Overcoming the toll that the last two years have dealt the Austin Association of Insurance Professionals and restoring membership numbers, finances and hands-on community service are Jessica Hahn’s main goals. Hahn was installed president of the local FIWT association on May 23 to serve a one-year term for the association she joined in 2011.
Hahn said she is grateful that the association’s charitable works can continue with direct contact along with fundraising for three selected groups in the area. The three groups include longtime recipient Wooten Elementary School, more recently adopted Central Texas Table of Grace and the new 2021 beneficiary, Austin Bat Refuge.
For as long as Hahn can recall, AAIP has adopted Wooten Elementary and provided school supplies as the school year starts and year-end celebrations for the fifth graders as they move on to middle school.
Four years ago, a previous president, Danny Journeay, introduced Central Texas Table of Grace to AAIP as a group in need of assistance. The program serves displaced youth in the area, providing shelter and healthful food, as well as teaching healthful habits and life skills.
Then last year, AAIP President Jill Duggan Hale introduced AAIP to the Austin Bat Refuge, a cause that Hahn said was well received by the members. “Bats are feared and misunderstood,” said Hahn. There is a large colony of bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge that seasonally draws tourists to the area. From early March until fall, the bridge provides temporary housing for the Mexican free-tailed bats colony of 1.5 million, said Hahn, and the refuge takes in orphaned and injured bats, rehabilitates them and returns them to the wild. Hahn said Austin estimates the bat colony to generate $10 million in economic activity each year and provides an added benefit: controlling the city’s harmful bug population of mosquitoes and agricultural pests. Supporting the bat refuge is a big win for the Austin community, said Hahn.
Hahn said the AAIP is being fiscally cautious. She commended the association’s rebuilding efforts with a successful fundraiser at TopGolf that had been delayed over two years, and she looks forward to providing financial support for the association’s chosen charities.
The association is working to reinvent itself, said Hahn, as in-person activity resumed following two years of restrictions. “We are rising to meet the challenge,” she said, by getting back to the basics that AAIP has offered its members: education, health and wellness enrichment, and charity work. “These are the pillars that have served AAIP for more than 60 years,” she said, and being mindful of what works to bring us together will insure the association’s future success.
Membership dropped by a little more than half during Covid, but AAIP continued its work through its amazing board, said Hahn. Zoom meetings were always positive and encouraging, she said, adding that the group met in person when it could. Her goal of a growth trajectory, said Hahn, seems doable, as she is encouraged by two new members who joined just last month.
Hahn’s start in the insurance business can in some small way be credited to a fractured foot, a soccer injury while playing for the Lady Rams at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. The injury took her out of play, out of her part-time job tending bar, and ultimately out of her senior year at the university. Instead, on the advice of a friend, she landed at USG Insurance Services in Arlington in 2008 to fill a vacancy as the receptionist. With a promotion to technical assistant, Hahn left Wesleyan to begin a career path in insurance. She joined Burns and Wilcox in 2009, then Specialty Insurance Managers in Austin in 2011. Two years ago, Hahn joined Risk Placement Services where she serves as Texas transportation lead underwriter/broker.
Looking back over her start in insurance, Hahn said, “Most don’t choose insurance. It chooses you.”
For more information on AAIP go to www.austininsuranceprofessionals.com, for membership and meeting details.
Hahn is also active in WSIA, where she serves on the Emerging Issues and Innovation Committee, and the Texas Surplus Lines Association, where she was recently recruited for the Regulatory Liaison Committee. Previously she served on WSIA’s Membership and Ethics Committee and on TSLA’s Host Committee.
Recently, Hahn was awarded a scholarship to attend the WSIA Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. “I learned so much in four days,” said Hahn, who said the program was amazing and beneficial. She said it taught her the difference between being a leader and a manager and helped her identify and acquire the skills to be a leader.
Hahn previously served AAIP as president-elect, treasurer and board member. She was installed along with fellow officers President-elect Marjolyn Varano, Towerstone/Plus; Immediate Past President/Director Robby Moore, Towerstone/Plus; Vice President Meghan Welte, Service Lloyds; Treasurer Veronica Ramirez, Ed Weeren Agency, and Recording Secretary Rhonda Bowles, Summit Holdings. Directors include Beth Reese, Texas Mutual; Josh VonFrisch, Columbia Insurance; Lindsey Burton, Risk Placement Services and Danny Journeay, Dark Matter InsurTech.
The officers and directors were installed during a dinner meeting on May 23 at Oasthouse Kitchen and Bar. The association regularly meets for lunch on the third Tuesday of the month, and the venue varies.