State of the Association: The Big ‘I’ Is at Its Best in Times of Need

Big “I” Chairman Jon Jensen (pictured left) presented the State of the Association address to Big “I” Virtual Legislative Conference attendees today, reminding the independent agent community that the Big “I” is “at its best for its members in their greatest time of need.”

As Big “I” member agencies across the country face the daunting challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic while they serve their clients in their own uncertainties, Jensen highlighted the many ways the Big “I” has been working around the clock to support its members.

“Our advocacy efforts on your behalf are second to none—and they have never been more important,” Jensen said. “Some of the legislative proposals at both the federal and state levels would literally bankrupt the insurance industry. Educating legislators, regulators, policymakers and consumers is absolutely crucial."

“Your government affairs team in Washington, D.C., is recognized as one of the top teams, not just in our industry, but throughout our nation’s capital,” Jensen continued, “and they are making sure your voice is represented as our lawmakers grapple with the coronavirus crisis.”

The Big “I” created a coronavirus resource page dedicated to providing members with the most up-to-date information on the insurance implications of the pandemic, which is “recognized as one of the most comprehensive and useful sites for our industry in this crisis,” Jensen said.

The page contains information on business interruption concerns, workers compensation questions, errors & omissions management, telework and human resources issues, and the latest updates on the Payroll Protection Program. Trusted Choice® also created a resource with coronavirus information for commercial clients in an ongoing commitment to support insurance consumers.

The Big “I” has also been providing members with financial assistance, thanks to generous donations from Progressive and Foremost and Bristol West to the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund.  

“Our carrier partners have really stepped up with these super impressive donations to help independent agents,” Jensen said. “We have already approved more than 400 agency and employee grants, totaling about $600,000, and we are currently in the second round of reviewing agency and employee applications.”

Throughout the crisis, Big “I” members are continually showing their generosity and commitment to their communities. “The humanitarian stories from our agents and brokers continue to inspire all of us,” Jensen said, as he cited  a few examples including the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma raising $100,000 for a state food bank; Bennie Jones, Big “I” Diversity council chair, working with two organizations in Chicago to support local families in need; a Big “I” member agency in Nevada bringing personal protective equipment to their community; and Jensen’s own agency distributing facemasks earlier this week.

Furthermore, “Trusted Choice continues its partnership with Make-A-Wish®,” he added, “giving hope to families and supporting wishes even while some of them cannot happen until this pandemic ends.”

While the Big “I” is in the trenches supporting and advocating for members during the coronavirus crisis, throughout the past year the association has continued to perform other important work.

“We achieved a trifecta of big wins on Capitol Hill last year,” Jensen said in reference to a legislative package passed in December 2019 reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and repealing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “Cadillac tax.”

“Our political action committee InsurPac had a record-breaking year,” he continued. “We negotiated a deal with ACORD, allowing many of our members to qualify for free forms. We hosted a highly acclaimed diversity and inclusion event—Level Up—in January in New Orleans. Traffic to our website and other digital platforms is up, and our social media engagement is growing substantially.”

Jensen also highlighted the ongoing success of Big “I” Hires which is helping agencies find and retain the best talent. “In the past year, we’ve had nearly 700 agencies use the Big ‘I’ Hires platform to source of 650 new hires,” he said. During the coronavirus pandemic, the program’s partnership with Affinity HR has provided live support and daily tips for members as they lead their workplace.

Additionally, Big “I” Markets is continuing to be redesigned, becoming more user-friendly and continuing to provide the best market access to products and programs for Big “I” members. “New efficiencies are being made every week,” Jensen said.

No matter what the future holds, “one thing remains unchanged: The top priority of this association is—and always will be—to serve you and provide you with the resources you need to thrive, no matter what’s going on in the world,” Jensen said. “I can’t think of a time it’s been more important to fulfill that mission than now.”

AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.

The 2020 Big “I" Virtual Legislative Conference may be over, but if you missed the week of virtual presentations that doesn't mean you have to miss out for good!

To watch the State of the Association address and other sessions, register to receive a link and password to access the recordings. The sessions will only be available for the next two weeks, so act now!