Crop Insurance Today May 2012 - (Page 38)

TODAYOBITUARIES In Memory John By Laurie Langstraat, NCIS F. Ames For many in the crop insurance industry, the name John F. Ames may not mean much. But for those who have studied the history of our association, and its predecessor organizations, you will definitely know the significance of this man. In 1962, John Franklin Ames became the first executive secretary of the Hail Insurance Adjustment & Research Association, or HIARRA. HIARRA was a predecessor to the National Crop Insurance Association (NCIA), which merged with the Crop Hail Insurance Actuarial Association (CHIAA) in 1989 to form National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). John served in this capacity for 19 years, until his retirement in October of 1981. An excerpt from an article in the July 1969 HIARRA “Hi-Liter” said this about John’s leadership style. John is not a typical deskbound association secretary who thinks that communications starts and ends with memorandums. He is constantly out in the field attending educational meetings and workshops, talking to agents and adjusters, meeting with insurance company executives...in short, getting and expanding on the feel of every aspect of the industry. Francesca Englmann became the assistant to the executive secretary when the office opened in Chicago, Ill., and worked 17 years with John. “We worked very well together,” Francesca said. “He always said I made him look good, but he worked very hard too.” From the time John started with the association until his retirement, the membership increased from 60 to 110 companies. During his time, vast improvements were made in loss adjustment procedures and education/training, along with scores of other things too numerous to list. 38 MAY 2012 John’s successor at NCIA was George Bender, who was hired by the association in 1977. I was John’s first assistant and I’m sure that was difficult for him, since he had been “solo” for HIARA/NCIA for some 15 years,” said George. “The plan was for me to “ride side-saddle” with him for some time so I could learn the ropes.” John’s wife, Dottie, was very ill with cancer, and the second week on the job, George was sent on his own to represent NCIA at adjuster schools and committee meetings. “John was so supportive of me in those early days. He was also was very caring for my family, regularly calling my wife and entertaining the kids when I was on the road.” NCIA activities were totally accomplished by volunteer committees in those days and John was an expert at recruiting committee members, assisting them in establishing their task and leading toward accomplishment of the goal. He also was very good at giving credit when/where credit was due, making it more rewarding for committee members to serve. “In addition to being my boss and mentor, John became, and remained, a true friend,” said George. John lobbied in Washington D.C. on behalf of the private crop-hail industry and he, along with several others were instrumental in securing a role for the private industry in selling and servicing the Federal crop insurance program, which led to the 1980 Crop Insurance Act. “John Ames was one of the crop Insurance private industry pioneers,” said David Gabriel, former president of NCIA. “His expertise in developing and managing the Hail Insurance Research and Adjustment Association contributed significantly to the expansion of the private industry’s crop insurance program, which today is a major factor in crop production.” Altogether, John spent 27 years in the insurance business. After teaching school for five years, he became a special agent in 1955 in the Farm/Crop field with Great American Insurance Companies in Des Moines, Iowa. Two years later he moved to Chicago to become assistant U.S. farm

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Crop Insurance Today May 2012

Commitment to Excellence
2011 Year in Review
Farming: Pessimists Need Not Apply
Leadership: NCIS Regional/State Crop Insurance Committees
NCIS Board of Directors
Insect Resistance to Bt: Is it a new threat to crop production?
Another Successful Convention
Adam Vetter Given Outstanding Service Award
Pat Flanagan Given Industry Leadership Award
Step 6-Identifying and Evaluating Alternatives: What alternatives are feasible for the future?
In Memory of John F. Ames

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