President's MessageThe Changing Face of NAPAA
Each year, the month of May is particularly stressful for your association’s leadership. That’s because May is when we hold elections for our board of directors. Each year, the election begins May 1st and ends at midnight on May 30th. As you might imagine, waiting for the outcome is often a trying experience for those vying for seats on the board. This year was no different.
Now that the election is over, it is time to move the association forward. My view is that NAPAA cannot afford to dwell on the past; it must instead focus on the present and the future. With that in mind, I plan to create a national advisory council consisting of active Allstate agents from each region who will meet periodically to provide input and ideas for the board to consider as we assess strategies for the future.
Another of my priorities is to get more active Allstate agents involved on the NAPAA board in order to develop the next generation of NAPAA leadership. Some of our current leaders, including yours truly, are former Allstate agents who still care deeply about the fate of the Allstate agent. The advantage of this group is that they are able to speak with an unfettered voice, a task that can be risky for active agents who value their jobs. As midterm board vacancies occur, my preference will be to appoint suitable active Allstate agent candidates ahead of anyone else.
I am very pleased with the composition of new board of directors. It is just two weeks since we learned the results of the election. Since then, I have formed three new committees and they have already held their first meetings. We have also had two meetings of the full board. The board is positive, energetic and proactive. I intend to keep them fully engaged and inspired as there is a great deal of work to do. The first objective is to get our own house in order. Our bylaws, for example, desperately need revision, and you will also see positive changes in our publications.
Starting with the summer issue of Exclusivefocus, we will put more emphasis on topics that can help agents, especially newer agents. Of course, we won’t shy away from writing about company initiatives that adversely affect our members and the agency force at large, but our goal is to refrain from repeatedly dredging up issues from the past that have been discussed ad nauseam. That’s not to say, however, we’ll never mention past history, but we’ll make a conscious effort to keep it to a minimum.
I would also like to address the mistaken notion that NAPAA is urging agents to leave the company by allowing insurance aggregators and cluster groups to advertise in our publications. The truth is that Allstate agents don’t leave the company unless they are threatened, unhappy or they get fired. The real question is: Why do agents feel threatened in the first place? It is certainly not because of NAPAA or its advertisers.
What many folks don’t realize is that this competition makes conditions better for Allstate agents. Partly as a result of this advertising, the company now realizes that agents have a choice of where they want to work. Without a doubt, Allstate must now think twice before implementing undesirable contract changes or commission cuts.
I should also mention that NAPAA exists for the benefit of its members. Consequently, it is our obligation to do our best to help them succeed in their insurance careers. Hundreds, if not thousands, of former Allstate agents – who had reason to believe their jobs were in peril– are grateful for the information about other career opportunities that NAPAA provided in their time of need. The same holds true for agents whose friends, spouses or family members sought to start agencies of their own, but decided that Allstate was not the right fit for them.
Last, I want to thank those of you who voted for me during our recent election. I have known many of you for years and your continued loyalty has inspired and invigorated me. After the election, many of you emailed or called me with heartfelt messages of support. Your words mean a great deal to me and I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations.
There are big challenges ahead for NAPAA in the next twelve months, so I will be counting on your support more than ever. I hope you will stand with me as we face the future.