The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents held its annual conference and trade show “The Big Event” over four days at the Copley Marriott in Boston.
The Big Event, which continues to be one of the largest state association trade shows in the nation, included a number of different events including the MAIA annual meeting, the Arbella Gourmet Luncheon, which this year celebrated Arbella’s 30th anniversary and featured Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson, along with a sold-out two-day trade show over more than 130 vendor booths, as well as the ever popular cocktail hour hosted by Boston Software.
In addition to these events, Continuing Education classes and seminars were also offered throughout the four-day event. This year, the event which took place on October 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th employed an “insurance game” theme.
Earlier this year, the MAIA conducted commissioned by MAIA and conducted by Willis Towers Watson, surveying the approximately, 1,200 member agencies of the MAIA that reside in the Commonwealth. The agencies are queried as both employers, consumers, taxpayers, and active participants within the 351 communities they inhabit throughout the Commonwealth.
The results from that study stated that independent agents contributed approximately $1.022 billion to the Massachusetts economy in 2017, employing approximating 9,050 full-time employees in Massachusetts during 2017. On average, the typical agency employed 12 individuals paying salaries totaling more than $714 million. Agencies also paid an additional $107 million in employee benefits such as health insurance, pensions, profit sharing, and training costs. As for taxes, independent insurance agencies paid a total of more than $80 million in both local and state taxes last year (2017).
The four-day conference and trade show was another example of the impact that independent agents have on the Commonwealth and the vital contribution that they make to the economy here.
Friday, October 26th, is probably the busiest day of the four-day trade show. In addition to the classes and trade show, the MAIA also holds its annual meeting to induct and introduce its Board of Directors for the coming year. The meeting featured remarks from various members of the Association’s leadership including outgoing MAIA Chairman, Ely Kaplansky, IIABA Chairman Joe Leahy, Nick Fyntrialkis, and Incoming MAIA Chairman John Koegel as well as the report and election of Officers and Directors for 2019, and presentation of awards.
The Arbella Gourmet Luncheon follows the close of the Annual Meeting is always one of the biggest draws of the four-day event. The sit-down luncheon, hosted by Arbella, was a sold-out event again this year as it offers an opportunity to mingle as well as to hear from the Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson. For those who were unable to attend the event, Agency Checklists has provided a recap of his speech here.
A Berkshire agent is presented with the MAIA’s highest honor this year
During the annual meeting, John Toole, of the L.V. Toole Insurance Agency of Lee was recognized with the MAIA’s highest award, The Henry F. Barry, Jr. Memorial Pacesetter Award. “John has been a leader in the Massachusetts independent agent community for more than thirty years,” said Nick Fyntrilakis, President and CEO of MAIA in commenting on the announcement. “I cannot think of a worthier recipient for this prestigious honor.”
The Pacesetter of the Year Award is presented annually to an MAIA member agent or local association who through both their personal and professional life set an example for their fellow independent agents. The Pacesetter Award is named after former MAIA President and staff member Henry F. Barry, Jr., who both in his personal and professional life “…set an example of hard work, perseverance, compassion, and charity, at a level matched by few in the insurance industry.”
Mr. Toole is the owner of one of the oldest independent insurance agencies in western Massachusetts, having purchased the family business in 1990. First established by Lawrence V. Toole in 1939, the Toole Agency has been a Five Star Agency since 2002. Mr. Toole, himself, carries several professional designations and has served for many years on the MAIA’s Board of Directors, including Chairman in 2011. During his time on the MAIA board, he was instrumental in helping to reactivate the Young Agents Committee. Aside from his insurance career, he is also active in his community and is a founder of the Brock Wilkerson Memorial Cancer Research Fund. He also serves as Chair of the Lee Bike Path Committee, is a past Chair of the Lenox Library, and has held leadership positions in several other Berkshire County organizations.
I am honored to receive this recognition from my fellow Massachusetts agents. This award represents not only the work that I have done. I recognize that without the efforts of the dedicated staff of Toole Insurance this recognition would not be possible,” said Toole. “In my view, there is no better industry to work in, full of hard-working and generous men and women who put the interest of their clients and community first. I am blessed and grateful to be a part of the insurance industry and Berkshire County,” said Toole.
Candids from the 2018 Big Event
As a final wrap-up of this year’s event, the MAIA has shared with Agency Checklists some of the candids it took over the four-day event. Here are a few of the highlights from some of the various events include the trade show, the Boston Software cocktail party, the Gourmet Luncheon hosted by Arbella and the MAIA classes and annual meeting.