Charles Eshleman Elected President of the Greater New Orleans Executives Association

Charles Eshleman
Charles Eshleman

Charles Eshleman, Vice President of Gillis, Ellis & Baker (GEB), has been elected President of the Board of Directors of the Greater New Orleans Executives Association. He has been an active member of the organization since 2012.

Prior to joining GEB in 1994, Charles was President of the Bryer Insurance Agency in Metairie, LA. A graduate of Metairie Park Country Day School, Charles also obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tulane University, and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane.

Charles has over 25 years experience handling large property and casualty accounts, with an emphasis on construction and real estate. He has served on the state board of the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Louisiana, and is a past president of the New Orleans chapter of PIA. In 1998, he was named PIA’s Insurance Agent of the Year for Louisiana. In addition, Charles has served on the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Metairie Park Country Day, New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor, and The Tulane Alumni Association.

gnoea-logoAbout the GNOEA:
Founded in 1971, the Greater New Orleans Executives Association is an organization of 65 business owners in the metropolitan area. The association serves its members by allowing them to share critical business information, referrals and market data along with expert advice on key legal, accounting, insurance and labor issues.

IRS to Accept ACA Filings After June 30 Deadline

IRS to Accept ACA Filings After June 30 Deadline-1

The IRS has announced that electronic Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns may continue to be filed after the filing deadline, which was June 30, 2016. These returns are required under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6055 and 6056, which were created by the ACA. Reporting entities that file 250 or more individual statements under these reporting requirements must file electronically through the ACA Information Returns (AIR) Program.

Reporting entities that were not able to submit all required ACA information returns by June 30, 2016, should still complete the filing of returns after the deadline. In general, penalties may apply for information returns that are not filed on time. However, the IRS will not assess penalties for late filing on reporting entities that have made legitimate efforts to file information returns, if they continue to make efforts and complete the process as soon as possible. In addition, penalties may be waived in some cases, for reasonable cause.


Parke Ellis Honored with IIABL Lou Daniel Award

Parke Ellis
Parke Ellis

Gillis, Ellis & Baker (GEB) would like to congratulate Chairman, Parke Ellis, for receiving the highest honor given by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Louisiana (IIABL), the Lou Daniel Award. He received the honor on June 20th during the IIABL Annual Convention at the Sandestin Beach Hilton in Destin, Fla.

Lou Daniel was an independent agent from Baton Rouge, who served as the Legislative Chairman for many years and served as the Louisiana State National Director to the national Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America for many years.

Parke Ellis receiving the Lou Daniel Award from IIABL President, David Dethloff

The IIABL Lou Daniel Award is only awarded when someone has contributed to IIABL and the Louisiana insurance industry over many years and clearly rises above the contributions of other valuable association volunteers. Parke is the 27th recipient of the Lou Daniel Award, which has been given out since 1965.

Parke served with distinction on the IIABL Board of Directors, rose through the officer chairs, and served as IIABL President in 2013-2014. During his time on the IIABL Board of Directors, one of the primary strategic goals of IIABL was to bring new young talent into our Louisiana independent agencies. The IIABL Board frequently discussed various ways to recruit, train, and employ young people into local agencies.

Cohort 1 Alumni
LIA Cohort 1 Alumni

As part of this effort, Parke created the Louisiana Insurance Academy (LIA). Parke worked with Delgado Community College in New Orleans to recruit a wide variety of new prospects into the Academy program, developed curriculum, recruited instructors, taught classes, managed the program, counseled students, and graduated 29 newly trained people into Louisiana independent agencies and brokers.

Cohort 2 Graduates
LIA Cohort 2 Alumni

The passion which Parke has for career opportunities in independent agencies, his hard work, and the enormous amount of time he has spent in creating this program is truly inspiring.

Parke has been with GEB since 1981 and is a graduate of the Williams School of Business at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

In addition to the IIABL and the LIA, Parke serves the insurance industry in the following capacities:

• President – Associated Risk Managers (ARM) of Louisiana
• Board Member – Associated Risk Managers (ARM) International
• Past President – Independent Insurance Agents of Greater New Orleans

Thank you for your passion for and service to the insurance industry, Parke! This honor is certainly well-deserved. Congratulations!

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana is the go to information resource and primary advocate for independent insurance agents in Louisiana. IIABL is a member-based, professional trade association serving more than 400 independent insurance agents, meeting the education, political and business needs of members to maximize business opportunities. Learn more at

Aviation General Liability for a Holistic Risk Management and Insurance Program [eBook]

New Orleans Aviation Insurance

Few businesses have more exposure to risks and liabilities than airports. However, most threats that airports face can be managed through a combination of insurance and risk management.

To provide more information on this complex insurance market, our Partners at Assurex Global, in collaboration with The Magnes Group, created the eBook, Aviation General Liability for a Holistic Risk Management and Insurance Program. Read the eBook to learn more about the following types of aviation insurance:

• Premises LiabilityNew Orleans Aviation Insurance
• Hangarkeeper’s Liability
• Products and Completed Operations Liability
• Personal and Advertising Injury Liability
• Contractual Liability

Read the full eBook here >

Liz LaGrange Named TIPOGNO 2015-2016 Rookie of the Year

Liz LaGrange, AINS, CIC
Liz LaGrange, CIC

Gillis, Ellis & Baker would like to congratulate Commercial Lines Account Manager, Liz LaGrange, CIC, for being named the 2015-2016 Rookie of the Year by The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans (TIPOGNO)!

The Rookie of the Year award is presented to recognize the accomplishments of a new member who has made a significant contribution to the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) within two years of joining the association.

Liz has been in the insurance industry since 2010 and has been a member of TIPOGNO since 2013. She has served as chairperson on two different committees and participated in multiple education programs. Liz also obtained the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation, and recently completed the Confidence While Communicating (CWC) course and has competed in the local and regional speak-off competitions.

TIPOGNO President-Elect, Amber Townsend, presenting the Rookie of the Year Award to Liz LaGrange
TIPOGNO President-Elect, Amber Townsend, presenting the Rookie of the Year Award to Liz LaGrange

Since entering the industry in 2010 with no prior insurance experience, she has steadily been promoted from an entry-level assistant to Commercial Lines Account Manager. She stated that being a part of IAIP has been one of the best decisions she has made in terms of appreciating and maintaining her career.

Liz is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where she earned a pair of Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Spanish and Political Science.

Liz received her award at the TIPOGNO Officer Installation and Awards Dinner on June 2nd at Metairie Country Club. Liz was very surprised to receive her award, although of course we were not… We would like to thank her for being an influential part of ‪the GEB team‬, as well as the local insurance community!

Left to Right: Angela Hochberger, Heidi Thrash, Angela Falcone, Doug Mills, Liz LaGrange, Karen Crouch, Katy Green, Brenda Puckett, and Amanda Graves
Left to Right: Angela Hochberger, Heidi Thrash, Angela Falcone, Doug Mills, Liz LaGrange, Karen Crouch, Katy Green, Brenda Puckett, and Amanda Graves

At the event, two of GEB’s own were inducted as members of the Board of Directors:
– Personal Lines Account Manager, Angela Falcone, CISR, CIIP
– Commercial Lines Account Manager, Liz LaGrange, AINS, CIC

GEB is also proud to have numerous TIPOGNO Committee Chairpersons, including:
Karen Crouch, Assistant Treasurer
Lynn Labus, Education
Angie Hochberger, Health/Fitness/Safety
Katy Green, IIAGNO Liaison

We are looking forward to the year ahead under the leadership of newly installed President, Brittany Davis Stoudt of Emergency Restoration, Inc. Congratulations, Brittany!


IAIP LogoFounded in 1938, The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans (TIPOGNO) is a local chapter of the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP), which is open to individuals in the insurance and risk management industries. TIPOGNO serves its members by providing insurance education, leadership development and networking opportunities to its members.

Cybersecurity Quarterly Update Released

Identity Fraud

In 2015 alone, more than 13 million Americans fell victim to identity fraud, resulting in damages of more than $15 billion.

To combat this all-too-common problem, our go-to resource for digital forensics and cybersecurity, LIFARS, has provided our second Quarterly Update of 2016. Read this guide to learn more about:

  • How to protect your online presence from identity theft
  • What to do in the case of a data breach
  • Steps to take if your identity is stolen

Read the full Update here.

Gillis, Ellis & Baker Named #2 Top Workplace in New Orleans

Gillis, Ellis & Baker - Top Workplace 2016
GEB employees posing in the photo booth at the 2016 Top Workplaces awards ceremony

GEB is proud to announce that | The Times-Picayune ranked us #2 for small companies on its annual list of Top Workplaces. This marks the second consecutive year GEB has received recognition on the list. In 2015, GEB was also recognized with the “Ethics” Special Award.

The 40 Top Workplaces of 2016 were announced at an awards breakfast May 20th at the Superdome. A small group of GEBers were in attendance to see GEB President, Anderson Baker, accept the award on the company’s behalf.

Parke Ellis - Gillis, Ellis & Baker - Insurance Risk Management Employee Benefits
Parke Ellis

“You think about how many companies there are out there and we are consistently among the top,” said Parke Ellis, Chairman of Gillis, Ellis & Baker. “Rankings are based on production, retention, company representation, recruiting, philanthropy… But this award is about committed staff, proud people and mutual respect. The people I work with everyday are the very best at what they do and we are so fortunate to work among such great professionals. Thank you to my colleagues for making GEB a great place to be.”

Employees from nearly 1,800 New Orleans area companies participated in an independent, third-party survey, ranking their companies on topics including work culture, management practices, trust with co-workers, benefits, overall compensation, longevity, trust in senior leaders, and feeling valued.

You can view each Top Workplaces list by clicking the links below:

GEB offers its employees a robust benefits package, including the following.

Traditional Benefits: 

Gillis, Ellis & Baker - Insurance, Risk Management, Employee Benefits
Gillis, Ellis & Baker employee outing to the Jourdan River in Bay St. Louis, MS
  • Health Insurance: GEB pays 80% of each employees’ healthcare cost and 50% of any dependents’. We also offer dental, vision, life and other benefits coverages to those employees who choose to take advantage.
  • Retirement Planning: GEB contributes generously to employee 401K plans.

Employee Wellness:

Gillis, Ellis & Baker - Hello Health
Gillis, Ellis & Baker employees learning about cancer prevention during a Hello Health lunch and learn seminar
  • Workout Wednesdays: A fitness trainer leads weekly workout classes in the office.
  • Fitness Room: GEB has a physical fitness training room in the office. Employees are encouraged to work out before or after working hours, or at lunchtime.
  • Hello Health: GEB brings in health, nutrition and fitness experts on a bi-monthly basis for lunch and learns intended to help keep employees informed about healthy lifestyles.
  • Preventative Healthcare: Annual health screenings and flu shots are administered in our office by Ochsner Health System.

Work/Life Balance: 

  • GEB offers its employees Bereavement Leave, Parental Leave, 11 Paid Holidays Annually, and Paid Time Off (which is based on how long an employee has been with the company)

Corporate Giving & Volunteering:

Gillis, Ellis & Baker - October Build - Community Service
Gillis, Ellis & Baker employees participating in the October Build
  • GEB plays an active role in the communities we serve by donating both time and funds to a wide variety of worthy causes. GEB sets aside a budget each year for contributions and charitable donations. We are proud to partner with non-profit organizations, whose missions align with our passions.
  • In 2015, employees of GEB spent two weekends fixing up the exterior of a Gentilly home by repairing siding, painting the home’s exterior and building safe steps. This effort was through Rebuilding Together New Orleans, whose mission is to allow low-income families to live in safety, warmth and dignity. This was GEB’s second year participating in the October Build.

Special Employee Events:

Gillis, Ellis & Baker - Saints Tailgate Party
Sporting our best black and gold!
  • Each year GEB hosts the following holiday events for employees:
    – Thanksgiving Luncheon
    – Christmas Luncheon away from the office at a restaurant
    – Christmas Gift Exchange Game and Luncheon at the office
  • Each year, GEB sponsors a tent one week at the Wednesday at the Square concert series, presented by the Young Leadership Council. Employees are encouraged to come out to the event and enjoy the great food, drinks and live music.
  • GEB is a big fan of the Black & Gold! Each year, GEB hosts a Saints Tailgate Party for employees and clients at the GEB office, which is conveniently located directly across Poydras St. from the Superdome.


New Overtime Pay Rules Released

DOL Issues New Overtime Payment Rules_600x280

Today the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new final rule that increases the salary employees must be paid before they qualify for a white collar exemption from overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL estimates that about 11 million employees will be affected by this final rule and receive overtime pay protections that they were not previously available to them.

The final rule increases the salary level for administrative, executive and professional employees to $47,476 per year (or $913 per week) and the salary level for highly compensated employees to $134,004 per year. These salary thresholds will be automatically updated every three years, with the first automatic update expected by Jan. 1, 2020. The final rule does not change the duties test for any of these overtime wage payment exemptions.

Employers will need to comply with the final rule by Dec. 1, 2016.

Read the full document here >

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month

LogoDisability insurance is the most overlooked of the major types of insurance. That’s likely because many people think a disabling illness or injury will never happen to them. But according to a Life Happens survey, a person has a three in 10 chance of suffering a disabling illness or injury that would keep them out of work for three months or more during their career. Most people couldn’t make it a month if they lost their paycheck.

As your broker, we know how important your business is to you and how important your paycheck is to your family. Disability insurance is very important to the continuity of your lifestyle. May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to raise awareness about the importance of income protection. Please take some time to explore the tools and resources below.


Videos on Disability Insurance:

Disability Insurance 101 >
Life Happens: Not Me! >
It’s Not What You Think >
A Dangerous Financial Mistake >

graphicThe State of Disability Protection in America:

  • One-in-four of today’s 20 year olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.
  • Only 34 percent of private sector workers have access to long-term disability benefits through their employer, and 40 percent have access to short-term disability benefits.
  • Employees of small companies are much less likely to be covered. At companies with fewer than 50 workers, 24 percent have access to STD, 18 percent have access to LTD.
  • Almost nine million American disabled workers currently receive SSDI benefits.Most have no other source of income.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits average $1,166 a month – which is just below the 2015 federal poverty line for an individual.
  • SSDI replaces less than half of the income of anyone earning over $30,000 a year. Roughly 75 percent of full-time workers in America earn more than this threshold, and are therefore at risk of severe income loss if they experience a disability.
  • SSDI is difficult to qualify for. The application process can take months or even years, and applications are generally only approved for disabilities expected to last a year or more.

Read about some real life stories >


Our Experts

Contact Randy or Catherine to discuss adding disability insurance to your employee benefits offerings.

Randy RothRandy Roth
GEB Vice-President
Life | Health | Benefits


Catherine HalesCatherine Hales
GEB Producer
Life | Health | Benefits

The Effects of Marijuana Legalization in the U.S. Workplace [infographic]

Four states within the U.S. have completely legalized marijuana, and many others are putting the issue on their ballots. This situation creates a grey area for employers trying to keep their workplace efficient, safe and compliant.

Our Partners at Assurex Global created an infographicThe Effects of Marijuana Legalization in the U.S. Workplace—to address these issues. By reading the infographic, you will learn:

  • Eight tips to inform drug employer policies
  • The cost of drug abuse to U.S. employers
  • The states that have legalized marijuana

Read the full infographic to learn more.