February 21-23, 2022, Amway Grand, Grand Rapids

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Hot Topics by Leading Experts

2:00 - 5:00 PM

Grey Areas of E&O: Impacts with No-Fault Reform
Dave Walker, AAI, CIC, LIC, ARM, CRM, CAWC and Matt Wesolek

Grey Areas of E&O: Impacts with No-Fault Reform Agency Principal, expert witness and industry instructor Dave Walker will update you on a variety of emerging exposures, along with appropriate agency responses to being sued. Discussion will include the current status and latest definitions of “standard of care” and “special relationship.” Dave will also explain how to answer questions accurately on application and address the growing dichotomy in small business/personal lines. Big I Michigan Chief Operating Officer Matt Wesolek will join the discussion to help apply what you’ve learned to the realm of No-Fault Reform.

Approved for 2 hours Ethics and  1 hour either P/C or L/H CE. Course Codes: 84640; (No-Fault Reform: 84672).TQA credit

8:00 PM

Networking at Rendezvous
Sponsored by the Young Agents

Now a yearly tradition, come down to the Rendezvous Lounge in the Amway Grand for a nightcap and catch up with Michigan's Young Agents and Big I Michigan leadership.


Concurrent Sessions
8:30 - 11:30 AM

Warning Signs of Fraud
Ron Devers, CIC, CAWC, CPIA

Fraud is an unfortunate reality in our industry. For this reason, industry professionals need to be particularly adept at identifying its key traits. Join Ron Devers for a discussion on insurance-specific types of fraud and those who perpetrate it. Ron will offer real-life examples to illustrate the issue, and cover ways to reduce it.

Approved for 3 hours of Ethics CE credit. Course Code: 84722. Ethics icon

The Inclusive Agency: Driving Business Growth through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Whitnee Dillard

The business case for diversity rests on the principle of fostering an inclusive environment that encourages diversity of thought. This in turn yields increased collaboration, innovation and productivity that positions your agency for an even more competitive advantage and profitability. Learn how to fully leverage a diverse marketplace by building an inclusive culture across your agency.

Approved for 3 hours of either P/C or L/H CE credit. Course Code: 84952. TQA

Proven Strategies for Hiring & Developing Producers
Chris Burand

Looking to level-up your producer hiring, development and management skills? Instructor Chris Burand will share proven training and development strategies, along with an effective producer model and compensation structure.

Approved for 3 hours either P/C or L/H CE. Course Code: 84673.TQA

11:45 - 1:15 PM

Rising Up Lunch with Keynote: High Touch in a High Tech World
Frank Somma

Frank Somma

National speaker Frank Somma will share the secrets to charismatic communication that help create instant rapport, better relationships, and long term loyalty with customers and coworkers. Frank will also help you better understand how to maximize your use of social media and technology to supplement Person-to-Person (P2P) interactions. TQA icon

TQA Graduate Recognition and Awards

1:30 - 4:30 PM

Annual Trade Show at the DeVos Center
With more than 80 exhibit booths, you know our annual trade show at the DeVos Center is the place to be for industry networking, exhibit booth hopping and - of course- those great prize drawings!

Trade Show Day

5:00 PM

Tuesday Evening Reception
A great meeting place for your group after the trade show and before you go out to dinner. Enjoy complimentary drinks, hors d'oeuvres and some networking before heading out for an evening in Grand Rapids.

Discover Grand Rapids!
Head on out for dinner at one of the amazing restaurants and craft beer establishements Grand Rapids has to offer!

Amway Grand Accommodations

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Room accommodations at the Amway Grand fill up fast. To receive our special room block link and code, register for the big event today !


Concurrent Sessions
8:30 - 11:30 AM

Components of the Sales Gene: Rapport, Trust, Likeability and Long-Term Loyalty
Frank Somma

Building on Tuesday’s Keynote Presentation, Frank Somma will share tools, techniques, and best practices around the guiding principles of Personal Responsibility, Gaining Rapport and Win-Win Interactions.

No CE credit.

Best Practice in Preparing and Issuing Certificates of Insurance
Rob Umstead, CPCU

Learn appropriate ways to prepare and issue Certificates of Insurance to mitigate your agency’s exposure to Errors & Omissions . Participants will apply concepts to a case study.

Approved for 3 hours of either P/C or L/H CE. Course Code: 84627.TQA credit

Agribusiness & the Hobby Farm
Sam Bennett, CIC, AFIS, CRIS, CPIA

Small and Hobby Farms bring a unique blend of personal and commercial risks to the table. This makes it crucial for insurance professionals to have a good understanding of both arenas in order to meet the needs of these customers. Join presenter Sam Bennett for a special look at the often-used ISO Farm Property and Farm Liability Coverage Forms. Sam will bring particular focus to the structure and coverage intent of this program and how it relates to agribusiness customers.

Approved for 3 hours P/C CE. Course code: 84713

11:45 - 12:45 PM

Bob Fee Anita Fox Reaching New Heights Lunch
Remarks by:
DIFS Director Anita Fox
Big I National President Bob Fee
Plus: Awards

12:45 - 1:15 PM

Annual Membership Meeting

Concurrent Sessions
1:30 - 4:30 PM

Emerging Exposures: Home Sharing, Cryptocurrencies, Unique Transportation
Sam Bennett, CIC, AFIS, CRIS, CPIA

As insurance professionals, our ‘go-to’ tool for managing uncertainty is to finance risk with insurance. This can be effective, assuming that the coverage forms used actually provide the protections we and our clients expect. Join Sam Bennett for an overview of the exposures created by cryptocurrencies, home sharing and non-traditional transportation risks, as well as policy applications to these risks.

Approved for 3 hours P/C CE. Course code: 84712

Passing on the Legacy-Leveling Up for the Future
Mary LaPorte, CPCU, CIC, LIC, CPIA

Mary LaPorte guides you on a humorous and nostalgic look at our industry that will instill pride and fine-tune your perspective.   A brief history of insurance is provided with an emphasis on the significant role the industry has played in our country’s economy.  Participants will explore the ethical principles on which the industry rests.  Conveyed by anecdotal narrative designed to kindle passion, enthusiasm and commitment not only in those new to the industry, but in those who are seasoned insurance professionals.

Approved for 2 hours of either P/C or L/H and 1 hour Ethics CE. Course Code: 84628. 

Protect & Perpetuate Your Business
Larry Oxenham

Larry Oxenham is one of America’s top asset protection experts, having helped thousands of professionals achieve financial peace of mind by teaching them how to properly structure their assets for lawsuit protection and tax reduction. Join Larry as he addresses new and evolving exposures continually influenced by factors such as technology, legislative directives, and carrier attitudes/appetite.

Approved for 3 hours of L/H CE credit. Course Code: 84949. TQA credit

5:15 - 6:15 PM

PAC Reception
Invitation Only

Our annual reception to thank all agents and company friends who have donated to AgentPAC (State) and InsurPac (National) in the last year. A great opportunity to visit with legislators who support our interests. Haven't donated yet? There's still time to do so and join us!

7:00 - 9:00 PM

Last Call
Hosted by MAIA Insurance Services
Hospitality Suites Networking

Big I Michigan has reserved the largest ballroom at the Amway Grand to host a Last Call event attendees won't soon forget. Join everyone, agents and companies, Wednesday evening in the Ambassador Ballroom for drinks, food, music and networking!

About our Presenters

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett, CIC, AFIS, CRIS, CPIA

Sam Bennett is an active retail producer, presenter, and shareholder in Harrison Agency, Inc. of Columbia, MO. He has taught coursework for the National Alliance in their CISR program since 2000, has presented in their CIC program since 2004. In 2009 he became a National Faculty Member of the Society of CIC. Sam is also a speaker in IRMI’s Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS) program and is a speaker in the AIMS Society’s Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) program. Sam has taught at conferences and symposiums across the country for more than two decades.

Chris Burand

Chris Burand

Chris Burand is president and owner of Burand & Associates, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in the property-casualty insurance industry. Chris is recognized as a leading consultant for agency valuations, producer compensation plans, E&O carrier approved E&O procedure reviews, and agency operation reviews. He is a featured speaker across the continent, having presented at hundreds of conventions and educational programs, including Big I Michigan’s convention and as an instructor for the Total Quality Agency (TQA) program. Chris is also a prolific insurance writer with dozens of articles published by Insurance Journal, Rough Notes, The National Underwriter, A.M. Best, and regional insurance publications.

Ron Devers, CIC, CAWC, CPIA

Ron Devers, CIC, CAWC, CPIA

Ron has been teaching courses for Insurance Educators and non-profits for the better part of a decade. His interest and subsequent knowledge base on fraud stems from his research on the topic for previous classes and his fascination with perpetrators of fraud. Ron is director of operations at PSI Insurance Agency. He has been involved with the association for several years, serving on the Board of Directors and Professional Development Committees, and was an instructor at the 2021 Young Agent Conference. Currently, Ron is a group officer for the Capital Area Independent Agents Association. 

Whitnee Dillard

Whitnee Dillard

Whitnee has been with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers (IIABA/Big I) since 2014, serving as its Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the last four years. In this capacity she hosts diversity and inclusion educational webinars and sessions. Whitnee also assists in the development of new diversity initiatives across the country, develops new diversity and inclusion best practices resources, and cultivates IIABA’s Diversity Council work groups.

Mary LaPorte

Mary LaPorte, CPCU, CIC, LIC, CPIA

Mary is the owner of LaPorte Consulting, LLC, offering consulting services to insurance agencies, including assistance in workflow, operations and E&O loss prevention. She also an insurance educator and serves on the national faculty for the Society of CIC. Mary has served as an Expert Witness in litigation related to E&O and agent's standard of care.

Larry Oxenham

Larry Oxenham

Larry Oxenham is one of America’s top asset protection experts, having helped thousands of professionals achieve financial peace of mind by teaching them how to properly structure their assets for lawsuit protection and tax reduction. He has authored and co-authored several articles and books on the subject including The Asset Protection Bible and How to Achieve Financial Peace of Mind through Asset Protection. His career has been credited with helping thousands of people save millions of dollars. Larry Oxenham is a nationally recognized speaker who has trained thousands of professionals at hundreds of conventions, conferences and seminars across the country.

Frank Somma

Frank Somma

Frank Somma is a coach, keynoter and workshop consultant specializing in helping people learn the communication secrets that create instant rapport, better relationships, and long term loyalty with customers, coworkers and at every chance they get to connect. His work focuses on specifically charismatic communications. Frank’s techniques for becoming charismatic are steeped the proven communication science of NLP and finished with the many frontline proven tools he has created to help people differentiate themselves to become well thought of, well respected and well trusted.

Rob Umstead

Rob Umstead, CPCU

Rob Umstead has been an active production agent since 1981 with Steenland Insurance Agency in Grand Rapids. He is a past president of the Kent County Agents Association and of MAIA (now Big I Michigan). Rob came to realize a few years back that he was not issuing COIs correctly when he attended a Certificates of Insurance (COI) course at a previous association convention. Since then he has become an avid student in the study of COIs and has presented the topic several times over the past six years.

Matt Wesolek

Matt Wesolek

Matt Wesolek is Chief Operating Officer of Big I Michigan. He previously served as VP Government Affairs of the association for three years, advocating on behalf of members on all state legislative issues – including no-fault reform. Matt is also a licensed Property and Casualty Producer and Continuing Ed Instructor. Prior to joining Big I Michigan in 2018, Matt worked in the Michigan House of Representatives for eleven years.

David Walker

Dave Walker, AAI, CIC, LIC, ARM, CRM, CAWC

Dave Walker began his insurance career in 1979 as an agent with Guarantee Mutual Life Insurance Co. In 1981, he joined Hartland Insurance Agency as a producer, rose through the ranks, and currently serves as president and principal of the agency. Throughout his career, he has been an active association leader at the state and national level. He was president of MAIA in 2004-05 and served as chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers (IIABA/Big I) from 2014-15. Dave has also been an insurance instructor and has served as an expert witness in multiple cases for several years. He currently serves as Big I Michigan’s E&O instructor.

Classes denoted with the Ethics credit. icon have been filed for Ethics Credit.

Earn up to 6 hours of TQA Update credit! Qualifying classes are denoted with the TQA Update credit icon.

Why Attend Convention

Carefully curated agenda offering hot topics important to members.

Unbeaten networking opportunities for companies, young agents, established agents, vendor friends and more.

Earn 12 CE credits, including Ethics.

National instructors presenting what they know best.

Fulfill that 2022 TQA Update early! 

Get re-energized in the height of "Winter Blah" season.