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The atmosphere of the 2011 Blue Ribbon Conference held last week in Hawaii was lively and infused with optimism regarding the future of the insurance industry and independent insurance brokers and agents. Over the years the conference has become a favorite with IBA West members and insurance company executives who value the opportunity the conference provides to learn from the best, re-connect and re-charge in the beautiful setting of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.
There was plenty of time to do all three at this year's Blue Ribbon Conference. The event and venue create unique opportunities to build relationships with key players in the industry, which include insurance company executives as well as other brokers and agents. IBA West is proud to set the stage and let the attendees do the rest. The business sessions followed by afternoon recreation and evening company events made for a perfect balance of the days' activities. Several company executives observed that as a group, this year's broker and agent attendees produced a large percentage of their book of business. They welcomed the opportunity to speak directly to their key middle market producers to focus on production and profit strategies.
This year's conference attracted an engaged group that seemed a bit more excited to attend than previous years. Maybe it's because the economy seems to be improving (albeit still very slowly) and there is an expectation that a better business climate is soon to follow. Whatever the reason, the camaraderie was evident throughout the week. The meeting room was full from the opening keynote address by Jamie Maguire, Chairman & CEO, Philadelphia Insurance Company o the closing "The Great California Shakeout" presentation by Dr. Lucy Jones, Chief Scientist, Multi Hazards Demonstration Project. Additional session highlights included "How Leaders of Top Performing Brokers Nurture, Cultivate and Compel Productivity & Growth in Uncertain Times" panel discussion. Mike LaRocco, President & CEO, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company led discussion on the use of social networking tools to attract and retain agency customers. There were two CE sessions on "How the Best Agencies Do It" (Click here for a complete listing of the conference program).
It's always gratifying to hear conference participants confirm that the Blue Ribbon Conference is a uniquely valuable forum. Each year we strive to create an exceptional event for our members and our insurance company partners, recognizing the value of everyone's time and resources. This being the conference's 25th anniversary proves the "Blue Ribbon" continues to be relevant and primed to be the "go to" event for those that strive to be the best of the best and leaders among their peers.
Thanks to all those that attended this year and mark your calendar now to save the dates for next year's 26th Annual Blue Ribbon Conference to be held May 6 - 10, 2012 at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Clark Payan, CEO
Click here to listen to Clark's interview with Insurance Journal