THE BEGINNING OF KAIFPA
As the population of Korean American increased, many opened small businesses and sole proprietorships. They had a variety of insurance needs and thus formed an ever-increasing market for developing Korean insurance professionals. In response to this, the number of active agents grew. And with this growth in the industry there also developed a need for better training and a medium for the prompt exchange of new information. In the early 1980's, a Korean American insurance association was deemed necessary and a group of progressive insurance agents agreed to form such an association.
FIRST CHAPTER ESTABLISHED
The association that was developed was called the Korean Insurance Agents & Brokers Association of America, or KIABAA. KIABAA provided a number of services, not only for insurance agents but also for the Korean American community in Southern California at large. The association conducted events and seminars for insurance professionals, individuals, and businessmen. These seminars included on new rules and regulations in the industry and changes in regulation and policy
In 1996, insurance agents required more professional skills, vaster knowledge, an increase in ethics, and a greater degree of specialization in the industry field. KIABAA took this opportunity to increase their degree of professionalism and changed its name to KAIPA, or the Korean American Insurance Professionals Association. KAIPA strove for continuous development and increased efforts to work with other professional organizations and mainstream companies as a means to exchange information and better meet the needs of Korean American community. The association was able to build and maintain a good relationship with major insurance companies, brokerage firms, medical groups, local hospitals, and with Korean Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles.
INSURANCE GUIDE' PUBLISHED
KAIPA also continued to provide the community and industry professionals with additional services and educational activities. In 1997, KAIPA undertook a project that would prove to be one of the association's greatest and most significant accomplishments. The association agreed to publish an insurance guidebook for the Korean American community and insurance providers. The 230-page guidebook took two years to complete, and was published and distributed to the Korean American public, at no cost, in February of 1999. An incredible amount of time, expense, and energy went into the publication of the guidebook, which is deemed a significant achievement for the organization.
KAIPA began hosting its Annual Marketing Forum as a means to communicate with and reach out to other ethnic insurance professionals, providers and companies. With an increase in the number of insurance and financial professionals in Korean American community, the KAIPA and its role grew unwieldy. The board of director led discussions to address the possible change of the organization's name and the conversion of the organization as to a membership organization as well as the bylaws in English.
A NEW NAME AND A NEW STRUCTURE
The 2000s was a beginning of unprecedented growth for both the insurance and financial profession in the industry. The number of financial planning professionals rose dramatically, and both profession became a critical part of the economy in Korean American community.
Along with the new president came a change in organizational structure. In 2003, KAIPA has changed its name to KAIFPA, or Korean American Insurance & Financial Professionals Association, to reflect growing membership of both professions. KAIFPA is a fee-based membership professional organization.
The economy created opportunities for the association to realize its full potential. It would all begin with a new name.