A Brief History of the PIAW
The Stony Steinbach Era
The organization originated in 1949 as the Wisconsin Federation of Insurance Agents by a small cadre of dedicated independent agents who primarily represented mutual insurance companies. They were disheartened by the fact that they could not join the independent insurance agents association due to their mutual company affiliations.
In 1950, the name was changed to the Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Agents (WAMIA) and became affiliated with the National Association of Mutual Insurance Agents (NAMIA). The organization grew steadily; emphasizing agent education, fraternity, information resources and legislative activities. The association headquarters were located in Mayville, at the office of Mayville Insurance Agency, owned by E. Stony Steinbach. Stony was the first paid employee of PIAW and he served as the Executive Secretary of the association for 40 years
In 1964, the association changed its name to the Wisconsin Independent Mutual Agents (WIMA) and in the late 1970’s the association was renamed the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc. (PIAW), coinciding with the national organization’s new name of National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, Inc. (NAPIA).
The Ron Von Haden Years
In 1994, the headquarters was moved to Madison and Ron Von Haden was hired as the Executive Vice President. The staff had grown to five full-time employees plus an outside, contracted lobbyist who was located in downtown Madison, near the State Capitol.
The original core principals of the organization have not changed since its inception. The Certified Insurance Counselor and Certified Insurance Service Representative designation programs were added to enhance the professional quality of educational offerings and the Certified Professional Insurance Agent designation was offered to recognize excellence in sales. The fraternal aspects of the group are still prominent at the annual convention, committee meetings and social outings for members. Legislatively, a team of lobbyists represents the PIAW and its agent members at the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. through the National Association headquarters. Information is provided to the insurance industry through the association’s monthly magazine, Wisconsin Professional Agent and weekly electronic communications
Through the years, a vast array of products and services have been added as member benefits to enhance the success and profitability of the membership. The association's Errors and Omissions insurance program has become the premier benefit utilized by members. The association staff is in close contact with the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance and is regarded as a valuable resource on the views of professional agents and their clients.
The PIAW Today
Today, more than 620 agencies, from the very small to the very large, in every sector of the state, proudly continue their membership in the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin.