Nancy Bender will receive the well-deserved insurance person of the year award this Friday, October 11th
This Friday, October 11, 2019, the Insurance Library Association of Boston will honor Nancy Z. Bender as the 2019 Insurance Professional of the Year. The award ceremony will take place at the InterContinental Boston Hotel, 510 Atlantic Avenue, during the Association’s Eighteenth Annual Insurance Professional of the Year Award Luncheon.
Nancy Bender is president of Bender Hatch Insurance which was formed as a result of a merger between the H.R. Hatch Insurance Agency and the Nancy Z. Bender Insurance Agency in April of 2017, forty years after Nancy first founded her own agency in 1978.
A career which began with a customer service representative position
Nancy started her career at the Robert Clark Insurance Agency as customer service representative. The agency provided her with support to obtain her license as an insurance agent. From the start of her career, she focused on meeting with clients and listening to them so she could understand their personal situations and coverage needs. Nancy was thrust into the role of of managing the agency during an eight-month period when its owner was out on sick leave. She not only maintained the agency’s book of business but managed to grow the business.
Formed her own independent insurance agency in 1978
Always inquisitive and hard-working by nature, she spent long hours at the office and learned the commercial side of the business by asking questions of clients, adjusters and underwriters, and by reading the contracts, until she was confident that she understood the situation and the coverage. That experience gave her the confidence to start her own agency, with the blessing of her former boss and mentor, in April of 1978.
Nancy started her business with a small book of business, a couple of metal desks, a $200 typewriter, and a donated file cabinet. She did not have a contract with a carrier until the Friday before she was set to open her doors. On that Friday, Travelers called, offering her an all-lines contract starting Monday, April 3, 1978.
Grew her agency to seventeen million in premium through referrals
She went on to represent Travelers throughout her entire insurance career, twice being named a Travelers Agent of the Year. This annual award “recognizes business leaders for their proven ability to attain the highest standards of success in our industry through hard work, commitment and the responsibility to do it right.” In 1982, Nancy received her second contract with Vermont Mutual after which many companies followed.
Nancy grew her business almost entirely through referrals, a testament to her clients’ appreciation of her personal touch. When Nancy merged with H.R. Hatch her premium volume was approximately 17 million. See Agency Checklists’ article of April 25, 2017 article entitled, “Mass. Agencies The HR Hatch Insurance Agency and Nancy Z. Bender Insurance Announce Merger”.
She sat on CAR’s Governing Committee and the board of other nonprofits
In addition to impressive work ethic in building up her agency, Nancy always has volunteered her time both inside and outside the insurance industry. She was appointed by The Office of Governor William Weld to the Governing Committee of Commonwealth Auto Reinsurers (CAR) and served for six years offering a common-sense perspective on the issues facing the state’s residual market. In addition to her work at CAR, she also served on The Insurance Library’s Board of Trustees for twenty-two years and supports many non-profit organizations including Bunker Hill Community College, the MSPCA, Lazarus House, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
A fitting reward to celebrate a lifetime of achievements in insurance
In commenting on the decision to select Nancy Bender as the 2019 Insurance Professional of the Year, the Insurance Library’s Executive Director, Paul Tetrault, put it best in describing why Nancy so richly deserves this year’s award:
…Despite being a trailblazer and incredibly successful business leader, Nancy neither expected nor particularly wanted to be the recipient of such a notable honor, in large part because she does not view her achievements as particularly remarkable. She just did what came naturally to her. But what came naturally to her was delivering a level of customer service that consistently exceeded expectations because Nancy strove to understand her clients’ needs and to do what was necessary to ensure they were met. Combined with a strong worth ethic and commitment to technical mastery, that natural inclination resulted in Nancy’s career offering a timeless model for success.
At at time when novel innovations and new applications of technology to the insurance business are receiving an arguably out-sized share of attention, Nancy’s career is a a reminder that insurance always has been and to a large extent always will be a people business, where making and nurturing personal connections is an end to itself and not merely a means to achieving another goal…
After her lifetime of achievements as noted above, it seems only fitting that this year’s award goes to Nancy. For us, here at Agency Checklists, it is an added pleasure to publish this tribute as she was the first person to invite us to the annual Insurance Professional of the Year Luncheon many years ago, having us sit at her table. Something we have always remembered and appreciated.
So with that said, many Congratulations to Nancy Bender for this well-deserved award!