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Underwriter Of The Year Winning Entry, 2018

Underwriting is a linchpin position in the insurance industry.  It falls directly between actuarial rating and the agents who sell coverages.  Underwriters bear the responsibility of keeping our industry within the narrow band of fair coverage with fair profits.  We use our knowledge and logic to ensure risks match premiums. I currently specialize in flood underwriting as a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) contractor, working chiefly with agents, assuring that the insureds are able to recover financially from flooding set-backs.  This position required I pass a DHS (Department of Homeland Security) background investigation.

The FEMA flood manual is definitely not light reading but the insurance nerd in me poured over that manual for several months.  In addition to training courses, the time I spent studying gave me a solid foundation for understanding how to work not just effectively but efficiently within the FEMA boundaries and systems - to help agents give the best possible coverage to insureds.  With my studies I achieved the ANFI (Associate in National Flood Insurance) designation.

Having previously earned CIC, CISR and CIIP designations, I can more easily share an agent's perspective and so customize and streamline my assistance in each case.  I continue my efforts towards earning the CPCU and I look forward to increasing my rank.   My amazing experience and expertise in flood underwriting will always be valuable to me and of interest to my employers.

Usually caused by natural forces like hurricanes, tsunamis, and torrential rains, floods can be devastating. Unlike other possible losses, floods can have an enormous and expansive affect, destroying entire towns and communities.  In addition to the direct losses, a good underwriter must also consider the indirect losses associated with disasters.  Things difficult to quantify like losses due to power outages, loss of income, and pollution potential can all be as financially devastating as the original direct loss itself.

Natural disaster occurrences have increased in frequency and intensity over the last thirty years and, in particular, the most recent years.  This is not just happening with flood but also with fires, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  This accelerating trend in the natural world is challenging our industry to rethink its tools and tables, and how it might approach profitable underwriting in a stormier future.

It breaks my heart every time I hear a flood survivor on the news say they were told they were not in a flood zone, or that their home could never flood.  On a planet that is 71% water there are few places left which are not in a flood zone.  Insureds who live atop the Rocky Mountains all live in a flood zone.  It would be beneficial if everyone knew a little more about the dry topic of flood zones.

Underwriting, like all aspects of insurance, will have difficulty meeting the challenges created by increased event frequency in the years ahead.  I feel assured that, as it has for centuries, underwriting will change and adapt - but always with an eye toward restoring lives.

Martha Elliott, CIIP, CIC, ANFI, CISR
Director, IAOSKC

"Message From The Vice President," 2016

Welcome to Fall!

Fall is a time when many of us will be attending State Councils.  These conferences give us an opportunity to talk about the state of our association, discuss the changes that came from the recent International conference and networking.  Most importantly, in my book, is the opportunity for our membership to come together and build on existing relationships and forge new ones.

These relationships are important to our association.  What draws us to the association are the educational and leadership opportunities, but it’s our relationships that keep us engaged.  I’ve seen it time and again: members without strong relationships lose interest.

Just like team building in your offices, the better the relationship you have with your co-workers the better your team works, the more you engage, the more likely you will stay with your job.

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend a Council, Regional or International conference know that it brings a new level of understanding and appreciation to our association... allowing you to create relationships that last a lifetime.  Once you have found these relationships, you’re more likely to return to those conferences.  If you have a Council in your state I highly recommend you attend.  Allow the conference to reinvest your interest in our association.

We have several states that have chosen to disband their Councils, giving many of our members a vast desert between July and Spring Regionals without a chance to work on those near but far relationships with our fellow state members.  My state of Kansas is one of them.

For those states that may not have a Council, there is no reason you can’t have a yearly state event.  I strongly urge you to organize a weekend event and place as much importance on the gathering as you would a Council.  Your options are completely open to time, place and events.

I have found these yearly meetups to be valuable time well spent.  If you would like to continue the conversation with me, please reach out.

Martha Elliott, CIIP, CIC, CISR
Regional Co-Vice President, IAIP Region 5

Excerpt From Outstanding CSR Of The Year Winning Entry, 2015

The success of an agency hinges heavily on a CSR’s ability to do their job knowledgeably, reliably and in a timely fashion.  Each point enumerated here - having a relationship with a client, having a relationship with the carriers, processing policies & endorsements and continuing education - are only a few of the many skills required of a CSR to be vital to an agency.  CSR’s are important and make a meaningful impact on an agency’s business.

I have witnessed first hand that when you give a client dependable and better than expected service consistently, they will be happy and loyal to the agency.  They will stay with your agency even if the competition can offer lower premiums.  Clients base their life-critical decisions on the guidance of professional CSR’s.

Martha Elliott, CIIP, CIC, CISR
Regional Vice President, IAIP Region 7

IAIP Participation Photos

Charity Participation & Awards Photos

Homelife Photos

"We need to digitally record more of our association work (BOD meetings, keynotes, classes, speakers, YNP events, etc.).  IAIP is missing a significant amount of information from its history due mostly to a lack of recognition of the usefullness of recorded history.

"What we do is more than important, it's valuable.  It's useful.

"Let's create a usable, curated history: a permanent, searchable, digital archive of our best association experiences and presentations.  Then we make that available to all members online, adding value to IAIP membership that would increase over time as the archive grows.

"Make the archive's costs a permanent item on IAIP's yearly budget, vet qualified managers and make archiving part of IAIP's charter.

"We could evidence the value of what we have to offer."

- suggestion to the Ad Hoc National Convention Brainstorming Committee, 2019