It's been an inspiring few days at the 2010 NAIFA annual meeting in Seattle, where this year's realLIFEstories were revealed on Monday and the insurance industry's top honor was bestowed upon Michael C. Keenan, CLU, ChFC on Tuesday.
A packed convention center hall was on hand for the 2010 John Newton Russell Memorial Award presentation, where Keenan was honored for his many years of giving back to the industry during a 50-year career. The longtime Prudential agent – now a senior vice president at the LIFE Foundation – has qualified for MDRT every year since 1971. As he addressed the crowd on Tuesday, Keenan thanked several mentors who helped him rise to prominence in the industry and encouraged him to get involved by serving on committees in organizations such as NAIFA, MDRT and the LIFE Foundation. Keenan has excelled at recruiting new members and fundraising. At LIFE, he is known as the CBO – Chief Begging Officer – for his willingness to go anywhere at any time to raise funds from the companies that support LIFE.
Keenan told the audience Tuesday that the best decision he ever made professionally was to accept David Woods' invitation to join the staff at the LIFE Foundation.
The importance of getting involved in industry associations was a common theme at the NAIFA conference. Not just becoming a member of an industry organization, but really getting involved by volunteering to serve on boards and committees. It struck me that most of the elite, high-profile producers I run across at industry events have a common thread of being deeply involved in leadership positions in industry organizations such as NAIFA or MDRT. They spend countless hours working on association business to the benefit of all producers, yet I've never heard one regret or complaint. The involvement not only helps the profession as a whole, but inevitably seems to help them in their own practice as well.
The realLIFEstories program on Monday tugged at the heartstrings of attendees, and likely anyone else watching as the event was "webcast" live on the LIFE Foundation's Web site. That was a nice touch for a program that deserves widespread exposure during a time when the public desperately needs to be made aware of the need for adequate life insurance coverage. If you missed it live, you can still watch the video.
This year's stories provide a compelling tool for producers, and hopefully the special section in the current edition of Newsweek will prove an effective call to action for consumers.