By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
At the annual meeting of the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) in Palm Desert, Calif., next month, Curtis Anderson is expected to pass the leadership torch to his successor, Mark Rothert.
Rothert will take over the one-year term, but not before Anderson gives the AAMGA faithful a reminder of the strides made by the nation's tight-knit fraternity of managing general agents (MGAs).
It's not been an easy year for MGAs and managing general underwriters (MGUs). Declining rates have meant consolidations. Family-owned agencies have had to merge with larger brethren or go out of business altogether.
In a year in which "flat is the new up," according to Anderson, treading water is the new benchmark by which success has been measured. It was a year marked not so much by growth but by tight expense control.
The goings-on in the marketplace didn't stop Anderson, whose family has been in the business for four generations, from implementing what he though needed to be done to move the AAMGA forward.
"When I was asked to serve, I said, 'Be careful what you ask for,' " said Anderson, in an interview in March with Risk & Insurance®. "I don't like doing a job half way. I owe it to the industry that's been so good to me to pay it back somehow."
So, what did Anderson, president of national binding/programs with RPS Scottsdale, do to pay back the industry that has given so much to him and his family?
For one, Anderson said that he expanded the size of the AAMGA committees.
Committees in charge of technology, government affairs, membership services, operations, marketing and education, for example, went from about 70 or 80 people to more than 100 each.
"I pushed for more education, and for under-40s (UFOs) to get more organized and become a bigger part of the association," Anderson also said.
The younger an organization's leaders, the more likely that organization will recruit younger members and grow. As part of AAMGA's overhaul to reach younger members, Anderson spent hours working to amend the organization's outdated bylaws.
The outgoing president said that he was particularly proud of the AAMGA's efforts to fund a professorship at Georgia State University: the AAMGA Distinguished Chair for Insurance and Risk Management.
"This may very well be the first program in the country at the university level that will actually teach classes specifically about the MGA, the wholesale industry, and specifically the excess-and-surplus-lines side of the industry," he said.
AAMGA has also started a learning track through the university for members under the age of 40, allowing members to earn their master's degree in business administration.
"A lot of these classes will be taught online or during our branded educational events." said Anderson.
Despite the difficult year, Anderson leaves the AAMGA with some very good news. Lloyd's has indicated it is looking for access to the wholesale U.S. market through AAMGA as part of its strategy in 2011 and 2012.
May 1, 2010
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