Public adjusting firms are often small family businesses. Some are generational. Jodie Papa completed her term as President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) under one of the most trying of times caused by the Covid pandemic. Leaders of any business or organization have been forced to adapt and find a way towards success. Jodie and other leaders at NAPIA have done just that.
I was surprised to see the number of new NAPIA members in attendance. I was also impressed by the attention shown to the new members by the leaders of NAPIA. This is not by accident. Approximately four years ago, Jodie Papa and incoming NAPIA President Anita Taff founded NAPIA’s Ambassador Program to help reach out to newer public adjusters. It has obviously been successful because despite Covid, NAPIA membership has increased.
Jodie’s father is Ron Papa, a past NAPIA President and a very hard working public adjuster. From long ago, I recall Ron telling me a tongue in cheek story about taking Jodie as a very young girl on Sunday afternoon drives. They just happened to come across a house that had been damaged by fire. Ron said, ‘Jodie, look at that house that has been burnt. Let’s see if the family needs any help.’
This tongue in cheek story is actually true. While researching for this post, I came across an Alumni Spotlight from Niagara University which said this about Jodie Papa:
“At 34, Jodie Papa, ’05, has already achieved success in the male-dominated field of public insurance adjustment. And, although she is following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, industry icons Ron Papa, ’74, and Frank Papa (president and chairman of National Fire Adjustment Co., Inc., respectively), her path has been forged through hard work and her desire to learn the business from the ground up.
Jodie’s first foray into the family business came when she was a young girl.
“Every Sunday after church, we’d load into the car and spend the day chasing fires with my dad,” she explains. “Watching what he would do to help these people was just amazing, and I really wanted to get into it.”
Over the years, Jodie learned more about the business by going to the office with her dad and eventually traveling with him to out-of-state offices, where she observed how losses like hurricanes and floods were handled. By the time she was in college, she was working for the company on a part-time basis.
“I started off at the bottom,” she says. “I did contents inventory, worked with the accountants here, and helped with loss of income claims, so I really tried to learn all the different areas.”
After graduating from Niagara with an accounting degree, Jodie worked for an investment banking firm in New York City for a year to “broaden (her) horizons” before returning to Buffalo and joining the family business full time. A licensed adjuster since 2006, she was named manager of the NFA’s Buffalo office in 2015. That same year, she was elected secretary and member of the executive board of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. In 2017, she was named NAPIA’s fourth vice president…
Working with her family has also been rewarding,…
She enjoys having her grandfather across the hall so she can seek his advice when necessary, and says that working with two of her sisters has brought them closer together.”
Jodie Papa was destined to be a public insurance adjuster. Following this year’s annual meeting, Ron told me that he was most proud of how Jodie guided NAPIA through Covid 19 and how she did it with professionalism and expertise.
When I asked Jodie what she was most proud of during her presidency and time on the NAPIA Board, she told me:
“Most proud of….I would say the way we as leaders of association handled the pandemic. We shifted how we did things. We were able to open doors and create new dialogues with many insurance commissioners and their staffs through one on one effort. NAPIA’s membership increased. While on the Board and then as President, I always focused on reaching out to public adjusters who were not NAPIA members, making them feel welcome and giving them the opportunity to work with those that have a lot of valuable expertise and experience in the industry. Anita Taff and myself created the ambassador program to do just that! I am also proud that I followed in my fathers footsteps!”
Ron Papa and his daughter Katie were on a panel with former Merlin Law Group attorney turned public adjuster Denise Hsu Sze about effective and professional communications. A highlight of that program was Ron Papa explaining how he overcame an insurance adjuster that was not returning his phone calls and messages. Ron sent flowers to the office expressing his sympathy for their loss and passing of their colleague. He not only got a quick response from the adjuster, but suggested that the others in the office would not want the same treatment and were always quick to respond.
NAPIA’s annual meeting was a success with an outstanding educational session. NAPIA remains in good hands with Anita Taff as President. Anita has been prominent in the growth of the Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters as I noted in Georgia Public Adjusters Have It Going On! and Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters’ May 14 Spring Conference Will Be Missing Foy Taff.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.”