Good times, great connections, new administrations at Connecticut Convention

April 11, 2024

PIACT’s annual Connecticut Convention returned to Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket this year. The event, which was held at the end of March, featured hundreds of agents, company representatives, exhibitors, and more industry professionals from across the state.

Those who attended the two-day event visited the sold-out trade show, informational education classes that were approved for continuing-education credits, and various networking events.

To see photos from the event, visit the 2024 PIA Connecticut Convention photo album.

An address by PIA National’s president

During the Networking Luncheon, PIACT welcomed PIA National President Richard A. Savino, CIC, CPIA, who began his address by discussing the news of PIA National’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Becker’s departure from the association and the insurance industry.

He complimented Becker on his efforts on behalf of PIA, and he also assured those in attendance that with “paced urgency” PIA National has formed a search committee and it is looking for the person who will proceed Becker.

“PIA National is in a strong position and it will weather the transformation,” said Savino. “It has adopted the Four Pillars—Inform, Educate, Advocate and Protect—and it sets goals as one PIA and offers tools that help agents every day.”

Change of administration

The PIACT board of directors held its annual business meeting on March 28, 2024, during which its 2024-25 officers and directors were elected:

President: Nicholas Ruickoldt, CISR, CPIA, of West Haven. Ruickoldt is a broker for The Russell Insurance Agency LLC in Southport.

President-elect: Kevin McKiernan, CIC, CPIA, of Wilton. McKiernan is president of Abercrombie, Burns, McKiernan Co., in Darien.

Vice president: Nathan Shippee of Bolton. Shippee is vice president of sales & marketing for Workers’ Compensation Trust in Wallingford.

Treasurer: Katie Bailey, ACSR, CLCS, CPIA, of Monroe. Bailey is an agent with The Russell Agency in Southport.

Secretary: Kimberly Tompkins, CIC, AIS, AINS, CRIS, ACSR, CPIA, PHM, of Prospect. Tompkins is an underwriter for Convelo Insurance Group in Middletown Township, N.J.

Immediate past president: J. Kyle Dougherty, CIC, of Orange. Dougherty is president of Dougherty Insurance Agency Inc., in Stratford.

During its annual business meeting, CTYIP also elected its officers and board of directors for 2024-25. They include the following:

President: Justin Sloan of the Nesso Group in Milldale

President-elect: Robin Ricciardone of RPS/Cowles & Connell in Meriden

Vice president: Jacklyn Meeker of The Russell Agency LLC in Southport

Treasurer: Ryan Keating of Keating Insurance in Hartford

Secretary: Kieran Buttrick of Hagerty Insurance in Stratford

Immediate past president: Ryan Kelly of USI in Meriden

Elected to serve on the CTYIP board of directors are:

  • Jeremy Card, ARM-P, CSRM, CISR, of Memic in Sandy Hook
  • Christine DeFelice of CorRisk Solutions in Melville, N.Y.
  • Anthony DeSalva of Georgetown Financial in Reading
  • Cathy Finlayson of Atlantic Restoration in New Britain
  • Malorie Leone of Atlantic Casualty in New Britain
  • Ryan Vivenzio of CNA–Connecticut Branch, Glastonbury

Claudia Krzos of Atlantic Casualty Insurance in New Britain, will serve as ex-officio director on the board.

Award winners

During the event, PIACT honored the following insurance professionals with its Awards of Distinction:

The Professional Agent of the Year award was presented to Marissa Barbera, president of Charter Oak Insurance Agency in Westport.

The Company Person of the Year award was bestowed to two insurance professionals from Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp.: Heather Griffith and Michael DePalma are both senior business development representatives at the company.

The Community Service Award was presented to Melissa Yuchniuk, operations assistant and brigade chair for Bouvier Insurance in W. Hartford.

“I consider all these award winners models for our industry,” said J. Kyle Dougherty, CIC, outgoing president of PIACT. “They personify professionalism and they are richly deserving of these honors. We are pleased to present these awards recognizing their dedication to our industry and to the community.”

Chances to network

CTYIP kicked off the convention the night before the event with its Welcome Reception at Foxwoods, High Rollers Luxury Lanes. See photos of the event here.

Additionally, the convention offered numerous networking opportunities—from the networking luncheon, to the sold-out trade show, to the networking reception. On the first night of the convention, DJ Mike Nigretti, spun tunes and attendees caught up with colleagues, and established new business relationships, while they cut a rug.

Salient CE

Convention attendees had the chance to attend up to three CE-approved education classes.

During the morning on the first day of the convention, insurance professionals explored Cyber Insurance in the AI Age–Judgment Day. The two-hour course focused on the changing landscape of cyber security risks. Those who participated in the class—which was taught by PIACT Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.—learned about common cyber security exposures and how they have evolved over the last decade. Attendees left the course equipped with best practices to share with clients. The course was designed to help insurance professionals educate their clients about the risk of a cyberattack and the methods to minimize the risk of a claim.

Lachut’s afternoon education session What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You: Cyber Security Compliance in the Northeast flipped the cyberscript, as it focused specifically on the legal obligations on insurance agencies to protect nonpublic information. It featured a comprehensive breakdown of Connecticut and New York state’s data security laws, specific to insurance. Attendees gained a better understanding of the legal requirements insurance agencies face—both in Connecticut and New York state—in keeping nonpublic information safe. Not only were the requirements of the laws covered, but Lachut also shared best practices and compliance tips.

On the second day of the convention, Steve Lyon, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AAI, ARM, AIS, CRIS, MLIS, AFIS, TRIP, taught Emerging E&O Issues and Recent Court Cases. During this course, he discussed how it is important for insurance professionals to be able to prove that they haven’t done anything wrong, which will help in their defense of an errors-and-omissions claim. To this end, he discussed some recent court cases, which stressed the need to be careful when issuing certificates of insurance; the need to make sure an agency’s website is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant; and the importance of listing the “named insured” properly. The class explored particularly troublesome coverage issues, such as non-fungible tokens; the “residence premises” definition; and protective safeguard endorsements.

Thanks to our sponsors

From PIA to the sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers who helped make Connecticut Convention possible and a success, thank you!

The Andover Cos.Liberty Mutual/SafecoPlymouth Rock Assurance
Aon EdgeMAPFRE InsuranceProgressive Insurance
Arbella Insurance GroupNJM Insurance GroupQuincy Mutual Group
Business Risk PartnersNLC Insurance Cos.Renaissance Alliance
Central Insurance Cos.Ohio Mutual Insurance GroupRT Specialty
ChubbOmaha NationalSERVPRO
Glass AmericaPaul Davis RestorationUnited Property Restoration Services
Jencap GroupPCF Insurance Services 

Thank you to everyone who helped make Connecticut Convention a success. Plans are underway for next year’s convention. Watch your PIA publications for details.

PIA Northeast

Jaye Czupryna is publications manager for PIA Northeast and editor-in-chief of PIA Magazine. She started her career in public relations, and she has been with PIA for more than 20 years. She has overseen PIA Northeast’s various publications, including the award-winning magazine since 2009. Jaye graduated cum laude from Siena College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Communications.

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