Pursuit of Partnership

By: Suzi Wirtz, CAE

Friendly rivals find common cause, and both their memberships benefit.

The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) and the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) have always had common interests. But this past summer, they took those common interests a step further and created a partnership to offer greater educational opportunities to their members.

Robert T. Sargent, executive vice president of Mercator in Connecticut, sits on the board of NAPSLO and is a member of both organizations. He was involved in the initial pursuit of a partnership.

"Several members of the education and technology committees from both groups got together to discuss the idea informally. When we saw how much sense it made, it progressed to a formal level," Sargent says. "We asked one another, 'How can we work together, since we're both in a subset of the insurance business?'"

"Each association has a different audience," Sargent continues, "but we have commonality that is important and can work well together. Each group independently does things well. By having this relationship of combined strengths, we can increase the benefits for everyone."

While NAPSLO is highly involved in legislative issues, Mike Ardis, NAPSLO communications director, says, "Our meetings are more networking focused, rather than educational in nature. So, we will share legislative news and updates with all PLUS members and, in return, NAPSLO members are offered special discounts and have access to the PLUS Curriculum."

The PLUS Curriculum consists of 23 modules of professional liability training designed for adult learners. Much of the information presented serves as study material for the RPLU designation, which is conferred by PLUS but held by many members in both groups. Any employee of a NAPSLO member company who orders a curriculum module receives a complimentary membership in PLUS.

PLUS also has an extensive chapter network, and the value of this structure will be maximized as both associations will cohost educational opportunities addressing surplus lines issues related to professional liability.

Each association is now gauging member response to the partnership and monitoring participation numbers. "We have had positive feedback from our members," says Kim Holland, director of communications for PLUS. "Members are looking forward to future collaborations that the two organizations can bring to the table."

Suzi Wirtz, CAE, is marketing director and consultant for The Learning Studio. Email: [email protected]