As my first year as President comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on what NASFA has accomplished in 2016/2017. NASFA's goal is to be the platform from which we communicate the latest issues and programs affecting day to day agent activities. In this regard, the NASFA board has worked hard to communicate our message to more agents across the country.
To accomplish this, NASFA hosted three Town Hall meetings in Pittsburg, Alexandria, Virginia, Houston, Texas, and our Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California. These town halls were well received and presented great opportunities to meet agents who have many concerns and questions. As a result, we signed up many new members.
The number one concern we heard about was the concern for the future of the State Farm Agent. Agents feel the company has devalued them in the eyes of their policyholders by funneling them to call centers and 800 numbers. The company recently introduced a new pilot program in Rhode Island that will bypass the agency force altogether and sell policies over the internet and by phone without the use of agents. This is of great concern to the Agency force, especially in light of the possibility this program could be implemented country wide.
Another challenge we faced this year had to do with the Company E & O coverage, which isn't what we thought it was. The E & O policy says that any policy written for State Farm Insurance will not be handled by the Marsh Policy that we have. Instead, coverage will be reviewed by the company and a determination will be made as to whether or not they will cover the loss. This leaves the claim solely up to the company. Some have already learned that they weren't covered and had to pay a loss out of their own pockets. This is not what one wants to learn when an E & O claim is filed. Maybe you're covered, maybe not. Are you comfortable with that notion?
NASFA has researched this issue and we are happy to announce that we found a company that will write the coverage for the State Farm agents as a group plan. And its real coverage. We will get the information out to the membership before the renewal of the current plan. If you have any questions, contact us and we will be happy to provide you with information as it becomes available to us.
As we look ahead to the coming year, I am proud to announce that we will continue with our Town Hall meetings. Our destinations for 2017/2018 will include Ohio, Nashville, San Antonio, and finally winding up in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland for the annual meeting. I am so looking forward to getting back on the road and meeting new agents. This year we will concentrate on AA05 agents and the issues that they face as the future agency force. If you have an issue you want us to look into, please contact us. Let us know what you are hearing and we will find out if its fact or fiction.
I want to thank the Board and our Management Company for the past year's success. Their many hours of time and dedication to this organization are, to say the least, greatly appreciated. Many thanks to Bob O'Connor, NASFA legal counsel and one of greatest benefits of membership in NASFA. We are here for you: looking out for the State Farm Independent Contract agreement, letting you know the latest, and providing the only platform where agents can speak openly without the fear of retaliation. I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming year. Remember, with NASFA you are never alone.