It’s that time of year again! The IASA 2019 Annual Conference is just around the corner, with this year’s conference taking place at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the largest annual gatherings of insurance, financial, and technology professionals, IASA is a great place to network, learn, and find solutions to your business challenges. Yet, with over 75 educational sessions, vendor connect tours, and keynotes spread over four days, it can also be a daunting experience to navigate.
If you’ve been to previous IASA conferences, this year’s event may feel a bit different for you. You probably noticed a whole new look and feel to the conference website and an easier registration process, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! For example, the first keynote event this year will be held on Sunday afternoon, with celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman—and he’ll be joining the attendees in the exhibit hall for the opening reception on Sunday evening!
So first, a few bits of useful information:
- Registration will be in in the North Ballroom, outside the exhibit hall on the lower level of the North Building. You’ll need your badge to get into the first keynote, so be sure to get your badge early!
- The Opening Keynote will be in the West Ballroom, on the 300 Level of the West Building—another great reason to register early!
- The Opening Reception and the Business Show will be back in the North Ballroom on Sunday evening from 5pm-8pm—you get an extra hour of time this year to meet the exhibitors and network with your peers!
- Educational Sessions will be held on multiple floors, including the 100 level of the North Building and the 100 level of the West Building.
- The newly-branded executive education event—OnPoint--will be held in the North Building.
- Tuesday’s breakfast will be a Networking Breakfast in the exhibit hall—it’s your last chance to meet with vendors, visit the InsurTech Pavilion, and grab goodies before you leave!
- The Tuesday evening Networking Event will be a street party on 3rd Street from 7pm-10pm, with food trucks, two entertainment areas, a beer garden, and more!
- New this year, there will an After Party on Tuesday night from 10pm-midnight at the Grand Sheraton Valley of the Sun Ballroom!
Next, whether you’re new to IASA or an experienced veteran, below are 5 tips to help you maximize your time and opportunity at IASA, all with updated links and information:
1. Plan Ahead!
IASA offers a number of resources to help you prepare for their annual event. Visit the Conference Website and use the links to plan your days. Start by downloading the one page “At-A- Glance Agenda”, and print it out as a convenient map for planning your conference. Next, review the educational sessions in all three tracks—Accounting, Risk, and Finance (ARF), Technology (Tech), & Professional Development (PD)—and confirm your options for each of the educational slots. Be sure to check out the Super Sessions—each track has a deep dive session with a prominent speaker on Monday (ARF & Tech) or Wednesday (PD).
Finally, visit the Exhibits Page and click the View Floor Plan link to review the more than 170 solution providers who will be onsite. You can click on “Advanced Search” at the top of the page to select specific categories of interest, enabling you to select and prioritize the vendors that are most important for you to visit during the show.
ProTip: If your firm is looking to improve policyholder communications and experience be sure to join Vendor Connect Tour #887—Delivering the Best Customer Experience. SPLICE Software will be among the exhibitors presenting on this tour, around both the value of customer experience, and ways to improve service and reduce costs by proactively contacting customers with both Customer- and Data-Driven Dialogs®.
2. Download the Conference App!
IASA has made navigating the conference onsite easier than ever by providing a fully-functional app for your smartphone or tablet. Download the app in advance by visiting the App Store or Google Play and searching for “IASA, Inc.” You’ll want to click on the gear icon at the top and add your name and personal info (which can only be viewed by people with whom you connect). You can then add sessions and events to your schedule, simply by clicking the star symbol on the session’s description inside the app. From the app, you can download session materials, take notes, connect with and send messages to other attendees, view the exhibit hall map, search for vendors, and complete surveys on sessions and speakers, among a number of other robust features.
ProTip: Be sure to publish your profile so other attendees can find you in the app!
3. Watch Your Email!
Outside of the official Sunday night cocktail party in the Exhibit Hall and the Tuesday night networking reception, there are a number of invitation-only parties and receptions hosted by sponsors and vendors of the IASA Conference. If you gave IASA permission to share your contact information during registration, you’re likely to find a number of invitations to those parties arriving in your inbox during the two to three weeks prior to the event. You’ll also find promotions of contests, giveaways, and other activities going on throughout the Exhibit Hall. Keep your eyes peeled for these promotions because (based on rumor and history) you could be leaving Phoenix with a prize or two ranging from an Apple Watch to a personal drone!
4. Get Networking!
Also new for 2019, IASA has provided the Brella App to encourage & enable better networking during the event. You should have received an email from IASA on May 13th or May 15th (if you were registered prior to those dates) with a link to the Brella app. You’ll need to sign up online, and then you can download the Brella app from the App Store or Google Play to make connections on the go. Just use Join Code iasa2019.
5. Don’t Forget the Basics!
It’s really easy to arrive at any conference and realize you’ve left behind one of the basic items you meant to bring or didn’t know you needed. Here are a few frequently forgotten and/or special items to add to your packing list:
- Business Cards – Not all vendors use badge scanning devices, and networking with other attendees is a key benefit of the IASA Conference. So, business cards are an essential tool for entering contests and connecting post-conference.
- Notebook – If you don’t plan to take session notes in the conference app, you might want to bring a notebook, padfolio, or iPad/tablet to capture notes during the educational sessions.
- Pens – Either bring a few pens with you or remember to get some from vendors before the educational sessions start, so you have them on-hand for note taking purposes.
- Charging Cables – You’ll be on the run all day and night, so make sure you remember to pack your charge cables and backup batteries for your various electronic devices.
ProTip: If you forget your cable, stop by the SPLICE Software booth for a multi-use cable that works with Apple Lightning Connector, Micro-USB, and USB-C!
- Block Party Attire – Tuesday night’s networking event will be an outdoor block party, so be sure to bring some lightweight clothing, sunglasses, and maybe even a hat to use until the sun goes down!
- Sunscreen & Appropriate Clothing – Phoenix weather in June is almost certain to be sunny & HOT! Be sure to pack some sunscreen and aloe, especially if you’re planning to spend some time by the pool or tour local attractions during the day. And bring lightweight clothing, but—as always—be sure to bring a light jacket as well, since air-conditioned conference rooms can get chilly!
If you have any other questions, feel free to message me on Twitter @dmreffitt. Feel free to connect with me on Brella, and look for me onsite; when I’m not attending sessions or speaking (I’ll be one of the presenters in Tuesday morning’s Skills Fair), you’ll likely find me in booth #509!
SPLICE Software will be exhibiting at IASA booth #509. Stop by to learn more about how SPLICE’s Data-Driven Dialogs® and Customer-Driven Dialogs™ can help you connect with your policyholders at the right time and via their channels of choice! We’ll also be participating in Vendor Connect Tour #887—Delivering the Best Customer Experience—and Vendor Conenct Tour #984—Digital Transformation & Emerging Technologies
Disclaimer: Darin Reffitt is also a member of the volunteer Management Team of IASA, Inc., currently in the role of VP of Marketing. The information presented above is all publicly-available information obtained through IASA’s conference app and promotional emails, and is not prepared or presented on behalf of IASA.