Industry the October 2011 issue

A Ding in the Universe

Great leadership strives to be a force for disruptive change in this industry.
By Ken Crerar Posted on October 1, 2011

I am privileged to know—and to have known—some of the legendary leaders of our time, and I’ve come to learn that, to stand out, one must constantly strive to be the force of disruptive change and to push beyond what others think is possible. No one who is considered a visionary in this industry (or any other, for that matter) accomplished anything by limiting their imaginations, cutting corners or watering down powerful ideas because of setbacks or fears. It takes this type of leadership and chutzpah to make things happen. We know because we’ve been there.

The Council is well known for serving its membership by fighting against protectionist barriers in the marketplace that needlessly obstruct the growth of agents and brokers only to protect weaker operations. We spent years in legal battles in an effort to erase from the books all countersignature statutes around the country. And although it took millions of dollars to eradicate these statutes, our members have stood to realize millions more flowing to their bottom lines in a world free of countersignature commission-sharing.

Similarly, because we work in a business that is increasingly interstate and international, overcoming costly bureaucratic requirements that provide no value to consumers or insurance products is a daily grind. Part of the solution, we think, is NARAB II agent/broker licensure reform, which we are currently working to get passed this congressional session. And rest assured that we’re still fighting to ensure proper implementation of the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act.

Enactment of the NRRA was a top member priority through four Congresses. Cooperation from the states will no doubt pave the way for a streamlined regulatory and tax collection system while increasing opportunities in the surplus lines market going forward.

The Foundation for Agency Management Excellence is another great example of fostering industry collaboration. As a group, we have strong resources, community engagement and available jobs. Our challenge has been increasing awareness of who we are and what we do. The FAME scholarship program promotes the agent/broker community through education and research and helps put insurance on the career map for younger generations.

I mention these things because they’re all examples of our industry acting as a dominant force for change. The LexisNexis Insurance Exchange falls into the same category.

True leaders in our industry know it’s high time to push beyond accepting human-based workflow as a normal business model. That’s why leading insurance companies, agents, brokers and industry providers across the country are seizing the unique opportunity presented by the Exchange. It shatters the norms of business workflow that have long wasted time and money. Industry leaders driving the Exchange forward are essentially sticking their fingers in the eyes of complacent incumbents and naysayers by realizing the benefits and advantages of breaking the mold.

The struggle to enact change or do anything differently in this industry often tests us. True leaders persevere and deliver solutions when others can’t. That’s what we’ve done with countersignature laws, surplus lines and producer licensing reform, and that’s what we’re collectively doing with the LexisNexis Insurance Exchange. Steve Jobs famously said he wanted to “put a ding in the universe.” In the insurance corner of the world, let’s continue to be that ding for the greater good. Think Forward.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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