I recently told a friend of my plans to attend the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) annual conference in Dallas.
Her response: “Nobody knows how to party like insurance agents!”
The obvious sarcasm aside, she was right.
Our three-day conference was a blur of eating and meeting, playing and partying. I saw elaborate karaoke routines, drinks flowing through a gigantic ice sculpture and a ninja smashing boards.
The last one was InsuranceNewsNet’s contribution to the festivities. We know how to party at INN!
Mutual of Omaha brought live animals and I held a 19-pound Burmese python around my neck. But I wasn’t going near the baby crocodile they had the following day.
I’ve been to many conferences this year, from LIMRA to the Insured Retirement Institute. At none of those did I see (and occasionally partake in) as much fun as I saw last week in Dallas.
Here’s something else: I never got as much accomplished either.
Part of the credit goes to me. I went to this one with an open mind focused on the things I wanted to accomplish. I think it’s the Tony Robbins mantra sinking in (I’m reading Awaken the Giant Within, an early Robbins’ book).
Whatever. I think it’s also a credit to the folks in our profession, most of whom are tremendous people. Like Marv Feldman and Joe Jordan and Charlie Gipple and all the great folks at Allianz.
I probably had a little more jaded view of these kinds of events than I should have. But the perception that these conferences are merely frivolous party trips for executives is not true.
Joe Jordan was downright inspiring when he spoke forcefully about getting in front of people who don’t know how much they need an insurance agent. Be patient until that light bulb comes on, he advised.
And if you’re in the business solely to make money, you probably should get out, Jordan added sternly.
There was not a seat to be found when Chris Morton, senior vice president for government affairs for the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, delivered a session on the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.
Joe Ross of AIG explained some really important tax scenarios that can save significant money for clients.
And so on and so on.
After three days I was exhausted from all the great meetings, conversations and sessions.
The only discouraging note was the constant chatter that the annual conference used to be better attended. I’ve heard this at other conferences as well.
I hope that is one trend that doesn’t continue.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected].
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