The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California was incorporated June 19, 1934. IBA Kern was established 50+ years ago to support the local independent insurance agents. Our local association provides, promotes and furthers the education of agents and brokers through continuing education courses and our annual tradeshow. We support local community charities including Scary for Charity, Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House, CSUB Athletic Program, JJ’s Legacy, Tiger Fight Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A special “Thank You” to John Pryor for providing us with the History of our association and how it all began.
Here’s the story:
In the 1940s, there were TWO agents’ associations in Bakersfield and in California. This was because of the really sharp distinction between agents who, on the one hand, represented only capital stock companies (owned by shareholders) vis-à-vis those who represented only mutual carriers (owned by policyholders). No one seemed to be able – or want – to cross over that Maginot Line.
- My father, Lindsay Pryor, who formed an agency in Bakersfield in 1926 talked about that separation a lot. It must have been a “bone of contention” with him. As a mutual agent, he (evidently like you) insured lots of transportation firms. Trucking was just becoming “big” in those days and the Ridge Route offered lots of opportunity for risk control – and major losses! At that time, he was expressly excluded / barred from membership in what was then the IIABC.
- By the time I came into the agency business in 1958, this barrier had been broken down and, if I remember correctly, our agency was already a member of IIABC by then. In those days, our association was called the “Insurance Board” – evidently a “spin off” from what was then the “Realty Board” composed of real estate agents. Most agencies by that time – including our agency (Pryor Insurance before we formed an agency cluster called Kern Insurance Associates in 1970) – represented both stock and mutual companies – and the rest is history.
- As you may know, Ray Bass, Gerald Clifford and Les Hackney were leading our association in those days. Charlie Ross was a perpetual association Secretary-Treasurer then – as Mona has been in more recent years. I went through the chairs then and – like others before me – went on to serve on the state board of directors of IIABC. Walt Lindecker and I were two from Bakersfield who ultimately became state president of IIABC. It was a great experience for each of us, of course – with lots of positive contacts through our national association in Alexandria VA and its national conventions in major US cities over the years.
- As an aside – and as an indication of the quality of Walter Lindecker’s professionalism (but perhaps a question of his judgment) — early in my career and as a fledgling competitor of his (he was CEO of Walter Mortensen Insurance at the time) – he proposed me as a member of his Rotary Club. I’ve been a Rotarian ever since for the past 48 years or so! How often do you see someone give an opportunity of such significance to a competitor!
- Today the mutual insurance agents association – statewide – has evolved into the PIA. There may be some local PIA chapters in California but none I know of in Bakersfield or Kern County.
With this history so kindly provided by Mr. Pryor, we are proud to say our Association has been in existence for more than 70 years!