Symington heads the association after serving as its executive vice president.
Charles Symington is the new president & CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I"), effective Sept. 1.
Joining the Big “I" nearly 20 years ago, Symington previously served as senior vice president for external, industry and government affairs. Last September, he was promoted to executive vice president and selected to succeed the retiring Bob Rusbuldt as president & CEO.
“The Big 'I' is proud to have such a dedicated and experienced leader at the helm," says Big “I" chairman John Costello of USI Insurance Services in Rochester, New York. “Charles has spent many years fiercely advocating on behalf of the independent agency channel and is well-attuned to the needs of independent agents and brokers across the country. The Big 'I' Executive Committee and Board of Directors look forward to working with Charles as he takes the Big 'I' to new heights."
Symington joined the Big “I" in 2004 on the government affairs staff. He has been regularly recognized by The Hill newspaper as a top lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and has been a key leader in many industry coalitions on Capitol Hill, advocating on issues important to Big “I" members. Under Symington's leadership, the Big “I" has had numerous legislative wins, including securing substantial small business tax relief, defending a modernized state regulatory system for insurance, preserving the Federal Crop Insurance Program and National Flood Insurance Program, and extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).
“Independent insurance agents are a critical piece of our nation's economy with their tireless work serving their communities and protecting the livelihoods and property of their neighbors," Symington says. “It is an honor to continue my work at the Big 'I' on behalf of our members in my new role. As we provide resources, support and advocacy for independent agents through the challenges and opportunities ahead, I look forward to working together with the many dedicated leaders in our industry to improve and protect the independent agency channel and the many customers it serves."
Prior to joining the Big “I," Symington served as a senior counsel with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services from 2000-2003 where he focused on insurance issues. During that time, he was actively involved in drafting TRIA in 2002 and other significant legislation. He also worked as a majority counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, concentrating on health care policy and oversight.
Symington worked in the private sector before his time on Capitol Hill, first as an associate attorney with Drew, Eckl & Farnham in Atlanta, specializing in insurance defense litigation, and then as an attorney with the firm Matricardi & Moylan in Springfield, Virginia.
Symington graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in history and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Emory University, School of Law in Atlanta. Symington is a past chairman and vice chair of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and served on the NDSS board from 2014-2022.
Sue Nester is Big “I" vice president of communications.