Conference Sessions & Speakers


Tony Ventrella

Tony has worked 31 years in local television with KING 5 and KIRO 7 in Seattle. As Digital Media Host for the Seattle Seahawks, he has produced and hosts team, community out reach and corporate partner videos on both teams web sites. His media career spans 40 years from his days as a sports reporter at the Wilton Bulletin in Connecticut to radio sportscaster and later television anchor in Fort Wayne, Indiana and finally Seattle.

During his career he has covered two Olympic games, several World Series, Super Bowls, International Figure Skating events, Final Four basketball and three Rose Bowls.

Ron Berg

In his position with ACT, Ron Berg is Executive Director for the Agencty Council for Technology (ACT). Ron brings together independent insurance agents, insurance carriers, software vendors, and other industry groups to advance the use of the most effective business processes and technologies. 

Prior to ACT, Ron worked with MetLife Auto & Home for almost 20 years, advising on future technology strategies and advocating for effective agent workflows.  He has also long been involved with insurance industry workgroups and associations such as ACT, AUGIE, the ID Federation, the Insurance Digital Revolution, the Real Time/Download Campaign, and numerous other user group conferences.  Ron has a wide technology background in computer operations, programming, technical support management, and project management.

Workshops - Thursday September 20

Workshop A: E&O It's Not A Problem Until It's A Problem
Retail agencies get an in-depth look at professional liability exposures associated with the operation of an agency. Suggested methods to reduce their risk of E&O exposures are shared and characteristics of E&O policies and the impact of E&O claims payments will be covered. 3 CE WA

Workshop B: Update on the Biggest Financial Issues in an Agency Owner’s Life

These are exciting times for agency owners!  Agency market values are higher than they’ve ever been.  Is it time to sell, either to outsiders or through internal succession?  If so, stock sale or asset sale format?  How does the extraordinary new Tax Act affect my decision?  If you’re a buyer, how do all of these issues affect your decisions?  Join us for an overview of all of these issues and more!

Workshop C: I'd Like To Lyft Your Uber and Raise You a Rideshare!

This course will discuss the subject of the ride sharing economy in America. How it started, insurance ramifications, personal/commercial coverage gaps, current market responses, possible endorsements and case studies will be covered. 3 CE WA

Workshop D: Agency Technology Operations - Panel Discussion

This session will cover aspects of strategic and tactical agency operations planning. The panel will focus on oncoming technology trends, responding to consumer/customer expectations for ease of doing business, agency efficiency improvements, security and other aspects.

Workshops - Friday September 21

General Session Breakfast

Our General Session will focus on the latest in Technology Trends with Ron Berg, Executive Director for Agents Council of Technology (ACT) and an uplifting message from Tony Ventrella, Seattle TV Personality and Seattle Seahawk's Digital Media Host. 

"Internet of Things: Latest Technology Trends"   Changes in technology are impacting the way insurance agencies organize their operations, sell their products communicate with their customers and protect themselves. Ron will bring you up to speed with the latest technological breakthroughs.

"Here's Smiling at You" with Tony Ventrella deals with everything from keeping a great attitude to keeping physically and mentally fit. Tony discusses gratitude, attitude, team work and how to release the thoughts that weigh people down. He does this with stories rather than lecture and he uses a lot of humor making his message uplifting, honest, and straight forward approach to living every day with a smile, regardless of your situation.

Concurrent Workshop A: Autonomous Vehicles: Driverless Vehicles and the Impact to Insurance

Autonomous Vehicles - also know as drvierless, self-driving or robotic cars seem like something too forward thinking to think about. But are they? No on is really talking about it yet but the impacts are here now and they already are about to take over at a rapid pace. Will you be ready? Join Gary Strannigan, Assistant Vice President for Liberty Mutual Insurance and Kenton Brine, President of the Northwest Insurance council as the discuss this rapidly changing issue.

Concurrent Workshop B: How Much Do I need To Change?
We all know that times change. That's true in life and business. Our success depends squarely on how well we can adapt. Gabe Gonzalez, CIC, Marketing Director with Safeco Insurance has spent much of his career focusing on the changing shifts in business culture.  His session will focus on the changing agency landscape and how to position yourself for success. And hear how other agents have embraced and sustained change in their agency.



Corey Wilkins, CIC, LUTCF
Corey is the Owner and President of Corey Wilkins Insurance & Financial Services, A State Farm agency in Tacoma WA. He attended the University of Washington then transferred to Seattle Pacific University for his Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications in 1991. He has worked in radio, TV and continues to do voice-over work for a variety of companies. He started in the industry with Safeco in 1994 as a Commercial Underwriter and later a Multi-Line Marketing Representative. In 1999, he became Marketing Manager for Kemper Auto & Home Group in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. 

Corey is the lead singer/guitaris for the Johnny Cash tribute band "Folsom Prism" and we are thrilled he will be entertaining us with Johnny Cash renditions during our Bingo/Poker Tournament Thursday evening.
  Gary Jacobson, JD has been a contracts specialist for over 40 years. Gary started his legal career in the King County Prosecutor’s office and worked in Safeco’s legal department before starting his own private practice. He was the founding principal in his current law firm of Vander Wel, Jacobson, & Kim, PLLC in Bellevue which represents clients in legal matters pertaining to Business, Real Estate, Trusts, Estates, and Immigration.
      Larry Morrison, MBA, CBA, CMA is president of Business Transition Network, Inc. a consulting firm specializing in tax and financial issues involved in mergers and acquisitions, business succession planning, and business valuation/appraisal. He is an Accredited-Business Appraisal Reviewer, Certified Business Appraiser, Certified Management Accountant and Accredited Valuation Analyst.


Kenton Brine is President of the NW Insurance Council, a non-profit member-supported trade association dedicated to providing timely, accurate information about Property & Casualty insurance to consumers, communities, the news media and public policymakers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Kenton has enjoyed a 30-year career in public policy communications, political consulting and insurance industry advocacy,


Gary has held widely varying posts, providing him the opportunity to develop a broad skill set.  His assignments have ranged from aircraft accident investigator at Boeing, to State Senator, to State Director for a national economic think tank and for the last 15 years.

Notably, Gary is the inventor of the only underwriting method patent in the combined histories of Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance.  Principally, Gary’s role is to minimize political, legislative and regulatory risk in western states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, the Dakotas and Minnesota.  The aviation background precipitated insurance industry leadership relative to autonomous vehicles.