Celebrate the Impact of Independent Agents

Independent agents aren't the type of people to give themselves a pat on the back for their accomplishments. That's why we want to recognize exceptional individuals who not only raise the bar in their day-to-day jobs, but also make time in their busy schedules to give back.

Not only do independent agents offers expert advice, guidance and peace of mind to their clients, but they also play an integral part in their communities, from sponsoring the local baseball team to helping with donations for the local food bank.

The 2016 OIA Conference celebrated independent agents who are transforming lives and building stronger communities. We are taking nominations for the 2017 awards now. Nominate someone you know who has made a positive difference!

Community Service Award

Nominate an independent insurance agent or agency that has provided extraordinary service within their local community. Award winners receive a donation for their chosen charity. Learn more about all of our 2016 Community Service Award nominees.

Nominate today

For Chris Callen, president of Chris D. Callen Insurance Agent in Westerville,giving back to military families is a true calling. A Vietnam War veteran, Callen has personally walked in the shoes of those he helps with his nonprofit.

The Callen Foundation provides short-term financial support to Ohio military families with urgent needs, such as food and basic living necessities, late bill payments, baby care items and emergency household repairs. Because of his work with the Foundation, Callen is the recipient of the 2016 Community Service Award.

With a history of giving back to the local community dating back to 1904, the family-owned Stolly Insurance Group received the OIA Community Service Award for its Operation Giveback and SUCCEED scholarship programs. “We have never lost our giving spirit, even five generations and 112 years after opening our doors,” says Peter Stolly, CIC, independent insurance agent at Stolly Insurance Group.

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Mark Hunter received the 2015 Community Service Award for the work
he and his wife Virgie have done to battle childhood hunger in southern
Ohio. "No one can fathom the time and energy Mark invests in helping
the children," a friend said.

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Excellence in Leadership Award

Nominate a OIA volunteer who has provided outstanding leadership and service to the association in the preceding year.

Nominate today

Perk Reichley, our 2016 Excellence in Leadership Award, embodies everything an independent agent should aspire to be. He is an exceptional insurance professional, mentor, teacher and colleague. He is also dedicated to giving back to his local community, including past president of the Greene County YMCA and past Board Chair of the YMCA of Greater Dayton. OIA is lucky to have him serve as our Board Chair.

Jeff Lewis (left) received the Excellence in Leadership Award from
OIA past president Mike Heister for years of leadership in helping Ohio
consumers and fellow independent agents through the association.
"Jeff is not in it for himself. Even when things are difficult, he's going to
do the right thing," Jeff's wife, Dawn, said.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominate an individual for their long-term leadership and service.

According to Rick Spreng, owner of Ashland-based Spreng-Smith Insurance Agency, “my business is a ministry to members of my community.” Ohio Insurance Agents Association presented Spreng with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime of leadership to the association, insurance industry and local community. “There is no better business than the agency business to know people and work with them in the best and worst times in their lives,” Spreng says. 

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OIA Citations

OIA Citation honorees are selected by the OIA Board of Directors, Governance Committee and staff for their contributions to the association.

As president of the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), Dan Kelso has helped Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety issues. Under Dan's leadership, OII has grown to include 34 domestic P/C companies, 14 foreign P/C insurers and reinsurers, eight insurance trade associations and three insurance-related organizations.

Drex Poling of Hummel & Plum Insurance Agency in Circleville knows what it means to serve his community and his industry. He has been an OIA volunteer for 21 years. An active member of his community, he has emceed the Circleville Pumpkin Show for 42 years. It's the largest festival in Ohio and one of the largest in the nation. 

Industry Person of the Year Independence Bell Award

Nominate an individual who has significantly contributed to the betterment of the independent agency system and OIA. Honorees may be chosen from any field and are not limited to those within the insurance industry. 

Nominate today

Barbara Sears, Assistant Director for the Office of Health Transformation, is a leading advocate for important insurance issues impacting Ohio consumers. OIA has awarded Sears the 2016 Independence Bell Award for her positive contributions to the insurance industry.

Prior to her current role with the Office of Health Transformation, Sears was the Majority Floor Leader for the past three legislative sessions and a long-time independent insurance agent focused on employee health benefits.

Kathy Lanese received the 2014 Independence Bell/Industry Person
of the Year Award. "I'm passionate about being a voice for
independent agents and their clients," she said.  

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Outstanding Company Achievement Eagle Award

Nominate a company that has demonstrated outstanding achievement and superior performance in a specific area such as leadership, innovation, technology, perpetuation and/or customer service for the betterment of the American Agency System. In 2014, the PaceSetter Program, offered by State Auto Insurance Companies, was the recipient.

Nominate today

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