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PIA-CCEO Announces National Rollout of The Value Difference Series

The PIA Company Council of Executive Officers (PIA-CCEO) announced the start of nationwide distribution of its landmark program, The Value Difference series, with an inaugural...
March 10, 2004

Session Kicks Off Distribution Through PIA Affiliates

The PIA Company Council of Executive Officers (PIA-CCEO) announced the start of nationwide distribution of its landmark program, The Value Difference series, with an inaugural train-the-trainer session for PIA state and regional affiliates March 26, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia.

A cooperative project by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and the PIA-CCEO, The Value Difference is a comprehensive educational program that helps independent insurance agents develop realistic and detailed plans of the business strategies for their agencies. It also provides the tools agency principals need to determine their agency's philosophy, define goals, develop unique plans and successfully implement, maintain and evolve them.  

"The Value Difference is not a 'one-size-fits-all' plan, it is a process that enables agency owners to develop and implement their own unique plan," said PIA-CCEO Co-Chairman Scott Kuczmarski, vice president of independent agent sales and marketing for MetLife Auto and Home. "The program is structured into a series of three easy-to-complete half-day modules that agents can use separately or together. That is a key difference about The Value Difference that sets it apart from other programs that take a generic approach, and makes it more valuable."

National distribution of The Value Difference kicks off with an inaugural session conducted for PIA state and regional affiliates on March 26, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. In response to requests by PIA affiliates, the program content has been fashioned into a format that is easier for affiliates to offer and directly facilitate delivery of the series. 

The goal of the session is to present the completed Value Difference program and planned distribution to PIA affiliate executives - those who have already used this program, as well as those who may wish to do so. Additionally, a portion of this session is designed as a "train-the-trainer" session for the specific purpose of working with affiliate education people who may present the Value Difference sessions. "We're ready to roll," Kuczmarski said.

The Value Difference is the outgrowth of a series of focus groups involving PIA member agents, state affiliate executives and senior executives of national and regional carriers. Beginning in 2001, it was introduced to agents in a series of presentations conducted through various PIA state affiliate organizations. During this period, the program material was refined, field-tested and additional research was conducted. Evaluations by several hundred agents, PIA affiliate executives and carrier field representatives have been overwhelmingly positive.

"The PIA-CCEO deserves our thanks for developing this program and bringing it to the PIA affiliates," said Richard "Richie" Clements, past president of PIA of Louisiana. "PIA of Louisiana put on a Value Difference program at our state convention. We did it because we knew our members would benefit tremendously from it. The program was very well attended, by both agency owners and carriers. I highly recommend The Value Difference to all my fellow PIA members around the country. It has worked well for me."

"PIA, in partnership with the PIA-CCEO, has researched why some agencies are more successful than others and what can be done to help all agencies reach their potential," noted Ron Silverman, past president of PIA of Florida, which conducted a series of Value Difference programs throughout the state. "The result of this effort is The Value Difference program. We believe it provides real value to our members."

PIA's western regional affiliate offered the program, securing full CE credit in all of their states. "The Value Difference is one of the most dynamic tools ever created to help the owners of independent insurance agencies succeed," said PIA of the West Executive Vice President Clark Sitzes.

PIA National Vice President Ray Peretti of Renton, Washington has been involved with the PIA-CCEO since its inception in 1996 and has participated in the development of the Value Difference since it was first conceived. "The strength of the program is that it does not attempt to present any one business plan or series of plans as pre-packaged solutions to an agency's planning needs," Peretti said. "Instead, the agency owner is in the driver's seat from start to finish, assessing the agency's current status based upon what is actually going on, then developing and implementing a plan that is truly unique to that agency."  

Working in continued collaboration, the PIA National staff and the PIA-CCEO will facilitate broad distribution of The Value Difference through PIA state and regional affiliate organizations. The program will be offered on an ongoing basis, with participating PIA members first attending an introductory presentation with the option to participate in follow-up programs. PIA-CCEO participating carriers will also incorporate The Value Difference into their field operations, in conjunction with PIA affiliate organizations.
 
PIA National will conduct "train-the-trainer" sessions, periodically update program content to keep all materials current, and maintain a section of Value Difference materials on PIANET to enable participants to continue a course of self-directed study, augmenting their participation in the in-person sessions.

"PIA would like to congratulate the PIA-CCEO for this great achievement," said PIA National President Carl G. Stoecklin. "The projects the PIA-CCEO undertakes are cutting-edge, and critical to the success of both the companies that market their products through the American Agency System and the PIA agents who represent those companies. PIA's support with the PIA-CCEO offers a unique opportunity for agents and their company partners to come together, roll up our sleeves and solve common problems."

Agents, PIA-CCEO carriers and PIA affiliate organizations interested in scheduling Value Difference programs should contact PIA National Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski patbo@pianet.org at 703-518-1360.

Founded in 1996 with start-up funding from PIA National, the PIA-CCEO is comprised of senior insurance company executives committed to working with the American Agency System to increase market share by improving the dialogue between agencies and companies. Through its activities, the PIA-CCEO identifies area of opportunity in the agency-company partnership and conducts solution-oriented research.

PIA-CCEO participating carriers include the Allstate Insurance Company, American International Group (AIG), the Central Insurance Companies, CNA, The Hartford, Main Street America Group, Metlife Auto &  Home, National Grange Mutual Insurance Company, Nationwide Insurance Company, Prudential, Progressive Insurance, Safeway Insurance Group, Travelers Property Casualty and Zurich North America Small Business.

This article originally appeared in the March 2004 PIA Connection.

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