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NAMIC Communications + Marketing Workshop, October 6-8, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.

Event Contact

Amy Thornburg

Amy Thornburg
Meetings & Exhibits Manager

General Information

A strategically focused workshop designed by and for members to educate company representatives about the important aspects of marketing and advertising, corporate communications, media and public relations, and branding a mutual insurance company. This two-day workshop consists of inspirational keynote speakers, small-group discussions facilitated by experts, and interactive concurrent sessions.

As a new feature for 2014, attendees on day two will be able to choose between three topics and spend a focused half-day session on that topic with peers and facilitator. This session will provide a collaborative, peer-to-peer learning environment. This enhanced content, along with the informative content offered within general and concurrent sessions, ensures that this workshop will offer lasting value for all insurance company communications and marketing professionals.

“I've attended this conference since its beginning and this was my favorite one yet.”

-Steve Norman
Director of Communication
Western National Insurance Group

This Event is Intended For:

Mid-to-upper Level Marketing Professionals
Corporate Communications Professionals

Public Relations Specialists
Advertising Professionals

Online/Social Media Specialists

Communications + Marketing Workshop Committee Members

Larry Johnson, CPCU, AIC, AIM, AAI
Vice President Agency/Support Services
North Star Mutual Insurance Company

Melissa S. Boyer
Marketing Specialist
Mutual Boiler Re

Kristin Bullock
Manager, Promotion and Events

Andy Flanagan
Administrator, Corporate Communications
Auto-Owners Insurance

Shannon Heads
Marketing Manager
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company

Dan McCue
Online Marketing Specialist
Grinnell Mutual

Steve Norman
AVP - Communications
Western National Insurance Group

Amy Padgett
Vice President, Marketing
Sawgrass Mutual Insurance Company

Teri Russell
Communications Manager
Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Companyy

Kate Stull
Marketing/Communications Specialist
Columbia Insurance Group

Workshop Registration Fees

Registrations received on or before Saturday, September 13, 2014 are applicable to receive the early bird discount.


On or before
September 13

After September 14
and later







Non Member



**Member Multi-Attendee Discount



Optional Activity



*To qualify for the PFMM Designates registration rate, you must have earned the Professional Farm Mutual Manager (PFMM) designation and be current in the program. This discount only applies to individuals with the PFMM designation and is not transferable to others within your company.

**Available for member early registrations with 2 or more attendees from the same company.

First Time Attendees

We want to know if this is your first time to participate in the NAMIC Communications + Marketing Workshop so we can get to know you and provide you with some valuable networking opportunities. Don’t be shy; please indicate on your registration form if you are a first-time attendee. We are excited to meet you!

Registration Confirmation

You will receive a detailed email confirmation upon successful completion of the registration process for this event; please make sure to enter a valid email address on the registration form. If you have any questions regarding your registration, please email or call (800) 336-2642.

Registration Cancellations

All registration cancellations and transfers MUST be made in writing. Cancellations received on or before September 13, 2014, are 100 percent refundable. After September 13, 2014, a $25 processing fee will be deducted. Refunds will be issued within 15 business days after receipt of the cancellation notice. No refunds are available after September 22, 2014, so please plan accordingly. Please note: Optional Dinners/Activities follow the NAMIC Cancellation Policy. You may substitute a participant at no additional charge. Please forward all requests to or fax (317) 876-6213. Cancelling a workshop registration with NAMIC does not cancel a hotel reservation.


In accordance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we invite all registrants to advise us of any disability and any requests for accommodation to that disability. Please submit your request as far in advance of the program as possible.

What to Wear

The suggested attire for this meeting is business casual.


If you have any questions regarding your registration, email or call (800) 336-2642. If you have any questions regarding the workshop, email or call (800) 336-2642 ext. 1026.

Workshop Agenda

“I love the interaction among colleagues.”

-Bruce Trethewy
Communications Manager
CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

Subject to change

Monday, October 6

3 – 5 p.m.

Registration Desk Open

6 p.m.

Optional Activity

Tuesday, October 7

7:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


7:30 - 8 a.m.


8 - 8:15 a.m.


8:15 – 9:15 a.m.

Opening Keynote Address: Changes in Consumer Buying Habits in a Social and Digital World
The pendulum has swung much further than we think. Social and digital technology has its tentacles into every process and workflow of any business … and the insurance industry has been captured, too. Join Jason Cass, founder and owner of JDC Insurance, a completely virtual insurance agency, for a discussion that will focus on why our business model has not just changed, but has been transformed. From a 10,000-foot view, Jason, who is a quick-thinker, popular in Twittersphere, and an industry blogger, will review the essential aspects of a social and digital business, such as the what, why, and how. Through case studies, which demonstrate actual ROI, he will prove the benefits of a social and digital business, explore the future of carrier’s communication with agents, and discuss how agents are evolving their communication to policyholders.

Jason Cass
Owner and Founder
JDC Insurance Group
Centralia, Ill.
@thejasoncass or @jdcins

9:15 - 9:30 a.m.

Networking Break

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Agents Discussion Panel
Building on last year’s popular agent discussion panel, the 2014 workshop will offer attendees an opportunity to hear input directly from agents. Potential discussion topics include communication and marketing support, business trends, and the evolving customer needs.

Jason Cass
Owner and Founder
JDC Insurance Group
Centralia, Ill.
@thejasoncass or @jdcins

Doug Clift, CIC
Bowersox Insurance Agency
St. Louis, Mo.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Networking Break

10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  1. Social and Digital Marketing Trends to Drive Company Success
    The insurance industry continues to adjust the use of social media and digital marketing tools to reach and engage its audiences. This session will highlight current trends in the digital and social space and illustrate both common practices and unique tactics that are driving companies to achieve greater success. Examples of how companies are working to collaborate with the agency channel to better reach policyholders will also be shared.

    Terry Golesworthy
    The Customer Respect Group
    Ipswich, Mass.

  2. Communication to Meet Consumer's Evolving Demands
    Today’s evolving consumer preferences are changing everything for the insurance industry. Smart organizations are taking advantage of tremendous opportunities to breathe new life, personality, engagement, and value into their brands. Join a discussion on how insurance organizations should communicate to meet evolving consumer demands and how to engage agents and brokers in the process. Attendees will also learn how marketing and communications budgets need to shift to meet the demands

    Peter van Aartrijk
    President & CEO
    Fairfax, Va.

12 – 12:45 p.m.


12:45 - 2 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  1. Marketing a Small Mutual Panel Discussion
    The competition for consumer’s attention in the insurance marketplace is tough enough for any mutual insurance company. If you are responsible for marketing a smaller mutual the challenge can be tougher. Hear and interact with this panel gathered to discuss marketing and communication issues which apply specifically to these unique companies.

    Moderator: Dan McCue, AINS
    Online Marketing Specialist, Business Information Services
    Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company
    Grinnell, Iowa

    Christopher Feldt, PFMM
    Heartland Mutual Insurance Company
    Belleville, Ill.

    Paul G. Stueven, PFMM
    Fairmont Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
    Fairmont, Minn.

    Steve Underwood
    United Mutual insurance Company
    Washington, Mo.

  2. Corporate Communications Roundtable: Making Communications Work for Your Stakeholders
    Organizations are judged on how well they understand the needs of their customers, and customers reward companies by purchasing a service from a company that understand their needs. That is why tailoring corporate communications for your most important stakeholders can improve your business. This session will discuss internal and external stakeholder groups and how to plan, tailor, and execute effective communications programs. Attendees will learn how to identify the most important audiences, how to break down a large group into manageable segments, how to build messages, and how to develop a multi-stakeholder corporate communications plan.

    Linda Locke
    Senior Vice President
    Standing Partnership
    St. Louis, Mo.

    Beth Minnigerode
    Standing Partnership
    St. Louis, Mo.

2 - 2:15 p.m.

Networking Break

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  1. Must-Have Marketing Resources for Corporate Events
    Attend this session to tap into valuable marketing resources for corporate events. Walk through the event planning lifecycle and discover the essential tools needed to stay efficient and organized. Learn the shortcuts that event pros use to consolidate tasks, improve the attendee experience, and conserve budgets.

    Barbara Rozgonyi
    CoryWest Media
    Glen Ellyn, Ill.

  2. Advertising’s Top Trends
    Examine big-picture trends in advertising and preview what is ahead for 2015. Starting with a broad view of what advertising strategies are working and what strategies are not, the discussion will also focus on the specific lessons within the insurance industry. Attendees will explore the effectiveness of online and mobile advertising both with and without a mass media component, get a brush-up on setting marketing goals, and review the measurement of returns on advertising investments.

    Jim Lake
    Vice President/ Managing Partner
    Michael Walters Advertising
    Chicago, Ill.

3:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Networking Break

3:45 - 4:45 p.m.

General Session: Finding Innovation Where You Are
Innovation is a bit like creativity, it’s hard to define, yet we all believe we know it when we see it. The trouble is that we often don’t see innovation because it is ambiguous, difficult, and requires people to think and act in ways that run counter to business as usual. In this session, we’ll identify what innovation looks like, what it doesn’t look like, and how everyone is capable of using simple creative-thinking skills to overcome obstacles to innovation. We will also explore Design Thinking and how it can be used to enhance personal and organizational creative effectiveness

Tamara Christensen
Idea Farm
Phoenix, Ariz.

5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Optional Activity: Dinner, Drinks and Bowling
Do you have a competitive spirit, or just want an opportunity to relax with colleagues? If so, plan to join us for dinner, drinks and bowling. The group will meet in the hotel lobby at 5:30 and board a charter bus to Pin-Up Bowl, St. Louis’ original bowling and martini lounge. The cost of this activity includes transportation, two hours of bowling, shoe rental, pizza, and two drink tickets. Space is limited, so be sure to add this activity to your registration today.

Wednesday, October 8

8 a.m. - 2 p.m.


8 - 12 p.m.

Deep Dive Sessions
New for the 2014 workshop, the Deep-Dive sessions offer the opportunity to explore a topic without having to end the session just as everyone gets into the meat of the content. With a half-day dedicated to a choice of two topics, attendees will delve deeply into the chosen topic with a subject matter expert leading the session, share stories of success and challenges amongst each other, and conduct valuable peer-to-peer learning.

  1. Deep Dive Session: The Decisions Leaders Make Daily
    This Deep-Dive Session will offer a comprehensive examination of the core decisions that all leaders make daily … and everyone is a leader. These decisions are so fundamental that they are often made subconsciously or by default, but they are being made. This session will help bring the decisions to the forefront for consideration so they can be consciously considered and used to solve problems, reduce stress, or propel careers. In this interactive and audience-directed session, attendees will gain an understanding about how decisions can lead to greater productivity and achievement.

    The discussion and activities within the session will be influenced by the attendees and guided by the speaker. Discussion may include:

    • How to remain focused throughout the day and manage work time

    • Advice on managing direct reports or a team

    • Tips on how to “manage up” and get leadership buy-in

    • Why tension exists between particular departments and how to reduce that tension

    • How to foster a culture of sharing ideas and information internally

    Tony Richards
    Founder and Senior Partner
    Clear Vision Development Group
    Columbia, Mo.

  2. Deep Dive Session: Making Your Company a Part of the Bigger Conversation With Emerging Media
    This Deep-Dive Session will offer attendees the opportunity to explore an emerging media case study and learn from the experiences of a seasoned insurance marketer, Rod Brooks of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company, and an insurance agent principal, Claudia McClain of McClain Insurance Services. Hear the story of how PEMCO, helped by McClain Insurance Services, employed a strategy to build its brand while taking advantage of the major community conversation happening in the Northwest around the Seattle Seahawks’ 2013-2014 playoff run.

    Whether the goal is to identifying relevant conversation streams on a daily basis or taking advantage of one of the world’s biggest stages like the Super Bowl, many lessons can be learned from this example of how one mutual insurance company is leading the way among larger insurance providers. Attendees to this session will have the opportunity for meaningful small and large group discussions. Bring your own social engagement challenges to this session, explore solutions using similar tactics for growth and brand development, and walk away with strategies for your own organization.

    The discussion and activities within the session will be influenced by the attendees and guided by the speakers. Discussion may include:

    • The importance of developing communication and marketing muscle before needing to do the heavy lifting

    • Strategies that can be applied to companies of varying sizes

    • The role agents play in reaching policyholders

    • Resources to help you to bring your brands into your community conversations

    Rod Brooks
    VP and CMO
    PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
    Seattle, Wash.

    Claudia McClain
    Agency Principal
    McClain Insurance Services
    Seattle, Wash.

12:00 – 12:05 p.m.

Stretch Break

12:05 – 1:05 p.m.

Power Up with Lunch
If you have not heard the term “gamification,” you will hear it soon. The concept is spreading through business operations, advertising, and education across all segments. In fact, more than 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations are projected to be using gamification to transform their business operations in the next five years.

Enjoy a family-style lunch and discuss this innovative concept while you pass the serving dishes around the table. Ed Lyons, Chief Engineer from NTT DATA, will bring along some light-hearted and creative examples to get your mind engaged on this fun concept.

1:05 – 1:10 p.m.

Stretch Break

1:10 - 2:10 p.m.

Inbound Marketing Before You Are Outbound - Making Meaningful, Measurable Connections
Before you are outbound to travel home, join Anderson Miller, founder of Marketing Matters Inbound, an industry-leading HubSpot-certified inbound marketing firm, for an exploration of inbound marketing. The discussion around this important marketing development will include a definition of what inbound marketing really is, the results that a mutual insurance company can realize with inbound marketing, and why it is important to implement an inbound strategy now.

Anderson Miller
Marketing Matters Inbound
St. Louis, Mo.

2:10 p.m.

Meeting Adjourns

Where to Stay

Chase Park Plaza

Chase Park Plaza
212 N. Kingshighway Blvd.
St Louis, Mo. 63108
Ph: 1 (877) 587-2427

This stately landmark is home to a celebrated history. Through a recent renovation, that storied past has been lovingly preserved and artfully revitalized, with improvements ranging from décor updates to a five-screen cinema.

The Chase Park Plaza offers you a premier location surrounded by the very best St. Louis has to offer. On your doorstep is the Central West End, one of the city’s most popular dining and entertainment areas. Just across the street you’ll find Forest Park, home to fine museums, a world-renowned zoo and one of the country’s finest public golf courses. As our guest, you’re also just moments away from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex, Busch Stadium, Washington University, St. Louis University, the downtown and Clayton business districts and Lambert International Airport.

Event Hotel Rate And Cut Off Date

Rate: $179.00 plus taxes per night for single/double occupancy.

Communications + Marketing Workshop attendees are responsible for making their own travel and hotel arrangements. NAMIC has contracted a room block for attendees at the Chase Park Plaza. A set number of rooms are available at the group rate until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, September 14, 2014, or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. While NAMIC studies past attendance trends and the needs of our members, we cannot guarantee rooms will be available. Please plan ahead and secure your reservation as soon as possible to receive the group rate. Refer to the NAMIC group rate when making your reservation at the hotel.

Hotel Reservations

To reserve your room by phone, contact the Chase Park Plaza Reservations Department directly at 877-587-2427 and mention you are with the NAMIC 2014 Communications + Marketing Workshop in order to receive our special group rate.

Please note that the Chase Park Plaza is a historic hotel. If you have disabilities which may need accommodations, please inquire with the hotel before booking your room.

Please contact Amy Thornburg if you encounter any problems with making hotel reservations.

Travel Information

Getting to the Chase Park Plaza is Easy!
The Chase Park Plaza is situated conveniently near Downtown St. Louis, the Clayton business district, Metrolink rail system and Lambert International Airport.

Airport Information

The Chase Park Plaza is located about 15 minutes southeast of Lambert International Airport.

Airlines serving Lambert International Airport include:

  • AirTran

  • American Airlines

  • Delta

  • Frontier

  • Southwest

  • United

  • USAirways

Ground Transportation from Lambert International Airport to the Chase Park Plaza

GO BEST Express offers affordable, reliable and safe ground transportation services between St. Louis, Missouri Lambert International Airport and the Downtown St. Louis Hotels with their economical shared ride van service. GO BEST Express Vans leave the airport every 15-30 minutes daily. Call for exact service times for low-cost, van shuttle service.

The website is, or you can call 877-785-4682.

Taxi service from Terminal 1 is available on the Garage Yellow Level. Taxi service from Terminal 2 is available outside of Door 12. Estimated taxi service is $30 - $40 depending on traffic.

Driving Directions:

From St. Louis Lambert Airport:
Take I-70 east 1 mile to (exit 238A) I-170 south
Follow I-170 south for 7.5 miles until it dead ends into to I-64/Hwy-40.
Exit 64/40 East and go 7 miles to (exit 36A) Kingshighway North.
Follow Kingshighway north 1 mile until you reach Lindell Blvd.
Cross over Lindell and the hotel will be on the right.

From the east:
From downtown St. Louis, take I-64/Hwy-40 west 4 miles to (exit 36A) Kingshighway North.
Follow Kingshighway North 1 mile until you reach Lindell Blvd.
Cross over Lindell and the hotel will be on the right.

Convenient parking!

The Hotel offers parking in the Chase Park Plaza garage. Registered overnight guests received unlimited in-and-out parking privileges at the self-parking rate of $17.00 per evening and valet rate of $26.00 per evening. All self-park and valet parking charges are subject to a 5% sales tax.

Area Attractions

While visiting the Gateway City, you will want to be sure to visit many of the area’s local attractions. There is something for everyone in St. Louis, whether you visit one of the many national historic sites, take a walk through beautiful Forest Park, or catch a sporting event. First-rate museums, an extensive botanical garden, and a strong musical heritage give visitors plenty of reason to say "meet me in St. Louis." Check out these links below for more information. Additional attractions can also be found at the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.

Check out these links below for more information:


  • City Museum
    Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, City Museum boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!
  • Magic House
    Some 30 years after The Magic House first opened its doors, the well-loved children’s museum is nationally recognized. The museum’s hands-on exhibits and educational programming have been recognized by Orbitz, Nickelodeon, FamilyFun magazine and Zagat, which named The Magic House as the nation’s top family attraction with the most “child appeal.”


  • Forrest Park
    From its inception, scarcely more than a decade after the end of the Civil War, Forest Park has been a glorious place — encompassing more than 1290 acres, beautiful and serene, full of excitement and discovery. Forest Park is an urban oasis filled with people, destinations, and recreation that reflect our interests, culture, and history. More than a symbol of the beauty and tradition of our city, Forest Park has been called the soul of St. Louis, the community's gathering place, and our regional backyard. Located directly across the street from The Chase Park Plaza, Forest Park is home to many of St. Louis’ most revered and popular cultural attractions, including The St. Louis Art Museum, The St. Louis Zoo, The History Museum, and The Boathouse.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
    The beautiful, 79-acre Missouri Botanical Garden is widely considered to be one of the top three botanical gardens in the world, a National Historic Landmark and a center for science and conservation, education and horticultural display. It's the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the nation, having recently celebrated their 150th anniversary.
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park
    More than 80 works of contemporary sculpture within a 105-acre natural landscape. The park hosts several exhibitions and a multitude of cultural events each year. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. FREE.


  • St. Louis Galleria
    Offering a complete dining, entertainment and shopping experience. Featuring Anthropologie, Apple, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Coach, Dillard's, Galleria 6 Cinemas, J.Crew, Lacoste, Macy's, Restoration Hardware and Urban Outfitters.
  • Plaza Frontenac
    Premier fashion center. Elegant surroundings. St. Louis' only Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and the largest Talbot's store, J. Crew, Williams-Sonoma, The Pottery Barn and Tiffany & Co. Fine and casual dining, Plaza Frontenac Cinema and two spas.

Other Attractions:

  • Anhueser-Busch Brewery Tour
    Anheuser-Busch offers the public an opportunity to see how its products are made during complimentary tours of its St. Louis Brewery. Visitors learn about the rich brewing heritage of Anheuser-Busch and how fresh beer is brewed and packaged today. The tour provides guests an opportunity to see state-of-the art facilities, including brew houses, beechwood aging cellars and packaging facilities. Guests follow the making of Budweiser from all natural ingredients such as barley malt, rice, hops, yeast and water to the full-bodied, crisp-tasting, refreshing brew loved across the globe. Following the tour, guests 21 years of age or older are invited to enjoy complimentary samples of Anheuser-Busch products including the latest in seasonal brews. Soft drinks and snacks are also served.
  • Gateway Arch
    The Gateway Arch is like no other attraction, offering visitors a variety of interesting things to do and see – from exploring the Westward Expansion Museum, to taking in a movie about construction of this amazing architectural achievement to the exciting ride to the top of St. Louis’ most recognizable landmark.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Interested in reaching influential public relations, marketing, advertising, and corporate communications professionals? Consider partnering with NAMIC through our educational events. Our sponsors are critical to keeping registration costs at a minimum for member companies. We have carefully crafted sponsorships to help you gain exposure and target your audience. Several options are available for your consideration, and we are happy to create something unique to meet your needs.

For more information, contact Aaron Lifford, Sponsorship and Advertising Specialist at (800) 336-2642, ext. 1055 or at If you would like to learn more about NAMIC's sponsorship and advertising program, please click here.


Frequently Asked Questions

“The networking opportunities at this event are always great.”

-Todd Boyer
AVP Corporate Communications
Ohio Mutual Insurance Group

What is the suggested attire for business and social gatherings?
Workshop Sessions – Business Casual
Meal Functions & Welcome Reception – Business Casual

What registration payment options are available?
The online registration system accepts credit card payments, check payments, and multiple registrations under the same payment method.

When and how is registration confirmation sent?
Confirmation is sent via email so please enter a valid email address. If registering more than one person at a time you will need to forward the confirmation email to each delegate. You will receive your confirmation the quickest if you are paying online. Confirmation will be sent immediately after you submit your credit card information.

Does my registration include a hotel reservation?
No, you will need to contact the Chase Park Plaza to make a room reservation. NAMIC has contracted a room block for attendees at the rate of $179 per room. A set number of rooms are available at the group rate until September 14, 2014, or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. While NAMIC studies past attendance trends and the needs of our members, we cannot guarantee rooms will be available. Please plan ahead and secure your reservation as soon as possible to receive the group rate. Refer to the NAMIC group rate when making your reservation at the hotel.

What does my registration include?
Registration fees include workshop resource materials and access to NAMIC-sponsored meal functions including break service, and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Questions can be directed to the event’s meeting planner or the Vice President of Member Development.

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 9:25:47 AM. Modified: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 7:45:03 AM.

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