in this issue >>>

-Annual Convention
-We are Hiring!
-Thank You
-Virtual University
and more. . .
Agent Newsletter June 2, 2022
Mark Your Calendars Now for Big I's Annual Convention
The IIAI Annual Convention & Tradeshow will return to Prairie Meadows on August 30 & 31. These dates are a bit earlier than usual so be sure and put them on your calendars today. We anticipate the convention to be back to normal with a full tradeshow, great speakers, CE credits available, and a host of network opportunities. Whether you are a first time attendee or returning after a long few years of virtual events, we hope to see you in August. Stay tuned for more information to come.
Big I Goes to Washington D.C.
Several members of the Big I went to Washington, D.C. in April to advocate with our Congressional delegates for issues that affect our members all across the state of Iowa. Our members had face to face meetings with all 6 of our Congressional delegates, which in itself, is a huge testament to the respect given to independent insurance agents in our state. In each of our meetings, the delegates took time to listen to us and engage in positive interactive conversations about the issues we all face. Watch here 14-minute clip as Big I Chairman Bob Fee of Kansas delivers the State of the Association address at the Big I 2022 Legislative Conference.
InsurPac, Big I Advocacy Crucial to Developing Emerging Leaders, says Representative Randy Feenstra
At the Big I Legislative Conference Emerging Leaders Luncheon on April 27 in Washington, D.C., Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) chatted with Charles Symington, Big I Senior Vice President of External, Industry and Government Affairs, about his experience as an independent agent, the value of InsurPac in catapulting emerging leaders into leaders and how Big "I" members can more effectively advocate for issues crucial to the independent agency channel.

The Emerging Leaders Luncheon kicked off the first in-person Big I Legislative Conference in three years. The event recognized “the achievements of our states and individual agents for their excellence in the political arena," Symington said. “But it's also to bring in those quintessential rising stars from Congress. We have a perfect example of one of those members today in Congressman Randy Feenstra."

As a former independent insurance agent, Rep. Feenstra credits the relationships he built when serving his local business community and from being a member of the Big I as essential for his work in politics.

As an insurance agent, building relationships with clients and businesses provided the foundations that “really perpetuated me to run for office," Rep. Feenstra told Symington. “I ran for county office, state office and the federal office. But then there's those people that surrounded me, from that small business to the families; they knew me and they trusted me, saying, 'Hey, look, he did a great job at the insurance agency. I trust him.' And that's how they advocated for me."

While serving in the Iowa State Senate, Rep. Feenstra took on the challenge of running against incumbent Steve King for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the wake of King's widely-condemned remarks, Rep. Feenstra described how a colleague brought him into a conference room filled with a dozen Iowa business owners who asked him to run for the seat.

“That was a challenge taking on an incumbent," Rep. Feenstra said. But he noted he didn't take on the challenge alone. “I had all these relationships, especially with the Big I and different agents."

“When you start running for federal office, those are all the people you need—you need those connectors," he said. “And the Big 'I' was one of the first organizations who supported me."

Both the clout of InsurPac and the Big I Iowa grassroots campaign propelled Rep. Feenstra into office as a voice for independent agents and small businesses. “We had agents financially supporting me, door knocking, getting involved," Rep. Feenstra said, adding that the Big “I" is “probably one of the best organizations for interconnectedness."

Rep. Feenstra and Symington reminisced about their first meeting when Rep. Feenstra came to Washington, D.C. to get InsurPac support. “Charles, it's so critical that you got in," Rep. Feenstra said. “You were one of my first meetings and I'll never forget that. The relationship and the bond we have today is just phenomenal."

As far as priorities for his first term, “I sit on the agricultural committee," Rep. Feenstra said. “I have one of the largest agricultural communities in the country." Another key issue is producer price transparency, as well as managing the $30 trillion in national debt.

Looking ahead, a passion for Feenstra lies in the area of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “I was chair of Ways and Means in the Iowa Senate," he continued, pointing out that as a former small business owner, many issues discussed in the Ways and Means Committee impact not only agencies but the businesses they insure—from like-kind exchange to capital gains.

It's so important that we look at those things," Rep. Feenstra said. “And then you go downstream, whether it be trade—a lot of trade issue policies happen in Ways and Means—and then also health, most health policies happen in Ways and Means."

 In his work on Capitol Hill, Rep. Feenstra partners closely with the Big I federal government affairs team. “We like to say that the Big I plays above the rim when it comes to advocacy," Symington said, referencing the departments unrivalled three-prong advocacy approach: grassroots campaigns, InsurPac fundraising and the Big I government affairs team who are constantly working with Congress in the interests of independent agents and brokers.
Annual Planning Meetings
IIAI Committees met on May 25th at Prairie Meadows to discuss ways in which to improve the direction of our Association and membership. Thank you to all committee members for taking the time to join us for the thoughtful ideas that were brought to the table. As always, we encourage all of our members to be active in our Association and join a committee.
5 Minute E&O Fixes Webinar
The Big I Professional Liability Risk Management team invites Big I members to attend a complimentary new webinar, “Five Minute E&O Fixes: Tips, Tricks and Tiny Tweaks That Help Protect Your Agency." 

What can agents do in five minutes or less in their daily work that will have a big impact on errors & omissions prevention? And now we have some answers.

Join Big I Professional Liability staff and our guest risk management wizards, who will overview several easy tactics to keep your agency out of E&O harm's way.

All Big I members and staff are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Register now: Tuesday, June 7 at 1-2 p.m. ET
Looking for a Market? Check Out Big I Markets
One of your membership benefits is access to Big "I" Markets (BIM). Every year National Big “I” updates the list of markets available for our state. The options available cover personal and commercial lines and limited life & health products.

By contracting with carriers at a national level, BIM is able to offer a marketplace at the state level. Marketing is done through the BIM website. For more information you can click here to access flyers about the program and how to register for it. You will need your Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa username and password to sign in to use this site. Click here for a list of markets available in Iowa.

While BIM may not be the answer to save every account, it definitely is worth checking out to see if you can offer your client a standard market before having to explore a surplus lines market.
U.S. Road Deaths Soar to Highest Level Since 2005
U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5% to 42,915 in 2021, up from 38,824 in 2020, according to a preliminary estimate released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This number represents the highest number of fatalities on American roads in a single year since 2005.

The estimate provides a breakdown of the number of fatalities by state and indicates that all 10 NHTSA regions are estimated to see increases in road deaths. Forty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are all projected to have recorded an increase in traffic deaths compared to 2020. 

Data reported show that vehicle miles traveled in 2021 increased by about 325 billion miles, or about 11.2%, as compared to 2020, as states began to reopen and people began to travel more.

Data estimates show the fatality rate for 2021 was 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), marginally down from 1.34 fatalities in 2020.

“We face a crisis on America's roadways that we must address together," said U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Additionally, traffic fatalities in the following categories showed relatively large increases in 2021, as compared to 2020: 
  • Multi-vehicle crashes: Up 16% 
  • Fatalities on urban roads: Up 16% 
  • Fatalities among drivers 65 and older: Up 14% 
  • Pedestrian fatalities: Up 13% 
  • Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck: Up 13% 
  • Daytime fatalities: Up 11% 
  • Motorcyclist fatalities: Up 9% 
  • Bicyclist fatalities: Up 5% 
  • Fatalities in speeding-related crashes: Up 5% 
  • Fatalities in police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes: Up 5% 

In response to the upcoming data, Buttigieg announced the Biden administration is providing $5 billion in federal aid to cities and localities to help slow down cars, carve out bike paths, widen sidewalks and nudge commuters to public transit. This is in addition to a USDOT national strategy released in January designed to stem the record increases in road fatalities with a “safe system" approach that promotes better road design, lower speed limits and tougher car safety regulations.

“We face a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and these tragedies are preventable—so as a nation we must work urgently and collaboratively to save lives," Buttigieg said. “We have become far too accustomed to the loss of life and serious injuries happening on our roadways."

“I'm convinced that we can use this moment, this urgent and troubling moment, as a pivot point," Buttigieg said. “We are out to fund whatever is going to go most directly toward reducing crashes and saving lives so we can change the trajectory of road safety in this decade."

Virtual University
The Big I VU is the smarter way to build your knowledge base through online education and research with more than 18,000 pages to help you find answers to tough insurance questions.

Condos & How to Insure Them - The unit owner's coverage must dovetail seamlessly with the association's coverage, the same information is required for both parties regardless which person or entity is the agent's client.

Can't Find the Answer? Ask an Expert! When you've done the research and still can't find the answer. Submit your question to the VU experts that are at your service. A Big "I" member benefit.
Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa
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West Des Moines, IA 50266
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