Texas Nominee Named 2021 National Outstanding CSR of the Year


Darnella Rodriguez, CIC, CRM, CISR, Account Manager for Higginbotham, in Austin, Texas, has been awarded the most prestigious honor available to insurance customer service representatives: National Outstanding CSR of the Year.

The Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR) and the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) selected Ms. Rodriguez as the national winner from a field of 27 state winners.  After five national finalists were chosen, a panel of judges evaluated their individual contributions to the insurance community and essays written on the topic:

“2020 presented major challenges to the insurance industry and every insurance buyer in the country. As clients re-evaluated their insurance coverages and carriers, agents quickly realized that they couldn’t rely on brand loyalty alone. Agents must also provide near perfect client experiences in order to protect them and keep businesses thriving. Describe the biggest challenges your agency or company and clients faced this past year and what three service strategies you employed to overcome them and continue delivering incredible experiences to your clients.”

In her essay, Ms. Rodriguez mentions what it takes to provide excellent customer service.  

She states: “You have to give sound advice, and it requires communication; you need to effectively communicate coverages and work well with others to ensure activities are done correctly and in a timely manner. But to truly give unique customer service, you have to put yourself in your client’s shoes, be two steps ahead of them, and be ready to provide solutions to anything and everything that comes up. That’s how you add value to a client’s business, by giving them the peace of mind that once they send over something or reach out to you, you will get it taken care of and minimize their concerns.” 

Ms. Rodriguez receives a cash award of $3,000, a distinctive gold and diamond lapel pin, and her name on a sculpture at The National Alliance headquarters.  A National Alliance scholarship will be awarded to her employer, Higginbotham.

In addition to the national winner, four national finalists were chosen from a competitive field of applicants:  

  • Marcella R. Beasley, MA, CIC, CISR, CRIS, MLIS, CCIP, CIIP, CLP with CIG Insurance, in Fresno, California
  • Susan M. Bintz, CIC, CISR with Kysar Millennium Leavitt Insurance Agency, in Farmington, New Mexico
  • Nachole Gillis, CISR Elite, CCIP, CLP with Marsh & McLennan Agency, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Nicholas Oleniczak, CISR with M3 Insurance, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Each finalist receives a gold and garnet lapel pin, $500 cash award, and publicity in a national trade journal.

Learn more about The Outstanding CSR of the Year competition!

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