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PIA-CCEO Announces National Rollout of The Value Difference Series

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and its Company Council of Executive Officers today announced the start of...
March 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and its Company Council of Executive Officers today announced the start of national distribution of its landmark program, The Value DifferenceSeries.

The Value Difference is a unique educational program that helps independent insurance agents develop realistic and detailed plans of the business strategies for their agencies. It also provides the tools agency principals need to determine their agency's philosophy, define goals, develop unique plans and successfully implement, maintain and evolve them.

"The Value Difference is not a 'one-size-fits-all' plan, it is a process that enables agency owners to develop and implement their own unique plan," said PIA-CCEO Co-Chairman Scott Kuczmarski, vice president of independent agent sales and marketing for MetLife Auto and Home. "The program is structured into a series of three easy-to-complete half-day modules that agents can use separately or together. That is a key difference about The Value Difference that sets it apart from other programs that take a generic approach, and makes it more valuable."

National distribution of The Value Difference kicks off with an inaugural train-the-trainer session conducted for PIA state and regional affiliates on March 26, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. The goal of the session is to prepare PIA state and regional affiliates to deliver the program. "We're ready to roll," Kuczmarski said.

"PIA would like to congratulate the PIA-CCEO for this great achievement," said PIA National President Carl G. Stoecklin. "The projects the PIA-CCEO undertakes are cutting-edge, and critical to the success of both the companies that market their products through the American Agency System and the PIA agents who represent those companies. PIA's support of the PIA-CCEO offers a unique opportunity for agents and their company partners to come together, roll up our sleeves and solve common problems."

The Value Difference is the outgrowth of a series of focus groups involving PIA member agents, state affiliate executives and senior executives of national and regional carriers. Beginning in 2001, it was introduced to agents in a series of presentations conducted through various PIA state affiliate organizations. During this period, the program material was refined, field-tested and additional research was conducted. Evaluations by several hundred agents, PIA affiliate executives and carrier field representatives have been overwhelmingly positive. Now, in response to requests by PIA affiliates, the program content has been fashioned into a format that is easier for affiliates to offer and allows them to directly facilitate delivery of the series.

PIA National Vice President Ray Peretti of Renton, Washington has been involved with the PIA-CCEO since its inception in 1996, has participated in the development of The Value Difference since it was first conceived, and uses the tools in his agency. "The strength of the program is that it does not attempt to present any one business plan or series of plans as pre-packaged solutions to an agency's planning needs." Peretti said. "Instead, the agency owner is in the driver's seat from start to finish, assessing the agency's current status based upon what is actually going on, then developing and implementing a plan that is truly unique to that agency."

PIA state and regional affiliates will work in conjunction with PIA National to facilitate broad distribution of The Value Difference with the continued support of the PIA-CCEO. The program will be available through PIA state and regional affiliates.

"The PIA-CCEO deserves our thanks for developing this program and bringing it to the PIA affiliates," said Richard "Richie" Clements, past president of PIA of Louisiana. "PIA of Louisiana put on a Value Difference program at our state convention. We did it because we knew our members would benefit tremendously from it. The program was very well attended, by both agency owners and carriers. I highly recommend The Value Difference to all my fellow PIA members around the country. It has worked well for me."

Agents, PIA-CCEO carriers and PIA affiliate organizations interested in scheduling Value Difference programs should contact PIA National Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski at 703-518-1360.

Founded in 1996 with start-up funding from PIA National, the PIA-CCEO is comprised of senior insurance company executives committed to working with the American Agency System to increase market share by improving the dialogue between agencies and companies. Through its activities, the PIA-CCEO identifies area of opportunity in the agency-company partnership and conducts solution-oriented research.

PIA-CCEO participating carriers include the Allstate Insurance Company, American International Group (AIG), The Central Insurance Companies, CNA, The Hartford, Main Street America Group, Metlife Auto & Home, National Grange Mutual Insurance Company, Nationwide Insurance Company, Prudential, Progressive Insurance, Safeway Insurance Group, Travelers Property Casualty and Zurich North America Small Business.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.

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