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KONA, Hawaii-In an era when consumers and regulators are expressing doubts about the integrity of the insurance industry, AAMGA University is attempting to reinforce professionalism through its educational programs.

Four courses offered during the 71st annual meeting of the American Assn. of Managing General Agents in Kona, Hawaii, fit this year's theme: "Preparing for Tomorrow's Challenges":

""Employment Relationships: Concerns and Coverage Considerations" gave MGAs valuable information on how to underwrite employment practices liability coverage while also providing risk management advice on managing this exposure in their own organizations.

""Mergers and Acquisitions" discussed valuation of entities from the buyers' and sellers' viewpoints, terms of sale and negotiations as well as the human resource issues involved in purchasing and selling an organization.

""Using Programs to Meet Insureds' Needs" focused on ways MGAs can design insurance programs themselves and then market them to the insurers bearing the risk and the buyers seeking such customized insurance programs.

""Get Rid of the Dead Wood: Make it Grow or Cut it Off" focused on using performance reviews and other tools to motivate employees to either produce or leave an organization.

"University Day gives participants an opportunity to not only enjoy the benefits of the meeting, but also to prepare themselves from an educational standpoint," explained M. Thomas Ruke, AAMGA University's educational director.

"Our members are becoming acutely aware that to survive in the insurance business in the future, they must prepare themselves today," he said.

Each AAMGA University course provided attendees with four credits leading toward one of three professional designations: Certified Managing General Agency; Certified Insurance Wholesaler; and Certified Wholesale Insurance Specialist.

The two courses specific to the insurance industry also provide continuing education credits in most states.

An addition to the AAMGA University Day program at the annual meeting, educational programs are offered around the United States throughout the year.

The AAMGA University is administered by the University Administration Organization, an affiliate of the AAMGA. The AAMGA has contracted with Mr. Ruke, president of Fort Myers, Fla.-based Insurance Business Consultants Inc., to serve as its education director.

In an effort to keep tuition as low as possible, the AAMGA University is partially funded by insurance industry contributions to the AAMGA Education Foundation. Income from an endowment fund covers the ongoing costs of developing programs that are insurance-specific and un-ique to the wholesale insurance industry.

For more information about AAMGA University, contact M. Thomas Ruke, Educational Director, at Insurance Business Consultants Inc., P.O. Box 2030, Fort Myers, Fla. 33902; 800-741-4084.