Atlanta

“For years, Winston Churchill warned his British countrymen about the dangers of isolation, appeasement and inaction in the face of a gathering storm. We in the insurance business face our own gathering storm that, as in Churchills time, must be met with unity, strength and faith in our role in society.”

With that clarion call to action, James Krueger, the retiring president of GAMA International, kicked off this years LAMP 2005 conference here. Kruegers comments formed the backdrop for initiatives GAMA unveiled aimed at addressing, among other challenges, the industrys declining agent recruitment and retention rates.

At a press briefing during the conference, GAMA International CEO Jeff Hughes detailed a newly released study in the GAMA Foundations Systems for Success research series. The report, “Keeping the Right People,” reveals why top performers leave their companies and their path to departure. The study describes effective tactics for personal and business support; how to develop and coach top performers; and how field leaders and home offices can add value.

The study is a sequel to a 2004 report, “Building the Right People,” which outlined how to launch effectively new agents and advisors in the business. The University Team, acting on behalf of the GAMA Foundation, conducted both studies. The foundation will leverage the reports results to develop tools and materials for field leaders and their home offices.

“These studies aggregate best practices from leading practitioners across multiple channels of distribution,” said Hughes. “Theyre practical tools that managing directors and partners can integrate into their firms to build their organizations organically.”

High among the reports recommendations: the need for field leaders to better define their agencys mission and to develop a nurturing corporate culture. To that end, for example, Building the Right People counsels organizations to adopt mentoring programs for new recruits, notes Hughes.

In addition to the new study, the GAMA Foundation unveiled an Online Assessment Center that avails insurance managers of 6 tools, including assessment applications for the two Systems for Success studies. Others include GAMA e-Reference, an automated reference checking tool, plus three online assessments (one each to evaluate organizational climate, individual leadership skills and team leadership skills) that are based on the foundations 1997 study on leadership competencies.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, March 17, 2005. Copyright 2005 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.