Agents’ support bolsters fire safetyWho knew that a big group of insurance professionals — some of whom compete with one another — work together not only to unravel the mysteries of their industry but also to improve service and better their communities?
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Who knew that a big group of insurance professionals — some of whom compete with one another — work together not only to unravel the mysteries of their industry but also to improve service and better their communities?
The Independent Insurance Agents of Western Wisconsin gave a $3,038 check last month to the Chippewa Valley Technical College for its fire training program.
Owner of local Leitch Insurance Agency, Steve Leitch serves as IIAWW’s president and says the organization’s most recent donation makes the third in three years to CVTC for a grand total of more than $10,000.
First IIAWW bought a thermal-imaging camera, next it funded a “family” of rescue mannequins. This year the association’s gift buys a rapid intervention breathing apparatus to train Rapid Intervention Teams.
RITs search for and rescue firefighters who may be lost, in distress or disoriented.
Leitch said the association decided three years ago to do more to help the communities it serves.
“The challenge was to find a project that would be beneficial to the home towns of all members,” he said. “The fire-training program at Chippewa Valley Technical College turned out to be a perfect fit.”
Most area fire departments use CVTC’s program, which requires much equipment.
Leitch said the IIAWW includes independent agents from St. Croix, Pierce, Dunn, Buffalo, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Barron and Polk counties. IIAWW members must also belong to one of the state-recognized insurance associations — Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin or the Professional Insurance Agents.
Members receive educational opportunities and some services related to legislative issues and lobbying. IIAWW meets quarterly in a central location, usually hearing a speaker and getting a chance to support friendly competition and camaraderie.
“We enjoy a great relationship with fellow members and realize that on one day, we may compete with one another in working with a client, but the next day, we will call each other and ask for advice on a difficult risk,” Leitch said. “Not all industries enjoy that mutual respect and interaction. Being able to sit down and discuss common concerns is very helpful and helps us better serve our clients in the long run.”