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The Inertia of Legacy

Using Newton's Laws of Transformative Change - A Science Geek's Guide to Managing Your Own Legacy.

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Upcoming Events and Webinars

Join us during our live and interactive webinars. Purchase an individual webinar or become a member.

30 May

The US Legal System and Legal Liability

Brenda Powell Wells

The legal system is complicated and so is liability. Even the process of discovering who is liable can be complicated. Join us as Brenda Wells gives us an overview of the US legal system and helps us understand how the law might impose liability.

6 June

Transit Risk in 2024

Joe Harrington

Even as technology advances, we still see delays in the transportation of people and cargo. Then there's the problem of lost shipments or parts of shipments. Join us as Joe Harrington brings his analysis of the situation and some potential solutions ...

13 June

Leading Modern Teams: Inclusive Leadership in Action

Precious Norman-Walton

As work evolves, so does the workforce. Employers are learning on the fly how to onboard someone who lives in another time zone. Join us as Precious Norman-Walton brings her new session all about leading this latest iteration of teams.

20 June

Taking Orders or Providing Financial Security: How to Beat the Big Players

Frederick Fisher

When the market gets tough, it is tempting to sell on price, or default to getting the insured just what they ask for. It's a time when many simply struggle to write business. Fred Fisher advises another path. Join us as he asks the question. Do you ...

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Walt Gerano
Ladda Love Hawkins
Craig Andrews
Rick Pitts
Kevin Amrhein
Becky Lathrop
Veronica Stevens
Tom Wetzel
David Thompson

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

Patrick Wraight

Patrick is the Director of Insurance Journal’s Academy of Insurance. As an insurance learning professional, he is passionate about taking the complicated and making it accessible for everyone, especially the insurance community.

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 by designing and implementing 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 is a prior President of SITE, the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators.

Patrick has earned several industry designations:

  • CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter)
  • CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor)
  • ITP (Insurance Training Professional)
  • CRM (Certified Risk Manager)
  • CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative)
  • AU (Associate in Commercial Underwriting)
  • AINS (Associate in General Insurance).
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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 Executive Director, Risk Management and Education, for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, the “Big I.” She is located in Phoenix, Arizona. With almost four 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, and white papers and has consulted and presented to public-sector and private-sector insurance organizations. She is a licensed P&C agent and adjuster.

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. Nancy holds a B.A. in Communication from Mills College and a Master’s 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 the Owner/Founder of Burand & Associates, LLC.  Chris is the only insurance agency consultant with an Institute of Business Appraiser’s Certified Business Appraiser Accreditation and one of the very few who are certified by the two largest E&O carriers to provide audits for agencies.  With more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, Chris is acknowledged as a leading consultant and is a nationally recognized speaker and author.  His broad experience and wealth of knowledge have enabled him to work with hundreds of agencies, taking great care to learn the client’s goals and understand their needs while developing a solution for their specific situation.

Chris combines education, experience, and knowledge from multiple perspectives at proven levels that few other consultants or educators can provide.  This enables Chris to provide holistic solutions.  Chris’s services help agencies, individuals, and carriers identify strengths and opportunities, optimize productivity and profits, implement real-world strategies, leverage resources, and develop realistic plans of action in order to maximize profitable growth.

Chris established Burand & Associates in 1992 (originally known as Growth Planning).  As a consultant, Chris has consulted with hundreds of agencies and many major insurance carriers.  He built and now facilitates two insurance agency networking associations.  He is also a featured speaker across the continent.  To date, he has presented more than 400 seminars and educational programs, and his articles have also been published more than 500 times.  He is a monthly columnist for The Insurance Journal, a past columnist for American Agent & Broker for eleven years, and his articles have appeared in Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, A.M. Best, many regional insurance publications, and many other trade publications.  He also publishes Burand’s Insurance Agency Adviser for independent insurance agents.

 

Areas of Expertise

Insurance Agency Appraisals:  Chris Burand’s professional services include appraisals for Acquisitions and Sales, Buy/Sell Agreements, Mergers, Dissolutions, and Perpetuation Planning.

Contingency Contract Analysis:  Contingency contracts offer opportunities to increase compensation through negotiations and strategically placing business.  Chris Burand’s Contingency Contract Analysis® service provides the information agents need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Note:  Chris Burand and Burand & Associates, LLC are advocates of agencies which constructively manage and improve their contingency contracts by learning how to negotiate and use their contingency contracts more effectively.  We maintain that agents can achieve considerably better results without ever taking actions that are detrimental or disadvantageous to the insureds.  We have never and would not ever recommend that an agent and/or agency implement a policy of, or otherwise advocate, increasing its contingency income ahead of the insureds’ interests.

PEP® (Productivity Enhancement):  Chris’s innovative statistical algorithm method for identifying procedural consistency, compliance, activity cost, and opportunity cost savings.

Carrier MD® Stability Analysis:  A unique analytical method for creating opportunities to learn negotiating points and insurance carrier stability from an agency’s perspective.

Producer Compensation Plans:  Chris Burand develops plans that increase profits and motivate producers.

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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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Walt Gerano

Walt has been training and coaching insurance (wholesale & retail) leaders and salespeople for over 25 years. He teaches and coaches an effective sales process that transforms conversations to make producers resonate with prospects. Walt has helped his clients drive consistent and predictable sales results and has retained several for over a decade. He is a former life insurance producer with Pacific Mutual Life and New England Financial. 

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Ladda Love Hawkins

Ladda Love Hawkins holds multiple insurance licenses, including Texas general agent (life/health and property-casualty), risk manager, and all-lines adjuster. She enjoys building initiatives to assist new venture trucking professionals to better understand the connectivity of the US domestic trucking industry. She is active on a variety of social media platforms and is a certified Meta digital marketing and community engagement specialist. Prior to her role at Lovejoy, Ms. Hawkins was a virtual special education teacher and facilitator for 4 years. She attributes her success in effectively communicating with others virtually to this experience.

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Craig Andrews

Craig Andrews is a forty-year veteran of the property-casualty industry with significant experience as a producer, independent agency owner, insurer commercial field production underwriter, coverage instructor, insurer commercial and personal underwriting and sales manager, expert witness, home office commercial underwriting manager and commercial product development officer.   He’s made perhaps hundreds of coverage presentations to diverse industry audiences throughout the country and has twice been interviewed by George Nordhaus for his “Monday Morning” webinars. 

 

Craig holds the CPCU, ARM, AAI, AU-M, ARe, AMIM and ASLI professional designations.  He has earned The Institute’s Award for Academic Excellence for both the ASLI and AMIM programs.  Craig is a graduate of Indiana University and a U.S. Navy veteran.  

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Rick Pitts

Richard S. Pitts is Vice-President and General Counsel to Arlington/Roe & Co., Inc., an insurance brokerage and managing general agent headquartered in Indianapolis. Rick also serves as general counsel to the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana, Inc. As counsel to the “Big I,” Rick speaks annually at the association’s New Laws Seminars and teaches various seminars on insurance and employment related matters. Pitts has also presented continuing education seminars to insurance professionals in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.


Rick is a 1983 graduate of Wabash College and a 1986 graduate of Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. Pitts clerked for the Honorable Patrick D. Sullivan, a judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals in 1986-87. Rick is admitted to practice before Indiana state and federal courts, the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a member of local, state and national bar associations. Pitts has tried cases and participated in over seventy appeals.


Pitts has served as a panelist and lecturer on a variety continuing education subjects, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, “Mold: Issues Under the Microscope” for the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum (ICLEF), and “Insurance Issues for Builders” for the Indiana Builders Association. Rick has also served as chair of several of ICLEF’s seminars, including “Advanced Corporate Practice,” “Privacy Law,” and “Insurance Coverage Issues.” Rick has also presented seminars on “Insuring Fiduciary Exposures,” “Insurance Coverage Disputes,” and “Agency Succession and Perpetuation,” for the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana, 2007. Pitts has co-authored two articles appearing in the Indiana Law Review.

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Kevin Amrhein

Kevin is president of the Florida Insurance School of Continuing Education (FISCE) and the CE Partnership. He started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. He is a National Faculty member for the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research’s CIC and Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) programs.

As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but quite glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes- you read that correctly).

Kevin is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. His first teaching gig was as a golf instructor where he was frequently kicked off driving ranges for giving free lessons.

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Becky Lathrop

Becky Lathrop, is a Certified Insurance Counselor, Certified Professional Insurance Agent, has a degree in Risk Management and Insurance from Florida State University, and has been working in the insurance industry for over 30 years.  She has a diverse background in the insurance business, and has spent the majority of her professional career in industry positions such as Business Consultant, Sales Manager, Underwriting Consultant, Financial/Market Analyst, and Portfolio Manager. 

During the last 15+ years, Becky has been helping agencies throughout the United States grow profitably by counseling them in areas such as sales/service training, workflow management, staff organization and stratification, sales/marketing business plans, client retention, strategic planning, and producer compensation.  She has also developed a “Back to Basics” Boot Camp Sales/Service Training to assist staff in cross-selling techniques and higher retention levels.  She has also developed a Marketing/Profitability workshop to help agencies manage their loss ratios and to assist them with capitalizing on agency growth and contingency bonus opportunities.  Becky has written and had published several articles on a variety of insurance topics. 

Becky is Vice President of Optimum Performance Solutions, LLC, a company that offers management consulting services on a nationwide basis to insurance agencies and carriers.  Her agency and corporate experiences provide unique perspectives when assisting her clients.  OPS is also an endorsed consulting firm for several state insurance associations.

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Veronica Stevens

Veronica Stevens is currently the marketing representative for Cochrane & Co.

She started working for Cochrane & Co in July of 1982.  She previously worked in the Property & Casualty division, but also worked in the Transportation division when she was first hired at Cochrane & Company. She has extensive experience underwriting surplus lines accounts, in addition to involvement in the claims handling and policy review. She has been teaching CE credit classes for agents and at the Under 40 Young Agents Conference the past 3 years.

She was awarded the Spokane Insurance Associates Industry Leader of the Year award in 2012.

The Marketing Dept at Cochrane & Co was awarded 1st Place in the Educational Division for the AAMGA in 2017 for classes taught to Independent Insurance Agents of Washington in 2016.

I love to read Insurance Forms and study coverage issues.  

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Tom Wetzel

Tom Wetzel, industry journalist and digital marketing consultant for independent agents, started with the Insurance Information Institute and later then headed a state association of insurers. He worked for several major public relations agencies, developing campaigns for companies and associations, including the Society of CPCU. He is a frequent contributor to major insurance publications, served as the social media columnist for Rough Notes and now writes a column for agents in the Insurance Journal called “Tech Talk.”   His consulting firm has helped hundreds of agencies with websites, blogging, and social media services.  He also stays in touch with agents and companies through his workshops and presentations, his blog “The Good Risk,” as a participant through many social media groups, as moderator of “Social Media Management for Insurance Industry” on Facebook and as a member of the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA).   He has presented hundreds of presentations over the years to national and state agent associations and clusters.

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David Thompson

After receiving his college degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and serving eight years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard, David began his insurance career in a family-owned independent agency in Vero Beach, Florida where he was a licensed agent selling all types of insurance. 

In 1996 David accepted a training & education position with the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) in Tallahassee, Florida where he presented continuing education seminars throughout the country on a variety of insurance subjects. After over 24 years at FAIA, David “semi-retired” in 2021 and now does independent insurance consulting for companies around the country.

In addition to being a full-time insurance nerd, David is an avid biker and smokes the best ribs, chicken, and pork in the country.  

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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.