Galveston, TX (July 28, 2009) - The following is a speech made by Dale Spaht, the President of the Louisiana Professional Insurance Agents Association, at their 66th Annual Convention.

The recipient of this year’s Associate Member of the Year is no stranger to most of us in this room. In fact, this company has been a new, found friend to many of us as they have filled a void for some who had no homeowner’s markets.

While they entered the state as one of the take-out companies last year, what really stood out to us is the way they approached the independent agency system. I think back to the day when all companies and agencies approached their working relationships as partners. We worked together to provide a product that met the needs of our insurance customers.

Now, oftentimes this isn’t the case at all. Decisions are made at the corporate level and agents for the most part are left out of the discussions. As a newcomer to Louisiana’s insurance market, we were not all that surprised with the first meeting they requested with our association’s leadership. But, we have been pleasantly surprised when they continued to come to us with each new change they decided to make in response to agents’ requests, checking with us to make sure they were in tune with the needs of the market. We appreciate the level of communications they have provided…not only have they asked questions, but they have listened to our answers…and responded.

I think what they have on the website says it all: Attitude – Speed – Innovation

Attitude – Superior customer service is one by-product of the positive attitudes projected by our employees. We certainly know this is true by the two representatives here tonight.

Speed – We focus on the speed with which we conduct all aspects of our business. By eliminating bureaucracy, we move swiftly to implement improved processes and business strategies. We also know this to be true as they quickly made changes to their forms as the market place demanded.

Innovation – We constantly challenge the status quo, seeking better and more efficient ways to satisfy the needs of our partners and customers.

All of these things are true. And, all of these things have made this company stand out. We appreciate this company’s commitment to our state as well as to our association.

We honor that commitment tonight by recognizing them as our 2009 Associate Member of the Year. Please join me in honoring American Strategic Insurance (ASI).