Jamie A. Ferris, CIC, AAI, CPIA, gave his first formal remarks as the newly elected president of PIANY during the Keynote Awards Luncheon. Ferris began his speech with a quote from the 80s sci-fi film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, “No matter where you go, there you are.” Ferris said the quote exemplifies the insurance industry, as insurance agents are there for their clients, no matter the dire circumstances in which they find themselves. Buckaroo Banzai was described as a scientist, neurosurgeon, rockstar and racecar driver. In the movie, a character in the movie refers to Banzai as Einstein, James Bond and Batman all rolled into one—Ferris said that’s exactly the way he thinks about professional insurance agents.
“The most impressive part about being in PIA is the other members who volunteer and serve on the committees,” Ferris said. “These are some of the greatest people I’ve met.” He then asked his audience to heed his advice and step further into PIA, like he did before he became president; whether it’s with the PIANYPAC, NY-YIP, serving on the Advisory Councils or any way you can do more for the association. “Even though I’ve put a lot of time in, I’ve gotten so much more out of the organization than I’ve given,” he said. Lastly, Ferris encouraged everyone to extend the invitation to their fellow insurance agents who are not members of PIA. “We need to increase our ranks and continue to build our membership.” he said. “Extend the message to other agents in the area who may not be part of PIA. Reach across to another agent in town and say ‘Hey, have you heard of this organization? Do you know of this great work they’re doing for us? Your membership in it is extremely valuable.’”
During the Keynote Awards Luncheon, HVRAP Chair Donna Chiapperino, CIC, presented awards to two deserving individuals. The Distinguished Insurance Service award was presented to Richard A. Savino, CIC, CPIA, and managing partner of Broadfield Group. During his acceptance speech, Savino highlighted how proud he is to be a professional, independent insurance agent. He stated that no matter how much the industry changes, professional insurance agents always adapt and continue to protect people assets and serve their communities. “Our industry has seen many changes through the years,” he said. “We’ve gone from paper files to paperless; we’ve gone from cold calling to SEO and SEM; we’ve gone from the ruler and a rate sheet, for those people who remember that, to quote and bind online—however, we do continue to endure, change, and to grow.” Savino also echoed Ferris by encouraging everyone to support the NY-YIP, PIANY PAC and to stay involved in PIA.
Chiapperino also presented the Service to the Industry award to Onofrio “Noff” Colabella, CIC, and founding partner of BNC Insurance Agency. Principal of BNC Insurance Agency, Brian Colby accepted the award on Noff’s behalf.
Renowned communication specialist Patricia Stark shared her expert knowledge as a corporate trainer. Stark has appeared in over 2,000 Fortune-500 corporate productions in nearly every industry. Stark focused on body language and how 93 percent of what we communicate to others comes from nonverbal cues. She showed the audience how to read different facial and body expressions to gain insight into what that person may be trying to convey. She also gave tips on how to avoid stress, ask questions, stop making assumptions and present yourself with “calmfidence.”