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IIABNY taps Suffolk County insurance agent to be chair of the board.

Riverhead, N.Y. -- Insurance agent James D. Sutton, CPCU, AAI, CIC led the list of officers elected by members of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Inc. New York's oldest insurance producer trade association installed Sutton as chair of the board at its 132nd Annual Business Meeting, held at the Hyatt Place in Riverhead. Members also elected and installed new regional and at-large directors for the 2014-2015 term.

Sutton, CEO and president of James E Sutton Agency Ltd. in East Islip, has served IIABNY as its chair-elect, secretary-treasurer, and as a regional director representing the not-for-profit trade associations members in the New York City metro and suburban parts of the state. He has also served on the association's Independent Agent Branding Committee; Audit Committee; a committee to further the independent agent Trusted Choice* brand; and a committee to raise funds for the national political action committee.

He is a past president of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Suffolk County and the Downstate Insurance Associations Council, as well as a past chair of the New York/New Jersey NorthStar Agents Council for Encompass Insurance. He has also been an active volunteer in his community, with leadership roles in the Rotary Club of Islip, the Islip Arts Council, the East Islip Chamber of Commerce, the Community Association Institute of Long Island, and local parochial schools.

In his acceptance speech, Sutton warned of growing threats against agents and brokers, including:

* An onslaught of advertising by insurance companies that sell without the involvement of agents

* Increasing merger activity

* The popularity of purchasing of insurance via the Internet

* Insurance companies selling through multiple distribution channels "The local agent and the independent agent channel are undergoing dramatic change and not all agents will survive the transition," he said. To counter these threats, he encouraged independent agents and brokers to support the Trusted Choice[R] brand. He also urged them to participate in Project CAP, an effort to help agents market through the Internet.

Sutton also discussed political and regulatory issues on the horizon, such as the looming expiration of the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, the precarious market for homeowners insurance in coastal areas, and ongoing problems with certificates of insurance. "IIABNY's advocacy efforts are another prime example of why we can't go it alone," he said. "It is critical to our livelihood that the association is there in Albany and Washington to represent us."

Other officers elected and re-elected to IIABNY's executive committee for one-year terms included:

* R. Todd Rockefeller, vice-president of DeRosa, Rockefeller, Sohigian, Werdal, Inc. in Harrison, New York, elected chair-elect.

* Jack Smith, CPCU, ARM, CIC, executive vice president for the William A. Smith & Son agency in Newburgh, elected secretary-treasurer

IIABNY members also elected and reelected the following regional directors to two-year terms:

* Michael Vanderwerker, president of Assured SKCG, Inc. in Peekskill, New York to represent the New York City metro and suburban areas;

* Kevin R. Crossley, vice president of AAA New York Insurance Services, Inc. in Garden City, New York, also to represent New York City metro and suburban areas;

* Karen Peters, CPCU, vice-president of Rose & Kiernan, Inc. in Albany, New York to represent the state's Capitol District and areas north; and

* Jessica Belleville, president of Belleville Associates in Tupper Lake, New York, also to represent the states Capitol District and areas north.

* Richard MacDonald, CPCU, ARM, AIM, agency sales manager for Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Inc. in Syracuse, New York to represent the central and western areas of the state;

* John Costello, CIC, regional executive vice-president of commercial lines for First Niagara Risk Management, Inc. in Rochester, was elected to a second three-year term as national director, representing IIABNY on the board of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

* Christopher Brassard, CIC, executive vice-president of Ten Eyck Group in Albany, New York, won a two-year term as an at-large member representative on the Nominating Committee, which evaluates candidates for leadership positions and makes recommendations to the membership.

Earlier in the day, the IIABNY board of directors elected Jana Critchfield of Wright Insurance Group (owned by Brown & Brown, Inc.), St. Petersburg, Florida; Lawrence Pistell, ARM of St. Johns University in New York City; and Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute, also in New York City, to one-year terms as directors-at-large.
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Publication:Insurance Advocate
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:May 26, 2014
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