October 2022 Member News

PIAVADC Representation at 2022 PIA National Conference
PIAVADC Representation at 2022 PIA National Conference

From the Executive's Desk

I m so proud of our team here at PIA VA/DC. They do an awesome job everyday taking care of you, our members.

Sheryl Chasse, Education Director, works closely with you to create your individual education plan, whether it Is to earn a designation or just to learn something new. We offer several designations including CIC, CISR and CPIA. We also offer pre-licensing training for that new hire.

Lisa Farnham is here to help you with your agency’s E&O and Cyber needs. She can also offer you an umbrella that drops down over your underlying E&O policy. EPLI coverage is also available.

Carol Throckmorton is available to help you with registrations, payments and general questions. Carol is our lead operator on our website “chat” function. Behind the scenes, she also does our bookkeeping.

Nancy Turnage is our technology guru who keeps you informed on our website. She also assists Sheryl on delivering our education classes to you via webinar.

At PIA, we pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly and effectively to your needs. We’re just not an office staff, we are family – the PIA family.

Please check out our website for upcoming events at www.piavadc.com

Kevin Headshot - No Border

Kevin Kowar CIC, AU
Association Executive

PIA National Names Gerald Hemphill President

Gerald Hemphill of GFH Insurance Agency Inc. in Richmond, VA, was named President of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents at PIA’s Annual Fall Governance Meeting in San Diego on September 22, 2022.

Hemphill has been very involved with PIA throughout his career, serving in several positions including PIA VA/DC President, National Director from PIA VA/DC, and most recently as President-Elect of PIA National.

Congratulations to Gerald on his new role in leading our association.

Congratulations to Bill Desko

The 2022 PIA National Company Representative of the Year winner is William “Bill” Desko.  Desko is the Senior Territory Manager with Penn National Insurance.  He has served on PIA of Virginia/DC’s Convention Committee for eight years.

See Bill's acceptance video:

Spotlight on MMG

Kevin Kowar, PIA Executive Director interviewed Judge Parker, Regional Director of MMG Insurance Company.  MMG is a long-term sponsor of PIA VA/DC, participating at the Silver Level.

MMG.logo.no tag

Kevin: “Welcome Judge. It’s great to see you again. What is new at MMG?”

Judge: “Good to see you, too. A lot is going on and, I can say, we aren’t bored. Aside from celebrating MMG’s 125th anniversary, we have a new BOP rating platform that is very intuitive and easy to use. It’s brand new but it’s getting traction. Importantly, I’m pleased to say we are growing ahead of targets thus: over the last year or so, we have added some great people to our Virginia team including Nick Doss who has returned to MMG as a Senior Production Underwriter. Stephen Cushman, the ‘Cush’, joined the team, a couple months back, as an inside Commercial Lines Underwriter and brings additional bench strength. Kristin Harrelson joined as a Senior Personal Lines Underwriter after 12 years on the agency side bringing with her much valuable insight. Brian Tronge, our Senior Property Adjuster, came to us with experience gained at Markel and, prior to that, Travelers. Kristin and Bryan are just celebrating their 1st year with MMG. Many of your agents know our seasoned marketing duo of Tom Garcia, Senior Territory Manager and Chris Daniel, Territory Manager in Southwest Virginia. These two guys have played a significant role in the growth of the company along with Spencer King, Senior Commercial Underwriter, and Andrew Patterson, Commercial Underwriter, who have delivered a super job supporting our efforts while operating remotely. I’m very pleased with our team.”

Kevin: “I have met and worked with many of your team members and they are very knowledgeable and responsive. Judge, how would you characterize MMG? How would you like to be seen?”

Judge: “MMG is a regional carrier that that is hard at work to establish its brand in Virginia. That is one of several reasons that we are adding “boots on the ground” now. We strongly believe in having a local presence with local decision making. We want our underwriters to underwrite. Like all carriers, we’d prefer 30 to 60 days to work new accounts that squarely hit our ‘strike zone’, we understand that they often come with short notice or with a ‘story’. Nevertheless, we’re absolutely willing to listen. Local knowledge of the state combined with a genuine relationship with our agents is critical to that sort of approach. Additionally, a significant part of our branding initiative is to support associations like the PIA. We think you and your team bring significant value to understanding and developing those all-important agency relationships.

Kevin: “Are you looking to make new appointments in Virginia?”

Judge: “Yes, we are still appointing agents but we believe in franchise value and our genuine aim is to be the franchise any agent would want…. better yet, would covet. No small part of truly being coveted is not being on every street corner. As of this moment, we only have 48 contracts in the state. Granted, some of those have multiple locations but we are looking for a limited number of agency partners where there is a good strategic fit.”

Kevin: “Judge, MMG has been in Virginia for 10 years now. How big are you in the state and what are your future growth objectives?”

Judge: “We finish this year just under $20MM since entering Virginia in 2012 and are close to a 50/50 Personal to Commercial split. Our plan is to grow to $30MM in the next 4-5 years.”

Kevin: “Earlier you mentioned your support of the associations and we appreciate your support. For those who don’t know, you are once again a member of our Corporate Executive Agent’s Advisory Council, or CEAC for short. What do you see as the benefit of the council for your agency customers?

Judge: “Kevin, it’s a very effective open forum for the CEAC carrier members to meet with the agents on the PIA VA/DC Board to discuss topics of significance that impact the agencies and the carriers. It’s a chance to bounce ideas off each other as well as to get updates on issues. There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years on operating an agency during the pandemic. We have learned some valuable information from the group. I really enjoy serving on this committee.”

Kevin: “Judge, we really appreciate you serving on CEAC and for MMG’s Silver Level sponsorship of PIA. Please provide us with updates on MMG’s progress in Virginia.”

Lisa Farnham Joins PIAVADC


PIAVADC is pleased to announce that Lisa Farnham will now be handling all of your professional liability business (E&O, EPLI, Cyber and Umbrella) for Virginia and DC. Lisa has been on our team for the past 2 ½ years handling professional liability business for our North Carolina agents. She has over 30 years of experience as an agent. Lisa looks forward to getting to know you.

What is Online On-Demand?

ExamFX Logo

PIAVADC has partnered with ExamFX to offer online, anytime Pre-Licensing and continuing education training.

What does this mean for you:

  • Training is available via recorded webinars so that you can arrange your education to accommodate your schedule.
  • As PIAVADC members, you are entitled to a reduced, negotiated rate.
  • In addition to in-person Pre-Licensing training, which PIAVADC will continue to offer, a webinar program is now also available.
  • Approved Virginia CE credit classes are available through this program as well (test required).

Congratulations Scholarship Winners

CIC:  Chad Seibert, Weaver Insurance & Financial Advisors

CISR:  Sarai Marks, Marks-Tiller Insurance Agency, Inc.

Course Offerings E-Blasts

  • 24 CISR Courses Available in 2022

  • 7 Pre-Licensing Programs in 2022

  • E&O, Ethics - For $25 or Less

  • What's a Hybrid course? Is it for me?


  • Upcoming CIC and Ruble Courses

  • All Upcoming Courses

  • October CPIA

Chat with us Online

Our website chat feature saves you time and trouble.  Send us a message for quick and easy responses.

Welcome New Members

A-Vision Agency, LLC - Richmond, VA

Sterling Insurance Agency, LLC - Gloucester Point, VA

jobs board

Postings are free for PIA members.

From PIA National

Cyber Security Question of the Month:

Why are cyber-attacks a big risk for small businesses? 

More than 40% of cyberattacks are on small businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

PIA National is happy to introduce the PIA 401(k) Program. It is a turn-key, low-cost solution for agency owners and their employees and performs over 90% of administrative tasks by becoming your retirement department support team.

The PIA 401(k) Plan provides what employees want and what independent agents need to deliver it, in an efficient and cost-effective way.

PIA DMV 2 Newsletter Ad

PIA National will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, October 6 at 2pm EST discussing the PIA DMV (Part 2) Discounted Saturation Mail Program.

During this webinar you will learn about:

  • Discount Zones and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
  • Direct Mail Manager (API/automation mailing software)
  • How to utilize these functions for your agency

Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3052843937385529104


In an increasingly virtual world, it’s critical that you know how to build relationships online. That’s why PIA National has launched its latest member benefit, The Agent Experience.

"We’ve built this tool to expand your views about building relationships in a virtual world—and to provide access to resources that will help."


“I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.”

Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) - "The Office"