Andrew Strohm, Agile Premium Finance, was installed president of PIA of Baton Rouge during the association’s installation dinner held at Oak Lodge in Baton Rouge on Dec. 2.

He succeeds Dan O’Brien, SafePoint Insurance Company.

Strohm, a 15-year veteran of the insurance business, got his start in the insurance industry with AFLAC after graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in kinesiology.

After his time with AFLAC, he went to work for Equity Partners as an underwriter before joining Maison Insurance. He spent the last two years with Agile Premium Finance and is currently a vice president of sales.

His 15 years in the insurance industry was broken up by a stint owning a restaurant. “I worked way more hours for a lot less money,” Strohm told the Reporter.

Strohm has been active with PIA of Baton Rouge for the past five years having served on the board for the last two years.

His goal for the coming year for PIA of Baton Rouge is to re-engage the membership and get the member participation in chapter events back to pre-pandemic levels. “PIA events are a great way for company representatives and agents to network,” Strohm said. To achieve this goal, he would like to get 1752 Club members more involved with the chapter so that agents have more company representatives to network with.

Again this year, the association is planning to hold three functions. The chapter will hold its crawfish boil in April and a charity golf tournament at Top Golf in June, and a bowling event at a yet to be determined date.

The chapter plans to have luncheon meetings during the months that there is not an event planned. The next meeting is planned for Feb. 9. For information on the event, contact Strohm at 225-229-3034.

When asked by the Reporter about the difficulties facing insurance agents in Louisiana, Strohm responded, “The environment is changing so fast. Agents can think they have everything figured out, and they can be thrown a curve ball. It could be a positive Covid-case among the staff shutting the office down, homeowners markets getting shut down, the hard market causing agents to lose markets, or multiple hurricanes hitting the area. Agents have to be ready for anything.”

Taking office along with Strohm were Tammie Acosta, Acosta Insurance Agency, president-elect, and Sonia Romero, Gabisa Insurance Agency, secretary/treasurer.

Elected to the board were Jared Denais, Renew Insurance and Financial Services; 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 officers, the association gave an award to a member of PIA of Baton Rouge for outstanding service to the association for the past year.

Agent of the Year awarded to Romero

Romero, a producer/owner of Gabisa Insurance Agency, received the Agent of the Year award. O’Brien said he could not have had a successful presidency without Romero.

She has been active with PIA of Baton Rouge since 2010, has served as the secretary/treasurer for the last five years and served on the board of directors for the last eight years. In addition to her job on the board and as secretary/treasurer she helps with the PIA of Baton Rouge crawfish boil.

Romero got her start in the insurance industry more than 20 years ago as a licensed property and casualty agent with a local Allstate agency. She opened Gabisa Insurance Agency in 2008 and currently has two locations, in Kenner and Baton Rouge.

She believes one of the difficulties facing independent agents in Louisiana is that “everything is moving to online. Store-front agencies will also need to have an on-line presence to attract business.” She added that, “Google ads help a lot, but keeping up with the online presence by finding the time to update the information is difficult.”

Covid is making it difficult to network, but Romero feels that PIA is one of the best ways to network.

“I appreciate them thinking of me and recognizing the work I have put in for the organization,” Romero told the Reporter.