Iowa Chapter History

At noon, on January 25, 1952, a group of ten CPCUs met at the Hotel Savery in Des Moines for the purpose of forming the Iowa Chapter of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU Society as of January, 1994). At 1 p.m. that day, the Constitutional Committee met to draw up a Constitution and By-Laws for the proposed Iowa Chapter. At 3 p.m., the first Board of Directors meeting was held.

From this modest beginning, over 60 years ago, this group of dedicated CPCUs has grown to more than 60 times its original size. In that first year, the small group held an “I-Day” with 209 people in attendance. The 1953 Insurance Industry Day drew 233 attendees.

Mary Lichty, our first woman member, joined the chapter in 1956 and was the only woman member for eleven years. Today, women make up over 30% of the chapter membership. In 2001, for the first time, the number of women exceeded the number of men as Iowa Chapter new designees.

By 1960, the membership of the Iowa Chapter had tripled. The third I-Day was sponsored jointly with the newly-formed Eastern Iowa Chapter. The "highlight" of the program was to be the induction of the new designees from both chapters. Unfortunately, from the Iowa Chapter's point of view, Eastern Iowa took all the glory with two new designees. It would be thirteen years before the Iowa Chapter attempted another I-Day program.

Since 1968, new CPCUs have been acknowledged with a display ad, including their photographs, in the Des Moines Register welcoming them as members of the Iowa Chapter of the CPCU Society. Since 1990 a full page ad has been placed in the Business Section. The Iowa Chapter has held an Insurance Industry Day each Fall since 1973 and a workshop each Spring since 1980.

Starting in 1986, the chapter had given an Insurance Scholarship to a Drake University student studying insurance or related subjects. In 1994, the Iowa Chapter funded a second insurance scholarship to a Drake University student, which in 1999 was named the "Theodore D. Lussem Achievement Scholarship". In 2003 the eligibility rules for both scholarships were changed so that they would be awarded to Iowa Chapter members and their dependents, within guidelines.

In May of 1987, the Grinnell Sub-Chapter of the Iowa Chapter of CPCU was formed, with ten members. In it's over twenty years of existence the membership has quadrupled to 40 currently. All of the Sub-Chapter members are employed by Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance. In October of 2007 a second sub-chapter was formed (North Central Iowa Sub-Chapter) based in Algona.

With the help of Bob Conroy, in 1997 we established our own web site on the internet. In that same year the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame had its first induction ceremony.  Twenty-one of our current and former members have been inducted and they are: Robb Kelley, 1997; Ted Lussem, 2000; Ray Murphy, 2001; Mary Lichty, 2001; Margaret Ball, 2002; Terri Vaughan, 2003; Ben Condon, 2003; Kirk Hayes, 2004; Lou Burkhalter, our first president, 2005; Judy Brannon, 2006; Dean Brooks, 2007; Bob Skow, 2007; Dan Agnew, 2009; George Kochheiser, 2009: charter member Larry Matthews, 2009; James D. Kirkpatrick, 2011; Fred Schiek, 2012; Russell Sporer, 2012; Richard Keith, 2013; Jennie LeGates, 2015; and Bruce Kelley, 2015.

The year 2007 is one that needs to be noticed. Not only did we celebrate our 55th anniversary, but a couple of other milestones were achieved. In 2007 we had the largest group of new designees ever in the history of the Iowa Chapter with a total of 121. We were one of only six chapters of the Society nationally to increase their numbers by more than 100. It must also be noted that only three chapters have more members than the Iowa Chapter's 605 members this year.

Monthly educational meetings and an annual "Outing" are events that have continued from the time of formation of the Iowa Chapter to the present.