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Why I heart NAILBA

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This morning, on one of those daily quote apps, I received the following bit of wisdom from Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

To honor Mr. Einstein, I will try to keep this short and simple, 1) So you can get a hint of what NAILBA is like and, 2) Because I’m currently sequestered in my hotel room and want to go join the fun.

In the immortal words of another of my heroes, Super Mario, “Here we gooooooooooooooo!”

Of all the industry shows I attend each year — and, like many of you, I attend a lot of them — NAILBA is the one I look forward to the most. You’re going to read other articles from my fellow editors this week who can tell you all about the educational content from NAILBA 34, but I want to tell you a different tale about the show I fell in love with at first sight (and sound).

One of my best and most lasting memories is from 2012 when then ”NAILBA chairman, Dexter Umekubo, strutted onstage, channeling his inner B. B. King. Umekubo held an electric guitar in his hands and made the guitar sing.”

Another moment that sticks with me was in Dallas in 2013. It was the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination and my valet told me about the day Kennedy died and how it changed a city and a country. Then we started arguing about which quarterback was better — Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Hmmm, I wonder if the valet wants to change his stance on that one now?

There are so many memories from NAILBA’s past — I believe this is my 8th NAILBA show — and it’s never failed to deliver. It’s fitting that the show this year is being held in Orlando, just down the road from Walt Disney World, known as “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” 


That’s sort of what NAILBA is each year, a magical place, but for the insurance industry. Where else in the life insurance world can you pet a crocodile, watch or even participate in choreographed Karaoke performances, and mingle with models who tower over the crowd on their ten-foot-tall stilts? 

A few years ago at NAILBA, I watched a Blues Brothers tribute band that would have made Belushi proud. Later that night, the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Karaoke Players performed a dolled-up version of PSY’s monster hit, “Gangnam Style.” 

I don’t know what’s in store for me tonight. I have to admit, I’m a little scared to find out. As I’m writing this blog, the Karaoke performance is still two hours away. Maybe Fan Halen, the Van Halen tribute band, is in my future. A man can dream, can’t he?

fan halen


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