Columnists of the Insurance Advocate®

Since 1889, the Insurance Advocate® has brought together some of the most incisive, hard-hitting columns and columnists on the insurance scene, focusing mostly on New York, New Jersey, parts of Connecticut, and Eastern Pennsylvania.


Our publisher, Steve Acunto, writes his editorial “Foreword” for each issue and gives the industry one of its best read, often quoted columns.

Steve Acunto is founder and president of CINN Media, Inc. a private group of companies with holdings in the publishing, insurance, real estate, fashion, entertainment, and management fields.  Since 1978, CINN’s publishing activities have centered upon financial services, public policy and Italian interests, as publisher of the Insurance Advocate®, founded in 1889, Southern Insurance, founded in 1886, Empire State Report magazine, founded in 1974, the Italian Journal, founded in 1947 and more than 30 other titles over its 35 years.  Mr. Acunto has received several business awards and appears frequently as a speaker before professional organizations in the U.S. and Europe. He is Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Insurance Federation of New York, Inc., and he serves on the Boards of several companies and educational Institutions, notably John Cabot University of Rome and College of Mount Saint Vincent. For more information, please visit Mr. Acunto’s website here.

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Face to Face

Columnist Michael Loguercio views the industry “Face to Face” from his vantage point as a vendor to independent insurance agencies. Michael attends almost every function and interfaces with our readers regularly.

Michael Loguercio is the Regional Sales Manager for EZ Lynx, as well as an active Past President of the Young Insurance Professionals of New York State. He is a current ACT/AUGIE, Professional Insurance Agents of New York State, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York State, and Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater New York committee member. In 2010 Mr. Loguercio was honored with the NYYIP/ PIA Insurance Professional of the Year award; and in 2012 with a NYYIP/PIA Lifetime Achievement award. Michael is also Chair of the 2013 Professional Insurance Agents Regional Awareness Program on Long Island. In his community, Mr. Loguercio is President of the Longwood Central School District Board of Education on Long Island, NY; is a Director on the board of REFIT NY (Reform Educational Financing Inequities) and is a member of The Middle Island, NY, Rotary Club and Central Brookhaven Lion’s Club. You may contact Mr. Loguercio at (631) 345 9359 or You may also follow him on Twitter @MLoguercioJr and on Facebook: Michael Anthony Loguercio Jr.

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Peter Bickford brings a fresh and sometimes irreverent perspective to the world of insurance regulation based on his decades of experience in his column, “Insight.”

Peter Bickford, Esq. is an independent counselor and arbitrator focusing particularly in the areas of insurance and reinsurance operational, regulatory and solvency issues. In addition to being a practicing attorney for over 30 years, he has been an officer of both a life insurance company and a property/casualty insurance and reinsurance facility with line responsibility for its contract and claims operations. He is an ARIAS-U.S. certified arbitrator and umpire, and because of his business background is uniquely qualified for insurance and reinsurance arbitrations that call for operational as well as legal experience and expertise. He is a frequent speaker and contributor to trade and legal publications on insurance, reinsurance and insolvency issues. Mr. Bickford is the author of Exchange: A Guide to an Alternative Insurance Market and the chapter on specialized non-life entities in the multi-volume legal treatise published by Matthew Bender & Co., New York Insurance Law & Practice. To contact Mr. Bickford please call (212) 889 7384.

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On the Level

“On the Level” features Jamie Deapo and N. Stephen Ruchman who bring us the views of the two major P/C insurance agents’ associations, in alternate issues. Both Jamie and Steve are strong voices for the independent agent and dedicated advocates for the respective approaches of their associations.


Jamie Deapo is AVP of Membership & Member Programs for IIABNY and is an approved CE instructor in New York.
Prior to being with IIABNY, he was an independent agent in the Syracuse area for 15 years.  Jamie started his career in 1972 working for insurance carriers, and he has held various underwriting and marketing positions with several national as well as regional companies.  He is a past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Central New York and served on the board of directors of IIABNY.

N. Stephen Ruchman, CPIA, is a retired independent agent and founder of Ruchman Associates, Inc. the agency he started in 1961. A past president of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State, Inc., he is an active supporter of PIANY, and he has sat on or chaired nearly every committee including the Executive Committee and the Long Island Advisory Council and PIANY’s Political Action Committee. He can be reached via email at:


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Exposures and Coverages

“Exposures and Coverages” brings us the most accurate, interesting observations anywhere about the insurance policy itself and how it affects the business of the agent and the ultimate client, the consumer.

Jerome Trupin, CPCU, is a partner in Trupin Insurance Services located in Briarcliff Manor, NY. He provides property/casualty insurance consulting advice to commercial, non-profit and governmental entities. He is, in effect, an outsourced risk manager. Mr. Trupin has been an expert witness in numerous cases involving insurance policy coverage disputes and has taught many CPCU and IIA courses. Jerry has spoken across the country on insurance topics and is the co-author of over ten insurance texts used in CPCU and IIA programs including Commercial Property Risk Management and Insurance and Commercial Liability Management and Insurance. He regularly contributes articles to CPCU Interest Group Newsletters, the Insurance Advocate®, and other publications. Jerry can be reached at

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From Counsel

“From Counsel” presents observations and advice regarding insurance-related corporate law.

Sari Gabay-Rafiy concentrates her practice on commercial litigation in New York state and federal courts and insurance regulatory matters before the New York State Insurance Department. She represents corporations and individual property/casualty and life and health insurance agents and brokers in licensing and re-licensing issues as well as in consumer complaints. Prior to co-founding Gabay-Rafiy & Bowler LLP, Sari was a litigator at Proskauer Rose LLP where she was on the legal team representing the policyholder, Silverstein Properties, in the property damage and business interruption insurance litigation arising out of the collapse of the Twin Towers. Sari has lectured at Continuing Legal Education seminars on topics related to legal ethics and professional responsibility. She has authored articles in her fields of interest and also writes fiction. In 2006 she received an honorable mention in SEAK’s National Fiction Writing Contest for Lawyers. As a Trustee of the Board of the Jewish Community Project in Tribeca, she is involved in leadership roles in her community. You may contact Sari at or (212) 941 5025.

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“Courtside” by Larry Rogak brings to the fore cases and decisions of relevance to doing insurance business. Some of the results are, in a word, “unbelievable”.

Larry Rogak has been practicing insurance law since 1981.  He has defended over 14,000 lawsuits and arbitrations and has represented over 75 different insurance companies and self-insured corporations. Lawrence N. Rogak LLC is listed in Best’s Recommended Insurance Attorneys, a distinction that requires written recommendations from at least 12 insurance carriers. A 1981 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Rogak has published more books and articles on insurance law than any other New York attorney in the field. To contact Mr. Rogak please email him at or call (516) 763 2996.

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The Social Notebook

“The Social Notebook” by Chris Paradiso, provides the independent insurance agent with strategic ways on how to market their agencies, effectively and successfully using social media and the web. Chris is “new” to our publication but has deep long lasting ties and connections in our industry.

Christopher Paradiso, CPIA, is President of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Service.  He has been acknowledged by several insurance publications as a leader in the industry for his use of digital marketing and social media to help brand his agency and promote other small businesses within his community. Chris has also been recognized for his charity work with The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

In 2011, Chris introduced “Paradiso Presents LLC,” a social media program aimed at teaching small agencies to not only survive, but also to compete in today’s complex online marketing world.

Chris resides in Stafford Springs, CT with his wife and two children, Mia and Gianni.

View recent installments of THE SOCIAL NOTEBOOK

In Focus

The “In Focus” section, written by our newest contributor, Kelly Donaghue-Piro, will highlight agencies and/or individuals who deserve recognition either for their commitment to the industry, to their clients or because of their overall accomplishments.

Kelly Donahue-Piro, founder and president of Agency Performance Partners, is a no-nonsense effectiveness expert who has helped hundreds of insurance agencies identify and capitalize on sustainable improvement opportunities. Her specialties include agency culture assessment and change; management and supervisory coaching and benchmarking; customer retention strategy development; digital marketing strategy, planning and implementation; and sales planning, management and skill building.

In 2014, she created Agency Performance Partners with a mission to “partner with insurance entrepreneurs who dream to take their business to the next level and beyond, by relentlessly pursuing excellence in world-class service and sales strategies.”

The centerpiece of the organization’s transformational work is its Agency Performance AssessmentTM, a comprehensive survey tool Kelly created to zero in on organization-wide improvement opportunities and provide the foundation for a customized agency action plan.

Mrs. Donahue-Piro is an engaging speaker who is available to conduct in-person and online agency success presentations that complement her firm’s one-on-one on-site and virtual consulting practice. Connect with her on social platforms, via email at kelly@agencyperformancepartners, or by phone at 401-415-6205.

View recent installments of IN FOCUS