Debbie Lee, Americas Insurance Company, was installed president of The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans (TIPOGNO) during ceremonies held June 3 at The Pearl Room in Harahan.
Lee succeeds Liz LaGrange Asher, Eagan Insurance Agency, who remains on the board of directors.
Lee, vice president of underwriting and marketing at Americas Insurance Company, has been in the insurance business for over 30 years.
She was working as a receptionist at a car dealership when the principal of Advanced Auto Insurance offered her a position as a sales clerk handling personal lines.
Lee went to work at Advanced Auto Insurance eventually working her way up to the office manager before going to work for Dan Burghardt Insurance.
She spent 26 years on the agency side of the business gaining experience on both the personal lines side of the business and the commercial lines side before her first foray to the wholesale side of the business.
In 2014, Lee joined a national wholesale managing general insurance agency and broker as a personal lines broker.
After her time on the wholesale side of the business, she moved back to the retail side when she opened her own agency, Debbie Lee Insurance. Lee ran her own agency for a couple of years before eventually selling the book of business to MB Insurance Agency, owned by Metairie Bank. She stayed on with the MB Insurance Agency through the transition before joining Americas Insurance Company as the vice president of underwriting and marketing.
In addition to her duties as vice president of underwriting and marketing, Lee is the office manager as well as the creative director for Americas Insurance Company.
She is a licensed property and casualty agent in Louisiana and Texas.
Lee has been active with TIPOGNO since 2000 and received the Rookie of the Year award in 2002 and the Professional of the Year award in 2017. She has served on, and was the chairperson of, various committees. Her service to the association includes chairing the TIPOGNO’s golf tournament, planning the last Region VI meeting and helping on two others. She has held all of the offices for the local association except treasurer.
During her term as president, she hopes to hold all of the membership meetings in person during the coming year. She anticipates this will help build up membership numbers that were hurt during the pandemic. “It was hard to do in-person meetings and functions, and membership numbers dwindled because of that,” she told The Reporter. TIPOGNO is planning to hold its miniature golf charity event sometime in November. The event will benefit an as-yet-to-be named charity.
Lee said membership in TIPOGNO has allowed her to make long-time friends that are like family. “After being a member for so long, TIPOGNO becomes like your family,” Lee said. TIPOGNO membership allows people to network with other members on issues in the insurance market.
Lee chose Debbie Garner, Stone Insurance, to install the officers and directors.
Taking office along with Lee were Katie Liljeberg, Financial Assurance, president-elect; Brittany Schule Orlando, Emergency Restoration, vice president; Casey Darden, Americas Insurance Company, secretary, and Janet Carver, Gallagher, treasurer.
Installed to the board were Stacey Campo, The Hartford; Karen Crouch, Gallagher; Chad Harrington, Hull and Company; Debbie Harrington, Americas Insurance Company, and Marie Meyers, Insurance Underwriters Ltd.
IIAGNO President Evan Kennedy, Kennedy, Lewis, Renton and Associates, presented Lee with the president’s gavel on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents of Greater New Orleans.
TIPOGNO presented Campo with the Rookie of the Year award and Liljeberg with the Insurance Professional of the Year award. The awards were presented at the association’s installation banquet.
Campo, an executive select customer sales representative for The Hartford, has been in the insurance business for 18 years.
She got her start in the business as a receptionist for Forest Insurance Facilities. She eventually became an underwriting technician at Forest when Katrina caused Campo and her husband to relocate to Houston. After a recommendation from Wayne Forest Sr. she was hired as a broker at Crump Insurance in Houston.
Subsequent to her stint at Crump, Campo went to work with The Hartford where she has been for the last 13 years. Since she telecommuted, she was able to move back to Louisiana to be close to family. She began handling the Louisiana market for The Hartford over three and a half years ago. Campo was awarded the Honor’s Circle Award from The Hartford in 2010, 2019 and 2020. The Honor’s Circle Award goes to the top 10 percent of sales associates with The Hartford.
During her time in Houston, she was active with the Houston NAIW and the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston. Campo chaired the public relations committee for the Houston NAIW. She won the Confidence While Communicating completion at the local level in 2011. For IIAH, Campo was the chairman of the Young Agents committee and served on the board of directors.
She has been active with TIPOGNO since 2018 and served as the co-chair of the Historian/Publicity committee and is slated to be the chairman of the Education committee.
Campo has the CIIP (Certified Insurance Industry Professional) designation and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of New Orleans.
Outside of insurance, Campo served on the board of the ALS Association’s Louisiana-Mississippi chapter.
TIPOGNO’s professional of the year, Liljeberg, a marketing specialist at Financial Assurance, has been in the insurance business for the past 13 years.
She earned two degrees from the University of Central Arkansas, a Bachelor of Business Management in marketing and a Bachelor of Science in interior design.
Liljeberg worked in the interior design business in Arkansas after graduating from college. She got her start in the insurance business full time when she relocated to the New Orleans area.
“I needed a new start in a new area, and the greater New Orleans area was my choice,” she told The Reporter. “Since I already had my life and health license and the door opened for me to get my property and casualty license, I started in the insurance industry full-time,” she added.
When she relocated to the New Orleans area, she went to work for Hebert Insurance in Gretna as a licensed insurance representative. After working at Hebert Insurance, she went to work for Dave Millet Insurance. She was with Dave Millet Insurance for almost nine years before joining Financial Assurance in May 2021.
In addition to having her health and life and property and casualty licenses, Liljeberg has the CISR (Certified Insurance Representative), CPIW (Certified Professional Insurance Woman), DAE (Diversified Advanced Education), and CLP (Certified Leadership Professional) designations.
She has been active with the local association for the last 10 years. Through the years, she has chaired and served on various committees. In the coming year, Liljeberg will serve as the local association’s president-elect and will chair the Programs Committee.
Liljeberg told the Reporter, that “Networking, educational opportunities, support, and friendship are all of the benefits to being a member of the Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans.”
She won the Confidence While Communicating completion at the local level in 2012 and the regional level in 2013, and went on to compete at the international level. In addition, she was awarded the Outstanding Customer Service Representative for Louisiana in 2014 by the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research.
Liljeberg believes that some of the biggest obstacles facing agents in the near future are, making the adjustment from home-based work back to the corporate environment, the loss of underwriters, and the increase of rates across all lines of insurance.
Outside of the insurance industry, she is active with the Gretna Economic Development Association, Gretna Historical Society, Gretna Community Association and Immaculate Conception Parish in Marrero.
In 2019 the Archdiocese of New Orleans awarded her the Order of St. Louis IX. The Order of St. Louis IX honors laypersons who have contributed their time and talents to the church.