The deadline for entries in the annual National Underwriter Commercial Insurance Agency of the Year award program is looming! All material must be in to me by July 14. Click here for details and an entry form! Agencies need not be nominated by any outside party to enter. All who feel worthy are welcome to compete! Read on for a summary of the award program’s benefits and reactions from past champions.

The three finalists will win a free trip to New York City, where NUs 2008 Champion will be announced and given a trophy at a special ceremony on Sept. 26, with the remaining two finalists awarded a plaque for an Honorable Mention.

All three finalists will be profiled in NUs Sept. 29 edition. In addition, the finalists will participate in a special NU Roundtable following the award presentation to discuss The Future of the Independent Agent. Highlights will appear in the Nov. 3 edition.

David Becker, president of last years championCottingham & Butler of Dubuque, Iowasaid winning the NU award provides the stamp of credibility with prospects, opening up new opportunities that might otherwise have been unavailable. The award has served to reinforce our commitment and dedication to building a truly distinctive agency.

Paul Hering, managing principal and CEO of the 2006 champion, San Diego-based Barney & Barney, said NUs award confirms for our current clients that theyre with a great agency, and it also gives us credibility with prospective clients who may not be familiar with our firm. Its like a hand reaching out and opening doors for us.

Haake Companies of Overland Park, Kan., said being honored by NU in 2005 was like winning the Heisman Trophy for insurance agencies.

Again, click here for more details and an entry form.

Fill out the application, put together the supporting material (all of which is kept strictly confidential) and include an essay of 3,000 words or less on “What Makes My Agency An Outstanding Sales and Service Organization?” Submit the complete package no later than July 14.

Good luck!