Carrie Rengers

IMA president resigns for opportunity outside of insurance

Jeff Grace’s last day at IMA is Jan. 12. After that, he says he’ll share what he’s doing next.
Jeff Grace’s last day at IMA is Jan. 12. After that, he says he’ll share what he’s doing next. Courtesy photo

Jeff Grace has resigned from IMA in Wichita after 20 years, the last nine of which he’s been president of the commercial insurance brokerage.

He says that is turns out “leaving a place where you’ve worked pretty much your entire professional career … is a lot harder than I had thought.”

Grace says an opportunity came up outside of the insurance business, but he won’t say what it is yet in order to be “grateful and appreciative” to IMA.

“It’s important to celebrate and make the story more about what we’ve accomplished here and the great run we’ve had together,” Grace says. “We have really had a good nine-year run as it relates to the talent in the building, as it relates to our presence in the community.”

Grace will leave Jan. 12 and announce where he’s going shortly after that. He says he will remain in Wichita.

“We’re sick about him leaving,” says Kurt Watson, president and COO of IMA Financial Group, the parent company of IMA.

“We certainly, certainly respect Jeff’s decision, and we couldn’t be more proud of his contributions,” Watson says.

He’ll be the interim president of the company.

“The term ‘interim’ is important to me,” Watson says. “I hope we can find somebody quickly, and we will.”

He says there’s interest within the company.

“We above all try to promote from our internal group of people, and that’s our goal here,” Watson says. “I expect it not to take too long.”

Grace says business has been good in 2016, and the firm is committed to the market.

“We’ve re-invested heavily in the market,” he says.

“It’s important that the clients know the plans of IMA going forward,” Grace says. “This is a firm with close to 700 associates today.”

Two hundred of those employees are in Wichita.

IMA is an employee-owned company.

“We have definite plans on our vision 2020,” Grace says.

Watson says he has “a phenomenal relationship” with Grace, who turns 44 next month.

“Jeff has got a lot of years left in his career,” Watson says.

“It’s never easy to lose talented people, but sometimes that’s what happens.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers