PIA National has partnered with Ohio agents for many years, however, given the challenges and opportunities that face IAs in the changing marketplace, it is critically important for us to utilize IA resources in the most prudent manner possible.
After extensive consideration and valuation of our options, we are surrendering our PIA National charter in the state of Ohio.
We’ve prepared the following FAQ to provide insight into our decision-making process and help explain what it means to you.
Q: Why is OIA disaffiliating from PIA National?
A: There is a redundancy of services between the two national agents’ organizations.
One example is in advocacy efforts at the federal level – 44 percent of PIA National resources are expended on federal advocacy, while 30 percent of IIABA’s resources are dedicated to federal advocacy. We frequently receive updates from both national organizations within minutes of each other that essentially say the same thing.
The redundancy of federal advocacy efforts is not only an inefficient use of resources, it is likely hurting the IA system. Multiple messages and PACs dilute our messages and send mixed signals to public policymakers.
Despite combining our efforts at the state level in 2013, Ohio agents have still been paying twice for federal advocacy services, among other duplicate services offered by both national organizations. Independent agents would be better served by one combined national organization.
Q: Does Ohio leadership believe the two national organizations should merge?
A: Like the two state-level Ohio agents’ associations did in 2013, we encourage PIA and IIABA to pursue merger discussions.
We believe one national association with a singular focus on helping independent agents, and not competing with one another, is the best path forward for independent agents.
Over half of the state agents’ associations have merged within their respective states in the past 30 years. In addition, mergers have recently occurred in the national property and casualty insurance association community. Both the national carrier associations and wholesalers merged their national associations (American Property Casualty Insurance Association – 2018) (Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association – 2017).
Having successfully completed a state-association merger in Ohio, OIA would welcome the opportunity to participate in merger discussions with the two national agents’ organizations.
Q: When does this change take effect?
A: The change is effective April 9, 2019.
Q: What programs will no longer be available?
A: We are not aware of any unique programs, services or offerings that differentiate PIA National from the IIABA. Nearly all of the programs available through PIA National are also available through IIABA, with IIABA offering a much wider breadth of programs.
Q: Will my Utica E&O policy be affected?
A: No, not at all. Your Utica E&O policy is written through OIA’s in-house independent insurance agency, which has its own arrangement with Utica. You can continue to contact OIA’s trusted team of advisors for your E&O, cyber liability, umbrella and EPLI coverage. For questions about your E&O policy, including all of our available markets, please contact Judy at (800) 555-1742.
Q: How will the CIC and CISR program in Ohio be affected?
A: There is no impact on the CIC and CISR programs, or any other professional development classes offered by OIA. We will continue to offer the same great programs, including the addition of new pre-licensing classes and additional online courses. OIA’s relationship with The National Alliance (creator of the CIC and CISR programming) is completely independent of our relationship with PIA and will remain unchanged.
Q: I am currently enrolled in a PIA Trust program. What should I do?
A: You have two options. There are comparable programs offered through IIABA and we are happy to help walk you through the steps to switch. If you prefer to stay in a PIA Trust program, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.
Q: I currently access the Hartford Flood program through PIA National. What should I do?
A: You have two options. There is a comparable program offered through an IIABA partnership with Selective Flood and we are happy to help with book rolls between Hartford and Selective. If you prefer to continue using the Hartford program through PIA, there is an option to join PIA at the national level for $225 per year by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.
Q: What will OIA do with the funds previously forwarded to PIA National?
A: OIA will repurpose the resources currently dedicated to PIA to support Ohio agents’ ability to compete in the modern marketplace. This includes investing in and/or building additional resources and services.
For example, OIA is now leveraging data analytics for independent agencies by providing performance benchmarking reports and insights to propel growth.
Q: Can I still maintain a separate PIA National membership?
A: Yes, you may still join PIA at the national level. PIA National membership fees are $225 per year and you can sign up by visiting pianet.com/join/nationalonlymembership.
Q: I have the PIA logo on my website. What logo should I use instead?
A: We recommend you use the OIA member logo as it is most likely to resonate with your clients. To download the OIA logo for use on your marketing materials, please visit this page. If you would like to utilize a national brand as well, we recommend the Trusted Choice logo.
Please contact Jeff Smith with any questions regarding the disaffiliation from PIA National.
Click below to read the full letter sent to OIA members.
Read full letter
OIA members Block Insurance Agency, Fort Recovery Insurance Agency, Francis J. Paulus Insurance Agency, Hatfield Insurance Agency, John Wood Insurance Agency, Kathrens Insurance Agency, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, Leugers Insurance Agency, Littman-Thomas Agency, Miami Valley Insurance Agency, Michael Murphy Insurance Agency, Pahl Insurance Solutions, Shockey-Ryan-Long Insurance Agency, Stahl-Stoller-Meyer Insurance Center were all recognized by Buckeye Insurance Group with its Preferred Agency Status for 2019.
The status is given to agencies that demonstrate the highest level of insurance knowledge, professionalism and service to their customers. OIA is proud to represent high-caliber agencies like these and congratulates them on this accomplishment!
Interested in becoming a member of oia?
PORTAGE, MI, JANUARY, 2019 – J.M. Wilson is proud to announce that Travis Lankerd, Brokerage Underwriter, and Jenna Hans, Senior Property & Casualty Underwriter, have been selected for the 2019 class of the Markel Ascending Stars Program that recognizes young talented insurance professionals as future leaders in the insurance industry. These young leaders will be invited to take part in a special council, with the goal of strengthening their professional relationship for the duration of their career.
Travis joined J.M. Wilson in 2017 as a Brokerage Underwriter and has earned cyRM (Cyber Insurance and Risk Manager) and RCLS (Registered Cyber Liability Specialist) designations. He is an Olivet College graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Risk Management. Travis’ favorite part of the job is the opportunity to be challenged on a daily basis to find solutions to complex problems. He also enjoys knowing that his work provides value to the financial security and risk management of the insureds’ businesses.
Jenna Hans joined J.M. Wilson in 2013 as an Assistant Underwriter, before her promotions in 2015 as P&C Underwriter and 2018 as Senior P&C Underwriter. Jenna enjoys the relationships she’s developed with her carriers and agents and her favorite part of the job is facing new and different challenges every day.
About J.M. Wilson
J.M. Wilson is a Managing General Agency and Surplus Lines Broker providing independent insurance agents access to specialty markets for both personal and commercial lines. With offices in eight states, J.M. Wilson is able to provide coverage for standard and hard-to-place commercial, transportation, property & casualty, brokerage, professional liability and errors and omissions, personal lines and surety classes in thirty-six states.
For more information about J.M. Wilson, call (800) 666-5692 or visit www.jmwilson.com.
J.M Wilson is a cooper level parter with OIA. Contact Megan Smith to learn more about becoming a company partner and the benefits you receive.
GAHANNA, OH - Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc. (OIA) creates strategic partnership with Indium to provide agents expanded market access options and growth solutions.
Two Ohio-based, independent agent led organizations have come together in a strategic partnership to support the growth of the independent agency system. OIA, which has always had an ownership interest in Indium (formerly MarketSource), purchased a majority interest in the organization.
“The independent agency system must change to compete in the modern marketplace. Through this strategic partnership with Indium, independent agents will have access to market access, technology, and training resources to propel their businesses into the future,” stated Jeff Smith, CEO of OIA.
“OIA and Indium have been connected from the beginning of Indium’s founding in 2005 when volunteer agents worked tirelessly to create a leading market access solution that would be agent-led and maximize agent value.”
“We all know our industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and on all fronts. We sit in a unique position, where we see firsthand what agents, carriers, vendors and our peers are going through to remain relevant. Every aspect of the insurance supply chain is confronting significant disruption, all at once. It’s an extraordinary time for our industry, really. And as we’ve reinvented ourselves to meet the demands of our industry, we’ve also been looking for strategic partners with a common mission focused on helping independent agents stay independent, both now and in the future,” remarked Chad Eddy, CEO of Indium.
Since inception, Indium has helped hundreds of agencies in Ohio and across the country grow their business and maintain their independence. To date, Indium supports nearly 400 agency partners across 10 states, with 85 percent located in Ohio.
“OIA and Indium share common missions, visions, values, cultures, agent leadership, staff, priorities, growth strategies and agency partners and members, so coming together makes great sense,” said Matt Simon, CIC, CPCU, Chairman of the OIA Board of Directors and Principal with Hill and Hamilton Insurance Agency in Bellefontaine.
“As an association, we need to evolve and ensure we are providing value to our agents, and our strategic partnership with Indium solidifies our value proposition. Through this partnership, our agent and carrier partners can expect continued support for Indium’s market access solutions and technology solutions, strengthening an agent-led partner to grow the independent agency system and compete in the modern insurance marketplace.”
“Bringing together agent led organizations who share the same mission, to help independent insurance agents grow and prosper, ensures that our agents’ success is always the focus of our partnership. We have complimentary services for independent agents, which makes this partnership a natural fit with our collective mission to promote, protect and progress the independent agency system,” said Eddy.
“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to provide independent agents with market access solutions, local ownership and a focus on improving services and offerings,” said Smith.
For more information on this alignment please see OIA and Indium's joint letter.
About Ohio Insurance Agents Association
Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,300 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. OIA helps agents by providing agency valuation, succession planning, generational health, operational benchmarking reports, other business solutions and industry thought leadership.
Indium (MarketSource Agency Network, LLC) was founded in 2005 out of the OIA, who assembled a team of thought-leading independent insurance agents to develop an innovative solution for the purpose of helping independent insurance agents stay independent. This team of agents – our founding fathers – volunteered their time to collaborate, cooperate and strategize for each other’s benefit and to strengthen the independent channel and developed MarketSource Agency Network to provide independent insurance agents access to the standard markets they needed to grow their insurance agencies without the burden of ever-increasing production requirements of carriers, or giving up control of their business.
In 2016, we changed our company name to Indium (Why Indium) to reflect the vision and energy of our new “indie agent” brand. In staying true to our founding principles, Indium is a leading market access provider whose focus is to facilitate enhanced revenue and profitable growth opportunities for our agency partners and companies. We are still owned and directed by independent agents, and we support agency partners across the country who have placed over $50 million in written premium with our company partners.
We are excited to share with you that we have enhanced the partnership between Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) and Indium!
OIA and Indium (formerly MarketSource) have been connected from the beginning of Indium’s founding in 2005 when volunteer agents worked tirelessly to create a leading market access solution that would be agent-led and maximize agent value.
In doing this, we have established a service that has helped more than 500 Ohio agencies grow their business and maintain their independence. All the while, the solution has remained solely owned by independent agents.
While much has changed since 2005, several things have remained aligned: OIA’s and Indium’s missions, visions, values, cultures, agent leadership, staff, priorities, growth strategies and agency partners/members. Knowing there has always been crossover in organizational leadership and engagement has led us back closer together.
OIA’s and Indium’s agent leadership spent many hours over the past year designing the opportunity for a closer relationship to share resources and preserve a strategic, agent-friendly market access solution for independent agents. Recently, OIA purchased shares from agent equity owners and now holds a majority interest in Indium.
This greater partnership provides many opportunities for both OIA’s members and Indium’s agency partners, including:
Leveraging the collective strength of our organizations
OIA and Indium have agency leaders and staff working toward similar goals
We offer complimentary services that fit well with partner organizations
Given our overlapping strategies, aligning our resources will allow us to serve independent agents in a more efficient and effective manner
Aligning our organizations will allow us to maintain an ownership, presence and high level of service established by the agent leaders and organizations that founded Indium
Serving a similar constituency – 324 of Indium’s 378 agencies are Ohio-based independent agencies and members of OIA
What this means to you:
Continued support for Indium’s market access solution and technology solutions, preserving an agent-led partner to grow your agency and compete in the modern insurance marketplace.
Market access solution – joint review of the service model, carrier lineup, commissions, contingencies and other program arrangements.
OIA dues, Indium partner fees and contract – Our agent leaders are meeting in early March to discuss these issues and will have more to share with our collective members in the coming months.
In the face of the many changes happening in our marketplace, we know that OIA and Indium are stronger together. We will be able to more effectively and efficiently serve independent agents by strengthening our partnership. We encourage you to learn more about the services OIA and Indium provide and how they can help you grow your agency.
Please contact any of us, or our business leaders, OIA CEO Jeff Smith at (800) 555-1742, or Indium CEO Chad Eddy at (614) 942-1470 if you have any questions, feedback or would like additional information on this strategic partnership.
Thanks again for your continued support of OIA and our efforts to promote, protect and progress the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide.
View letter from OIA here