“There is no such thing as permanent, second-line management. I’m not grooming second-line managers. I’m growing future leaders and managers–people who will want my job.”
For many of the more than 2,100 attendees at GAMA International’s LAMP 2006 convention, this declaration of Quincy Crawford seemed to crystallize the theme of the annual event for general agents and managers: “leaders growing leaders.”
Crawford, GAMA International’s 2006 Management Hall of Fame Inductee and, until Dec. 31, 2005, president of a top-performing Guardian Life agency, was one of a dozen general session speakers at the four-day gathering, held here March 19-22.
The focus on growth was not only for the benefit of attendees. GAMA itself is keen to expand its charter to serving managers beyond its core membership of life insurance professionals. To attract company leaders throughout the financial services community, GAMA has broadened the focus of the conference and initiatives that the organization sponsors.
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The changes are reflected in the LAMP moniker. Formerly the Life Agency Management Program, the acronym now stands for Leadership and Management Program.
“To continue to grow and thrive as GAMA has in the past, we have to expand our outreach efforts and align our capabilities to meeting the needs of other constituencies in the insurance and financial services spaces,” said GAMA International President Robert Baccigalupi. “We have to cast a wider net.”
The conference’s expanded reach was evident in the event’s 30-plus educational sessions. Among other topics, the 90-minute workshops explored ways to recruit multiline agents and how to build an investment and fee-based planning unit within a life insurance or multiline organization. Also featured was a panel discussion on coaching women in financial services.
GAMA also revamped its signature training program, Essentials of Management Leadership. The course now includes content targeted to three audiences: life insurance professionals, property-casualty agents and fee-based financial planners. Reflecting the increasingly diverse responsibilities of managers, the program also incorporates content on collaborating with sales teams and specialists, in particular individuals charged with recruiting, marketing and compliance tasks.
To advance the association’s outreach efforts, GAMA CEO Jeff Hughes told National Underwriter during a press conference that the organization is eyeing partnerships with other entities that serve financial services professionals. Currently, GAMA collaborates with the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the Million Dollar Round Table, The American College and LIMRA International on legislative, educational and research efforts.