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FAIA and Industry News

Big 'I' hosting members-only webinar on NARAB II agent licensing

(Member News) Permanent link

On Monday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. ET, the Big “I” will host a webinar on the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II) legislation which recently became law. NARAB II: A Practical Guide for Big ‘I’ Members will be the first in a members-only webinar series addressing this important topic.

NARAB II will achieve much-needed reciprocity in producer licensing by building upon regulatory experience at the state level, promoting greater consistency in non-resident agent and agency licensing, easing the burden many agents face in doing business across state lines and increasing consumer choice.

There is no cost for the webinar, but registration is capped at 1,000 participants. The Big “I” encourages members to register early.   

The webinar will feature the following panelists:

  • Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs
  • John Prible, Big “I” vice president of federal government affairs
  • Wes Bissett, Big “I” outside senior counsel

For more information, please contact Teddie Norton via email or call 202-863-7000.

This Week in Insurance: Jan. 26–30, 2015

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, Board of Governors meeting, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee. 
  • Florida Workers' Compensation JUA, Producer Appeals Committee meeting, 9:00 a.m., Tampa. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

  • Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Claims Committee teleconference, 11:00 a.m. To participate, dial 866-361-7525 and use Conf ID: 5219676193#. 
  • Florida Health Choices, Board of Directors annual meeting, 11:00 a.m., Tallahassee. 

GWF support of insurance programs helps build agency workforce of tomorrow

(Member News, Good Works Fund) Permanent link

Dillon CunninghamDillon Cunningham was one of those rare teenagers who found his calling in life right out of high school. He began interning with the ThompsonBaker Insurance Agency while attending St. Johns River State College (SJR State), and his dedication paid off when he was offered a position with the agency after completing his internship.

While diving headfirst into the industry exposed him to the many facets of the insurance field, Dillon still thought it would be wise to continue his education. That was when he was approached with a generous offer.

“Greg Baker, chairman of the ThompsonBaker Agency and a mentor of mine, offered to sponsor my insurance specialization courses at St. Johns River State College,” Dillon said. Through this sponsorship, he is currently earning an Associate in Science degree in Business Administration with a specialization in insurance.

Greg, working on behalf of FAIA’s Good Works Fund Committee, partnered with SJR State in 2009 to introduce a series of courses designed to prepare students to work in the insurance industry. Students who complete the nine credit hours of insurance specialization classes and obtain an AA or AS degree receive a 4-40 Customer Services Representative License. The Good Works Fund contributes $5,000 in student support to the insurance specialization program each year.

“The insurance courses really helped me learn the dynamics of the industry,” he said. “I was able to take what I learned in the courses and implement it daily.” Dillon found that the combination of experience gained on the job and from his classes put him a step above the rest in his field.

After spending three years with the ThompsonBaker Agency, Dillon settled with the Shapiro Insurance Group in Jacksonville, where he is employed as an insurance consultant.

“I would highly recommend SJR State’s insurance specialization program to my peers and advise them to take full advantage of these instrumental courses that the College offers,” he said. “Considering the demand for proficient and articulate employees in the insurance industry, I believe opportunities are endless for those with the discipline and motivation to succeed.”

For more information regarding the courses and admission requirements, contact Joel Abo, SJR State’s director of business education, at (386) 312-4063.

You can help further the education of future members of the American Agency System by contribution to the Good Works Fund. Learn how. 

Stalwart FAIA supporter Bob Treweek passes away

(Member News) Permanent link

GAINSEVILLE—Robert R. Treweek, FAIA’s first education director and one of the most influential and effective volunteers in FAIA history, passed away peacefully Thursday, January 15, 2015, of complications from surgery.

Born on March 1, 1925, in Mauch Chunk, PA, Bob served in the U.S. Navy as a radio operator on a sub-chaser in the Pacific theater during WWII. After the war, Bob graduated from Temple University and began his career in 1950 as a teacher in Camden, Delaware.

In 1952, he joined Insurance Company of America in Philadelphia, working as an instructor, a job he left before he was even 30 years old to become FAIA’s first education director. Scott Johnson described the hiring process in his book, From Cartels to Competition.

“Bob had developed a reputation for taking the complex world of insurance and reducing it to easily understood elements,” Scott wrote.

Then FAIA President Tom Johnson (Scott’s father) asked Bob to audition for the job at Jacksonville’s Roosevelt hotel in 1956. Impressed by Bob’s use of a flannel board to augment his presentation, Tom hired him on the spot. But just a few weeks after he was hired, Bob went to work for the Cannon Agency in Gainesville, where he would remain for 23 years, becoming a principle, and later owner, of the Cannon-Treweek Agency.

“FAIA’s 1956 loss would turn to decades of gain as Treweek rose to be one of the greatest volunteer leaders in the history of the association,” Scott wrote. “He became elected president in 1966 and a distinguished president of the NAIA, even winning the prestigious Woodworth Memorial Award in 1984. Two years later in 1986, upon Tom Johnson’s retirement, Treweek would return to FAIA as chief staff executive.”

Bob also received the Mitchell Stallings Award—the most prestigious award FAIA bestows—in 1991.

A service celebrating Bob’s life will be held Saturday, February 7 at 2:00 p.m. at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 100 NE 1st Street, Gainesville, FL.

Read Bob Treweek’s complete obituary in the Gainesville Sun.

How do you measure traffic to your agency?

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By Paul Peeples
FAIA Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Paul PeeplesI recently spoke with a member about Internet traffic to his web site and leads he is or is not getting from his advantage subscription plan on or other digital media resources they utilize. This particular member measures traffic with some sophisticated tools, and uses social media to drive traffic to his site in many different ways effectively.

This got me thinking about all of the different ways your digital footprint can be influenced, and things you should ponder when you are measuring what is or is not working effectively. I will try to explain some scenarios that should help you understand a lot of the aspects about digital media and how your suspects/prospects arrive at your digital or bricks and mortar door. Notice I said digital, and not social media? Social media is but one aspect of your digital footprint.

First, should you be on’s advantage subscription plan? Sure you should (choose the business leads subscription if you do commercial business), and I can give you a thousand reasons why, but this blog is going to assume you are a subscriber of even though your agency will still be listed as a Trusted Choice Agent… just not at the top, and no expanded profile.

What next. Well, there is no magical light switch that drives traffic to your door. It takes a lot more commitment than just signing up on, but it’s a start. I would highly suggest going to the site and experience it as a consumer. Now let’s see why we are or are not getting leads.

First, even though the consumer can enter information in a form from the site that will be instantly emailed to your agency contact, they do not need enter any information to get to your agency on So, how would you know if it came from there if they simply pick up the phone and call you? can’t tell you that. All they know is that the consumer left the site. They could have also done something that I am sure a lot of you do…"Jump The Turnstile.

What in the world is that? Well, have you ever searched for something on the Internet, and when you figured it out, you didn't let the Search engine funnel you to that site? What did you do? You went directly to the site, and “Jumped The Turnstile” No way to measure that! is like a giant search engine for independent agents, and once someone figures out who they want to contact, they may go directly to your site or your competitor if her profile looks better. So, you need to ask them how they got to you. Unless a friend or business associate referred them, they have to have found you somehow right? Find out how. This will help you understand what is working. 

In today’s digital world, most people start any search online. So if you notice an up tic in your leads coming in or more traffic on your web site, it is more than likely from something you are doing in the digital space. is but one aspect. Measure your site analytics and see where they are coming from, and what they are looking at on your site. You may want to do a little further research on your online presence by reading my blog about online presence and being found.

Next, go to Google My Business and claim your business, and you should also utilize Google+ Local because it helps users discover and share places. Google's 5-point scoring system gives them detailed insight into businesses before they visit it, and Zagat summaries of user reviews help them decide where they want to go.

With Google+ Local, users can: 

  • Get place recommendations based on your circles, your past reviews, and your location
  • Publish reviews and photos of your favorite places
  • Read Zagat summaries of user reviews for a place
  • View the local Google+ page for a business to see reviews, photos, posts, and other useful information
  • Find reviews from people you know and trust highlighted in your search results

I know this is a lot to digest, but you are in the digital space like it or not. People could be talking about your agency, and you may not even know it. I review businesses based on my experiences as well as millions of other people, do you? So, make sure every aspect of your agency is rendered correctly. That means making sure your profiles are up-to-date, you have testimonials, reviews, pictures, videos, etc. Rest assured, if you aren't doing it, your competition may be. I know of quite a few progressive agencies that are taking advantage of this stuff, and getting a lot of their new customers from their online digital presence. Don’t be left behind!  

This Week in Insurance: January 19–23, 2015

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

  • Florida House of Representatives, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee. 
  • Florida Senate, Banking and Insurance Committee, 3:30 p.m., Tallahassee.  

InsurPac reaches new milestone

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InsurPac, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America's political action committee (PAC), raised more than $1 million during the 2014 calendar year, setting a new record for receipts in a calendar year and breaking the annual $1 million mark for the third time since its inception. It’s also the first time InsurPac surpasses the $2 million mark in an election cycle. 

“The Big ‘I’ is grateful to the thousands of independent insurance agents, brokers and supporters who contributed to InsurPac and helped us reach the $1 million mark again,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “The Big ‘I’ membership has always prided itself on political engagement, and the continued growth of InsurPac and the PACs 2013-2014 campaign victory rate further demonstrates that every dollar counts.”

A record 40 states, including Florida, reached their fundraising goals in 2014, and Florida’s young agents raised more than any other state young agents group. This new standard could not have been set without the leadership of current InsurPac Chair—and past FAIA Chairman—Veronica Della Porta, and current Florida InsurPac chair and FAIA Vice Chairman Brian Scarborough.

InsurPac distributed more than $1.8 million in the 2013-2014 campaign cycle in support of more Senate and House campaigns than ever before resulting in a 93% congressional victory rate.

In the 2014 election cycle, more than 5,000 independent agents and others joined forces to support InsurPac with personal, voluntary contributions. InsurPac distributes 100% of its voluntary agent contributions to federal campaigns and, as a result, has an impressive bipartisan track record in Congress and on the campaign trail.

In disbursing contributions, InsurPac does not look at party affiliation but supports representatives, senators, and candidates for federal office that have been advocates and supportive of the independent agency system. 

Congratulations to all, and keep giving!


This Week in Insurance: January 12–16, 2015

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 

  • Florida Cabinet, Cabinet Meeting Room, The Capitol, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee. 

This Week in Insurance: January 5–9, 2015

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015