Shawn Moynihan: What are some of the things you’re most proud of having achieved during your term as NAPSLO President?
Hank Haldeman: At the beginning of the year my goals were to build on the initiatives that were already under way and expand on them. The five key areas of focus for NAPSLO are: Legislative Advocacy, our Education Programs, Career Awareness, Networking and our Wholesale Value Campaign.
In each one of those areas we’ve hit new plateaus, which is what I am proud of: taking the vision that has brought NAPSLO to be the successful organization that it is today and continuing to move that forward on all cylinders. You look on the Legislative Advocacy side and we’ve seen, finally, the passage of NARAB II as a part of the reauthorization of TRIA.
Also on the Legislative or Advocacy side, we continue to see movement in the direction we want in terms of the implementation of the NRRA. We have had three states over the last year, very recently, that have moved away from allocated premiums and taxes based on allocated premiums and into single home-state tax rates being applied. We continue to work toward uniformity, and we’re starting to gain uniformity in various states. They’re picking up our suggested language for laws, so there’s progress there—but the big ones are the passage of NARAB and continued progress on seeing the NRRA implemented the way we think it should.
Moving outside of the Legislative side, on Education we had a first-ever Management School and it sold out and got outstanding reviews. On the program that we introduced last year (the Professional Selling Skills Program), we’ve significantly increased the number of sessions that we had. Those continue to sell out just immediately.
On the Career Development side, again, we have had more school visits by a greater number of representatives than ever before. We reached out to about 40 schools and more than 2,200 students have heard us speak. We have continued growth in our Next Gen initiative, which is now at more than 800 members.
Shawn: Yes, as I understand it, up from 700 last year to 820 this year. That’s huge.
Hank: Now we’re working to better integrate Next Gen into NAPSLO at a higher level, so that those who are active within Next Gen really are contributing to the association and to the industry. Members of Next Gen have gotten quite involved in our PAC effort, for example, and our legislative advocacy effort and I think they’re really enjoying that. Hopefully, that creates an increasing dynamic where the potential members of Next Gen see the opportunity to contribute to their industry and help contribute to their firms through those ways, which then Next Gen provides a platform for.
Hopefully, that will help to continue to build the Next Gen effort and have the younger people in our business continue to see that value.
Shawn: I wanted to talk about that, because the growth of the membership in Next Gen would certainly verify that NAPSLO’s ongoing efforts and outreach to educate younger people about the E&S business is obviously working. What’s the key to that? Is it the increase in school visits?
Hank: There is definitely an increase in the number of school visits, and Next Gen is one of the key drivers in those. We found that having individuals who are five to 15 years, perhaps, out of school communicating to those in school about their experience in our industry is a very compelling message. The ability to identify with the career path that’s created by having someone that’s a part of their generation speaking to them really does make a difference. But that’s bringing people into our industry, not necessarily driving them to Next Gen itself.
Shawn: You’ve seen the A.M. Best report on Surplus lines, which shows that the success story in P&C insurance right now is really in the E&S market. Freedom of rate and form is critical to being able to provide those types of unusual coverage solutions, but I think there’s a spirit among surplus lines writers that’s unique, and a key element of that success in such a challenged P&C environment.
Hank: In E&S, eventually everything comes back to having the freedom of rate and form—but because of that, from an underwriting and a broker standpoint, we’re able to attract individuals that have a stronger entrepreneurial and creative bent. That makes them responsive, and that’s good client service. That sells. Along with that comes an energy and an enjoyment in what you’re doing that translates better into the sales or marketing message.
Sometimes it’s just something innovative in terms of a policy form, or if you take [a coverage solution] that’s being used in one industry and move it over to another industry. Then what you end up with is a product that’s more responsive to the evolving needs of society.
Shawn: In summation, what are your thoughts, as your term draws to a close this week?
Hank: It’s been great fun, I’ve really enjoyed it. Just from a purely personal level, the opportunity to collaborate with my peers both on the broker and company side in this industry, in the context of NAPSLO, has led to the development of just great friendships, ones that now go well outside NAPSLO and industry, ones that will go on forever that [my wife] Heather and I have both hugely valued.
You know, you’ll hear that as a consistent theme among NAPSLO board members and especially NAPSLO presidents. I’ve heard it over and over again, but what’s always been really enjoyable about this industry is the people and interacting with people. Whether it’s interacting with our producers or interacting with our markets or interacting with our co-workers, then you get to interact with your peers and you’re working on a common cause for the benefit of us all. It’s great to see.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the organization that Brady Kelley has come in and built, the structure that he’s created. It is just a well-oiled machine, it makes the job of president so much easier than it might otherwise be. The staff that he’s put around him are fantastic to work with. They’re great at what they do and they’re fun to work with, too, so that’s been a big plus.