Industry pros honored at 6th Annual CTYIP Gala

CTYIP and PIACT honored the top industry professionals during the 6th Annual CTYIP Golden Gala, Oct. 3, 2019. The associations rolled out the red carpet, and more than 100 attendees enjoyed a fun-filled evening of networking, dinner, drinking, raffles and awards at Fantasia in North Haven, Conn.

CTYIP President Katie Bailey, CPIA, ACSR, CLCS; CTYIP Secretary Ryan Keating; and CTYIP Director Robyn Ricciardone presented the evening’s awards on behalf of CTYIP and thanked the event’s sponsors.

Then, PIACT past President Augusto Russell, CIC, announced the awards and winners on behalf of PIACT. Additionally, last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Jim Benson recognized Howard Olderman, who is this year’s recipient.

We were honored to award the following winners, who were chosen through a nomination survey of their peers and reviewed for qualification:

Lifetime Achievement

Howard Olderman,
Olderman & Hallihan Agency Inc.

Howard Olderman has been on PIACT’s board of directors since 2002 and is active in the association, currently serving on the Administration/Nominations and Association Programs committees. He served as president of PIACT in 2010-11.

In 2012, Olderman received PIACT’s Professional Agent of the Year award, which is given to a professional, independent agent who has demonstrated excellence and achievement in insurance marketing and service; has shown a personal commitment to professionalism; and has contributed to PIA and the community. He received PIACT’s Committee Chairperson of the Year award in 2007. This award honors the PIACT volunteer who best demonstrates dedication and effort in chairing one of PIACT’s committees. Olderman was honored for his service as chair of the Legislative Committee.

Olderman is president of The Olderman and Hallihan Agency Inc., in Ansonia, Conn. Active in the industry, he is an adjunct professor for Goodwin College in its insurance-focused curriculum, which PIACT has helped to develop. In his community, Olderman is on the board of managers for the YMCA.

PIACT Agent of the Year

Sandra Woodhouse, CPIW,
Swierad Insurance Associates LLC

Sandra Woodhouse is owner/agent at Swierad Insurance. Previously, she was operations manager at the Pawson Group. Woodhouse has demonstrated excellence and achievement in insurance marketing and service; personal commitment to professionalism; and made contributions to PIA and the community.

PIACT Company Person of the Year

Michael Sabo,
Great American Insurance Co.

Michael Sabo has demonstrated the qualities that foster a sound working relationship between insurance agent and company. He is a senior agency executive at Great American in Windsor. Prior to joining Great American, he was the assistant vice president at Eastern Insurance Group.

CTYIP Agent of the Year

Ryan Kelly, CLCS,
Merit Insurance

Ryan Kelly has continually demonstrated excellence and achievement in insurance marketing and service through his work as a commercial-lines coverage specialist at Merit, along with his personal commitment to professionalism, contributions to CTYIP and the community at large.

CTYIP Director of the Year

Jim Kannengeiser,
Shoff Darby Insurance

Jim Kannengeiser has gone above and beyond in participating in CTYIP board activities, attending meetings and events regularly, and being active on the committees to organize events.

Innovator of the Year

Frank Sentner,
Sentwood Consulting

Considered a legend in the industry, Frank Sentner has made a significant impact in the insurance technology field by providing technology solutions for the past 42 years.

Managing General Agency of the Year

Risk Placement Services

Ranking in the top five in every insurance category and consistently ranked as one of the largest MGAs in the country for several years, RPS Placement Services has excelled in providing exceptional market access, product offering and service to the industry.

Digital Agency of the Year

BSP Insurance

BSP has utilized cutting-edge technology to achieve a more efficient and forward-focused business model, such as through its mobile app, which helps gives the digital advantage to the insured.

Insurance Technology Company of the Year


Tarmika is a diverse team that brings together a combination of entrepreneurial, insurance agency and technology experience. It works to provide the most innovative solutions that deliver value to the market while pushing boundaries.

Insurance Technology Company of the Year


Veruna is considered the best of the breed, whereby leveraging the Salesforce platform and embracing change, independent agencies can now operate on a more forward-thinking level.

Excellence in Diversity


Chubb has shown diversity and inclusion to be at the heart of its business and provides employee programs for women, minority groups, persons with disabilities and LGBT individuals. Chubb believes that diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes business sense to help look at challenges from different angles critical to sustained success.


We’d like to thank our sponsors, without which our event would not be possible:

Event sponsor


Renaissance Alliance



Open bar

Abercrombie, Burns & McKiernan
Berliner-Gelfand & Co.
CRC group (formerly SCU Middletown)
Georgetown Financial Group
Greenberg, Rhein & Margolis Inc.
Iroquois Group
Johnson & Johnson
Olderman & Hallihan
Plymouth Rock
The Russell Agency

Gift Bags

Hanover Insurance

Cigar bar

BSP Insurance
MJ Keating
Quincy Mutual


Arrow Auto Glass
Servpro of Milford
XS Brokers


Crystal Cathcart


Scenes from the gala

CTYIP Awards Night Gala