Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Combined Agents of America LLC (CAA) congratulated its producer Mark Bridges, Edmond, Deaton & Stephens Insurance Agency (Amarillo, TX), for being named the André P. Juneau Young Agent of the Year by the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) at its 112th Annual Conference & Trade Show.

Edmond, Deaton & Stephens Agency is owned by CAA member agency Duncan, Fraser & Bridges (Pampa, TX). Bridges is also the 6th CAA producer that has been distinguished with this prestigious award. With recent expansion into Oklahoma and Kansas, Texas-based CAA is a managing general agency (MGA) committed to further expansion across the country to strengthen the independent agency system through profitable growth and exceptional service for its member agencies.

“In my 27-year membership with IIAT, I do not remember a “Young Agent of the Year” more active in our industry than Mark,” said Roger Luttrell, CAA member and president of Benton-Luttrell-Brown Company. “Most impressively, it’s been my privilege to watch Mark dream, design and implement a young producer program for CAA. Creating a program that is supported by forty-one independent business owners requires imagination, courage and outstanding communication skills. Mark exhibits the qualities that make CAA so unique and successful.”

The IIAT’s ‘Young Agent of the Year’ annual award is bestowed upon a young producer that demonstrated service to the industry, his or her professional trade associations and community in an exceptional manner for a person of his/her age. Nominations are solicited each January, and announced during the IIAT’s annual conference.

The award was named after André P. Juneau, senior vice president of Nieman Hanks Puryear, a division of Frost Insurance Agency Inc., Austin, and former president of the IIAT, whose career, family life and community involvement stand as brilliant examples of what a young agent can strive to be. He died early at the age 47 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Upon accepting the reward, Bridges – a third generation insurance agent -- was able to pay special tribute to his late grandfather, Randall Bridges, who entered the insurance industry in the 1940’s and spent his life working in it. Mark stated his father and he would not be in insurance if it not for his grandfather’s profound influence.

Alongside this new IIAT award, Mark’s been a co-developer of CAA’s producer program that works to invest in young producers through an on-going lecture series and mentoring program. Over 40 producers and many CAA members from member agencies convene on a bi-annual basis to knowledge share, swap ‘war stories’ and develop better agents. Heading into its fourth year, the producer program was developed by Mark and Bry Ewan – both sons of CAA members.

Mark Bridges is the son of Bill Bridges (pictured L-R), CAA’s chairman and the executive vice president of Duncan, Fraser & Bridges. Ewan is the son of Ken Ewan, CAA member and president of Evans, Ewan & Brady Insurance Agency (Georgetown, TX).

Mark Bridges currently serves as the president of the Panhandle Independent Insurance Agents Association for 2009/2010. As a graduate of IIAT’s Producer Development School, Bridges is also on track to complete the CIC designation this year.

“We at CAA are thrilled that Mark Bridges has been selected as the IIAT's ‘Young Agent of the Year’. From watching Mark co-steer our producers’ program from inception, we’ve known at CAA that he’d make us proud as an industry leader,” said Kevin Semtner, vice-president of CAA member agency Walthall, Sachse & Pipes, Inc. (San Antonio, TX).

CAA also announced that Semtner recently became a principal partner at Walthall, Sachse & Pipes Inc. in April.

  • Dennis Donahue, managing director and national practice leader for employee benefits for Wells Fargo Insurance Services, is the new chair of The Council of Employee Benefits Executives (CEBE), a standing committee of The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

Charles Rosson, CEO, Woodruff-Sawyer & Company, was elected vice chair of the CEBE Board, which is charged with overseeing the association’s activities and services for member firms’ employee benefit operations.

Both Donahue and Rosson were elected to a one-year term at the end of the eighth annual Employee Benefits Leadership Forum at The Broadmoor, May 26- 29, 2009, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Donahue takes over leadership of the CEBE Board from Christopher Nadeau, principal and practice leader with the employee benefits practice of William Gallagher Associates of Boston. A 32-year veteran of the benefits business, Donahue provides benefit brokers at Wells Fargo with solutions for their customers and identifies new revenue opportunities for the company. He also is responsible for implementing the practice’s professional standards, marketing and public relations initiatives and implementing web-based technology applications for employee benefits. In addition, Donahue helps Wells Fargo Global Broker Network’s expansion for employee benefits services.

Rosson has more than 16 years of experience in the insurance industry and joined Woodruff-Sawyer in 2004 as employee benefits practice leader. In that role, he led the benefits team to achieve 100 percent growth in practice revenues and a 98 percent client retention rate. He provides leadership to the organization and oversees their strategic direction and growth.

No comments: