On March 31, 1994, the initial steering committee of the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame met at the The Kelley Continuing Education Programs at Drake in Aliber Hall on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
The committee members were representatives of as many of the insurance trade organizations as we could identify in the Central Iowa area. Whether it was the “brain child” of Lis Spoerl or Susan Roberts, it is uncertain, but they were both members of the organization that was the original promoter, the Insurance Association of Greater Des Moines (IAGDM). IAGDM is affiliated with the International Association of Insurance Professionals (formerly known as the National Association of Insurance Women).
Iowa Insurance Foundation
Originally, one of the options was to become a committee of the Iowa Insurance Foundation that already had an exhibit at the State of Iowa Historical Building at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The exhibit called “We Gotcha Covered” had been in place since the early 1990s. That organization chose not to be our “parent” so the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame (IIHOF) became an autonomous organization. In 2007 the Iowa Insurance Foundation was dissolved and the remaining funds where generously donated to the IIHOF to be used for scholarships.
From its inception IIHOF wanted to have an exhibit, preferably at the Historical building, not only to honor the inductees, but to be an educational display for young people as well. A successful campaign was carried out with participation of all the major insurance companies and trade organizations contributing to the fund drive.
The exhibit was completed at a cost of $50,000 and was opened to coincide with the first induction of ten members on April 24, 1997. The exhibit was closed when the entire insurance exhibit was to be dismantled in 2003. Several other locations were considered, but none were acceptable because of location or cost. Due to age and deterioration, the exhibit was discarded in 2010.
The IIHOF.ORG Website
The physical display was transformed to a virtual display on the internet by IIHOF board member Robert Conroy, CPCU, CIC, in 2006 using the WordPress web development platform. Additional content is added each year to keep the web site current including information about new inductees.
Today there are over 1,200 documents on the website and the IIHOF website hosts thousands of unique visitors each year.
There were 10 initial inductees on April 24, 1997. From 1998 through 2005 four new members were inducted each year. Starting in 2006, up to 5 new members were inducted each year, with the final induction determined by the Board of Directors.