GAMA International is holding its 2012 LAMP Conference, being held at Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando this week. The following is recap of highlights from the organization’s opening general session.
A Growing Organization
GAMA International President Kenneth Gallacher kicked off the general session on Monday by recapping statistics attesting to the organization’s membership strength and growth.
The number of members attending this years conference, including general agents, managers and others holding leadership positions within their organizations, totaled 2,600 – an all-time high for GAMA. The total includes, he said, 400 international attendees.
In 2011, said Gallacher, GAMA recruited 1,300-plus new members into its ranks, which at year-end 2011 stood at more than 110,000. Between January and March of this year, GAMA recruited an additional 800 members.
Gallacher noted also that retention of new members now stands 71%, a rate that places it within the top 1% of associations in terms of member retention.
Gallacher highlighted other statistics. Among them: members collectively represent organizations that more than 6,126 products; nearly 1,800 members have enrolled in GAMA’s Field Leadership Series (FLS) program; and 2,259 members have been trained is GAMA’s Essentials initiative.
“GAMA is the only association dedicated to supporting field leaders in the insurance and financial services industry,” said Gallacher.
Words of Wisdom from a Financial Guru
Nick Murray, an industry speaker and author of 11 books for financial service professionals, opened his talk by pointing out an essential difference – one he repeatedly invoked over the course of the 30-minute presentation – between management and leadership.
The first, he said, entails a top-down management style that restricts agents’ ability to realize their full potential. Leadership, by contrast, calls for “thinking from the bottom up.”
“Insurance and financial service professionals don’t like to be managed; they hate authority,” he said. “But they crave to be led by leaders. They’ll do things they didn’t know how to do or imagine they could do, for leaders. When you return to agencies, be a leader – not a manager.”
Such leadership, said Murray, will be much in need in coming years to inspire agents under their direction to address an unprecedented challenge: helping to proptect clients against the risk of living too long.