Last week I lost a dear friend and mentor and the industry lost a bright light. Many of my blog subscribers don’t know John Eubank but a lot of you do, at least by reputation. If you know someone who knew John or had attended a seminar or webinar of his, please pass a link on to this post.
John had been a leader in insurance and risk management education for the past 30 years through the literally thousands of seminars and webinars he had conducted across the country, quite a feat given that John would not fly. I won’t belabor his comprehensive resume of experience and accomplishments going back to his graduation as an engineer in the 1960s.
I first met John when he was with the Tennessee Inspection Bureau, an Insurance Services Office (ISO) predecessor. The Western Actuarial Bureau in Chicago offered an engineering scholarship at Illinois Institute of Technology which had one of only two 4-year degree programs in fire protection engineering in the country, and he visited my high school to see if there was interest in the scholarship. I had already enrolled in a local university and planned to be a high school math/science teacher. But I couldn’t pass the chance for a free ride at a top university, so I was the only applicant from my school and ended up getting the scholarship and ultimately graduating and going to work for ISO.
From the outset of my career at ISO, John groomed me for a management position, moving through a typical career path that led to me becoming the manager of ISO field operations in Tennessee and Kentucky when John was appointed a regional ISO Vice President. I can recall, as part of an ISO management development program, when John introduced me to delegation when he was still a state manager. To keep current on the industry, he had to review at least a dozen weekly and monthly industry publications, from Best’s Review to the National Underwriter. One of my tasks was to take over reading these publications and mark the ones that he should read. It’s a classic example I’ve used in management classes to illustrate how to properly delegate so that both parties benefit and one doesn’t feel dumped on. I learned an awful lot from this.
Prior to my move into management, he had “encouraged” me to get the CPCU designation and he taught CPCU classes for many years in Nashville before leaving ISO 30 years ago to start his own education firm, Professional Insurance Education, Inc. As far as technical knowledge of commercial lines policy forms goes, John had few peers. When it came to commercial lines coding and rating, I don’t think he had any peers outside ISO’s Jersey City headquarters. On top of that, like the late, great Don Malecki, CPCU, John was a trove of historical information on the insurance industry.
John receives a lifetime achievement award from the Mid-Tennessee CPCU chapter for his local, state and national contributions to the industry. Pictured with his wife Barbara.
I left ISO about a year after John did and went to work for the Insurors of Tennessee where we used John extensively for commercial lines seminars for over a dozen years. When I left the Insurors to join the national Big I staff and build the Virtual University, John was the first person I asked to be a volunteer faculty member. During my 17+ years with the Big I, John and I were almost in daily contact via the VU “Ask an Expert” service and our “G5” subgroup which consisted of John and me plus faculty members David Thompson, Mike Edwards, and Jay Williams.
John and I doing a webinar while vacationing in Florida.
John and I were close friends with Don Malecki and his partner Greg Deimling. We spent many weekends together at Greg’s lake home in Kentucky. While the spouses played, so did we…by sitting around the dining room table for 3 days debating insurance coverage issues, arguing policy form language, analyzing court cases, interpreting condo docs and construction contracts, and helping each other develop educational programs.
L to R: John Eubank, Bill Wilson, Don Malecki, Greg Deimling
In the fall and winter, John, I and our spouses could be found tailgating at Vanderbilt football games where we, of course, discussed the important insurance issues of the day. We had recently renewed our Commodore Club membership and received our tickets and parking pass for the coming season.
Tailgating at a Vandy football game. John attended Vanderbilt before transferring to Illinois Institute of Technology.
No one in the industry has had a greater impact on my career than John. He was a mentor, an inspiration and a friend. I and others who knew him will miss him. For those of you who had the privilege of being one of his students, I hope you will continue to be motivated and inspired to learn your craft and serve your customer base as he did. RIP, good friend.
A Southern gentleman.
For decades, John was a fixture at the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500 and Masters golf tournament.
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