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By Nancy Germond MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, ARM, AIC, ITP
Correctly managing your workers' compensation coverage may mean the difference between staying open another year, or closing your doors for good. Nancy breaks down the complexity of workers' compensation, why you need it, why you need to pay attention to it, and how doing it well will make your team better, and help your company's bottom line.View Book
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In this series, we're taking a high-level look at risk management. In just a few sessions, we will give you a primer on risk management. It won't make you a risk manager, but it is designed to open the discussion about risk, risk management, the plac...
When Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals are prioritized during employee hiring, promotion, evaluation, and development, better outcomes can be realized for retention. These activities are often the source of EPLI losses stemming from failure to p...
In this series, we're taking a high-level look at risk management. In just a few sessions, we will give you a primer on risk management. It won't make you a risk manager, but it is designed to open the discussion about risk, risk management, the plac...
You already know about Bitcoin and Etherium, but how well do you know blockchain? No, it's not another cryptocurrency, it's the technology behind crypto. It's also the technology that underlies smart contracts and could be part of the future of insur...
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*Click on an instructor's headshot to view their bio.
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 has earned several industry designations:
Patrick is also the 2021-22 President of SITE, the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators.
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 .
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Winter Wheeler is an in-person and online-based mediator and arbitrator. She is a former civil litigator who brings an extensive and comprehensive body of experience to her current practice. She specializes in several areas, including wrongful death, catastrophic injury, personal injury, premises liability, nursing home, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, products liability, toxic torts, automotive and trucking liability, civil rights, false imprisonment, municipal liability, water runoff, construction defect, contracts, entertainment, and family law with a specialization in domestic violence.
Most recently, Winter was a senior attorney at a prominent midtown Atlanta law firm. Winter is skilled in handling complex matters involving a diverse range of cultures, including Spanish-speaking clients. A graduate of Georgetown University and Tulane Law School, Winter has always combined her passions for culture, diplomacy, and the law. Winter was raised in Miami, Florida, and returns as often as possible.
Winter is very active in the legal community. Winter is a member of the National Bar Association and is a Board Member of the Women Lawyers Division. She is a member of the American Bar Association and serves as a Board Member of the Women in Dispute Resolution Committee. She is a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and serves as the Co-Chair of the Membership Committee. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, the Gate City Bar Association, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar association, and is also on the Board of the Georgetown Club of Metro Atlanta. She has been honored by the National Black Lawyers three times as Top 40 Under 40, as well as Top 100 for 2020. She spends her free time volunteering in her community and enjoying her husband and four children.
Winter is also co-author of the bestselling book, #Networked, which tells the story of how she developed a thriving mediation practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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!
Bill Whitley is a nationally recognized speaker, author and researcher who specializes in helping insurance professionals attract more clients, close more sales and deepen client relationships. Many of his unique sales and customer loyalty concepts are derived from Bill's personal experience as a top-echelon sales executive who achieved and maintained an 80% presentation-to-close ratio.
In 1989, Bill leveraged his dramatic sales success by forming The Whitley Group, a multi-media sales presentation design & production company whose focus was creating sales improvement programs for clients such as IBM, Apple Computer, EDS and AT&T.
Today, with Bill's reseach based approach, he reveals the sales messages the Top Producers use to: Attract more clients.... Communicate the essence of their value... and Create lifelong relationships.
In addition to his work as a sales messaging consultant and keynote speaker, Bill is the author of two books that capsulize and reinforce the unique sales training principles he presents in his seminars, workshops and webinars:
Eight Secrets of the Top-Performing Agents outlines the questions, comments examples and conversations used by top-producing insurance agents to position themselves as advisors, communicate their value more effectively and make everyday risk simple, visual and easy to understand. Uncovered by Bill at the request of several large insruance companies, these effective sales principles form the basis of Bill's popular seminar of the same name. More than 4,000 insurance agents have attended his Eight Secrets seminars and used what they learned to attract more clients, close more sales and create deeper client relationships.
Art of the Rainmaker offers insightful guidance on how to create effective client attraction stories, position yourself as a trusted advisor and much more. As detailed in this book, Bill's refreshing sales tactics show readers how to: Discover & communicate the essence of your organization's value to naturally attract more new clients... Eliminate the stress of "doing sales" the old-fashioned way... Close more sales through effective story-telling... and much more.
Bill and his wife, LeeAnne, have been married 25 years and live with their three children in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reach bill by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (704-996-2800).
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.
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.
Kirk Hansen is the director of education for the American Association of Insurance Services, Wheaton, Ill., a national advisory organization that develops policy forms and manuals used by more than 600 property/casualty insurers throughout the U.S. Kirk is a past member of the Boards of Directors of Arbitration Forums, Inc. and the Missouri Insurance Council. He has been interviewed on television and radio news in regard to a variety of insurance topics. He has been quoted in over 1,000 media articles, including those appearing in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. He has a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill.
Joseph S. Harrington
Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU, ARP, is director of corporate communications for the American Association of Insurance Services, Wheaton, Ill., a national advisory organization that develops policy forms and manuals used by more than 600 property/casualty insurers throughout the U.S. Before coming to AAIS in 1994, Joe worked in newspapers and for business publications. He has a bachelor's degree from Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn, and a master's degree from the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
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.
David Connolly has devoted his entire 30 year career to the insurance industry and has worked in almost every facet of the industry.
As a producer, he developed a significant personal book of business built on national programs which generated over 1 million in revenue. As an educator, David instructed for The National Alliance, and The Wedge Group before forming his Minneapolis based Consultancy. He has coached thousands of insurance professionals in the US and Canada and gets high marks for his ability to translate technical sales concepts into useable skills.
David founded iQ Consulting in 2006 and developed a unique, cutting edge approach to producer performance by working in the field with the best producers in the business. His trade marked process is described by many as the most transparent and effective approaches to buyer facilitation ever conceived.
As a performance coach David works with many of the top 100 Agencies and Brokerage firms in the US and Canada to create immediate, significant and sustainable performance gains. As a public speaker, David delivers seminars, keynotes and workshops for companies, agencies and industry organizations including the Big I, and the PIA. He conducts open workshops on selling and sales leadership and runs the HPA High Performance Producer Academy 4 times per year. As a writer, he is published by many industry journals and continues to write on issues facing the insurance and financial industries. He currently writes a blog for the Insurance Journal called “Your Sales iQ” and is engaged in writing his first book on producer performance slated for publishing in 2011.
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These exams were designed to help you pinpoint areas of interest for possible training opportunities.
This skills test focuses on workers' compensation topics, including;
This skills test focuses on personal lines topics, including;
This skills test focuses on commercial property topics, including;
This skills test focuses on commercial general liability topics, including;
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