, he was appointed to the position of Associate Vice President of Human Resource Development and Public Relations.


In October of 1998, Chris joined the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) as the Director of Education for their University. The AAMGA University specializes in developing educational programs for the excess and surplus lines industry.


In February of 2002, Chris was selected as the Vice President of Casualty Underwriting for Markel Southwest Underwriters in Scottsdale, AZ. The company specializes in insuring hard-to-place property and casualty insurance for general agents throughout the United States. In January of 2008, Chris was appointed Director of Marketing for the West Region of Markel and in December of 2010 he assumed the position of Director of Business Development.


Chris began teaching classes for the Insurance Institute of America in September of 1980 through Rio Salado Community College. He received his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1981 and the Associate in Surplus Lines Insurance (ASLI) designation in 2001.


He served as the Director of the Education for the Central Arizona Chapter of CPCU from 1994 to 2011. He was elected Western Regional Vice President of The Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE) in June of 1992, Vice President of Annual Conference in June of 1995, and Vice President of Member Services in June of 1996. He rejoined the SITE Board from June of 2009 to June of 2011 as as Western Region Vice President. He has also served on the Curriculum Committee for the AAMGA University since 1995.

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Rita Hollada

Rita Hollada is the Vice-President of The Insurance Professionals, Inc., a consulting and professional education group. She is an honors graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia and began her professional career in human resources management before entering the insurance industry in 1979 when she and her husband started an agency from scratch. She remains a licensed agent and broker.


Rita earned the designation of Accredited Advisor in Insurance in 1983, followed by the designations of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter in 1987 and Certified Insurance Counselor in 1988. In 1997, she was awarded PIA National's Presidential Award for her work with flood insurance and natural disaster legislation. She received the CPIA designation in 1998 after assisting that organization with the development of its Saleswise Success Seminars.


Rita remains an active member of the insurance industry, representing PIA National on several committees. She is also a contributor to numerous magazines and professional journals. Rita wrote a regular column on flood insurance issues for the Professional Agent Magazine for several years. She currently serves on the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee where she served as Chairman for two years. She also has served on the board of the Natural Disaster Coalition.


In addition to the insurance industry, Rita has been invited to speak on effective communication and customer service to many diverse groups. She is a member of the National Faculty of the CIC program as well as an instructor for other National Alliance programs. She designs and instructs special topic courses for insurance companies, agencies, industry associations and local community colleges and often works as a consultant with agencies on agency management issues.

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Laurie Infantino

Laurie Zangwill-Infantino, AFIS, CISC, CRIS, CIC, CISR, ACSR is past president and co-founder of Insurance Skills Center, Inc. (ISC) which was formed in 1977. In 2010 Laurie formed Insight Insurance Consulting (IIC) a division of Insight Consulting and Management, Inc.


She began her insurance career in 1969. Prior to forming Insurance Skills Center her education and experience in the industry included rating, underwriting, issuing, selling and marketing insurance policies. She has worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter for specialty programs, as a retail insurance producer, as a wholesale insurance producer, as an educator and as a consultant to producers, insurance customers and attorneys assisting them on insurance and risk management issues. She managed two specialty insurance programs for which she assisted in designing the coverage language, formulating the rating structure, marketing and selling the products and underwriting/rating the submissions.

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Chris Marinescu

Owner and Developer of Insurance Trust Accounting Technology

President of Paulmar Group LLC, Software Developer and Trust Accounting Service Provider Company

California Department of Insurance- approved Class Instructor
Author of several published articles by Insurance Journal and other outlets on insurance trust accounting and financial management

Master Degree in Civil/Structural Engineering and Engineering Economics

 

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Stacey Cheese

As Director of Workers Compensation for The Seltzer Group and East Coast Risk Management, Stacey has 13 years experience as a workers’ compensation adjuster and 20 years experience consulting in the workers compensation arena.


Stacey holds her Property/Casualty/Life/Health agents license, (CISR) Certified Insurance Service Representative designation, (CWCP) Certified Workers Compensation Professional, from the University of Michigan, (NJWCP) New Jersey Workers Compensation Professions, and (CWCA) Certified Workers Compensation Advisor. Stacey also holds an insurance fraud investigation certificate and is a current instructor for the Institute of Workers’ Compensation Professionals. Stacey specializes in consulting with many employers and employees on workers compensation issues and compliance.


Stacey’s areas of expertise are in claims investigation, mitigation through client, employee, and physician relationships, hiring processes, return to work programs, reserve practices, claims handling advice and coordination with Human Resources and Safety department.

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Ted Koeth

Ted Koeth, Senior Vice President and Regional Operations Manager at Imperial PFS. Ted joined the company in 2001 and is responsible for the Northeast Region. Previously, he was with Transamerica Insurance Finance Corp as President & CEO and as Senior Vice President Originations and Risk Management. Ted also held several senior management positions at HSBC. Ted has an MBA and a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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Nick Kormos

Nick Kormos joined MarshBerry as a Senior Sales Management Consultant in 2013. In 2015, he was promoted to Vice President and Unit Leader of MarshBerry’s Sales Performance division, which is now the most rapidly growing division in MarshBerry Consulting Services. His team focuses on producer training/coaching and agency sales culture development through deployment of the MarshBerry Selling System that was built by the industry’s top producers.

Nick has over 14 years of sales and sales management experience, and he has completed several years of formal sales training courses. Prior to joining MarshBerry, he spent more than six years of his career in production and management roles at an independent insurance agency. He has earned his professional insurance designations of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in interpersonal communication from Ohio University.

Nick’s approach with producers and agency management is focused on building a process, not just an end goal. His team manages and coaches producers with experience levels ranging from brand new to industry veterans who are trying to get over their book growth plateaus. In his time at MarshBerry, Nick has coached hundreds of producers and spent time in dozens of agency offices working closely with leadership to drive change and sustainable growth.

He has been a keynote speaker at insurance carrier conferences, agency sales summits, and insurance association events including the Worldwide Broker Network as well as state Big I meetings. He has presented on a multitude of topics surrounding agency growth, sales culture, producer sales tactics, and organizational infrastructure. He also leads and facilitates SalesPro training sessions, organic growth seminars, and CEO Peer Exchange groups hosted by MarshBerry.

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David Chetcuti

Mr. Chetcuti is a professor of workers’ compensation law having taught classes and seminars in behalf of the State Bar, CA Dept of Insurance, WorkCompCentral, Insurance Educational Association, various professional organizations and associations, and privately to attorneys, claims professionals and employers in California and other states. He is certified by the State of California, Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education, as an instructor of Workers’ Compensation Law and Procedures.* His past experience includes being the director of education at Acacia Pacific in San Francisco. It is estimated that over his career Prof. Chetcuti has taught workers’ compensation law and procedure to over 19,000 students. He is also a former vice-president in charge of workers’ compensation claims consulting services for the two largest insurance brokers in the country. He is often retained as an expert witness in litigation concerning workers’ compensation insurance and TPA claims handling performance issues.

Prof. Chetcuti is also one of the three co-authors of the well-known 16-volume treatise, “Sullivan On Comp.” In addition, he also co-developed the IEA’s WCCP credential for claims professionals and is the founder of the Workers’ Compensation Claims Consultant credential scheduled to be offered in 2017

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Stuart Powell

E. Stuart Powell, Jr., MA, CPCU, CIC, CLU, ChFC, ARM, AMIM, AAI, ARe, CRIS
Vice President of Insurance Operations and Technical Affairs
Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, Inc.
North Carolina Association of Insurance Agents, Inc.


Stuart has been personally involved in the insurance business for over 35 years. He joined the staff of IIANC as Director of Education in 1995. In 2004 Stuart assumed the supervision of IIANC’s insurance operations. He currently manages the designated insurance agency for the State of North Carolina placing all coverages which the State does not self insure, is administrator of the IIANC Errors and Omissions Insurance program of agents and manages the insurance benefits operations for members of the Association. Stuart continues to teach occasionally, is a frequent speaker on insurance matters and is a technical resource for the membership of IIANC.


Prior to joining the IIANC staff, Stuart was the owner of The Powell Agency, Inc. of Reidsville, NC, a family agency whose roots can be traced back to the 1890’s. He has been a frequent instructor of insurance courses. Stuart is on the National Faculty for the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors. He has taught in various CIC Institutes and Graduate Seminars. He is the author of numerous articles on insurance and related matters. He is also a past president of the Piedmont North Carolina Chapter and a past board member for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Society of CPCU. Stuart served on the National Producer Advisory Council for Commercial Union Insurance Company from 1979-1981. In 1991 he was presented the Ernest F. Young Education Award by IIANC. Stuart is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business at Catawba College.


Stuart graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy. He received a Master of Arts degree from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC where he was the recipient of a Graduate Scholarship and Fellowship. Stuart’s graduate studies involved a group of Oxford University writers and scholars known as the “Inklings” which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis among others. He has written articles and lectured on The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.


Stuart is married with two children and four grandchildren. His current hobbies include weightlifting and studying classical languages.

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We Love the Academy Of Insurance

But don't take our word for it!

I have been taking advantage of the Insurance Journal educational classes (webinars) since they started providing them to us all.

I have been a member since the start which is a great advantage because the classes are all free for a year when you are a member.

The classes I have taken have very good content and the teachers know their topic and make the classes interesting.

There are a wide variety of classes and I believe you will be happy with whatever topic you choose.

Katie Freeman

Branch Manager, R.E. Chaix & Assoc

Insurance academy’s videos have helped me build a solid insurance foundation. They are very easy to follow and stay interested in.

Shelagh G.

Using Academy of Insurance online courses has helped our current staff with particular areas of coverage and has helped us develop our newbies to insurance as well as using the skills tests to help us mentor the new staff. I would recommend the use of Academy of Insurance for all levels of staff for add’l knowledge &/or training purposes.

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I have been a customer of the Academy of Insurance for a little over 2 years. My office has viewed over 20 different courses and we have benefited from the instructors and the class material. I plan to continue to utilize this very useful resource for learning.

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Where do you stack up?

Insurance Skills Tests

These exams were designed to help you pinpoint areas of interest for possible training opportunities.

This skills test focuses on workers' compensation topics, including;

  • Work Comp Triggers
  • Work Comp Terms/Concepts
  • Work Comp Benefits
  • Work Comp Credits / Audits / Payroll
  • Work Comp Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classification
  • Monopolistic States
  • Work Comp Employer Classification
  • Work Comp Managing Out-of-State Exposure
  • Work Comp Endorsements
  • Work Comp Experience Mods
  • Work Comp Claims
  • USLS&HW and Other Federal WC Concepts and Coverage

This skills test focuses on personal lines topics, including;

  • Homeowners (HO) Coverage Forms
  • HO "Insured" status
  • HO Definitions
  • HO Covered Property
  • HO Coverage Limits
  • HO Valuations
  • HO Causes of Loss & Exclusions
  • HO Endorsements
  • HO Part II – Liability Coverages
  • HO Eligibility
  • Personal Auto Policy (PAP) Coverage Parts
  • PAP "You" and "Insured" Status
  • PAP Covered Autos
  • PAP Coverages & Exclusions
  • PAP Definitions
  • PAP Endorsements
  • PAP Eligibility and Rating

This skills test focuses on commercial property topics, including;

  • Commercial Property Policy Provisions
  • CPP Coverage Limits
  • CPP Causes of Loss
  • CPP Definitions
  • Business Income / Extra Expense (Including Endorsements)
  • Ordinance or Law Endorsement
  • Utility Service (CP 04 17) Endorsement
  • Spoilage Coverage (CP 04 40) Endorsement
  • Leasehold Interest Coverage
  • CPP General Endorsements

This skills test focuses on commercial general liability topics, including;

  • CGL Definitions
  • CGL Coverage Trigger
  • CGL Exclusions & Exceptions
  • CGL "Insured" Status
  • CGL Coverage Limits
  • CGL Endorsements
  • Business Auto Coverage (BAC) Symbols
  • BAC Insured Vehicles
  • BAC Insured Status
  • BAC Coverages & Exclusions
  • BAC Valuation
  • BAC Endorsements
  • BAC Rating

Want to get more insurance smart? Join the Academy Today.