Andesa’s Ninth Client Forum – Lessons for the New Normal

Written by: Ron Scheese

Representatives from top life insurance companies recently gathered at the Royal Sonesta, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD, for the Andesa Services Client Forum. Andesa’s success is driven by a supportive community of relationships amongst our staff and clients. Client Forum provides a wonderful opportunity to bring these constituents together in a learning environment. It was tremendously rewarding to hear a new attendee observe, “We arrived shaking hands and we depart with hugs.” The Andesa-Client partnerships truly are unique and special.

With a theme, “A Time to Reflect: Be the Beacon that Illuminates the Path,” the event offered a number of informative, challenging and motivational presentations from several keynote speakers and Andesa staff. The conference also featured key-theme, table-topic discussions and opportunities to network with peers across the industry.

From my perspective, I took away a few insights on macro-trends impacting the business climate, technology, the life insurance industry, cyber-security and the regulatory environment.


What is making an impact?


Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson, Global Investment Strategist with Wellington Management, shared her insights on the short & long-term global markets outlook. She projected that, “Political platforms will dominate much of the headlines for the next year. The fiscal implications of these policy proposals on the markets have been largely ignored to date but will begin to add complexity as we get further into 2020.”

Matt O’Mara, Co-Founder of Spraoi, a machine-learning insurtech start-up, offered his thoughts on emerging technologies, and their value and impact on the life insurance market. According to Matt, “The discipline of machine learning isn’t new, but the speed by which it can be integrated into insurance industry operations is new.”

AALU’s VP of Legislative Affairs, Armstrong Robinson, provided tremendous insight into the political drama playing out in our Nation’s capital, the early outlook for 2020 elections and what regulations have the potential largest impact on the life insurance industry. Stressing the importance of engaging with lawmakers, Army noted, “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.”

Four of the conference speakers focused their presentations on culture and leadership, providing time for attendees to self-reflect on their personal leadership journey.




Robert Waks, CEO of The Training Center for Sales & Business Development, in a presentation entitled: “You’ll See It When You Believe It,” challenged the attendees to be self-reflective and very comfortable with self. He believes, “We were all born 10’s. Evaluating ‘self’ through the lens of your role is backwards.”.

Kelly Jasen, Culture & Leader Development with Whitney, Bradley & Brown, shared insights on transforming teams and leading by example. Kelly proffered, “The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”




Adding perspective to Andesa’s ESOP journey, PFS Brands President & CEO, Shawn Burcham, discussed his companies’ journey and evolution to a 100% ESOP organization. Shawn encouraged attendees to self-reflect and tie into our conference theme. His new definition of mirror-gazing: “Is it the company or is it you?,” encouraged us all to be personally accountable. He also challenged us as leaders to evolve as leaders from “command and control managers to high-performance coaches.” Shawn provided and signed copies of his new book Keeping Score with GRITT for attendees.

Dr. Jim Osterhaus, author and founding partner with TAG Consulting, spoke about the inner life of the leader. With a critical premise that “every great principle of leadership is counter-intuitive,” Jim wowed the audience with nuggets of leadership wisdom such as, “You can be right, but that doesn’t mean you are effective.” In addition, he noted, “There is a good chance you haven’t a clue as to the impact you have on those you lead.” Jim also spent time signing his book Red Zone, Blue Zone on conflict management for attendees.

If you would like to read a detailed bio on each speaker, or are looking for their contact information, please visit our 2019 Client Forum Page

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