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3 December

Certificates of Insurance Redux

Casey Roberts

Certificates of insurance are a perennial issue for insurance professionals. You never stop getting requests for certificates and each request has the potential to ask for something you haven't had to deal with yet. Join us as Casey Roberts brings u...

10 December

How to Keep Work Comp Claim Costs from Spiraling Out of Control

Frank Pennachio

Declining workers' compensation rates are a good thing and declining numbers of workers' injuries are a good thing, but they are not everything. Paying attention to these without also paying close attention to the cost per claim is risky. Increased ...

5 January

You Can't Read Insurance Policies Like Anything Else

Patrick Wraight

Insurance policies are hard to read. We all know it and we all act like they aren't, especially when a customer asks us a "simple" question. You can't just grab a policy and start reading page one and read all the way through. It jumps around and you...

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Jim Wochele
Richard Faber
Mary Eisenhart
Randy Sieberg
Joseph Junfola
Erica Upmeyer
Trent Massey
Joe Harrington
Ted Koeth

*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 Instructor for the Academy of Insurance.

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-insureds 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.

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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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Jim Wochele

Jim Wochele is the Unit Manger in MarshBerry’s Sales Performance Consulting division. His team partners with insurance agencies by implementing tactical strategies that will allow them to achieve organic growth through new business production.

Their focus is helping agencies build a scalable organic growth engine through organizational capabilities best practices, sales process implementation, and improving producers’ individual sales skills through consistent coaching.

Jim is mainly responsible for relationship management of the Sales Performance clients, new client acquisition and onboarding, onsite client visits, carrier-sponsored sales trainings, and agency organic growth business planning.

Jim is a keynote speaker at educational seminars, insurance carrier conferences and executive leadership forums. He also leads the Organic Growth Leadership Seminars and SalesPro Producer Training sessions hosted by MarshBerry. Jim is also a frequent contributor to MarshBerry and industry publications.

Jim joined MarshBerry in 2011 as a Sales Management Analyst, which was followed by a promotion to Consultant in 2013, Senior Consultant in 2014, and Unit Manager in 2016. Jim has over eight years of sales, sales management and project management expertise. Prior to joining MarshBerry, Jim held a dual sales manager and project manager position for a construction firm located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in physics with a minor in mathematics from Baldwin Wallace University, while playing football and baseball for all four years.

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Richard Faber

Richard is an insurance industry veteran, serving in various roles over over 30 years. He started his career as a Casualty Underwriter and has held roles including Underwriting Specialist, Senior Alternative Risk Underwriter, and AVP of Underwriting. He is currently the Co-Founder of Underwriter's Resource, LLC, where he is a CE instructor in several states west of the Mississippi.

He speaks for wholesale brokers, presents for the CPCU society, and is a guest speaker at Glendale Community College in Glendale, AZ.

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Mary Eisenhart

Mary Eisenhart has spent 30 years in the insurance industry, both in independent agencies and with insurance carriers. In 1996, she became an insurance industry consultant, and is the owner of Eisenhart Consulting Group, a consulting firm dedicated to helping insurance organizations become extraordinary.


A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Mary has continued her insurance education by earning the CPCU, ARM, ARe, RPLU, CIC, and CPIW designations.


Mary has been featured in Rough Notes and other insurance industry publications, and has authored a Best Practices tool for IIAA, “The Next Generation: A Young Agent’s Best Practices Leadership Guide.” She has also chaired local and state “Big I” Education Committees. Mary develops and presents insurance industry management, technical, Best Practices, motivational, and risk management seminars throughout the U.S.

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Randy Sieberg

Randy Sieberg, CIC, ARM, CRM is the founder and principal consultant of Workers Compensation Consultants, a nationally recognized independent workers compensation consulting firm based in Columbia, Missouri. His firm provides fee-based professional consulting services, expert witness and litigation services and assists employers, insurance agents and brokers experiencing problems with workers compensation premium, audits, classification code, claim, experience rating and other premium generating issues. He consults with clients throughout a broad range of industries including attorneys, insurance companies, insurance agencies, agents, brokers, contractors, service providers, transportation, manufacturers, retail and wholesale operations.

He began his career in the insurance industry as a business insurance specialist in 1981. As Senior Commercial Lines Consultant for Mid-America Specialty Markets, an Estal Insurance and Financial Services Company, he continues to direct the commercial insurance team in client risk analysis and product placement. As a licensed commercial insurance producer and independent agency principal he specialized in commercial property and casualty insurance, workers compensation and risk management programs. His expertise encompasses all areas of property and casualty risk management including risk analysis, program design and implementation, commercial insurance coverage analysis and pricing for commercial clients.

As the principal consultant for Workers Compensation Consultants Randy directs activities, provides support and assigns expert witness and litigation support duties to other expert advisers on staff. The firm's highly ranked website, WorkCompConsultant.com and blog is recognized as a valuable source of information for employers, agents and brokers while providing useful, in the trenches, real life help about commercial insurance and workers compensation premium related issues for all readers.

Randy received the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation conferred from the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research in 1989, the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation from the Insurance Institute of America in 1986 and the Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation from the National Academy in 1994. He maintains annual industry educational updates and participates in annual continuing education seminars. He is on staff as a teaching presenter with the Academy of Insurance.

He speaks on a variety of insurance and workers compensation related topics. His presentations include: "Workers Compensation -An Employers Point of View" -"Today's Workers Compensation Issues -Their Effect on the Human Resource Manager's Job" and "Real Solutions for Managing Workers Compensation Cost." His publications include "Most Common Workers Compensation Mistakes Employers Make" -published by the Courier Magazine. He has been interviewed and quoted by Eric Krell in his article "How to Avoid Workers Comp Premium Overpayments" published for the Society for Human Resource Management. His insurance related articles have been presented in a variety of association, employer and insurance related publications.

Randy continues to face the challenges presented by our industry and looks forward to assisting new and established agents and brokers unravel complicated insurance problems. As evidenced by his stable insurance industry work history and continued professional growth, Randy provides a professional guidance and knowledge base for those clients seeking assistance and support with issues found within his areas of expertise. 

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Joseph Junfola

Joseph Junfola has spent over 40 years as an insurance claims professional. He has specialized in long-term exposure, or continuous property damage/bodily injury/toxic tort claims on a national basis for close to 30 years. He has specialized in construction defect, product liability, and design professional liability claims, including construction accident claims, particularly third-party-over actions in New York.

In his early days, he handled automobile bodily injury claims, both on a primary and umbrella basis, in the State of New Jersey. He first qualified as an expert in the evaluation of automobile bodily injury claims in Federal Court in the early 1990's.

He has since formed Junfola Claim Consulting Services to provide coverage and claim analysis, policy language review, litigation support, and more. He is also a member of the Transaction Advisory Group (“TAG”), a consulting firm that specializes in advisory services, market intelligence, and talent acquisition. He has also joined the Insurance Risk Management Institute as an Expert Commentator.

A staunch believer in continuous learning and improvement, Joe has earned the following professional designations: CPCU, RPLU, RPLU+, SCLA, AIC, ASLI, ARe, AU, ARM, CRIS, AIS, MLIS, AIC-M, and AIDA. His continual drive for education has seen him earn these additional certificates: Executive Certificate in Negotiations from the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, the Home Inspection Certificate through Rutgers University and the National Institute of Building Inspectors, and the Certificate in Law and Legal Process from Southern New Hampshire University.

He has published several articles and an eBook, Construction Defect Claims, A Handbook for Insurance, Risk Management, Construction, & Design Professionals.

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Erica Upmeyer

Erica R. Upmeyer, PHR, Search Associate, graduated from Emporia State University with a BS in Sociology.


Erica began her career in the Social Services field as an Employment Specialist before moving abroad for two years. During this time, Erica had the opportunity to earn her MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and gain valuable international work experience while completing an internship with one of the largest transportation companies in the world. Upon returning to the States, Erica transitioned into the staffing industry with the nation’s largest privately held staffing agency as an Account Executive and was quickly promoted into a Branch Manager role.


Erica’s most recent role was with Nationwide Insurance as an HR Field Manager where her primary responsibilities were supporting a start-up region overseeing all HR deliverables, with a large emphasis on recruiting insurance professionals. Her role with the CSG team includes working with candidates assisting them on their career searches as well as partnering with other team members at CSG on key searches, strategically positioning CSG within the insurance community, and sourcing best fit professionals for our client company staffing needs.


In her spare time, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, shopping, working out, reading and watching college basketball – Go Jayhawks!

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Trent Massey

Trent is a 27 year veteran of the insurance industry and currently serves as a Property Programs Instructor for Vale Training Solutions in Arlington, Texas. At Vale, his roles have included developing, research, and training. Trent also lectures across the country on a variety of insurance claim issues and has spoken at Property Loss Research Bureau's National and Regional conventions, has been a featured speaker at the Restoration Industry Association National Convention, guest presenter at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies conference, Property Catastrophe Services conference, CPCU chapter meetings, claims association meetings, and others.

For the past few years he has been a guest lecturer at the University of North Texas department of risk management and he is a repeat webinar presenter for the Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance. Trent authored the Green Risk Professional certification course at Vale, and in 2006 he wrote the e-book, Catastrophe Adjusting. He has earned the Associate in Claims (AIC) and LEED Green Associate designations. In addition, he is certified as a Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioner from the Institute of Environmental Management Assessment.

Trent has a Bachelor Business Administration degree from the University of North Texas (1986) where he studied insurance and real estate. His experience includes past tenures as an independent adjuster, agent, field adjuster at State Farm Insurance and former CEO of a fire and water restoration company. He has been at Vale since 2008. Trent has been married sixteen years to his wife, Heather. Heather is a Senior Account Manager at Cunningham Lindsey. They have three children who are very active in local sports and school. Trent has also been a volunteer little league baseball coach for 7 seasons. They live near Dallas.

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Joe Harrington

Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU, ARP, is an independent business researcher and writer specializing in property/casualty coverages and operations. He has published articles in numerous insurance publications and delivered numerous presentations for insurance groups.

For more than 21 years, Joe was communications director for the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS). He has been active with The Institutes and the CPCU Society, and continues to serve on the Society's publications committee. Joe can be reached at josephsharrington@comcast.net.

 

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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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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.

Rena M.

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.