Former Montana Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas Installed as President of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA)

Oct 13, 2010, 12:43 ET from National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former Montana Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R-Stevensville) has assumed the office of President of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Thomas was installed during a meeting of the board of directors of the association held in Traverse City, Michigan on October 3, 2010.

"It is an honor to serve as an officer of PIA, a national association representing professional, independent insurance agents in all 50 states," said Thomas. "PIA is an activist, grassroots organization that seeks to protect the business and professional interests of its members, the owners of independent insurance agencies throughout the nation. Our commitment to our customers and our communities is exemplified by PIA's motto, 'Local Agents Serving Main Street America.'"

"PIA is at the forefront of the issues that affect our members and their clients every day," said Thomas. "PIA's commitment to advocacy will continue unabated. Our association supports state regulation of insurance and opposes federal encroachment. We advocate both for agents and for small business on Capitol Hill, to protect and defend the livelihoods of our members. We partner with our carriers to improve the agent-company relationship. In addition, PIA must continue to develop innovative products and services that generate revenue for our members and our affiliates – that's a win-win for all of us."

In addition to ongoing legislative initiatives, Thomas said another key priority is the impending launch of the PIA Professional Liability Insurance Company (PIAPRO), a PIA member-owned company formed by PIA Services, Inc. to offer errors and omissions insurance coverage exclusively to PIA members.

"As E&O carriers continue to enter and exit markets, we concluded it was imperative to provide all of our members with a stable source of coverage," Thomas said. "We decided to form PIAPRO – a PIA agent-owned, PIA agent-controlled captive insurance company – as a means to take control of our own destiny and ensure the success of PIA and its members for decades to come."

Thomas built, operated and owned a very successful independent insurance agency in the Bitterroot Valley and served 16 years in the Montana Legislature. In 2008, Thomas was elected an officer of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, placing him in line to become national president of the organization. Thomas will serve a one-year term. He is currently Branch Manager of the Bitterroot branches of Western States Insurance.

As Montana Senate Majority Leader, Thomas led the successful effort in 2003 to remodel Montana's income tax code by cutting the tax brackets from a maximum of 11% to a maximum of 6.9% and cut capital gains from a maximum of 11% down to a maximum of 4.9%. As a result, for the first time in many decades Montana has a competitive income tax code. This has contributed greatly to the creation of the more tax competitive environment Montana now enjoys.

"Understanding people and motivating them is a key to success," Thomas says. "I have used this in the insurance business, in the Montana Legislature and in all my leadership endeavors. This success is based on respecting others and their diverse opinions. It has served me well personally, in business and in public service."

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA's web address is

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SOURCE National Association of Professional Insurance Agents