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IIAT Congratulates Jim Gavin for Extending His Weekend by Five Days

It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of our beloved and much appreciated Jim Gavin after nearly 20 years at IIAT. Jim’s encyclopedic knowledge of insurance and his keen insights into coverage issues made him a go-to, reliable insurance expert for staff and IIAT members. Countless insurance agents have benefitted from the classes and webinars Jim has taught over the years. He has a knack for making sense of the most complicated insurance issues and for making the most mundane insurance topics interesting.

If you know Jim, you can probably agree that his quick wit and great sense of humor will be missed the most. Jim always has a joke, and you can count on him for a laugh to lighten the mood in any room.

“I personally will miss Jim greatly because he played the role of my personal counsel over the years. I always count on Jim to give me direct feedback and coaching for our member and staff needs so we stay focused on what is important," said IIAT President & Executive Director Marit Peters. "He will be missed, but we are excited for him as he moves on to his next adventure."

Jim’s last day will be June 30. He will be at INSURCON, so please take the opportunity to pick his brain one last time and share some laughs. Before he makes his grand exit, he did agree to sit down and answer some questions for us and reflect on his time at IIAT. Also, Jim will join Marit for a special edition of Mornings with Marit on June 30 (10-11 AM), where he’ll reflect on his time at IIAT and tell us what he thinks is in store for the insurance industry.

What was your starting role in the association and how has it changed?

I started in the Education Department in December 2002 writing course material and teaching classes. We were offering classes in over 20 cities around the state. I spent a lot of time on the road. My role has expanded beyond technical insurance topics to include legislative analysis and addressing almost any question that a member may have about coverage, the law, or any other issue where they need confirmation or assurance. But I’m in the office a lot more and don’t have to worry about hitting a deer or a turkey buzzard.

What has been the biggest change at IIAT since you started?

Technology has allowed us to provide services more efficiently to members. For instance, webcasts allow us to reach a lot of people without the facility and travel costs. Whether or not it is as effective as it is efficient remains to be seen.

What has been the most interesting insurance question you have received?

Insurance questions are generally related to specific problems. We have an industry that relies on a legal contract that is difficult to understand – a contract that very few people read until after something happens. Or, they are related to insurance statutes that even TDI won’t interpret.

What advice do you have for IIAT to continue serving members?

IIAT should consider an incubation program for new agents to help them get started. It is not easy being independent and we have the resources to get new folks off to a good start.

What advice do you have for agents?

Despite technology advances, we are still selling a product that no one understands and hopes they will never need. That means we need to focus on the relationship and consultative parts of the sales process to be successful. Long-term success depends on earning customers’ trust.

How do you think the industry will change in the next decade?

It seems that the past decade has brought significant changes to the delivery of insurance products. Going forward, the increased use of AI will further mystify the insurance process for the average consumer. That will be a challenge for agents who may never know or be able to explain why a customer received a specific price or limitation in coverage.

I hope we will see product innovation, particularly simplification, in insurance policies. The Homeowners policy is 24 pages long. I hope insurance companies recognize that simplification is a winner from the consumer’s perspective and could reduce the amount of money spent defending arcane language in court. At the very least, it would improve the image of the industry.

For the past couple of years, you’ve been answering questions for Ask Regina. What is it like being Regina?

Like Regina, I rarely wear a dress. But I don’t think anyone will have the combination of institutional knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to a specific situation. She was a very special person who knew Shinola when she saw it. I understand why so many of our members relied on her wisdom and guidance.

What will you miss most about working at IIAT?

The people. I’ve been blessed to work with talented hard-working people who enjoy each other. I’ve also developed some great relationships with our members. This has always been a “people” business and walking away from that will not be easy.

Join us for a Special Conversation with Jim

Jim will join Marit for a special edition of Mornings with Marit on June 30 (10-11 AM), where he’ll reflect on his time at IIAT and tell us what he thinks is in store for the insurance industry.