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OIA surrenders PIA National charter

PIA National has partnered with Ohio agents for many years, however, given the challenges and opportunities that face IAs in the changing marketplace, it is critically important for us to utilize IA resources in the most prudent manner possible.

After extensive consideration and valuation of our options, we are surrendering our PIA National charter in the state of Ohio.

We’ve prepared the following FAQ to provide insight into our decision-making process and help explain what it means to you.

Q: Why is OIA disaffiliating from PIA National?

A: There is a redundancy of services between the two national agents’ organizations.

One example is in advocacy efforts at the federal level – 44 percent of PIA National resources are expended on federal advocacy, while 30 percent of IIABA’s resources are dedicated to federal advocacy. We frequently receive updates from both national organizations within minutes of each other that essentially say the same thing.

The redundancy of federal advocacy efforts is not only an inefficient use of resources, it is likely hurting the IA system. Multiple messages and PACs dilute our messages and send mixed signals to public policymakers.

Despite combining our efforts at the state level in 2013, Ohio agents have still been paying twice for federal advocacy services, among other duplicate services offered by both national organizations. Independent agents would be better served by one combined national organization.

Q: Does Ohio leadership believe the two national organizations should merge?

A: Like the two state-level Ohio agents’ associations did in 2013, we encourage PIA and IIABA to pursue merger discussions.

We believe one national association with a singular focus on helping independent agents, and not competing with one another, is the best path forward for independent agents.

Over half of the state agents’ associations have merged within their respective states in the past 30 years. In addition, mergers have recently occurred in the national property and casualty insurance association community. Both the national carrier associations and wholesalers merged their national associations (American Property Casualty Insurance Association – 2018) (Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association – 2017).

Having successfully completed a state-association merger in Ohio, OIA would welcome the opportunity to participate in merger discussions with the two national agents’ organizations.

Q: When does this change take effect?

A: The change is effective April 9, 2019.

Q: What programs will no longer be available?

A: We are not aware of any unique programs, services or offerings that differentiate PIA National from the IIABA. Nearly all of the programs available through PIA National are also available through IIABA, with IIABA offering a much wider breadth of programs.

Q: Will my Utica E&O policy be affected?

A: No, not at all. Your Utica E&O policy is written through OIA’s in-house independent insurance agency, which has its own arrangement with Utica. You can continue to contact OIA’s trusted team of advisors for your E&O, cyber liability, umbrella and EPLI coverage. For questions about your E&O policy, including all of our available markets, please contact Judy at (800) 555-1742.

Q: How will the CIC and CISR program in Ohio be affected?

A: There is no impact on the CIC and CISR programs, or any other professional development classes offered by OIA. We will continue to offer the same great programs, including the addition of new pre-licensing classes and additional online courses. OIA’s relationship with The National Alliance (creator of the CIC and CISR programming) is completely independent of our relationship with PIA and will remain unchanged.

Q: I am currently enrolled in a PIA Trust program. What should I do?

A: You have two options. There are comparable programs offered through IIABA and we are happy to help walk you through the steps to switch. If you prefer to stay in a PIA Trust program, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: I currently access the Hartford Flood program through PIA National. What should I do?

A: You have two options. There is a comparable program offered through an IIABA partnership with Selective Flood and we are happy to help with book rolls between Hartford and Selective. If you prefer to continue using the Hartford program through PIA, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: What will OIA do with the funds previously forwarded to PIA National?

A: OIA will repurpose the resources currently dedicated to PIA to support Ohio agents’ ability to compete in the modern marketplace. This includes investing in and/or building additional resources and services.

For example, OIA is now leveraging data analytics for independent agencies by providing performance benchmarking reports and insights to propel growth.

Q: Can I still maintain a separate PIA National membership?

A: Yes, you may still join PIA at the national level. PIA National membership fees are $225 per year and you can sign up by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.

Q: I have the PIA logo on my website. What logo should I use instead?

A: We recommend you use the OIA member logo as it is most likely to resonate with your clients. To download the OIA logo for use on your marketing materials, please visit this page. If you would like to utilize a national brand as well, we recommend the Trusted Choice logo.

Questions?

Please contact Jeff Smith with any questions regarding the disaffiliation from PIA National. 

Contact us

Click below to read the full letter sent to OIA members.

Read full letter


Ohio Insurance Agents Association Enhances Partnership with Indium to Provide Independent Agents Market Access and Growth Solutions

GAHANNA, OH - Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc. (OIA) creates strategic partnership with Indium to provide agents expanded market access options and growth solutions.

Two Ohio-based, independent agent led organizations have come together in a strategic partnership to support the growth of the independent agency system. OIA, which has always had an ownership interest in Indium (formerly MarketSource), purchased a majority interest in the organization.

“The independent agency system must change to compete in the modern marketplace. Through this strategic partnership with Indium, independent agents will have access to market access, technology, and training resources to propel their businesses into the future,” stated Jeff Smith, CEO of OIA.

“OIA and Indium have been connected from the beginning of Indium’s founding in 2005 when volunteer agents worked tirelessly to create a leading market access solution that would be agent-led and maximize agent value.”

“We all know our industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and on all fronts. We sit in a unique position, where we see firsthand what agents, carriers, vendors and our peers are going through to remain relevant. Every aspect of the insurance supply chain is confronting significant disruption, all at once. It’s an extraordinary time for our industry, really. And as we’ve reinvented ourselves to meet the demands of our industry, we’ve also been looking for strategic partners with a common mission focused on helping independent agents stay independent, both now and in the future,” remarked Chad Eddy, CEO of Indium.

Since inception, Indium has helped hundreds of agencies in Ohio and across the country grow their business and maintain their independence. To date, Indium supports nearly 400 agency partners across 10 states, with 85 percent located in Ohio.

“OIA and Indium share common missions, visions, values, cultures, agent leadership, staff, priorities, growth strategies and agency partners and members, so coming together makes great sense,” said Matt Simon, CIC, CPCU, Chairman of the OIA Board of Directors and Principal with Hill and Hamilton Insurance Agency in Bellefontaine.

“As an association, we need to evolve and ensure we are providing value to our agents, and our strategic partnership with Indium solidifies our value proposition. Through this partnership, our agent and carrier partners can expect continued support for Indium’s market access solutions and technology solutions, strengthening an agent-led partner to grow the independent agency system and compete in the modern insurance marketplace.”

“Bringing together agent led organizations who share the same mission, to help independent insurance agents grow and prosper, ensures that our agents’ success is always the focus of our partnership. We have complimentary services for independent agents, which makes this partnership a natural fit with our collective mission to promote, protect and progress the independent agency system,” said Eddy. 

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to provide independent agents with market access solutions, local ownership and a focus on improving services and offerings,” said Smith.

For more information on this alignment please see OIA and Indium's joint letter.


About Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,300 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. OIA helps agents by providing agency valuation, succession planning, generational health, operational benchmarking reports, other business solutions and industry thought leadership.

About Indium

Indium (MarketSource Agency Network, LLC) was founded in 2005 out of the OIA, who assembled a team of thought-leading independent insurance agents to develop an innovative solution for the purpose of helping independent insurance agents stay independent. This team of agents – our founding fathers – volunteered their time to collaborate, cooperate and strategize for each other’s benefit and to strengthen the independent channel and developed MarketSource Agency Network to provide independent insurance agents access to the standard markets they needed to grow their insurance agencies without the burden of ever-increasing production requirements of carriers, or giving up control of their business.

In 2016, we changed our company name to Indium (Why Indium) to reflect the vision and energy of our new “indie agent” brand. In staying true to our founding principles, Indium is a leading market access provider whose focus is to facilitate enhanced revenue and profitable growth opportunities for our agency partners and companies. We are still owned and directed by independent agents, and we support agency partners across the country who have placed over $50 million in written premium with our company partners.

oia

OIA Enhances Partnership with Indium

We are excited to share with you that we have enhanced the partnership between Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) and Indium!

OIA and Indium (formerly MarketSource) have been connected from the beginning of Indium’s founding in 2005 when volunteer agents worked tirelessly to create a leading market access solution that would be agent-led and maximize agent value.

In doing this, we have established a service that has helped more than 500 Ohio agencies grow their business and maintain their independence. All the while, the solution has remained solely owned by independent agents.

While much has changed since 2005, several things have remained aligned: OIA’s and Indium’s missions, visions, values, cultures, agent leadership, staff, priorities, growth strategies and agency partners/members. Knowing there has always been crossover in organizational leadership and engagement has led us back closer together.

OIA’s and Indium’s agent leadership spent many hours over the past year designing the opportunity for a closer relationship to share resources and preserve a strategic, agent-friendly market access solution for independent agents. Recently, OIA purchased shares from agent equity owners and now holds a majority interest in Indium.

This greater partnership provides many opportunities for both OIA’s members and Indium’s agency partners, including:

  • Leveraging the collective strength of our organizations

    • OIA and Indium have agency leaders and staff working toward similar goals

    • We offer complimentary services that fit well with partner organizations

    • Given our overlapping strategies, aligning our resources will allow us to serve independent agents in a more efficient and effective manner

  • Aligning our organizations will allow us to maintain an ownership, presence and high level of service established by the agent leaders and organizations that founded Indium

  • Serving a similar constituency – 324 of Indium’s 378 agencies are Ohio-based independent agencies and members of OIA

What this means to you:

  • Continued support for Indium’s market access solution and technology solutions, preserving an agent-led partner to grow your agency and compete in the modern insurance marketplace.

  • Market access solution – joint review of the service model, carrier lineup, commissions, contingencies and other program arrangements.

  • OIA dues, Indium partner fees and contract – Our agent leaders are meeting in early March to discuss these issues and will have more to share with our collective members in the coming months.

In the face of the many changes happening in our marketplace, we know that OIA and Indium are stronger together. We will be able to more effectively and efficiently serve independent agents by strengthening our partnership. We encourage you to learn more about the services OIA and Indium provide and how they can help you grow your agency.

Please contact any of us, or our business leaders, OIA CEO Jeff Smith at (800) 555-1742, or Indium CEO Chad Eddy at (614) 942-1470 if you have any questions, feedback or would like additional information on this strategic partnership.

Thanks again for your continued support of OIA and our efforts to promote, protect and progress the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide.

QUESTIONS?

View letter from OIA here

oia

OIA Welcomes Ashley Fitzsimmons to Customer Experience Role

GAHANNA, OH - Ohio Insurance Agents Association is excited to announce that Ashley Fitzsimmons has joined the association as their Customer Experience Manager.

Growing OIA’s vision to be a “change agent for agent change,” Fitzsimmons has a goal to lead the association’s initiatives to build and develop networks among agents, specifically the OIA’s new Peer Exchange Groups.

“Ashley is a connector. She has an energy and aura about her that will bring agencies together in our peer exchange groups to help them grow and improve their performance,” says OIA CEO Jeff Smith, JD, CIC, CAE.

“It truly takes a special breed to be an independent agent. Independent Agents are superheroes. They protect. They save. Look no further than the many natural disasters we are experiencing across this country and you see how independent agents help put people’s lives back together” Fitzsimmons says.  

”Having been an independent agent for nine years, I have a deep understanding for the speed bumps and roadblocks they can typically run into. I’d like to think there is no such thing as a problem, only an opportunity. And I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with independent agents in Ohio and help them strengthen their superhero powers and tear down those roadblocks.”

Fitzsimmons shares OIA’s passion and vision for independent agents and the IA system. Her experience working as a Producer with Fitzsimmons Insurance, a small independent insurance agency in Forest City, Pennsylvania, will equip her with the background and knowledge to make a big impact on the broader IA system. In her role with the agency, she implemented many technology features to modernize the customer experience and create relationships with other Next Generation agency leaders.

“One of the biggest things I’m hoping to accomplish with OIA is attracting new talent into the industry. Insurance is affectionately referred to as pale, male and stale. That changes now” Fitzsimmons says. “With the help of the OIA team, I know we can change this stereotype and show younger generations why insurance is the place to be and how you can make a difference in people’s lives in this profession. I’m looking forward to integrating into an incredible team that is changing this amazing industry for the better one day at a time.”

Fitzsimmons will join the OIA team at the beginning of 2019.


About Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,300 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. OIA helps agents grow their agencies and improve their performance by providing agency valuation, succession planning, generational health, operational benchmarking reports, peer exchange groups, other business solutions and industry thought leadership.


OIA targets independent agency valuation

Gahanna, OH - Independent agency succession planning can be a touchy subject, regardless if you’re considering an internal transfer or external sale.

Giving up your agency for any reason can be a bittersweet process, but placing the proper value on your agency is an extremely important part of the process and not something you should take lightly.

It’s important to work with a valuation partner who understands that valuing and perpetuating an agency is about more than a number.

Why OIA?

This is why Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) has stepped in to the agency valuation arena.

We bring a compassionate team of experts to guide you through the steps to perpetuate internally or externally. We understand that your agency is your lifeblood, your reputation and your legacy.

OIA Chief Operations Officer Carey Wallace said it best:

“We’re not interested in trying to drive agents toward one particular solution for their agency. We just want to make sure that agents have all of the information they need in order to make the best decision.”

Time moves fast, and whether the time to sell or exit your agency is now or in 10 years, you should be thinking about this day well before it occurs.

Simply passing your agency on to a family member? That may seem easy, but there is a lot of work involved to ensure your future family get-togethers aren’t ruined by the resentment of a (perceived) bad business deal.

It’s just as important when selling your agency externally to another retail agent, a large broker or even private equity. If you’re simply taking their offer without conducting your own valuation, how do you know you’re getting the best value for your agency?

That’s why gaining an unbiased understanding of your agency’s value from OIA can help you make the most informed decisions about the future of your business.

OIA represents agencies of every size, from small, family-owned businesses to large agencies with multiple locations.

Our valuation services are specifically tailored to small- to mid-sized agencies that are often overlooked by the incumbent valuation providers.

Whether you’re perpetuating internally, selling your agency to a third party, or even purchasing another agency – OIA is here to be your trusted advisor.

Our valuation services were exclusively developed to empower you with the tools you need to plan your agency’s perpetuation.

Take Action

Do you know the value of your agency? We’re here to help. Contact OIA today at (800) 555-1742 or visit our Valuation Assistance page to get started!

Learn more


About Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,300 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. OIA helps agents by providing agency valuation, succession planning, generational health, operational benchmarking reports, other business solutions and industry thought leadership.

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