AAMGA responds to market changes
Association's initiatives focus on technology, education and membership
By Phil Zinkewicz
How long is the current soft market going to continue, and what can we do about it?
Those questions are uppermost in the minds of American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) leaders as members of that association meet for their 84th annual meeting May 23-26, in Desert Springs, California. Euclid Black, of the Henderson, Nevada-based Black/White Agency and a past president of the AAMGA, told Rough Notes magazine that AAMGA members know the market will harden some day, but they realize they have to find better ways to deal with the market as it is now.
“Our members have come to realize that we have to find a better way to deliver our products to our clients,” said Black. “We recently completed an automation conference where we had record attendance and where we discussed ways of becoming more efficient. Many of my friends are suffering in this market. Even the big wholesalers are having difficult times. This is why the application of new technologies is gaining steam.”
Echoing those sentiments, Curtis Anderson of RPS Scottsdale, current president of the AAMGA, said it no longer matters whether the market is hard or soft. “Our membership is a fluid group. We are able to respond to our calls depending on how quickly we are able to adapt to market changes.”
What are some of those market changes? “Well, for one thing, we’re seeing standard carriers partnering with excess and surplus lines partners, and we have to respond to that,” said Anderson. “There have been a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the marketplace. What binds us together is that we are all wholesalers, and AAMGA members are looking to respond to today’s changing market as such.
“Automation is very important,” Curtis continues. “That’s why members are looking to reduce the number of carriers they represent because each carrier has its own automation system. We are working in London with Lloyd’s and with various industry automation groups to try to develop some standard language to our transactions.”
In other matters, Anderson said that AAMGA continues to be a very education-oriented organization. “We have funded a Distinguished Chair in Insurance and Risk Management at Georgia State University, and we have created a sort of mini MBA for our Under Forty Organization members. We have increased our efforts in providing continuing education classes and unique distribution methods through free Webinars and online classes to supplement the in-person sessions in the United States and U.K. Also, our government affairs committee keeps all our members abreast of what’s doing in the legislative arena.”
Mark Rothert of Ron Rothert Insurance Services will take the baton from Curtis Anderson as AAMGA president at the end of the annual meeting. Mark says that one of his aims is to increase the membership of the AAMGA. “We’ve recently changed the bylaws of the AAMGA so that they will match the developments of the 21st century.
“We’re waiting for the board of directors to approve them. Basically, we’re looking at new categories of membership for the AAMGA. Some MGUs might qualify as AAMGA members, and some holding companies might qualify. Also, a good many admitted carriers are becoming involved in AAMGA activities. Our economy is going to undergo drastic changes in the next 10 years. We have to make certain that our members are up to the challenges that will be presented.”