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Some Thoughts On My Year as a State PIA President

It was exactly 10 years ago that I attended my first PIA convention in San Diego, California. This was my first opportunity to become...
August 18, 2006

George HilliardBy George Hilliard, CIC, CPIA
Immediate Past President
PIA of Tennessee

It was exactly 10 years ago that I attended my first PIA convention in San Diego, California.  This was my first opportunity to become acquainted with PIA.  I was touched by remarks from Michael Grace, incoming National President, concerning his administration objectives for the coming year.  One of his objectives was to focus on inclusiveness, reaching out to all communities to bring more diversity to the association.

Keep in mind that this was my first experience with the association, which meant that there was no way I could conceive that ten years later I would be addressing you as the outgoing President of PIA of Tennessee.

Mike Grace's philosophy was built upon several years later by the late National President Arthur I. Moll, who encouraged his industry colleagues to do more to attract minority agents and help them become more productive participants in the insurance industry.

I am thankful that the PIA of Tennessee embraced the same philosophy Michael Grace and Arthur Moll expressed.  It has been an honor and privilege to have served as President of this great statewide association.  I believe in this organization and I thank all those who have wholeheartedly embraced and supported me not only this past year, but over the years that I have been involved.

This past year, our staff and volunteers have worked extremely hard to stay the course and build on the foundation that has been laid by past presidents.  I continue to stress foundation, because without a solid foundation, no solid structure can exist.  In the past year, our industry has been devastated by hurricanes, floods and most recently tornadoes which have caused havoc in our state.  The PIA of Tennessee staff and volunteers continually keep abreast of current events and rally for issues that directly affect our members.

On the national level, professional insurance agents seem to have been targeted for the impropriety of a few employees of a few of the larger brokerage firms.  Firms that were apprehended seem to be trying to shift the blame by placing a burden of additional disclosure on to small agents everywhere, who were never involved in any wrongdoing.

Some of the larger banks, securities firms and carriers are trying to get Congress to shift regulation from the States to Washington, D.C.  As stated in the April 2006 PIA Connection by Patricia Borowski, "PIA's mission is to eliminate or, at the very least minimize, additional federal incursions.  We must seek to make the existing federal involvement in insurance adhere to the already established business practices and law of insurance."

Our industry is strong, highly profitable and it protects the assets and the lives of Americans. It is the backbone of our free enterprise system.

I am proud to be a member of an association that is never afraid to stand up and fight for agents.  PIA is unique in its willingness to protect and defend the interests of all PIA members. Again, I could not conceive that ten years ago when I decided to get involved with PIA that this was the beginning of one of the major milestones in my life.

The relationships I have formed and the opportunities I have been afforded have greatly benefited me personally and business-wise. I want to thank the members of PIA of Tennessee again for giving me an opportunity to serve as President and all the members of PIA for welcoming me. And I would like to thank my office staff for allowing me to be out of the office often for the past few years.

PIA's continued success is so vital to the success of our agents and industry. Diversity not only encompasses race, gender and physical limitations but ideas, also.  Because when it comes down to it, what we all have in common is that which is most important to all of us: we are insurance agents and we take great pride in our chosen profession.

It gives me immense pleasure to say this association consists of people committed to the continual success and longevity of our industry.  I encourage all agents to join PIA, get involved and become active.  I am confident that together, we can make a difference.

George Hilliard is the Immediate Past President of PIA of Tennessee.

PIA Connection

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2006 PIA Connection.

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