July 31, 2010 by Patti Kernaghan
It has been my privilege and honour to represent the CIAA membership over the past year. This experience has been an immeasurable opportunity for me — one that I will appreciate for years to come. My only regret is that the time has gone so miraculously fast.
The question that has resonated for me during my tenure is this: Who will advocate for the independent adjusting profession in Canada, if not independent adjusters themselves? The importance of building, protecting and leading our profession must come from the professionals in the profession. The importance of a powerful association to lead and advocate for its profession is critical. Professional associations have the power to take collective thought and change the interest group they serve. But they also require nurturing and support to be effective.
The CIAA creates a community of interest in our chosen profession of independent adjusting. The CIAA advances and supports the interests of our members. As an association, its strength lies in receiving support from the industry through membership and volunteerism to help move the organization forward. Governments are not willing to listen to individual companies, but governments will work with recognized, established, professional bodies: this is important for the independent adjusting community to recognize.
During my year as president, for me the most important undertaking was the Creative Strategic Planning session, which included the stakeholder feedback session, plus the survey of stakeholders, members and non-members. From that overall event, we defined our strategic priorities for increased value to members. We identified these priorities as follows: designation strategy — to reflect professional standards and differentiate members; education strategy — to deliver cost effective relevant programs; branding & communication — to raise the profile and awareness of independent adjuster’s in the p&c market and with the public; financial & resource strategy — to generate new sources of revenue; value to members — to provide strong advocacy for such issues as harmonized licensing and recruitment to the industry. We are now working on the creation of a national advisory board to mirror the work we started last December during our strategic planning session with the stakeholders group. We will begin a new era of cooperation and consultation with this board. The benefit for CIAA and all participants will be significant.
The executive is composed of dedicated professionals who understand what we are striving for in this difficult market. I had the great good fortune to work with terrific people and I met members in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton, San Antonio, Palm Springs and back at home in Vancouver. Pierre and I both enjoyed the warm hospitality we received during our travels and are very much looking forward to seeing many of those same members in Victoria for our upcoming convention.
Our executive worked very hard this year, and we benefitted greatly from the continuing expertise and dedication of our executive director, Pat Battle. We strategically recognized the need to build a level of accountability to help facilitate the year-over-year changes that can occur when a new executive takes the reins. I look forward to the next year and to my work with the executive as past president. We have a strong association with great opportunities. As a footnote, Theodore Roosevelt’s comment on associations is timeless: “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or the industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” •