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22 June

Evaluating Risk Quality

Richard Faber

Have you ever wondered what makes a risk more acceptable to an insurance company? Have you ever less than favorable pricing by an insurer and you didn't understand why? Join us for this webinar by Richard Faber. He plans to help us to understand wh...

24 June

Workers' Compensation Insurance Basics

Frank Pennachio

No one is an expert when they first start out and this session is designed to help the workers' compensation rookie with the basics of how workers' comp insurance works, why our system is set up the way it is, and how to navigate all of the intricaci...

29 June

Agency Data Security: Understanding Your Exposure and Mitigating the Risk

Tom Wetzel

Cyber threats are everywhere and growing. Your clients are concerned about their data and if they aren't you should be. Join us as Tom Wetzel helps us to understand the need for tighter data security.

1 July

Cyber Liability: What Coverages Are Available and Why Do Your Clients Need Them?

Brenda Wells

Everyone needs to understand cyber liability and what it means for any size business that relies on computers.  Join Dr. Wells as she discusses the various exposures to loss, as well as the coverages that are available to help with this risk.

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Instructed by More Than 50 Industry Experts

Patrick Wraight
Kathy Ryan
Frederick Fisher
Nancy Germond
Chris Burand
Chris Christian
Richard Faber
David Thompson
Lynn Thomas
Mary Eisenhart
Brenda Wells
Tim Christ
Chris Behymer
David Paul
Becky Lathrop

*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 has earned several industry designations:

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


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

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Kathy Ryan

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

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

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

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Frederick Fisher

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

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


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

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Nancy Germond

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


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

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Chris Burand

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


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

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


Areas of Expertise:

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

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

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

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

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Richard Faber

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

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

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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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Lynn Thomas

Ms. Thomas is the founder and CEO of Thomas Consulting, located in Newton, Massachusetts.  Her firm specializes in creating powerful Client experiences that increase retention and profits with a specialty in P&C insurance. The firm’s services help companies to plug the “leaky Client bucket” and thereby increases its profits which it has been doing for decades with over 480 companies.

Ms. Thomas is a nationally acclaimed, powerful, engaging and dynamic speaker and consultant on Client experiences, emotional intelligence, retention, and relationships.  She has been a columnist and has published two books with her latest being an Amazon #1 Best Seller.  All of her firm’s consulting services come with a written guarantee of 100%-300% ROI within one year. 

Ms. Thomas started her career as a tax attorney with Arthur Andersen, then a Private Banker and then Change Agent with Bank of Boston. She holds a J.D. cum laude from Suffolk University and a B.A. cum laude from Wesleyan University.  She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and former Board Member of Alpha Resource Center and Insight Seminars.

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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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Brenda Wells

Brenda Powell Wells holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Ph.D. in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Georgia.  She holds the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Accredited Advisor of Insurance (AAI) and Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS) designations.

Brenda has spent over 30 years studying and teaching risk management and insurance.  She presently serves as the director of that program and is the Robert F. Bird Distinguished Professor of Risk Management and Insurance.

During her career she has taught numerous risk and insurance courses.  She has also supervised countless internships and independent study projects.  Brenda has a long history of forming, supporting, and mentoring student organizations and has a wide range of experience in public relations and fundraising.  She is the founder of the Texas Risk and Insurance Professional Society (TRIPS), a non-profit entity that supports insurance education.  She has a career fundraising total of well-over $2 million.

Brenda has published articles in Journal of Risk and Insurance, Journal of Insurance Regulation, Journal of Insurance Issues, and others.  Her current research interests include mass tort litigation in the pharmaceutical industry, the effect of marijuana legalization on the insurance industry, social media, cyber liability and how insurance education impacts public attitudes towards the insurance industry.  Her publication in Journal of Insurance Issues on marijuana legalization and its impact on property-casualty insurance is considered the seminal paper in this field.

Outside of her duties in academia, Brenda serves as a private consultant and corporate trainer to the insurance and risk management industry.  Her consulting firm—Risk Education Strategies--offers agency management consulting, social media consulting, custom seminar delivery, preparation of expert opinions and testimony, continuing education course delivery, agency valuation, risk management audits, and intellectual patent application review. More information about her firm can be found at www.riskedstrategies.com

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Tim Christ

Timothy D. Christ, MBA is the VP at Claimatic, an InsurTech company that serves several major insurers by helping them accelerate their claims process.  He published a book on insurance in 2018, Becoming a World-Class Expert: The Business of Forensic Engineering, and the 2nd book in 2020 on business and technology that became an Amazon #1 New Release.  He was recognized as a Power 50, one of the 50 most influential insurance professionals in Latin America.  He is a frequent contributor to National Underwriter, a 5-time speaker at the Insurance Risk Management Institute’s (IRMI) Annual Energy Conference, speaker at various Risk Insurance Management Society (RIMS) events, Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB), and others.  He has been interviewed by NBC News and has appeared on numerous insurance podcasts, including SpotOnInsurance, The Claims Podcast, and Trendbreakers.  He has personally delivered hundreds of hours of Department of Insurance (DOI) Continuing Education (CE) presentations.

Christ brings 20 years’ international experience in the insurance industry, having personally investigated hundreds of insurance claims, directly involved in many mediations and trials, and then later managing thousands of insurance claims investigations.  He built companies in Canada, Latin America, and the US, and is a frequent guest to Lloyd’s in London.  His vast experience in all P&C claims types, including homeowner all the way to managing billion-dollar losses, provides him unparalleled insight into how the claims process responds to claim events.  He worked on multiple Catastrophe events, including the Texas Mold Claims Crisis in 2001, Hurricane Wilma in Mexico in 2005, Katrina, Ike, the Chilean earthquakes in 2010, Thailand flooding in 2011, Calgary flooding in 2013, Hurricanes Sandy & Irene, and others.

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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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David Paul

David Paul is a principal at ALIRT Insurance Research, a firm specializing in the analysis of insurance company financial performance trends.  ALIRT’s quarterly insight into the underlying financial strength of life, property & casualty and health insurers allows distributors and buyers of insurance products to better understand macro financial trends in U.S. insurance markets as well as anticipate financial stress and/or rating downgrades of insurance partners before they occur.  ALIRT also provides in-depth intelligence on carrier financial performance to insurers and asset managers.

David was a founding member of ALIRT Insurance Research (1999), building out the company’s life, property/casualty, health, and international analytical models/services.  David co-directs the company’s research staff, manages internal IT initiatives and product development, pens a number of the firm’s insurance industry research pieces, and is actively engaged in client service and business development.

David has over 25 years of experience in insurance research and financial analysis and is active in the industry as an author and public speaker.

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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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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.