Dean Draper Insurance Agency has been selected for the second year (2008) to be part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) "Best Practices" Study Group.

Only 195 independent agencies throughout the U.S. qualified for inclusion in the Best Practices Study. An IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company must first nominate the agency which then must qualify based on outstanding customer services, growth, stability and financial management.

The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual study of leading independent insurance agencies, which is conducted for IIABA by Reagan Consulting of Atlanta, GA documents the business practices of these "best" agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.

To assist agencies in adopting Best Practices, IIABA has developed a family of products, service and workshops known as the Best Practices Implementation Series. The series includes materials such as the Agency Self-Diagnostic Tool, Agency/Company Joint Planning Tool Quick Step, Customer Service Made Simple, Five Practices of Effective Leaders handbook and Top Producers: Discover, Train, Reward. Additional studies and tools are added periodically. The publications include guidelines, worksheets, and case studies to help agents apply the information contained in each report.

In addition to the written materials, hundreds of workshops and seminars have been conducted at various producer association functions, company sponsored agency meetings, and national automation users group conventions.

The IIABA and Reagan Consulting jointly maintain the Best Practices Gateway website that provides executive summaries of the annual Best Practices Studies, the Best Practices Quick Check interactive comparison tool, and samples from the various Best Practices tools. The Gateway, as well as the annual study, is made possible in part through the financial sponsorship of various insurance companies and industry organizations.

The 2008 Best Practices Study sponsors include: Applied Systems, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb, EMC Insurance Companies, ENCOMPASS Insurance, Harleysville, Imperial AI Credit Companies, InsurBanc, The Hanover Insurance Group, Liberty Mutual, MetLife Auto & Home, Safeco, and Zurich.

Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance - property, casualty, life and health-as well as employee benefit plans and retirement precuts. Web address: www.independentagent.com.