Dan O’Brien, SafePoint Insurance Company, was installed president of PIA of Baton Rouge during the association’s installation luncheon held at Oak Lodge in Baton Rouge on Jan. 13.

He succeeds Dana Myers, Gulf South Insurance Agency.

O’Brien got his start in the insurance industry four years ago as an agency relations manager for the Louisiana Restaurant Association – Self Insurance Fund. He is currently an agency relations manager for Louisiana and Mississippi with SafePoint.

He is a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now called the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Loyola University in New Orleans.

He holds the CPIA designation.

O’Brien has been active with PIA since he started in the insurance business. In addition to serving on the board of PIA of Baton Rouge, he has served on the board of the Northwest Chapter of PIA in Shreveport.

Among his goals for the coming year for PIA of Baton Rouge is expanding the membership base and getting more agent members involved with the organization. “PIA is a great way for company representatives and agents to network with each other,” O’Brien said.

The association is planning to hold its crawfish boil in April at Oak Lodge and a charity golf tournament at Top Golf in June that will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Baton Rouge.

When asked by the Reporter about the difficulties facing insurance agents in Louisiana, O’Brien responded, “The hardening of the property market in Louisiana is going to create challenges for agents in the coming year.”

Taking office along with O’Brien were Andrew Strohm, Agile Premium Finance, president-elect, and Sonia Romero, Gabisa Insurance Agency, secretary/treasurer.

Elected to the board were Tammie Acosta, Acosta Insurance Agency; Robert Broussard, Greater Louisiana Insurance Group; Drew Fourrier, Fourrier Insurance, and Gayle Marks, Gayle Marks Agency.

PIA of Baton Rouge past-president Jay Jodah, LCI Workers’ Comp, installed the officers.

In addition to installing the officers, the association gave awards to two members of PIA of Baton Rouge for outstanding service to the association for the past year.

Volunteer of the Year

Jodah, a marketing representative at LCI Workers’ Comp, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award, and Marks was awarded the Agent of the Year award.

Jodah is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in sports management, and he spent the first five years after graduation in ticket sales with the New Orleans Pelicans, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and as director of sales for Tulane University Athletics. He joined LCI in 2016.

He received the New Employee of the Year award and also the Employee of the Year award from LCI Workers’ Comp. He recently received the Startup Partner of the Year award from LCI. The award is given to the employee that other employees would most like to start a business with. “I am very proud of this award because it is voted on by other employees at LCI,” Jodah told the Reporter.

Jodah became active with PIA of Baton Rouge when he joined LCI and started serving on the board in Jan. 2017. He is a past president of the chapter and in 2020 helped update the chapter’s by-laws.

He holds the CWCP (Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional) designation.

Agent of the Year

Marks, a 42-year veteran of the insurance industry, has owned Gayle Marks Agency for the past six years.

She got her start in the insurance industry with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, then moved to the agency side of the business when she joined Wright and Percy. She left Wright and Percy and became a partner in the Doyle Malone Agency.

When asked by the Reporter about the difficulties facing insurance agents, Marks responded, “direct writers pushing for customers to call the company directly.” She added, “Customer service is the most important part of the insurance transaction and the agent and insured relationship plays a very significant part of it.”

Marks received the top producer award for the Baton Rouge area from Fireman’s Fund.

She has been active with PIA of Baton Rouge for the past 20 years, and currently is serving her third stint on the board of directors.

In addition to her service to PIA of Baton Rouge, she served as president of the Premier Referral Group, and does volunteer work for the Vietnam Veterans Association, St. Joseph’s Indian School and Boys Town.