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Outgoing President Andy Harris: Much Has Been Accomplished, More Remains

Outgoing PIA National President Andrew C. Harris, CIC, CPCU, CRM, ARM, AIS, gave a report on the state of the Association during the September 22, 2013 Board of Directors meeting held in Las Vegas, Nevada...
September 27, 2013

Outgoing PIA National President Andrew C. Harris, CIC, CPCU, CRM, ARM, AIS, gave a report on the state of the Association during the September 22, 2013 Board of Directors meeting held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Harris’ term concludes on October 1, 2013 as he begins a one-year stint on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past President.

Harris outlined the many changes made and highlighted many of the resulting accomplishments over the past year.

“Going into this year, we realized we needed to align the mission that PIA National has with our affiliates,” said Harris. “We did that by putting together a plan and a vision. It was simple, because there was only one way to go, and that was up.”

“One of the first things that we had to do was build consensus,” Harris said. “How? You meet with people, talk with people and you have forums. We started that under [previous president] Tom Adderhold. We had forums at every meeting, where we promised you that there were no secrets; everything was on the table. That transparency and candor has to work in both directions for it to succeed. We set the example, and we need to have frank and honest feedback to the PIA leadership. The dialogue itself is the important thing. We don’t ever always agree on everything, but it’s important to know where your partners are coming from. We have to respect our partners.”

Harris said that one of his first priorities was conducting a comprehensive search for a new executive vice president. He said the lengthy, exhaustive process resulted in the hiring of Ron Von Haden as Executive Vice President of PIA National. He said that was “probably the best decision” made during the entire year.

Harris then gave a partial list accomplishments, including visiting 25 affiliates during the year; reestablishing our relationship with the PIA Trust; creating the Membership Committee; securing PIA Trust funding for the Membership Marketing Campaign and creating it; getting on track to achieve 10 percent growth in new members, with a positive net, nationwide; adding two new E&O carriers, Liberty Mutual and Markel, to compliment the offerings of PIAPRO; transforming the President’s Advisory Board into a breeding ground for new ideas; and expanding PIA’s commitment to the PIA Partnership, to “not only produce tools for agents to use, but to also talk about how together, PIA and carriers can work to change the dynamic and improve the market for us and them at the same time.”

“We have made some very positive changes during the last year. It’s really the first step along a very long process,” Harris said. “We have 19 years before we celebrate our 100th Anniversary. Let’s hope we can keep our changes focused in the same positive direction over the next 19 years.”

“The last challenge I have to this organization is to reclaim our birthright,” he concluded. “We were once a superpower. Somehow, we got off track. We recognized that, we accepted that and we said ‘We want to go forward together.’ If we try, I would love – assuming I’m still around – to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of PIA as the #1 agents association in the country. I believe we can do that if we all pull together, and if we all try. So, that’s my challenge to you.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you,” said Harris.

Audio excerpt of Andy Harris’ remarks (9/22/13)

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