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Upcoming Events and Webinars

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31 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...

12 February

Why Claims are Denied

Bill Wilson

This is a special Academy Event in 12 parts. Welcome to part 2! Join us as renowned insurance educator, author, and speaker, Bill Wilson, starts to walk us through his best selling book, "When Words Collide". In this session, he helps us to underst...

12 February

When Words Collide - The 12 Part Series Bundle

Bill Wilson

Have you ever wondered why a claim that seemed clearly covered was denied? Have you ever tried to convince someone that your reading of the policy was correct? Have you ever tried to help someone to get a claim covered when the adjuster denied cove...

14 February

Your Side Gig: the Insurance You Didn't Know You Need (or Had!)

Kevin Amrhein

We all know people who have a side gig. More people today are trying to make money without giving up their day job. Join us as Kevin Amrhein takes us into the intersection of our customers' side gigs and their insurance policies. He'll be looking for...

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Trent Massey
Marcel Schwantes
Joe Harrington
Erica Upmeyer
Ted Koeth
Bob Titus
Casey Roberts
Marjorie Segale
Veronica Stevens

*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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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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Marcel Schwantes

Marcel Schwantes is a speaker, leadership coach, advisor, and syndicated columnist. He founded Leadership from the Core to help leaders discover the key to what makes people fully committed to doing extraordinary work. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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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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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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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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Bob Titus

Bob is a Claims Manager with Academic Risk Resources & Insurance, LLC. He brings over 20 years of professional experience in commercial multi-line claims consulting and risk management. He also has over ten years of claims advocacy experience on OCIP and large construction losses.


In addition, Bob teaches professional development insurance courses for the Insurance Library of Boston and Polestar Performance Programs, Inc. Bob also has extensive experience in large loss claim management and has been retained as an expert witness by both plaintiff and defense attorneys on insurance disputes in litigation.


Bob’s present responsibilities include: complex coverage analysis, working with insurers to obtain proper and timely claim settlements, conducting multi-line claim reviews to monitor the reserving and establishing claims handling protocols of his clients’ insurers and TPAs.

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Casey Roberts

Casey Roberts brings 38 years of experience in the insurance industry.  During that time he has worked as a personal lines producer, personal lines sales manager, commercial producer, commercial sales manager, insurance consultant, continuing education teacher as well as a sales and sales management trainer and consultant.

In 2010 Casey formed Laurus (lorus) Insurance Consulting.  His company’s name was chosen with intent and purpose.  The name “Laurus” is derived from Latin words meaning “victory” or “success”.  

The main purpose of Laurus Insurance Consulting is to help insurance professionals reach their goals and sales potential; ie, to achieve Their Success. 

He has served as director for the AFIS (Agriculture & Farm Insurance Specialist) designation as well as on IIABCal’s Agribusiness committee.  He received his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) credentials in 1989, Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR) in 1992 and his AFIS designation in 2005. 

His continuing education efforts include teaching topics on a national level as varied as: insurance agents/brokers errors and omissions, workers’ compensation, agency management, personal lines, farm property & liability, excess & umbrella, risk management, agency operations and numerous other commercial lines topics.   

Casey’s other passions include a seldom improving golf game, officiating women’s collegiate basketball in northern California as well as boys and girls high school basketball in the greater Sacramento region. 

He resides in northern California (Lincoln) with his bride of some 30 years, Alyson, and their two dogs, Buddy & Bear.

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Marjorie Segale

Ms. Segale began her insurance career with an insurance broker in Northern California as a commercial lines manager and producer. Marjorie formed her own insurance agency a few years later, handling all lines of insurance. After the sale of her agency, she joined the staff of Insurance Skills Center, Inc., located in Huntington Beach, Californai. She is now founder and President of Segale Consulting Services, LLC and provides a wide variety of services to the insurance industry, including account review, agency audits, strategic planning, and forensic claims analysis. Ms. Segale is also a principal and founding member of the Insurance Community Center, LLC, a web-based resource and eduction on-line site for the insurance industry. In addition, Ms. Segale acts as an expert witness on agent and broker standard of care. Marjorie is a National Faculty member for the National Alliance and conducts education courses on a wide variety of subject matter across the nation.

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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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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.