The Lynette Owens & Associates Summer Insurance Advisory Council went international this year, meeting from Wednesday, July 18, to Monday, July 23, at two of Jamaica's loveliest all-inclusive, AAA 4-diamond resorts, the 210 room Grand Lido Negril and 226-room Grand Lido Braco, both SuperClubs properties.

Compliance challenges in an increasingly strict regulatory environment is one of the themes that resonated with the industry execs in attendance. With that in mind, keynote speaker Mark DeVolder talked about how to manage change effectively. DeVolder, president of Synergy Sense Consulting in Vernon, British Columbia, asked the LOA attendees: “What would it be worth to successfully navigate these changes?” Mimicking a well-known television commercial, he answered his own question: “Priceless.” Poorly managed change can take a huge chunk out of a company's bottom line, said DeVolder, while change managed in a constructive, efficient way can save a company millions of dollars.

Change is about people, DeVolder added, noting that successfully implementing change means corporate leaders need to bring along their colleagues — many of whom may be reluctant — by “communicating effectively, building trust, and dealing with anger.”

In a discussion of incentive trends, Lynette Owens said that all-inclusive resorts have become popular for international programs, and that appealing to younger generations with creative program content is increasingly important. As well, she is seeing more recognition programs for producers who don't yet qualify for the annual incentive trip — such as point-based merchandise reward programs that allow qualifiers to select gifts when they meet lower production goals.

Business sessions also featured psychotherapist and trainer Anthony Galie, who used hands-on techniques to demonstrate how the subconscious can help develop positive outlooks and improve concentration. Networking included a best-ball golf tournament at the par-72, 6,333-yard Negril Hills Golf Club in Westmoreland and another tourney at SuperClubs' par-72, 6,870-yard Golf Club at Runaway Bay, known for its breathtaking views of the Caribbean.

Lynette Owens & Associates represents a portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts, and Owens also serves as executive director of the Alliance of Financial Marketing Professionals and the Financial Services Marketing Association. Attendees at LOA's Jamaica meeting included Elaine Flynn, American Board of Trial Advocates; Mike Roy, AIG Financial Group/Global Wealth Management; Brian Bulakites, Baltimore Life; Joe Choma, Baypark Financial; Mike Belz, Catholic Life Insurance Co.; Bob Thomas, Chesapeake Life Insurance; Tom Nicholson, Dakota Care; Edward Carroll, Ed Carroll and Associates; Edward Ledford, MarketShare Financial; Mike Sims, Life Insurers Council; Mark Kemp, Police & Firemen's Insurance Association; Tony Cositore, Settlers Life; and James Henson, Shenandoah Life Insurance Co.

Incentive Trends

Trends in incentive travel are ongoing, says Ed Ledford, president and CEO of MarketShare Financial in Indianapolis, and a member of the Lynette Owens Insurance Advisory Council. Three top trends on his radar:

  • The Caribbean remains a popular — and affordable — destination.

  • Top-tier, independent producers, who a few years ago might have gone on four or five incentive trips annually, are cutting down to one or two. Consequently, “it takes a more spectacular event to get their attention.”

  • Time is a “precious producer commodity” and qualifiers are looking to get more educational value from incentive trips, particularly education that helps them to build their business.