By Kim Cameron and Jonel Thames Leake
Awards are a great way for an IAIP member to get recognition for their hard work in the industry as well as their IAIP membership. Below are a few tips for a successful award submission.
BE FAMILIAR WITH THE CRITERIA – For each IAIP award there are particular requirements. You risk being disqualified if you don’t make sure you meet these standards before entering. These requirements are outlined in each application but include:
1) You must be an active member in good standing in IAIP
2) Members with dual memberships are eligible only as a representative of their region of record
3) For members with a lapse in membership, the join date and the eligibility period shall be based on the last (most recent) join date. All activities prior to the lapse date will not be considered.
4) For all except Rookie, Young New Professional and Insurance Professional, your primary job function must be the same as the award you are applying for. Even though account managers submit claims, they are not eligible for the Claims Professional award.
Important: Once a member receives the regional (specific) of the year award they may not apply for that same regional award for three calendar years. Previous international winners are not eligible to compete for the same award at any level of the association.
GET AN EARLY START AND KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS by utilizing the Member Achievement Record. This can be found on the IAIP website. Keep this as an active document and update it as you accomplish more in IAIP. You will be glad you did! If this is your first time utilizing the form, ask for help remembering your activities. An added benefit of keeping your member achievement record up to date is that it is great information to share with employers when going for a promotion or interviewing for a new job. It can also be helpful when you fill out scholarship applications.
DON’T FORGET TO LIST ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES AND EDUCATION but still follow the guidelines. Education must be a minimum of a 30-minute duration. Are you teaching courses? You get double the points for those courses! Articles for newsletters and blog posts count too. Just remember, they must be written specifically for IAIP. A blog post on Today’s Insurance Professionals is worth five activity points! Share your knowledge.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Remember if you are having difficulty in finding IAIP courses you have completed, within your profile, under Professional Development you can print a transcript that will provide you with additional information. Reminder, if you attend a SIC session that is led by an instructor and is at least 30 minutes, you must add the entry on your own to obtain IAIP credit. These sessions are not automatically added. You can even find the list of International Conventions attended.
HOOK THEM FROM THE BEGINNING AND PRESENT A COMPELLING STORY – Start your essay with an engaging lead, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Your lead can be a positive quote that inspires you, or you can spotlight a mentor or a business figure from the industry. You can even start with a poignant question, a personal anecdote, or simply with powerful language that draws the reader in and makes them want to keep reading to learn more about your organization.
Successful award submissions weave a cohesive message throughout. While the applications have several stand-alone questions, avoid the temptation to provide simple, direct answers to each question, especially the essay. Instead, connect the dots for the judges by telling a larger story—a rise up the corporate ladder, a purpose-driven mission, a firm commitment to IAIP, or an embrace of innovation.
ANSWER THE QUESTION AND IF USING FACTS, VERIFY THEY ARE CORRECT
INCLUDE A HIGHLIGHT REEL – Just as introduction and conclusion paragraphs summarize an essay, it can be helpful to include a summary of your accomplishments already stated in your submission.
MAKE IT EASY and engaging (and even fun!) to read. Avoid dry or overly complicated language and reach out to your fellow members, past winners, your local association, council director or RVP, to contribute to the submission.
DON’T FORGET TO PROOF IT – An obvious spelling or grammatical mistake can ruin even the most well-written submissions.
SEND IN YOUR APPLICATION and make sure you submit it early so your RVP has a chance to review and let you know if you forgot something. The due date is November 15 at 11:59 pm in your time zone. Deadlines and requirements are strictly enforced, and you don’t want to miss out because you missed the deadline.
Follow these tips when you submit your next award submission, and you’ll have a better chance of beating out the competition. The most important thing to remember is that, if you don’t submit your application, you won’t win. Good luck.
Kim Cameron is the 2023 International Insurance Professional of the Year. She has been a member of IAIP since 2000 and has held various offices on the local, council and regional levels. She has served on and chaired various Task Forces at the International Level as well. Kim is currently employed with Agri-Center in Fresno, California as a Commercial Lines Customer Service Representative/Office Manager. She likes spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her other interests include anything Elvis or Barbie, shoes, reading, crocheting, Harleys and spending time with her family and friends.
Jonel Thames Leake, CPCU, ASLI, AAI, CPIW, DAE, CLP
2023-2024 International Secretary
Jonel Thames Leake is 2023-2024 International Secretary. Her IAIP activities include teaching CLP courses, participating in the online community and writing blog posts. In her spare time, Jonel enjoys tandem bike riding, kayaking, line dancing and reading.