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A Message From PIA's President

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Johnny Lee President's Message PicJune 2014

Spring is known as a time of renewal. When the darkness of winter departs and is replaced by brightness and hope, we remind ourselves of all that is good in our lives.

Every spring, meetings of PIA affiliates blossom across the country. With them, we renew our commitment to the vital work of our association. This year, it is my pleasure as PIA President to visit many of our affiliates and take part in their conventions, board meetings and celebrations.

So far, I have already had the pleasure of visiting PIA gatherings in Maine, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Texas and my home state of Virginia. I had the pleasure of presenting PIA of North Dakota with a special plaque from PIA National as they celebrated their 50th anniversary. I was also pleased to present PIA of New York with a special plaque for their 75th anniversary, while Immediate Past President Andy Harris gave on for PIA of New Jersey's 75th anniversary. I also addressed the PIA of New York Services Board.

I look forward to attending many more PIA affiliate events in the coming months.

One thing I have encountered throughout my affiliate visits is an abiding sense of confidence in the future and a deep commitment to the value of PIA and the important work we all do.

Over the past two years, the leaders of PIA National have worked hard to overcome some differences and get everybody moving in the same direction. Now, we are all on the same page and our mission is clear: to serve PIA members and grow our association. We are planning our future—but we don't need to waste any time contemplating our navels, because we know our value and we are headed in the right direction.

In addition to visiting our affiliates, I have been carrying PIA's message to our industry. I have testified before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on health insurance. I look forward to addressing the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), which is especially significant since PIA was originally founded as an association of mutual insurance agents.

It is heartening that many of our carrier partners have asked to reprint the article I wrote last month in response to Walmart and other discount retailers deciding to try to market insurance. My message is simple: insurance is serious business. It is not a commodity that can be stocked on a shelf next to the canned tomatoes. Consumers don't see it that way. Insurance is no "stuff."

As agents, we know we win when we build trust and respect with our clients. As members of PIA, we win when we all realize we are all part of One PIA. In order to win, we must never sell ourselves short.

PIA is influential throughout our industry. PIA is a major player in Congress, with the NAIC, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and with state legislators and regulators. PIA is influential with our carrier partners. PIA has a great nationwide branding program. PIA has a well-earned reputation for outspokenness in defense of agents.

Our Federal Legislative Summit (FLS) this year was a great success. Attendance and involvement were up. PIA's Agent of the Year is on the cover of the June National Underwriter. PIA is an authoritative and sough-after representative of the agent's perspective in the trade press. Our credibility is unquestioned. Our agency-company council, The PIA Partnership, continues to produce groundbreaking research and tools for agents.

Let me make it clear:

The leaders of PIA National are determined that our successes will continue. PIA will remain a vibrant, independent, national association representing all of its members for many years to come.

John G. Lee
President