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A PIA Appreciation to the PIA-CCEO

One of the most important things to remember - and the easiest to forget - is simply saying "thank you" often enough. That's why...
September 23, 2004

Our Ongoing Partnership is Key to Our Mutual Success

By Ray Peretti
PIA Executive Liaison to the PIA-CCEO
2004-2005 President-elect, PIA National

Ray L. Peretti, President, PIA NationalOne of the most important things to remember - and the easiest to forget - is simply saying "thank you" often enough. That's why I've decided to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation, both personally and on behalf of PIA, to a very special group of individuals: the participating carriers of the PIA Company Council of Executive Officers (PIA-CCEO).

As some of you may know, one of the hats I wear is that of the PIA Executive Committee liaison to the PIA-CCEO. For me, this is not just another assignment, it is a passion.

My involvement in the PIA-CCEO dates to its inception. That was when PIA asked senior executives from national and regional carriers to join together, first to engage a single project focused on developing strategies to serve the needs of minority insurance consumers. The initial work on this project was begun at the 1994 and 1995 PIA Company Conferences. The result was the landmark study published by PIA in 1997, Doing Business With the New Insurance Consumer.

This single project led PIA and the carriers who were involved in it to conclude that there was more work that needed to be done and a broad range of practical issues to be addressed, by agents and carriers working together on an ongoing basis.

This realization led to the formation of the PIA-CCEO in 1996. The idea was to "awaken" the PIA company council process that had been dormant by mutual consent since 1988, and once again develop programs to support independent agents and identify opportunities in the agent-company partnership by conducting solution-oriented research.

All in all, a tall order and a broad mandate.

One of the things to keep in mind was the change that was beginning to develop in the mid-1990's as it related to the relationship between agents and their carriers as a whole. That relationship began to improve significantly going into the latter part of the decade. That was the time when carriers were beginning to appreciate the growth and strength of the agency system, and recommit to us as their distribution channel of first choice.

The PIA-CCEO was formed with start-up funding from PIA National. The group includes marketing executives from insurance companies who are committed to working with the agency system to help them meet the expectations of their customers. The PIA-CCEO also acts as an advisory council to the PIA - carrying on the tradition of the PIA Company Advisory Council formed in 1931 and active up until 1988, helping to improve the communication between agencies and insurance companies.

The PIA-CCEO's tenets are focused on strengthening our commonality of purpose. After all, many of the primary issues for companies and the agents are similar. We are, literally, partners in the insurance business. Or, as one of our signature projects proclaims, we are Partners in Progress.

The projects the PIA-CCEO undertakes - such as the Y2K Agent-Carrier Compliance Process and The Value Difference Series - 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. I have been involved from the outset with the development of the Value Difference. 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. 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.

As the PIA-CCEO moves on to its next series of projects and initiatives, I thought it would be particularly appropriate for me to take this opportunity to offer a very hearty "thank you" to all the PIA-CCEO carriers and their representatives who have been actively involved in our collective work.

The enthusiasm of our carrier partners for the important work of the PIA-CCEO has produced groundbreaking research and the development of tools that provide at-the-desktop value to PIA agency principals and the carriers they represent.

As an organization, PIA greatly appreciates the involvement of our carrier partners in the PIA-CCEO, and we look forward to many more years of close collaboration designed to ensure our mutual business success and prosperity.

Ray Peretti is the incoming President-elect of PIA National and serves as the PIA Executive Liaison to the PIA Company Council of Executive Officers (PIA-CCEO).

This article originally appeared in the September 2004 PIA Connection.

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