Grace D. Thomas, Senior Vice President at Great American Insurance Company and a former Chairperson of the Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA), was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the association’s Annual Meeting held mid-May. Ms. Thomas was one of three individuals recognized by the IMUA. The others included Arthur L. Flitner, CPCU, Senior Director of Knowledge Resources at The Institutes – Excellence in Education; and Julie A. Saunders, Inland Marine Business Unit Audit Lead, Travelers – 2012 Outstanding Committee Person.
The Awards presentation took place at the IMUA’s closing ceremonies during its 83rd Annual Meeting held in Buckhead, Atlanta, Ga.
In presenting Ms. Thomas with IMUA’s highest recognition, The Lifetime Achievement Award, Peter Opinante, IMUA Chairman, cited her long list of achievements since joining the IMUA. He noted, “Grace became active in the IMUA in 1986 serving on the Transportation Committee and has been engaged ever since. She has served on the Arts & Records Committee and has presented at numerous seminars. She is also played key roles in the development of a number of technical reports and bulletins.
“Grace has been a member of the IMUA Board of Directors since 1994 and was the association’s female Chairperson from 2000 to 2002. She presently serves on the IMUA Board and was a key member of the association’s two strategic planning initiatives. Her tireless efforts have helped transform the IMUA into one of the insurance industry’s leading associations.”
In accepting her award, Ms. Thomas said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve both this industry and the IMUA. Every day we each play such a critical role in the development of the inland marine industry. We can only be as effective as our membership allows. That’s why I became involved early on in my career and have continued ever since. And, I strongly urge our younger members to carry the mantle forward and work with this great association.”
As the winner of the Excellence in Education Award, Arthur Flitner was recognized for his involvement with the IMUA since 1987; the same year he joined the staff of The Institutes. Arthur led the development of The Institutes’ Associate in Marine Insurance Management (AMIM) program which balances the study of specialized ocean and in inland marine insurance and underwriting content with material on the overall business of insurance.
Arthur became an active member of the IMUA Education Committee in the 1990’s and has made countless contributions to the evolution and development of the IMUA Annual Meeting. More recently he became part of the newly formed Professional Development Steering Committee working to advise and develop the training curriculum for the IMUA. He also is a member of the Steering Committee for the American Marine Claims Award sponsored by the IMUA and five other participating organizations.
Julie Saunders is this year’s Outstanding Committee Person. She was elected chairperson of the IMUA Midwest Regional Advisory Committee in 2010 after joining the group in 2008. Under her leadership, the Midwest Group has become a model IMUA Regional Advisory Committee.
Julie has been instrumental in the success of her committee; staging numerous successful seminars, breakfast meetings and field trips each year. Each event offers a mix of education and networking opportunities. Over the past two years she has led an effort to involve younger members in the IMUA activities.