OIA’s annual Awards Dinner was held on the evening of Wednesday, December 7, 2022. The award ceremony recognizes OIA members and partners who have gone above and beyond the call of service to truly make a lasting difference in their community over the past year.
The OIA Governance Committee is responsible for nominating candidates, making sure our policies and procedures are in order and selecting award winners. It is not an easy task for them. Each year, countless award nominations are received in each category. From those nominations, the committee must determine which candidate best fits the criteria for the award. Sometimes they determine there are two candidates equally deserving and two awards are given. When you hear why they were chosen, you will be amazed by the things they are doing for the industry, their communities, and our association.
OIA awards recognize independent agents and companies by:
- Setting them apart from their competitors
- Positioning them as leaders in Ohio’s insurance industry
- Instilling pride in our members
- Spotlighting our members’ capabilities and achievements
- Reminds members and Ohio communities of OIA members’ commitment to excellence
- Generates positive media coverage for Ohio independent agents
- Aspires members and staff
We are privileged to have the honor of recognizing them below:
Independence Bell Award/Industry Person of the Year
The Independence Bell Award honors an individual who has significantly contributed to the betterment of the independent agency system and/or OIA.
This year, OIA awarded the Independence Bell Award to William “Bill” Bishop, President at Associated Insurance Agencies in Westerville, OH.
Bill Bishop is a native of Westerville, Ohio where is agency, Associated Insurance Agency was established in 1923. As president of the agency, he has grown it to more 25 experts with locations in both Ohio and Florida, representing more than 20 insurance companies.
Bill has been an active volunteer for the Ohio Insurance Agents for over 15 years and has been a loyal and active servant for his peers, clients, and the industry during that time. He has served on the board of directors as well as the Advocacy and Policial Committee.
Bill has shown through his actions that he is committed to advancing the insurance industry and independent agency system. His mentorship of the next generation of insurance leaders to use their voices, represent their profession, and become involved in their communities and political activities is a testament to his leadership is progressing this great industry in Ohio and beyond.
He is incredibly active in business, civic and political organizations. For many statewide elected officials, Bill is viewed as the voice of the independent insurance agents. He is a generous contributor to OIAPAC and InsurPAC and has consistent voice at OIA’s Advocacy Day, Big I Federal Legislative Conference, and other legislative events including testifying before the legislature and political fundraisers.
In addition to Bill’s service to OIA, he also serves on the Executive Committee of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and serves in a leadership capacity for a number of other civic organizations. In 2023, Bill will begin his service as Ohio’s representative on the Big I National Board of Directors.
Bill is a champion for Ohio’s independent insurance agents and his leadership is deserving of recognition as he helps inspire others to spread the good work about independent insurance agents everywhere.
For these reasons and more, we were pleased to present Bill with the Independence Bell Award for elevating independent agents and strengthening the independent agency system!
Outstanding Company Achievement/Eagle Award
The Eagle Award honors a company that has demonstrated outstanding achievement and superior performance in a specific area such as leadership, innovation, technology, perpetuation, and/or customer service for the betterment of the independent agency system.
OIA presented Utica National Insurance Group, headquartered in New Hartford, NY, with the Eagle Award.
Mission based organizations like OIA that stand the test of time, have a treasured legacy, and are positioned to progress the profession in the future are done so based on strong relationships and partnerships. OIA is fortunate to have many great partnerships and one of our strongest is with Utica National Insurance Group.
Utica has been a leader in agents’ E&O insurance for 56 years and has had a solid and long-term partnership with OIA for many decades of those years. Utica is unequivocally loyal to its agents, assisting them with a strong, consistent E&O program and cultivating a focus on best practices and E&O risk management strategies. The program’s longevity and continued growth, and development is a cornerstone of the OIA and its mission to protect agencies from areas that could be devastating to their business and livelihood.
Utica supports OIA and its agents in many ways. They assist with education materials for our agents, they work with our E&O team to give the current policyholders their greatest value on each policy, and act as a true partner in our education initiatives. Utica’s leadership in the agent E&O market is extraordinary and their OIA partnership is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Utica’s commitment to growing the independent agency system.
Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year
The Outstanding CSR of the Year award® is open to any insurance customer service representative or an insurance professional primarily responsible for customer service. The prestigious award was established in 1991 and is sponsored by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. It recognizes insurance customer service representatives who are exceptional at what they do; those who stand apart for their leadership capabilities and the consistently high quality of service they deliver.
Upon receipt of entry materials, nominees are entered in state-level competition. Winners at this level become eligible for the national award—an honor that carries national recognition in industry trade publications along with a $2,000 cash award, a $1,000 cash award for your nominator, a gold and diamond pin, and a scholarship for your employer to any National Alliance program.
Nomination submissions must include the entry form, two letters of recommendation from professional references, and a 500 to 1000-word essay on the topic of: “Given changes in technology, the consolidation of agencies and societal influences, discusses four ways your clients’ expectations have changed in the last 5 years and the two most important changes you expect to see in customer service in the next 5 years?”
This year’s award winner is Wendy Kegley, Office Manager at Fourman Insurance in Springfield, Ohio.
To know Wendy, you know her as someone that is always striving for more, to do better, to learn more, and to selflessly serve her clients to the utmost expertise and to make the agents in her office lives easier.
Twenty-four of her 37 years of life have been spent in the customer service field. Each client is a new opportunity to master unique needs and meet expectations and each opportunity has shaped her into a better person, agent and CSR. Her years of experience have positioned her well in mastering adaptability, problem-solving, and most importantly emotional intelligence. From handling the heated conversations of an angry, unhappy client to meeting the emotional needs of a wife who just lost her husband, the importance of managing emotions while meeting the needs of clients is of vital importance for being an exceptional agent and CSR.
Wendy’s sole purpose is to serve, protect, and educate people and feel most comfortable in public, making personal connections, and impacting individuals, to make each person feel special because they are.
Excellence in Leadership
The Excellence in Leadership Award honors an OIA volunteer who has provided outstanding leadership and service to the association in the preceding year. This year the award goes to Katie Watson, Partner, Insurance Agency of Ohio, Worthington.
There are many measures of the health of an organization, with Katie in the leadership ranks of OIA, we can confidently say we are healthy and well positioned for the future.
From the moment Katie began volunteering for OIA in 2012 as a member of the Agents Resource Committee, she has made an impact on the organization. Since then, she has served on numerous task forces and committees and was elected to the board in 2017.
In addition to the OIA Board service, Katie recently served as OIA’s National Director to the Big “I”.
Katie’s critical thinking skills, selfless approach and passion represent the qualities we are seeking in our volunteer leaders. Her magnanimous personality creates harmony on the board even when debating difficult issues.
Katie is bright, inquisitive, a collaborator, and a student of the industry. She asks great questions and always seeks clarification to difficult questions. When Katie is involved you know she is elevating the discussion.
In addition to her service with OIA, Katie is also active in her community, having served on the board of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and as Chair of the Young Professionals of Worthington.
Katie understands that the OIA membership consists of agencies with many different needs, and we are all lucky that she is looking out for them and their needs. Let us repeat, with Katie leading OIA, we are healthy and well positioned for the future.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual for their outstanding leadership contributions to the association, the independent agency system, and the community. Body of work and longevity are taken into consideration. Nominees may be retired. The award may be given posthumously.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Timothy J. Stolly, CIC, CPCU, LUTCF, Principal, out of Stolly Insurance Group in Lima, OH.
Tim Stolly joined Stolly Insurance Group in 1979. He has served on many community boards of governors, including as a past president of the Lima / Allen County Chamber of Commerce, Allen County Council of Aging, Lima Noon Optimist, Lima Interfaith Senior Housing, and Shawnee County Club. With over 100 years of family history, he is helping to continue that legacy into the future with five generations of Stolly’s operating the agency over the years. Two generations are currently running the agency today with five agencies across Ohio. Tim is shaping the next generation for his agency and constantly reaching out to his community and local next-generation agents. Tim hopes to inspire Lima’s Next Generation of professionals by sharing the various layers of business and insurance at the group’s monthly professional development lunches.
Tim served on the PIA Board of Directors from 2007 through 2010 and served on multiple committees. He began serving on the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Insurance Professionals, OIA’s 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2009 and continues that service today. PIA and OIA volunteers credit Tim’s involvement by saying this:
- “He was instrumental in helping me in my early days volunteering at PIA.”
- “Tim from the very first internship meeting stood up and took ownership of the major initiative of the task force. He was instrumental in developing the Intern program, its curriculum, and its recruiting and training process. Initiative, follow through and dedication to this pilot made it one of the most exciting initiatives I have been affiliated with in my years at PIA.”
Tim gives back willingly to his community, the industry, and the next generation of insurance professionals!”
Congratulations to Tim Stolly!
Community Service Award
Honors an independent insurance agent or agency that has provided extraordinary service within their local community defined by:
- Overall contribution (funds raised, people helped, volunteerism, etc.) to their community service project and/or initiative, and the positive impact (both short-term and long-term) that their efforts have made toward their community service project.
- Demonstration of commitment to their communities by going above and beyond in volunteering time and enthusiasm to causes close to their heart.
This year we awarded UIS Insurance & Investments and the work they do through UIS Cares.
The UIS Insurance & Investments agency provides extraordinary service to not one but all 13 communities and counties where they have offices established. In 2021, UIS donated over $57,000 back into the communities through various sponsorships and donations.
These sponsorships help numerous non-profit organizations and businesses. In the Tiffin location alone, UIS helped over 30 different organizations. UIS also gives each employee 15 hours to use when volunteering. This is so an employee doesn’t have to use their own time off to volunteer on a workday.
Toria Felton from UIS says “our employees love to use these hours to take kids/grandkids on field trips, ring the bell for The Salvation Army, help people on election day, and so many other activities. The agency finds it important not only to help financially but to also volunteer time in their community.
At UIS we are committed to our communities and do so by supporting a large number of causes and organizations through “UIS Cares”. UIS Cares strives to keep our employees passionate about their civic duties by giving them the freedom to share their time and talent with the towns we serve. Our goal is to make a positive impact on the communities where we live, work and play.”
Congratulations to UIS Insurance and UIS Cares!
OIA recognition of others who have made contributions to the association. For example Committee or Task Force chairmen or members who have made a significant contribution, OAPA donors, company representatives, insurance industry representatives.
We have two Citation award winners. The first goes to Mike Keenan, President of The Keenan Agency in Dublin, OH.
Mike Keenan is received the OIA Citation for his years of public service to the community. He began public service in Washington Township (which includes Dublin) from 1983 through 2002. Washington Township provides all the fire and EMS service to Dublin and the entire township. As insurance professionals know how important fire service is to the business of insurance, Mike voted to buy the very first 100-foot aerial ladder fire truck in Washington Township and dedicated as a Trustee all 4 currently operating fire stations in Dublin. They now have an average of a little over 5-minute response time anywhere in the Dublin community. Between the Township and the City, Mike was in elected office for 36 years in our community.
He served on Dublin’s City Council from 2003 through 2019, and as Mayor of Dublin from 2014 to 2016. For the State of Ohio, he was appointed to the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority in 2013 and is currently serving in that term, which will end in 2027. He has served on the Ohio Collaborative Community, Police Advisory Board, the Ohio Public Works Commission, and the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority.
In addition to his public service work, Mike has been an independent insurance agent and president of The Keenan Agency in Dublin for 45 years. Mike has also been instrumental with helping OIA’s advocacy and pollical efforts. His decisions and leadership help daily to provide positive outcomes for his community, agency and the IA system. Thank you, Mike, for your service to your local community, your clients, the insurance industry and independent agency system.
The next OIA Citation Award Winner is rooted in a deep relationship of giving back to her community. This OIA Citation goes to Alison Speck, Owner and Producer at MVP Agency, Inc. in Johnstown, OH.
Ten years ago, Alison Speck and her father teamed up to build their own independent insurance agency in the small community of Johnstown. Establishing MVP Insurance has given her the opportunity to help so many more people, which is what it is all about for her and her team.
Alison is most passionate about her work with the local mom’s group on Facebook. She started a “Stork Squad” Facebook group, about 7 years ago. The group celebrates and relieves new parents by delivering a care package that includes a full meal, snacks, treats, and gifts to the family when the new baby arrives. Over 110 families have received this outreach and love from their community. As the community of Johnstown grows, and young families begin to put down roots, the Stork Squad will be there to welcome them for years to come.
OIA is proud to honor Alison for her tenacity and outreach in her community. Her community commitment is the epitome of the independent agent way.
Best Agency Video Award
The criteria for judging are that the video is creative, captivating, and memorable. The winner receives a $250 gift card from Best Buy.
The Best Agency Video Award for 2022 goes to Dostal & Kirk Insurance & Financial Services Dostal & Kirk, and when you view their video, you’ll understand why!