Chapter Volunteer Profile
By Patrick Raleigh, Merrill Corporation, IASA Land O' Lakes Chapter Past President

Featured Volunteer: John O'Hara, The Warranty Group, President of the IASA Chicagoland Chapter

eInterpreter: What was the first IASA Chapter event you attended and what inspired you to go?
O'Hara: I was part of the revitalization team for the Chicagoland Chapter. A group of local insurance industry finance and IT folks got together for lunch with several members from National. Our first event was a networking reception at the then Trump Tower in Chicago. It got us up and running in a matter of a few months.

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eInterpreter: What is the biggest benefit of having access to insurance education locally to you and your company?
O'Hara: Chicagoland has had two educational conferences each year. These sessions focus on current industry topics and provide the opportunity to meet and network with others in the industry. We do this in convenient locations and keep the cost of attendance as low as possible. 

eInterpreter: If money was no object...what would you love to do for a living?
O'Hara: I would teach business basics at our local community college. It seems that no matter what your career interests are, you need to have an overall grasp on how our economy works.

eInterpreter: Do you have any hobbies that could affect your personal insurance premiums? 
O'Hara: I don't do NASCAR or parachuting. I try to walk a few miles each day, weather permitting. It's us against the automobiles out there. 

eInterpreter: Do you volunteer for any other organization other than the IASA? If so, which organization and why?
O'Hara: I'm a big believer in volunteering. In addition to the Chicagoland Chapter, I volunteer on the National Industry Relations Committee working with the IASA scholarship group. I also do low income taxpayer assistance during tax season. I have also volunteered with the Midwest Insurance industry board for the City of Hope.

eInterpreter: Besides family and friends, what 3 things could you NOT live without?
O'Hara: Family and friends are definitely most important. I really enjoy reading mysteries and foreign intrigue novels. I'm also a big fan of anything Bond, James Bond.

How did you first get started in the insurance industry?
O'Hara: I was asked to take over the risk management department at Montgomery Ward in the late eighties. In those days, I relied very heavily on our brokers to school me. I then moved into finance and administration roles at professional services firms. I got back into insurance when I took a finance role at Lloyd's in Chicago and then got responsibility for US finance operations. Funny thing--the person that brought me to Lloyd's was one of the brokers that schooled me at Montgomery Ward.

eInterpreter: What would you say to a colleague, or even a peer at another company, who has never attended an IASA Chapter event about getting involved?
O'Hara: Put your toe in the water and attend a chapter event. Our attendees are friendly and welcome newcomers. You might even learn something that will help you in your daily responsibilities. 

eInterpreter: What is your current job and what aspect of your position do you find most rewarding?
O'Hara: I am currently doing project consulting in the finance and insurance arenas. It's rewarding to see projects completed on time with a satisfied client.

eInterpreter: So after a tough your release a good workout, a certain food, or something over ice?
O'Hara: I've been known to tip a pint or two for sure, but going to the health club a few days a week is what gets me to "my quiet place".

Pictured: John O'Hara