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29 November

Catastrophe Issues Facing Agencies

David Thompson

This session will examine some of the issues that insurance agencies face after natural disasters. 

13 December

NY Cyber Liability Law - Why You Need to Pay Attention

Tim Dodge

The cyber liability climate is quickly changing around the country and around the world. In watching specific key states, we can be ready for what may happen wherever we are. Join us as Tim helps us to navigate what's going on in New York.

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Chris Behymer
Ted Koeth
Becky Lathrop
David Derigiotis
Larry Goanos
Mary Eisenhart
Casey Roberts
Christopher Longo
Jim Wochele

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

Patrick Wraight

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

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

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

Patrick has earned several industry designations:

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


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

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Kathy Ryan

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

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

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

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Frederick Fisher

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

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


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


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

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Nancy Germond

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


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

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Chris Burand

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


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

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


Areas of Expertise:

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

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

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

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

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Chris Behymer

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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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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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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David Derigiotis

For more than ten years David Derigiotis has been involved in underwriting, account placement, and educating within the professional liability specialty segment. David’s technical underwriting expertise was developed through his time spent with two “A” rated international insurance carriers where he underwrote across multiple professional liability product lines. David currently occupies two roles within the Kaufman Financial Group, headquartered in Farmington Hills, MI.  As a Vice President for the largest subsidiary Burns & Wilcox, David manages a team of brokers and underwriters exclusively focused on professional and executive liability risks and coverage solutions. David also serves as the Director of R.B. Jones, a sister company to Burns & Wilcox and specialty MGA focusing on professional liability, recreation, general liability, environmental, and the umbrella/excess product lines.

David has appeared on the Fox Business Network and CNBC as a recognized cyber & privacy expert during the nationally televised Markets Now and Power Lunch programs. David is also a licensed continuing education instructor teaching courses on professional liability and cyber & privacy liability throughout the country for independent insurance agents and brokers.  Some publications featuring David include The Wall Street Journal, National Underwriter, Advisen, and Rough Notes.  David has been previously nominated for Detroit Crains Top 40 professionals under 40 and has held the prior role as a Senior Broker with Burns & Wilcox.

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Larry Goanos

Larry is the founder of Andros Risk Services, an independent insurance consulting firm which performs a variety of services, including expert witness work, policy drafting, training on professional lines insurance products for brokers and underwriters, claims advocacy, reinsurance and insurance audits, due diligence reviews and program analysis for insureds.  He is also the Dean of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance's (www.theCLM.org) School of Professional Lines Claims.

Larry began his insurance career as an attorney with law firms in New York and Boston before moving into professional lines underwriting management.  He has held senior underwriting executive positions at AIG/National Union and ACE and was a broker at Marsh in San Francisco and was a managing director and head of the Marsh FINPRO Financial Institutions National Sales Practice in New York.  Larry was the president and chief marketing officer of Professional Indemnity Agency, an underwriting subsidiary of Houston Casualty before founding Andros Risk Services. 

Larry is the author of the book "Claims Made & Reported: A Journey Through D&O, E&O and Other Professional Lines of Insurance," which was published in 2008 (Soho Publishing: New York, 376 pages).  Warren Buffet said of the book: "I enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope our insurance managers got copies as I know they would enjoy it as I did.  It deserves accolades."  In November of 2011 the book was translated into Japanese and published in Japan.  Larry’s next insurance book, “D&O 101: Understanding Directors and Officers Liability Insurance – A Holistic Approach,” was published by Wells Media Group, Inc. in July 2014.  Of that book Warren Buffett said “Congratulations on another terrific book.”  

Larry is a cum laude graduate of both Villanova University and Boston College Law School.   

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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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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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Christopher Longo

Chris Longo has been Chief Executive Officer of McGowan Excess & Casualty (MEC) since its founding in 2005.   MEC is a Managing General Underwriter with specialized skills in Commercial Umbrella and Excess insurance.   Chris was previously the President of St. Paul Travelers Specialty Excess & Umbrella division and oversaw all of the unsupported umbrella business within that company.  Prior to that we was President of Chubb Atlantic, an off shore insurance company based in Bermuda.   Chris spent the first 19 years of his career with various Chubb companies and held a variety of senior Casualty positions including Vice President of U.S. Umbrella operations.

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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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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.