The coronavirus pandemic caused the PIA Convention scheduled for July to be canceled, then Hurricane Laura caused the virtual convention that was scheduled in August to be canceled, and the hurricane caused massive destruction to Southwestern Louisiana, but that has not dampened the sense of humor of PIA of Louisiana’s new president, Charlie Williams. When the Reporter emailed him to see when he had free time to do a phone interview, his response was “when I am sleeping.”
Williams, president/owner of the Daly Williams Agency in Jennings, took over the presidency of PIA of Louisiana from Bryan Duplantier, Alpha Insurance Agency, Gretna, on Sept. 1 with no formal fanfare.
Since Hurricane Laura made landfall Aug. 27, Williams has been busy taking care of his customers who had damage from Hurricane Laura and needed policy information to file claims with their insurance companies.
After the storm, most of the Jennings area was without power. Since his agency was among those without power, the calls to the agency’s phones were forwarded to Williams’s cell phone. He spent time in his sweltering office looking up policy numbers for insureds and making notes relative to the calls. “After working for a while, I realized I needed a towel because the sweat from my forearm was causing the ink on the yellow tablet to smear,” Williams told the Reporter. It is trying times like these that reinforce the importance of the job that insurance agents do, Williams added.
Williams, a third generation insurance agent, has been in the insurance business since 1978 when he joined the insurance agency that his grandfather started in the late 1940s. The agency’s name became Daly Williams in 1957 after his father bought out Williams’s grandfather.
Williams joined the agency after graduating from Louisiana Tech with a degree in economics and finance with an emphasis on insurance. According to Williams, he started at the bottom of the agency by typing assigned risk automobile policies and doing filing.
When the Reporter asked how long he has been involved with PIA, Williams responded that he was a “PIA brat. I grew up going to the PIA convention back when it was held at the Broadwater Beach Hotel.” His father served as president of the association in 1958.
Williams is currently serving his second stint on the PIA of Louisiana board of directors, having first served from 1984 until 1990. In addition, through the years he has served on various committees for the state association.
In 2004, Williams received the Agent of the Year award from PIA of Louisiana. He was instrumental in founding the Southwest Chapter of PIA in Lake Charles, and he served as president of the now dormant local chapter.
Outside of insurance, Williams is a longtime member of his community’s Kiwanis Club board and is a member of, and served several times on, the board of the Jennings
Chamber of Commerce
His goal for PIA in the coming year is to continue with what has been established by the previous presidents. “I don’t want to mess up a good thing,” Williams said. He praised the job his predecessor did during the pandemic. “Bryan did an exceptional job because he had to adapt to something that no previous president had to deal with,” Williams said. “PIA does a good job providing education opportunities to members, social functions, services for PIA members, and promoting the agency network and the association,” he explained.
Williams believes the biggest benefit of membership in PIA is that there is a sense of family among the members of PIA. “You really see it in a time of need; the membership comes together, feels connected, and that we are all in this together,” Williams said. “We are family working in the same industry,” Williams added.
Also taking office were Clint Gulett, Advanced Insurance Planning, Shreveport, president-elect, and, Ryan Daul, Daul Insurance Agency, Gretna, secretary-treasurer. As immediate past president, Bryan Duplantier, Alpha Insurance Agency, Gretna, remains on the board of directors.
New to the PIA of Louisiana board of directors are Robert Broussard, The Greater Louisiana Insurance Group, Baton Rouge; Guy Chabert, Chabert Insurance Agency, Thibodaux, and Dana Myers, Gulf South Insurance Agency, Baton Rouge.
Continuing on the board are Danette Castello, Castello Agency, Zachary; Jessica Clayton, Classic Insurance Agency, Kenner; Jennifer Clements, Dan J. Burghardt Insurance, Metairie; Danielle Gendusa-Wagner, Gendusa Insurance Agency, Hammond; Linda Gortemiller, The Lincoln Agency, West Monroe, and Blaine Prejean, Affordable Insurance of Acadiana, Scott.
Al Pappalardo Jr., Pappalardo Insurance Agency, Mandeville, will serve as PIA of Louisiana’s national director.