Relieved of his earliest morning slot at the Federation of Insurance Women’s Mid Year Expo, Jim Gavin, information services specialist with IIAT, presented two one-hour classes on Saturday, April 24, on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, one on industry trends and challenges and another forecasting the potential impact of the winter storms on personal lines. Gavin said that the magnitude of the recent freeze losses in an already tight market, along with reinsurance premium increases, means pricing will continue to rise.

Large verdicts and social inflation continue to be a challenge in business auto, said Gavin. On the personal lines side, homeowners are seeing actual cash value roof options becoming more the standard than the exception. One insurer filed an endorsement offering a deductible reduction if the insured used a company-preferred contractor.

Personal lines auto, said Gavin, is seeing pay-per-mile policies growing in popularity. Allstate reported that it has six times more of these policies currently than in 2019. More companies are offering usage-based insurance policies, said Gavin, with an expected 17 percent growth in this type of coverage in the next three years.

About 100 members learned this and more as they attended the FIWT 2021 Leadership and Education Mid Year Expo, taking advantage of an opportunity to get together in person after more than a year. The event was held April 23-24 at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk, which welcomed the event that was originally scheduled for a different downtown hotel in which extensive renovations met with delays.

The event offered multiple continuing education opportunities as part of the registration, as well as a few add on events, two educational, one social. As a service to the community hosting the meeting, FIWT Under 40 provided a volunteer work force for the San Antonio Humane Society by preparing dog agility equipment.

Wendy Rhoden, FIWT president, was the keynote speaker for Saturday’s luncheon. She brought to FIWT The Simple Truths of Customer Service, gleaned from the book The Simple Truths of Service: Inspired by Johnny the Bagger, written by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz. Rhoden told the group, “If you don’t take care of your customer, there is someone else out there who will.” Rhoden challenged FIWT members to “think outside the box” and to pay attention to the small things that make a large impact.

Lori Chadwick, gotoPremiumFinance, and Jan Kearbey, Service Lloyds, presented the CIPT course and update, for the Certified Insurance Professional of Texas. Of the 30 attendees for these classes, 13 were starting their journey in the CIPT designation program sponsored by FIWT.

Randall Hendrick and Sue Quintero, Safelite AutoGlass, presented a two-hour credit course on the auto glass industry and shared their insight on the varying costs associated with the advanced technology of auto glass.

Vanessa Torres and Teresa Arizmendi, both with Specialty Insurance Managers, teamed up to provide the earliest session on Saturday, a two-hour class on transportation risks, How to Be a Mother Trucker. This course was repeated on May 21 in a live virtual program for those unable to attend the midyear meeting.

On the social side were a Bunco Tournament and a talent show. This Bunco event replaced the traditional fundraising bowling tournament, an inclusion adjustment for members with aging backs and knees. There were 70 participants and cash prizes.

Everyone was a winner of the talent show. Officers, talented individuals and local associations provided a range of entertainment, with the FIWT officers performing as the Hee Haw Rumors Group; the Insurance Associates of Corpus Christi reading Bedtime Comforts, and Dallas Association of Insurance Professionals performing Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Also performing were singers Ericka Pol, Farmers, guest; Janie Frias, Risk Placement Services, Harlingen Insurance Professionals, and Desiree Binion, Allied World, Dallas Association; the North Texas Insurance Professionals, and the Galveston County Insurance Professionals.

The Mid Year Expo maintained social distancing protocols and required mask wearing in all common areas of the hotel.