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Internship preps student for life after a layoff

(Good Works Fund) Permanent link


ThompsonBakerAfter working for more than 35 years in the retail management business, Diane Levis faced the challenge of finding a new career. Not to be deterred, she envisioned how she could take her knack for customer service to the next level. Thanks to WorkSource, St. Johns River StateCollege, and the FAIA Good Works Fund, Levis found that there is life after a layoff.

Levis’ decision to reinvent herself with a fresh set of skills was paired with a need for work-life balance and job satisfaction. Now in her final semester at SJR State, Levis said her new path to success began with earning an Associate in Science degree in Business Administration and has come into fruition with an internship in the insurance industry.

Considered a capstone course, the internship with ThompsonBaker Insurance Agency is a first for the degree program’s insurance specialization. The College partnered with the St. Augustine agency to provide students with the relevant knowledge and experience that only an internship can provide. In addition to the work experience, Levis receives a stipend made possible through FAIA’s Good Works Fund and ThompsonBaker.

Agency Chairman Greg Baker initially partnered with the College in 2008, providing a scholarship through The Good Works Fund for students pursuing employment in the insurance industry.  According to Baker, students who have customer service and account management skills help meet independent insurance agencies’ growing need for technically trained, qualified insurance associates.

Baker is glad to partner in the program’s first internship.

“The capstone course is a bridge between academics and the business world, giving students like Diane an opportunity to apply her knowledge and gain real world experience,” he said.

Levis describes her internship as a glimpse into the details of the industry. While her courses served as an overview, working beside her agency mentor Christy Lawrenson has shown Levis the number of clients assisted during the day as well as the way many tasks are completed.

“Being on the job is more involved than what you would think,” Levis said. “You need to have all of your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed.”

Not only does the experience provide an opportunity for Levis to establish important connections in the field, but she also feels the experience will give her a competitive edge in the job market, because when she graduates from SJR State, she’ll already hold a 4-40 Customer Service Representative license.

That’s important because state law requires persons working in an insurance office who talk to clients about policies, collect money for premium payments, or take information involved in the transaction of insurance to be licensed.

There is generally a good job market for insurance agents, said SJR State Vice President for Workforce Development Anna Lebesch, Ed.D. The insurance specialization program at SJR State allows students with a two or four-year degree who obtain the nine insurance-related credit hours to qualify for a 4-40 Customer Service Representative License without further testing.

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

This Week in Insurance: Oct. 21–25, 2013

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 

  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Grant Committee meeting, 2:00 p.m., Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. 
  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Audit Committee meeting, 3:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. 
  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Claims & Underwriting Committee meeting, 4:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. 

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Board meeting, 4:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. 

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013

  • Florida Workers' Compensation JUA, Producer Appeals Committee meeting, 9:00 a.m., Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa International Airport. 

Friday, Oct. 25, 2013

  • Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Secondary Life Insurance Market public hearing, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Knott Building Room 412, 404 S Monroe St). 

This Week in Insurance: Oct. 14–18, 2013

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 

Introducing the 2013 CISR Conferees

(The National Alliance) Permanent link

Seventy-nine insurance professionals were conferred as Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) during an Aug. 16 luncheon at FAIA's Planning Session.

Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of the National Alliance, conducted the ceremony presenting conferees with the distinctive CISR pin.

The CISR designation is awarded by the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives, a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing a practical program, stressing the understanding and analysis of risks and exposures for all employees of agencies, insurance companies, or insurance-related businesses. The conferees attended five 1-day courses consisting of intensive instruction followed by examinations. The newly conferred CISRs from Florida are:

Ms. Beverly Allen, CISR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Andres Arellano, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Stephanie Lynn Ayers, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Lauren Jane Bacon, CISR
Earl Bacon Agency
Tallahassee, FL

Ms. Tamara C. Bailey, CISR, CPCU
Liberty Mutual
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Mr. Gregory J. Balent, CISR, AIC
Vermost & Associates, LLC
Largo, FL

Ms. Joan Banner, CIC, CISR, ACSR, CPIW
Brown & Brown, Inc.
Daytona Beach, FL

Ms. Debra A. Beausoleil, CISR, AAI, ACSR
Stahl & Associates Insurance, Inc.
Saint Petersburg, FL

Mr. Miguel Bondoc, CISR
Brown & Brown Insurance
Daytona Beach, FL

Mr. Cordero E. Bowleg, CISR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Holly M. Buzen, CISR
Burke, Bogart & Brownell
Boca Raton, FL

Mr. William Carroll, CISR
Price My Policy, Inc.
Margate, FL

Ms. Susan M. Carter, CISR, ACSR
Frontline Homeowners Insurance
Lake Mary, FL

Ms. Arlene Carvalho, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Richard T. Collins, CISR, ACSR
Collins Insurance Agency, Inc.
Orlando, FL

Mr. Raul Conde, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Deborah A. Coulson, CISR
The Hagar Group
Inverness, FL

Ms. Lidisis Cruz, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Sally Daley, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Stephanie Ann Day, CISR
Skip Wren Insurance Agency
Palm Bay, FL

Mr. Troy A. Day, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Wanda Marie Day, CISR, ACSR, CPIW
Peoples First Insurance Services, LLC
Panama City, FL

Ms. Lisa DeCortie, CISR, CPSR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

Mr. John Gavin DeFelice, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Tiffany Marie Degnan, CISR, ARM, CPIW
Schlitt Insurance Services, Inc.
Vero Beach, FL

Ms. De Ana Maria Desciscio, CISR, CPA, CSP, AAI
Pembroke Pines, FL 

 

Mr. Nikola Djakov, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sarasota, FL

Ms. Michelle B. Doyel, CISR
Connelly, Carlisle, Fields & Nichols
Clearwater, FL

Ms. Jeri-Marie Epifanio, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. James L. Fellenz, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Andrew W. Fisher, CISR
Brown & Brown, Inc.
Daytona Beach, FL

Ms. Erin Lesley Fleeman, CISR
Horizon Insurance
Bradenton, FL

Ms. Bena' M. Fogel, CISR, AAI
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Dillen J. Fogel, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Tanya LeeAnn Foster, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Vena C. Foster, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Natasha N. Fowles, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Danielle French, CISR
Insurance Office of America
Longwood, FL

Ms. Nadhezka Garcia, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Karla Gehring, CISR
Bouchard Insurance
Clearwater, FL

Ms. Karen Elizabeth Gonzalez, CISR
Business & Family Insurors, Inc.
Largo, FL

Ms. Stacy Alicia Hall, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Tanya Rochelle Jones, CISR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Jodi Kelley, CIC, CISR, ACSR, CPIW, API
Frontline Homeowners
Lake Mary, FL

Ms. Gioconda A. Lainez, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Katia LaPointe, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Janet Sue Lockett, CISR
Vermost & Associates, LLC
Largo, FL

Ms. Lynda M. Lopez, CISR, ACSR
Risk Management Insurance
Fort Myers, FL

Ms. Bhavna B. Mandalia, CISR
Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA
Boca Raton, FL

Ms. Sarah Martin, CISR
M. E. Wilson Company, Inc.
Tampa, FL

Ms. Melissa Andrezia Matute, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Janice E. McLaughlin, CISR
Parks Insurance Corporation
Ocala, FL

Mr. John M. O'Brien, CISR
Vermost & Associates, LLC
Largo, FL 

 

Mr. John V. Page, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Shirlena M. Peterman, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Gwendolyn Pierson, CISR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Mikaiela A. Pierson, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Maria Victoria Pina, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Leslie H. Quiggins, CISR
Vermost & Associates, LLC
Largo, FL

Ms. Bertha Rebellon, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Stephen William Richards, CISR
USAA
Tampa, FL

Ms. Lameniece Hudson Rowe, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Julie Lynn Saxton, CISR, ACSR
Augustyniak Insurance Group, Inc.
Jacksonville, FL

Mr. Matthew David Schultz, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Stephanie Nicole Shivers, CISR
The MacNeill Group
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Ms. Mary Thomas Shoaf, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Timothy W. Shore, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Marjorie Y. Simms, CISR
Plastridge Agency, Inc.
Boca Raton, FL

Ms. Amy Marie Smith, CISR
Harden
Tampa, FL

Ms. La Cresha R. Sparks, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Donna H. Strandell, CISR, ARM, ACSR, AIC
Weekes & Callaway, Inc.
Delray Beach, FL

Ms. Linda F. Testa, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Ms. Alexandra Marie Thomas, CISR
MacNeill Group
Sunrise, FL

Mr. Darren J. Vermost, CISR
Vermost & Associate, LLC
Largo, FL

Ms. Denise Vimond, CISR
Saint Petersburg, FL

Ms. Jody Sue Wilken, CISR, ACSR
Brown & Brown, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Mr. Jarrod Tyler Williamson, CISR, ARM, AAI, AU
Brown & Brown Insurance
Daytona Beach, FL

Mr. Mark Wooten, CISR
Brown & Brown, Inc.
Winter Park, FL

Mr. Andres Alberto Zuleta, CISR
MacNeill Group, Inc.
Sunrise, FL

This Week in Insurance: Oct. 7–11, 2013

(This Week in Insurance) Permanent link

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 

  • Florida Senate, Banking & Insurance Committee, 1:30 p.m., Tallahassee (The Capitol, 110 SB). 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, 3:30 p.m., Tallahassee (The Capitol, Room 404 HOB). 

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013

  • Florida Cabinet, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Cabinet Meeting Room, The Capitol, Lower Level). 
  • Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO), Board of Governors, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (1441 Maclay Commerce Drive, Ste 200). 

Young Agents Council Collects $34K of Back-to-School Supplies for Children in Need

(Young Agents Council) Permanent link

SmartStart4KidsSS4KSquare received more than $34,000 worth of school supplies during its month-long, statewide back-to-school campaign, including pens, pencils, backpacks, and clothing. The campaign is a project of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents Young Agent Council, a group of up-and-coming independent agents. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to help students in need start the school year with everything they need to succeed,” said Jeff Grady, CEO and president of FAIA. “I applaud the Young Agents Council for all the work its members put into this year’s SmartStart4Kids program.” 

Local independent insurance agencies across 11 regions of Florida combined their efforts to collect school supplies at their offices. Around 75 insurance agencies participated, and collected supplies were donated to nonprofit organizations within their communities. Approximately 500 students benefited from the program this year, including children living in a Bradenton shelter. 

“We received a wonderful assortment of educational toys and schools supplies over the past two days,” said Susan Rule, donor relations and volunteer coordinator for HOPE Family Services in Bradenton, Florida. “The children in the shelter will be delighted to receive them, and will certainly enjoy countless hours of learning while having fun at the same time!” 

The Florida Association of Insurance Agents Young Agents Council was created in 2006 to give young agents, and those new to the field, the leadership and professional skills needed to practice their craft and perpetuate the Independent Agency System. Membership is open to all FAIA members, licensed or not, who have been in the business fewer than 10 years or are younger than 40. 

FAIA produces Trusted Choice no-texting PSAs

(Member News, Trusted Choice) Permanent link

Florida’s ban on texting while driving took effect Oct. 1. To mark the occasion, and call attention to Florida’s Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents, FAIA will air more than 2,500 radio and 1,600-plus TV public service announcements statewide between Sept. 30 and Oct. 27.

Watch the TV spot:

Listen to the radio spot:

Florida Young Agents Recognized for Leaders Series Events

(Young Agents Council) Permanent link

YAC logoFAIA’s Young Agents Council received the national 2013 Outstanding State Committee Project Award for its role in organizing and presenting the FAIA Leaders Series. 

The award was presented at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Fall Leadership Conference and recognized “outstanding achievement in a state committee project that benefits the community, the insurance industry, and/or the independent agency system.”

The award stems from the Council’s work on the FAIA Leaders Series, events organized by the Young Agents Council that offer a quick glimpse into the public policy and industry trends that are shaping the agency system, while also affording valuable leadership development training to the next generation of agency operators.

FAIA Instructors Earn Spirit of Education Award

 Permanent link
 Bill-updated-gray   /uploadedImages/FAIA_Site_Home/Education/David.gif 

FAIA instructors Bill Perkins (left) and David Thompson (right) are co-recipients of the 2012 IIABA Spirit of Education Award—an award that acknowledges the generous contributions of time, energy, expertise, and patience necessary to deliver quality education to Big “I” members across a variety of platforms.  

The honor was announced during the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Education Convocation held last week in San Antonio, Texas. In presenting the awards, Big “I” Virtual University Director Bill Wilson praised David and Bill for working so closely with the national organization to the benefit of members nationwide.

Bill is serving his second year as the state association representatives on the National Technical Affairs Committee. A commercial lines expert, he regularly represents the Big “I” as a speaker at IRMI’s annual construction conference, and has played an essential role in moderating and presenting several national webinars through the ABEN Network.

David, a VU faculty member since 1999, is a flood expert and one of the top personal lines gurus in the country. He has assisted Big I on several national webinars, and has contributed to the development of others. VU faculty regularly bounce coverage issues off of David, and his time and expertise has done a great deal for the VU and for agents.

FAIA also picked up its third Diamond Excellence in Insurance Education Award in a row. The award celebrates and recognizes state associations and staff who have made significant contributions to education for their members and the industry.

Trusted Choice to Present Virtual Tradeshow

(Member News, Trusted Choice) Permanent link

Visit with Trusted Choice Company and MGA Partners online during the Trusted Choice Virtual Experience

On Oct. 16–17, Trusted Choice will present the Trusted Choice Virtual Experience, the inaugural online tradeshow exclusive to Trusted Choice agencies and Trusted Choice Company and MGA Partners. This online exhibit hall is like a physical tradeshow, but attended online from any computer with access to the Internet. You can enjoy the information and speakers right from your desk at your convenience....and best of all, it's completely free!

We have invited the many Trusted Choice Company and MGA Partners, as well as Big "I" programs, to participate by having booths at our tradeshow. Booths will be stocked with information regarding the company's programs and products, videos, even prize giveaways, just like at a regular convention!

To register for the Trusted Choice Virtual Experience, simply visit www.TCVirtualExperience.com, and click the big blue "Attendee? Register Now" button. A listing of all of the exhibitors is also available on the website.

Once you have registered, you will be sent registration confirmation and reminder messages, which will include the link to the show. Once the insurance tradeshow is live, you will be able to access all of the company/MGA information, live chat with some of the booth staff to get any questions answered in real time, and log in and out of the show as many times as you would like during the two days.

For more information about the Trusted Choice Virtual Experience, contact Jenner Gohr.