October 2023 Member News

From the President

In the ever-evolving landscape of insurance, staying informed and engaged at the state level is crucial. State-level insurance regulation plays a pivotal role in shaping the industry, impacting insurers, agents, and policyholders alike. Being involved in these regulatory processes ensures that your voice is heard, your interests are represented, and the insurance industry operates in a fair and effective manner.


One way to actively participate in this essential process is by supporting your local trade association, the Professional Insurance Agents Association of Virginia & DC. This organization tirelessly lobbies on behalf of the insurance industry, working to influence legislation and regulations that directly affect your livelihood. By joining and actively participating in the Professional Insurance Agents Association of Virginia & DC, you not only contribute to the strength of the industry but also gain access to valuable resources, networking opportunities, and a unified voice that champions your interests. With the upcoming election on November 7, 2023, it's more important than ever that our members come out to vote, ensuring that our industry's concerns are heard and addressed by those in power. In a rapidly changing world, taking an active role in state-level insurance regulation and supporting your local trade association is not just an option; it's a necessity for thriving in the insurance business. Stay informed, stay engaged, and together, we can shape the future of the insurance industry in Virginia & DC.

John Potthast, PIAVADC President

From the PIA National President

“Our industry and membership are the beneficiaries of so many caring and talented professionals.”


as your President. As my time in this position comes to a close, I write this with a sense of gratitude, energy and excitement with what we have been able to accomplish since we met in San Diego last September. I look forward to continuing the good

work, alongside our talented staff, dedicated group of volunteers, committed association executives, and engaged carrier partners that collectively bring such value to our growing membership!


One of the greatest experiences was the opportunity to visit, engage and experience the many conferences and in person meetings across the PIA footprint. From Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, North Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Connecticut,

New York/New Jersey, Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, (soon Florida, and of course those I wasn’t able to attend) I was met with energized and dedicated young agents, “seasoned” agents eager to share their experiences, and carrier partners wanting to offer their resources to grow our industry. I am forever grateful for the generous welcome and passion that

went into each class, trade fair, session or networking event. Our industry and membership are the beneficiaries of so many caring and talented professionals.


While our industry is in a state of chaos, it’s never been a better time to be an independent agent. The M&A landscape, volatility of the reinsurance market, working with the NAIC, and having open lines of communications with our respective insurance commissioners and their departments

— along with our national legislative efforts — have emphasized the absolute value, need and necessity for PIA being “one voice” for the betterment of our industry and value to our members.


This good work and consistent, meaningful progress is testimony of the foundation built by past leadership. My personal thanks to Past Presidents Keith Savino, Dennis Kuhnke, Wayne White, and Tony Curti. It’s been an honor to serve under your leadership, as well as with Andy Harris and Jeff Parmenter for their counsel and advice. Our CEO, Mike Becker, along with the talented National Staff, continues to provide best-in-class resources, support and vision that will help us elevate our pillars: Inform, Educate, Advocate and Protect.


I am now confident and excited to hand the gavel over to my friend Rich Savino at our fall meeting, as I know that he and the Officers that follow will continue to push PIA to greater heights. I wish you all safety and prosperity.

Gerald F Hemphill, CIC, LUTCF August 2023


Gerald Hemphill, PIA National Past President


Meet Linda Walker: Agent of the Year, PIAVADC

Who are you?
My name is Linda Walker. I live in Williamsburg, VA with my husband of 40 years and have been the owner of Commonwealth Insurance Center since 1983. I am a proud mother and grandmother and love seeing my agency continue to grow and serve our community.

What is your specialty?
Our agency is very much a generalist agency but my specialty within the organization is helping with hard to place risks. Our agency specializes in all personal lines and small commercial. The bedrock of my agency and the success we’ve seen is an ultimate commitment to service and the customer experience.

Where do you live/ work and how does this inform your approach?
I have lived and worked in the same town for the last 46 years. This has given me a unique perspective in relation to my agency because my clients are my neighbors, friends, and colleagues. I think because I am so plugged in to my local community it adds a sense of accountability that is very much lacking in today’s business environment.

When did you first start in insurance?
I originally stumbled into insurance. Shortly after graduating with a business degree from William and Mary I accepted a job with a direct carrier and quickly realized that an independent agency model was
the key to success.

Why insurance? What is your passion about it?
I love that our industry is ever-changing. There is always something new to learn and I love that at the very essence of our industry is a promise to protect our clients. I have always thought our profession was one that is very noble and I have seen firsthand how a well-crafted insurance plan can help families and businesses through their darkest days. I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.

How do you approach your business?
I think the first word that comes to mind is integrity. We have been doing this a long time and have seen competition come and go. We have never waivered in our commitment to our clients and doing what is right. I also place a high value on industry education. I love seeing my producers come to me after a particularly exciting CIC CISR or CPIA class with new ideas and excitement. I am fortunate to have wonderful people around me that rise to the occasion every day in service to our clients. We try to
challenge our staff to rise to their full potential and seize upon their strengths and that seems to work well. The first person I ever hired is still with us! The longer I stay in this industry the more I realize that the blessing is in the relationships that I have developed. Our employees, our clients, our carrier partners, the opportunity to work alongside my son and the support of the PIA all add to the satisfaction that prompts me to say at the end of the day - “Let’s do this again tomorrow!!”

Why did you join PIA & Why do you stay involved?

As a woman owned agency PIA has always been very welcoming and accessible.  I joined for the education (CIC) early on and stayed for the fun!  It is an amazing network of folks who have become mentors and friends.  I have benefitted in so many ways through my affiliation.  We come together for the right reasons:  We learn, laugh and lobby together!


Linda Walker, President Commonwealth Insurance Center


Treat BORs the Way They Should Be Treated 

While securing business via a broker of record (BOR) might not be an everyday occurrence for your agency, it is somewhat common. There are many reasons why quality agencies have had success getting a signed BOR – such as knowledge of the particular class of business or that the agency’s new client simply outgrew the capabilities of their current agent/broker. However, there is still much more work to do when you successfully secure an account via BOR.

{click to read the full article}

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is dedicated to raising awareness and support for those affected by this horrible disease. Early detection is key. 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and an estimated 2,800 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023. Many of us are, or know of, survivors of this horrible disease. There are also some of us, unfortunately, who have only cherished memories of family members, friends or loved ones who lost the battle. Click on the ribbon above for more information. Please - get screened! It could save your life.
Lead the Pack - Blue Swirl 5273ff


JUNE 19-21, 2024


Join PIA 22w x 28h 2023

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From PIA National

Cyber Security Insurance
PIA Propeller

PIA Partners with Ascend

From billing to premium financing to distribution of commissions and carrier payables -- PIA and Ascend have you covered! 


Free to Use - No Subscription Fees:  let your customers decide how they want to pay - Credit/Debit Card, ACH, Wire


One-Click Premium Financing:  automatically built into the checkout experience without any extra back and forth.

Instant Commissions:  receive your commissions in 24 hours.

Simplify Carrier Payables:  minimize time spent figuring out commissions and carrier payments.

Full Transparency:  get notified when clients pay and markets are funded.

PIA Ascend

Introducing Winning@Customer Retention

Demonstrating the value of working with an agency is key. That’s where Winning@Customer Retention comes in. It's a new program from the PIA Partnership designed to help agencies improve customer service and retention. We’ve pulled together resources to help track client retention rates, segment, and communicate with customers.

The program puts spotlight on technology and solutions that play a big part in improving customer communications, referrals, and enabling agencies to select the right solutions and be proactive. Winning@Customer Retention includes a mix of online materials and tools and in-person and virtual sessions and events.

PIA Winning at Customer Retention

In the event of cyber business interruption, insurance covers loss and costs in excess of normal operating expenses required to maintain the business and restore operations.

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.


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."