Nancy Bender, President of the Bender Hatch, was honored as the 2019 Insurance Professional of the Year
It was another standing-room only crowd for the annual Insurance Professional of the Year Awards Luncheon. This year, in a break from the past few years, the luncheon was held at the InterContinental Hotel. The event, held Friday, October 11th, saw hundreds of insurance professionals from in and around Massachusetts turn out to honor long-time independent insurance agent and longtime Library Trustee, Nancy Bender, as the recipient of the 18th Annual Insurance Professional of the Year Winner.
Established in 2002 by the Richard Simches Fund, the Insurance Professional of the Year Award is presented each year by The Insurance Library Association of Boston to “…a person who demonstrates leadership and exemplifies those qualities that engender understanding of and respect for the insurance industry.” The selection process is conducted by a cross-section of the insurance industry and as such carries with it that added significance.
The Awards Ceremony
The day began with a cocktail hour and silent auction giving everyone a chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues.
As for those in attendance to honor Ms. Bender, they included past IPYA award winners, pictured below, J. Bruce Cochrane (2018), F. Timothy Hegarty Jr. (2017), Charles Brophy (2016), Francis A. Mancini (2014), Hope A. Aldrich (2012), Sandra G. Parrillo (2011), Richard W. Brewer (2009), John Golembeski (2007), and Dan Johnston (2006).
Apart from the former IPYA winners, attendees included Gary Anderson, The Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance, Jean Lucy, the Former Executive Director of the Insurance Library, Brian Cadigan, Chief Marketing Officer of Quincy Mutual, and Patty Melon, Sr. Marketing Rep Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp.
According to the Insurance Library, this year’s Silent Auction also was the most successful to date, with the Library not only reaching, but surpassing its fundraising goals in a wonderful show of support by our community!
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”.
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 slideshow of this year’s event
For those who were unable to attend, once again Agency Checklists is providing a slideshow of some of the many memorably moments from this year’s event. Thanks once again to the Insurance Library and its photographer Robert Castagna for providing us with such great photos. Enjoy…