OIA Welcomes Megan Smith to Company Partners Role

GAHANNA, OH - We are excited to announce a new staff member here at OIA – please join us in welcoming Megan Smith, CPCU, API, AINS. 

We have big plans for Megan. She will lead the effort to collaborate with IA carriers to develop resources that will help agents be more successful in the modern insurance marketplace. Or stated another way, she’s going to help build great programs that make it easier for YOUR agency to truly THRIVE now and in the future.

Collaborating to Make a Difference

From her roots as a personal lines underwriter for Western Reserve Group in Wooster to her most recent position as a sales manager at Grange Insurance in Columbus, Megan brings nearly 10 years of insurance industry experience to the Company Partners role.

In her new role at OIA, her focus is to build relationships with carrier partners and learn how OIA can leverage carriers’ collective resources to deliver meaningful programs and resources to Ohio independent agents.

“OIA understands the challenges in our industry right now as well as the important role independent agents play in our community,” Megan says. “I look forward to working together with our carrier partners to see how we can collectively bring value to Ohio’s independent agents.”

A Passion for Helping IAs

Megan has a strong background in helping independent agents grow their business, including advising them on perpetuation, digital marketing and customer experience best practices.

She is passionate about independent agents because of the vital role they play as a trusted risk advisor and insurance expert for both personal and commercial clients.

“Many consumers do not understand the importance of insurance and how it impacts every aspect of life,” Megan says. “Independent agents provide a service that consumers may not necessarily want but absolutely need. When the unexpected happens, your independent agent is the first person you call.”

With a solid understanding of both the opportunities and challenges in our industry, she is excited to be a part of the OIA family where she will help promote, progress and protect Ohio’s independent agents.

“My number one goal is to help independent insurance agents – local business owners in Ohio – grow their agency and expand their market share in the industry,” Megan says. “This has always been my passion, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to make a difference.”

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Megan resides in Clintonville with her husband and two dogs. An avid runner, she races in distances from 5K to half marathon and serves on the 5K Committee for Girls on the Run of Central Ohio, a nonprofit organization that uses running to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.”

Questions? Contact Megan at (614) 552-3064.


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of nearly 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agents thrive in a modern insurance marketplace by offering them resources and content in four areas critical for success: digital marketing, recruiting and training, perpetuation and improving the customer experience.


Exciting News About TrustedChoice.com in Ohio

A message from Becky Taylor, OIA marketing manager

GAHANNA, OH - I am excited to announce that OIA has made an investment in search engine optimization for TrustedChoice.com in Ohio (video message included above). This means your TrustedChoice.com Advantage Profile will see more traffic and you can connect with more Ohio insurance buyers looking for independent agents. Included below are resources to help you maximize this opportunity.


How to Prepare Your Profile

Improve the likelihood that consumers will choose your agency by adding unique elements to your profile to set it apart from competitors. I've included tips in the video above, and you can find a full list of best practices here: 8 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Advantage Profile.

Update Your TrustedChoice.com Profile


Improve Inbound Lead Handling

How does your staff handle inbound sales calls? Do potential clients receive a warm welcome when they call your agency or is business slipping through the cracks because callers don't feel important? If it's the latter, take advantage of a program available through your OIA membership called the Power of 30 Seconds. It's free, it only takes 30 minutes to complete and it's a great resource for your staff.

Begin The Powe​r of 30 Seconds Training Module


Not an Advantage Subscriber?

Becoming an Advantage Subscriber is easy. OIA members can click on the sign up button below to get started. If you're not an OIA member, call (800) 555-1742 to sign up for membership and gain access to TrustedChoice.com and a host of other resources to help you compete in today's modern insurance marketplace.

Sign Up Today!


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of nearly 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agents thrive in a modern insurance marketplace by offering them resources and content in four areas critical for success: digital marketing, recruiting and training, perpetuation and improving the customer experience.


Ohio Insurance Agents announces new CEO Jeff Smith

GAHANNA, OH – Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc. (OIA) has announced that Jeff Smith, JD, will transition to CEO effective Jan. 1, 2017. With 16 years of experience working for statewide associations, Smith is passionate about leveraging OIA’s resources to make Ohio independent insurance agents more successful in an ever-changing marketplace.

OIA is the leading advocate for insurance consumers, independent agents and a competitive insurance marketplace. Smith has the experience and passion to help OIA educate consumers on the complexity of insurance decisions and the importance of having the professional advice of an independent insurance agent.

“Jeff is dedicated to OIA’s mission to promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide,” says OIA Board Chair Perk Reichley. “He has extensive knowledge of the association, members, volunteer leaders, partners and emerging trends of the industry. As a result, he is well positioned to help our association tell the story about our noble profession.”

Most recently, Smith led OIA’s advocacy, legal, human resources and membership activities. As CEO, his top priorities include inspiring the next generation of insurance leaders and developing business solutions to strengthen the relationships between independent agents and their clients.

Smith will replace long-time CEO George Haenszel. Leading the association for 32 years, Haenszel dedicated his life’s work to independent agents. Under his leadership, Ohio’s independent agents realized their aspirations of coming together to form one organization – OIA – as the leading voice for insurance consumers and independent agents. Haenszel will transition into the role of Senior Director to mentor Smith and the senior leadership team.

“OIA is an industry leader – our focus must be on knowing where the insurance industry is headed and then helping to lead our member agents there,” Smith says. “My goal is to develop business solutions to make independent agents more competitive in the modern insurance marketplace to ensure our industry is strong for generations to come.”


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agencies protect consumers and employers by offering them access to the best resources, tools and professional development programs available. OIA serves our members in four key areas: advocacy, professional development, business solutions and industry thought leadership.

oia

Ashland independent insurance agent receives Lifetime Achievement Award

COLUMBUS, OH – According to Rick Spreng, owner of Ashland-based Spreng-Smith Insurance Agency, “my business is a ministry to members of my community.” Ohio Insurance Agents Association presented Spreng with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime of leadership to the association, insurance industry and local community.

“There is no better business than the agency business to know people and work with them in the best and worst times in their lives,” Spreng says. “When I started in this business, I didn’t know anything about insurance. And now, after 46 years and a few days from retirement, I can honestly say I am blessed. This career path has provided me with the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of others.”

For over 40 years, Spreng has been involved in the independent agency system. He has been an association leader since he was first elected to represent Ohio Big I District 6 back in 2002. He served as president of the Big I Board from 2008 to 2009. He was elected to the merged Ohio board in 2013, and will conclude his service at the end of this year. Spreng has served as Big I National Director representing Ohio members on the IIABA National Board, which sets the strategic direction and policy of IIABA. While serving on the Trusted Choice Board of Directors, he helped to educate the public on the value of an independent insurance agent

“As I end my career, it's valuable to reflect on my experiences,” Spreng says. “God has placed me with those that have lost loved ones, had debilitating injury, experienced divorce, lost all of their material possessions, and many other difficult issues. I have been personally blessed by the strength of people. Insurance is an honorable business that hopefully has made me a better person.”

Spreng is passionate about making a difference in his community. His volunteer leadership involvement includes President of United Way of Ashland County as well as Campaign Chairman, President of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, President of the Rotary Club, President of the Brethren Care Village, a long-term care facility in Ashland, Vice President of the Boy Scouts of America Johnny Appleseed Council and lay leader of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Ashland. He has also served on the board of the Ashland University Alumni Association.

Spreng’s proudest volunteer leadership experience was chairing the Ashland Bicentennial Celebration, along with his wife Kim. He also chaired the 175th community celebration where he founded the Ashland BalloonFest, which has become one of the premier annual festivals in Ohio. Spreng managed this event for the first 10 years. “Bringing an entire community together is a great experience,” Spreng says. “I am proud to be a part of such as wonderful tradition.”


Ohio Insurance Agents Association 

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agencies protect consumers and employers by offering them access to the best resources, tools and professional development programs available. OIA serves our members in four key areas: advocacy, professional development, business solutions and industry thought leadership.


Leading Advocate for Ohio Consumers Receives Insurance Industry Award

COLUMBUS, OH – Barbara Sears, Assistant Director for the Office of Health Transformation, is a leading advocate for important insurance issues impacting Ohio consumers. The Ohio Insurance Agents Association has awarded Sears the 2016 Independence Bell Award for her positive contributions to the insurance industry.

“Barbara Sears has a unique ability and knack for digging into the details of public policy issues,” says Jeff Smith, Director of Government Affairs and General Counsel at the Ohio Insurance Agents Association. “Her incredible knowledge on many issues, including insurance and Ohio’s workers’ compensation system, is unmistakable. She has been a leading advocate on several public policy issues that are critical to both Ohio consumers and independent insurance agents.”

Prior to her current role with the Office of Health Transformation, Sears was the Majority Floor Leader for the past three legislative sessions and a long-time independent insurance agent focused on employee health benefits. She was a co-sponsor for the Responsible Driver Protection Act, which seeks to protect responsible Ohio drivers who have been in an accident with an uninsured motorist. She chaired the House Insurance Committee when this bill was passed in the legislature.

To protect consumers, she was lead sponsor for the certificates of insurance bill (H.B. 259), which prohibits falsified or altered certificates of insurance. She was also a lead sponsor for H.B. 493, which established the Workers’ Compensation Other States Coverage Program in Ohio. In addition, Sears sponsored Ohio’s health insurance navigator bill (H.B. 3), which established regulations for navigators involved in helping consumers choose a health insurance plan on the exchange.

“I am very honored to receive the 2016 Independence Bell Award from the Ohio Insurance Agents,” Sears says. “Throughout my career, I have always been passionate about helping to elevate the professionalism of Ohio’s robust and competitive insurance industry, and help make a positive impact in the lives of Ohio consumers.”

Sears is a member of the Sylvania Chamber of Commerce, the Northwest Ohio Association of Health Underwriters and Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society. She is also past president of the Toledo Independent Insurance Agents and Insurance Women of Toledo.


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agencies protect consumers and employers by offering them access to the best resources, tools and professional development programs available. OIA serves our members in four key areas: advocacy, professional development, business solutions and industry thought leadership.

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