(SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.) – Kent Petersen, Hudson Crop Insurance, Robert Parkerson, ProAg Insurance, Russell Slade, Diversified Crop Insurance Services, and Charles “Chuck” Lassey, retired, were presented with a Crop Insurance Industry Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention. Tim Weber, Chairman of the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) Board of Directors, and Tom Zacharias, President of NCIS, presented the awards.
Kent Petersen began his career in the crop insurance industry almost 40 years ago. From 1973 to 1990, Kent worked for Crop Hail Management, starting as a crop insurance adjuster and working up through the ranks to become the chief operations officer. From 1990 to 1992, Kent assisted with the transition and in 1992 was named manager of underwriting and reinsurance for Rural Community Insurance Services. He served in that position until 1997.
After a brief retirement from the industry, Kent returned to the industry as president of CropUSA in January of 2003. In 2008, Hudson Insurance Company purchased the assets of CropUSA and the employment contracts of many employees. Kent supported that transition and was named senior vice president of Hudson Insurance Company and President of Hudson Crop. He remained in that position until his retirement in September 2013.
Kent was a member of many industry organizations including serving on the NCIS Board of Directors from 1992-1997. He was also an active member of the American Association of Crop Insurers, serving as a strong advocate for the crop insurance industry.
Mr. Petersen was unable to attend the convention so accepting the award on his behalf was Dan Gasser, Hudson Crop Insurance.
Robert “Bob” Parkerson has been dedicated to the crop insurance industry for many years, and in a leadership position since the early 1990s. Bob worked with Old Republic in the 1980s, at a time when they were the largest industry company in the MPCI program. He became president of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) at a time when the industry was in need of a true leader, which Bob filled with class and dignity.
As president of NCIS for 17 years, Bob was instrumental in the industry growing from a group that was struggling to reach $1 billion in premium to a powerhouse industry that exceeds $12 billion in premiums. Each step forward along this path included Bob representing the industry with patient guidance, leadership and respect from other crop insurance stakeholders. Bob was more often than not the first person reached out to on critical issues with USDA, Congress, reinsurance companies and the press.
Thanks to Bob’s leadership there is utmost respect for NCIS as an educational resource, providing detailed analytical input when change inevitably occurs in this industry. Bob is also recognized in the international crop insurance arena, due to his long time and positive profile in the U.S. crop insurance program. Many foreign operations seeking to learn from the best have consulted with Bob through the years.
Russell Slade has spent the better part of the last three decades making his mark on the crop insurance industry landscape. Prior to starting in crop insurance, he farmed in Georgia and also sidelined as a crop duster. In 1983, Russell began his career with the Cotton States crop division as a claim and marketing manager and was later promoted to vice president of the crop insurance operation. Subsequently, Russell joined Blakley Crop Insurance as vice president of their south/east region. In 2005, Russell joined Diversified Crop Insurance Services as general manager and played an instrumental role as DCIS transitioned to a full service crop insurance company.
Russell’s efforts and passion for the industry could be found on both the crop-hail and MPCI programs and he has gained the respect and goodwill from all those who worked with him, not only in the field but as a member of many of the NCIS standing committees. Russell’s leadership, knowledge, influence, values and people skills made a mark on all those within Diversified Crop Insurance Services but also those in the crop insurance industry who have had the privilege of working with him.
A long-time advocate of NCIS and its committees, Russell has spent a significant amount of time championing the importance of a unified industry. His expertise on such crops as cotton, peanuts and tobacco proved to be invaluable to the industry in both the MPCI and crop-hail programs. He has served on many NCIS committees over the years including, but not limited to: the MPCI Policies and Forms Committee; Loss Adjustment and Insurance Products Committee; Crop-Hail Policy, Procedure and Loss Adjustment Committee; the NCIS Board of Directors; and, the NCIS South/East, Gulf States and Kentucky/Tennessee Regional/State Committees.
CHARLES “CHUCK” LASSEY
Charles “Chuck” Lassey began his crop insurance career working for Rain and Hail in North Dakota. In the mid 1960’s, he went to work for the Insurance Company of America. Later, Chuck joined American Ag, and later worked for Agro National. Chuck spent most of his career as a field representative, a supervisor and a branch manager in the Northwestern states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, with some duties in North Dakota. Chuck earned the respect and admiration of his agents and his fellow competitors for his honesty and work ethic.
Chuck was always active in the industry, serving on many of the committees – from the old loss adjusting committees to more recent when he served on the NCIS Northwest Regional/State Committee.
Still today when speaking with the many of the agents he worked with over his tenure, he is well respected and thought of often. Through the years Chuck recruited a large number of adjusters and field representatives to the crop insurance industry, many of whom still work in it. His son, Paul Lassey, also works in the industry, traveling the same states as his father. Chuck is well known and highly respected for his expertise in specialty crops produced in the Northwest states. He was always willing to take on the most difficult tasks, including supervising and adjusting apples on a project in Mexico for an international reinsurer.
Presenting the awards was Tim Weber (left), Chairman of the NCIS Board of Directors and Tom Zacharias (right), President of NCIS.