Larry Heitman, NAU Country, was presented with the 2013 Crop Insurance Industry Leadership Award at the 2013 Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention. This award is given to individuals who are directly involved in the crop insurance industry and who consistently serve the industry by providing outstanding leadership.
Larry is Senior Vice President for NAU Country’s Western Branch office. Larry began his career in crop insurance industry as an hourly wheat adjuster in the drought of 1976 for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). Within two years was he promoted from an adjuster to a sales supervisor and then to a regional training manager.
In 1979, Larry moved to Washington D.C. to work for Jim Deal who at that time was manager of the FCIC. During this time the crop insurance legislation was moving through Congress and eventually passed as the Federal Crop Insurance Act of 1980. This Act allowed the private insurance sector to begin participating in the MPCI program.
In 1982, Larry traveled back to California with the FCIC to begin helping agents sell MPCI policies. By fall of 1982 Larry decided it was time for a move so he opened the first MPCI company branch office in California, which became the largest writer in that state. At that time there were not any standardized procedures for California crops so Larry dove in and took it upon himself to write and implement them. He used old fashion printing techniques and convinced agents to move from FCIC policies to his own private company. His main selling point to agents was that he could pay claims faster. In 1988, Larry went back to work for Jim Deal and National Ag Underwriters (currently RCIS). Larry had to convince these same agents to move their policies to National Ag and 90 percent of them moved with Larry! In 1999 he accepted his current position with NAU Country, opening the NAU Western Branch in Woodland, California. Since then he has also lead the opening of a regional office in Fresno, California.
Over the years Larry has demonstrated true leadership in developing crop insurance processes and procedures throughout California. He has consistently recognized the unique diversity in California’s agriculture from that of the traditional crop insurance products. Larry has worked with agricultural groups, agencies, lenders and individual growers to develop products and innovative ways to address the needs of California agriculture.
Photo Caption: (left to right) Greg Deal, NAU Country, Larry Heitman, Tom Zacharias, President, National Crop Insurance Services.