Wood Sees Emphasis Change from Sales to Service

Article excerpt

The insurance business, for Courtney Wood, has changed from one with a primary emphasis on sales to a primary emphasis on service.

"I have been involved in this business for almost 40 years. The more it changes, the more it stays the same in some regards, but by the same token, it is so different today than when I got involved that it is hard to recognize it," he said.

Wood is recipient of the 1994 Journal Record Insurance Service Award, the 11th such award, which was presented Oct. 13.

He also was recipient of the first Journal Record Insurance Industry Service Award in 1984.

Much of the counseling solicited by his business clients now regards fiduciary liability, wrongful termination and the myriad of other potential liabilities that face businessmen and businesswomen who hire employees, he said.

Wood was an active teacher of insurance courses at the University of Central Oklahoma when he received the first Journal Record service award.

"Since that time I have had to give up that activity simply because my travels have made it impossible for me to keep up with a regular teaching schedule. I had to give up my teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma," he said.

"I have been doing an awful lot of lecturing around the country, but I don't guess you could call that teaching. Since that time (1984), I have appeared at least once in every state in the union on matters related to insurance and risk management before groups ranging from 25 to 5,000."

Teaching has had to take a back seat due to his travels, but Wood said he may get back into it.

Involvement in some of his civic activities also have been limited by his professionally related travels in recent years, Wood said.

He has been remained involved in the Oklahoma City Young Mens Christian Association, Edmond Chamber of Commerce and Edmond Presbyterian Church in limited capacity, he said.

Wood also has started his own independent agency, Courtney Wood Associates, since being named recipient of that first Journal Record award. He also is affiliated with the Universal Insurance Agency Inc. of Moore and Edmond.

He started the first Courtney Wood Associates independent agency in 1976 and had premiums of more than $3 million before selling the business in 1979 to Marsh McLennan and becoming vice president of that firm.

Until his tenure ended Nov. 1, Wood was national president of the Independent Insurance Agents of America.

His travel calendar has had 250 days marked on it during his nearly 14 months as president of that group, he said.

"I have made lots of trips to our nation's capitol and lots of visits to our state association's headquarters," he said.

Many of those trips were related to pending legislation in Congress in which the association's membership has an interest, he said.

"The issues this year would have to be almost a laundry list, and heading that list is the medical insurance reform effort and all the disciplines associated with it. That included an effort to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act, an act that is 49 years old that provides limited immunity to insurance companies to collectively collect data and create rates.

"The proposed legislation to reauthorize CIRCLA, also known as the Superfund, has been paramount in the thinking of a lot of people, the agriculture bill with regard to the purchase of crop hail insurance, and we've been looking at the red lining efforts and information determination by (U.S.) Rep. Cardiss Collins, D-Ill.," he said.

Another important piece of legislation to members of the association is a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., to make any firm engaged in the sale and distribution of the insurance product subject to the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction in which they do business, he said. …