See what happened at HUG 2024 National Conference!


We had a blast with agents at the HawkSoft User Group (HUG) National Conference earlier this month at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA! Attendees loved the event, with 96% saying they were “extremely likely” or “very likely” to recommend a colleague attend the national conference in the future in HUG’s post-event survey. Most attendees rated the general sessions, keynote speaker, and breakout sessions “excellent” (the highest score), with the welcome reception, HUG Lab, and exhibit hall also scoring as some of the top-rated features of the event.

Take a look at our overview of what happened at this year’s conference, with photos and quotes from attendees.


In this article:


"There is no doubt in my mind that the HUG conference stands far above any other similar insurance industry event. The obvious care and attention to detail placed on every aspect of the event by the organizers and the complete buy-in by the HawkSoft team confirm for me that these will always be a good investment of my time and resources.

The networking opportunities provided guarantee many chances to build and strengthen key relationships for me that I would have never had a chance to make otherwise. The variety of vendors provide so many resources to improve my agency, and ultimately the many opportunities to learn is my ultimate favorite part of HUG. Anyone who has not attended HUG has missed out greatly."

- Andrew Kadera, Allco Fullerton Insurance



General sessions

The conference included a number of powerful general sessions presented by HawkSoft, industry speakers, and leadership experts.


Alan Stein: raise your game (day 1)

The first general session was presented by keynote speaker Alan Stein Jr., a leadership speaker, acclaimed basketball coach, and author of “Raise Your Game.” He highlighted three areas we can focus on to maximize our individual performance, no matter our role:

  1. Your perspective
    Shift your focus from what you want from people to what you want for people.

  2. Your core values
    Your choices should be in alignment with what matters most to you. Don’t confuse function (what you do) with purpose (why you do it).

  3. Your purpose
    Know your strengths and focus on one thing, no matter how small, that you can strive to do better than anyone else.


Alan also shared what he calls the three pillars of self-awareness:


He shared the surprising fact that half of all the things we do each day are habitual activities. He invited the audience to ask which habits are taking us closer to our goals, and which are distractions.


Alan discussed how to have what he calls a “winner’s mindset:” rather than blaming, complaining, or making excuses, simply focus on doing the best you can with what you have and where you are.


He stressed the importance of being present in the moment (or being where your feet are) and focusing on what’s important now (WIN). He reminded the audience that attitude is a choice, and while we can’t control how we feel, we can control the way in which we respond to those emotions.


Click the arrow on the right side of the photo to scroll through more pictures!

Alan Stein
1 Alan Stein presents his keynote session, "Raise your game"
Alan Stein
2 Alan Stein's keynote presentation
Attendees at Alan Stein keynote session
3 Attendees attempt a coordination activity during Alan Stein's keynote session
Alan Stein signing 3
4 Alan Stein signs copies of his book for attendees after his keynote session



HawkSoft 6 unleashed (day 1)

The first HawkSoft general session was led by Sean Hawkins, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of HawkSoft. With this year being the first conference where there were attendees live on the new HawkSoft 6 cloud platform, Sean started by talking about the differences of the new platform, and how agencies can successfully navigate the changes to the system and their workflows.

He also showed several of the reimagined areas and new workflows in HawkSoft 6, including Tasks and Log Notes, Quick Reports, and more. He also invited Britnee Blanco from HawSoft’s Product Development Team to the stage to show off the new agency-level commission workflows and reports that are now available in HawkSoft 6, and give attendees a sneak peek at the agent-level commission features that are nearing completion in development.


Sean presenting
1 Sean Hawkins (HawkSoft co-founder & Chief Product Officer) presents on HawkSoft 6
Audience taking notes
2 Attendees take notes during the general sessions
Mick Hunt session
3 Insurance thought leader Mick Hunt presents during the general session on Friday
Mick Hunt 6
4 Mick Hunt presents during the general session on Friday
Rushang session 4
5 Rushang Shah (HawkSoft Chief Marketing Officer) presents about the power of storytelling
Rushang Shah
6 Rushang Shah (HawkSoft Chief Marketing Officer) presents about the power of storytelling



Mick Hunt: finding wins in a hard market (day 2)

On Friday, attendees had the chance to hear from some additional speakers in the first general session. First was Mick Hunt, an agency owner and leader in “insurance RevOps,” which combines the power of marketing, sales, and service to maximize revenue growth. He spoke about how independent agencies can find opportunities for success despite the hard market.

Mick spoke about several opportunities for growth in commercial lines including cyber insurance, Directors & Officers, and professional liability. He also shared thoughts about tailoring the customer experience to modern consumers by being digital-first, offering a personalized experience, and providing clear and honest communication.



Rushang Shah: The power of storytelling (day 2)

The second half of the session was led by Rushang Shah, HawkSoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, who spoke about the power of storytelling. Rushang discussed the ways stories have been used throughout history and their unique ability to merge facts with emotion, sharing the surprising statistic that people are 22 times more likely to remember facts if they are part of a story.

Rushang shared several stories from his own rich tapestry of life experiences, demonstrating how stories both make us who we are and help us to interact and connect with others. He related this to the business world, illustrating how we can use the power of storytelling to create frameworks to share who we are with others.


The future of HawkSoft: your vote counts! (day 2)

In this session, HawkSoft leaders Paul and Sean Hawkins, Rushang Shah, and HUG 2024 Chair Brent Thurman discussed items that are on HawkSoft’s roadmap for the future, allowing attendees to vote on which items they felt were most valuable. The panel then took comments from the audience on the top features, facilitating a discussion around what would be most helpful for agents in each area.

The top-voted items from the session included automated communications, automatic logging of emails, and integrated intake forms/quote sheets. Attendees had a chance to hear from multiple agencies and points of view, while getting a peek behind HawkSoft’s curtain at the inherent complexities of creating solutions for these problems that will work for the wide variation in agency processes.


Panel closeup - resize
1 The HawkSoft leadership panel leads the discussion during the "future of HawkSoft" session
Attendees ask questions
2 Agents have the opportunity to share comments during the "future of HawkSoft" session
Agents vote - resize
3 Agents use their phones to vote on the items they feel are most important for HawkSoft to focus on in the future


Attendee feedback:

  • It was really nice to hear from Paul & Sean on the direction of HawkSoft and the future.

  • I love how HawkSoft is dedicated to listening to what is not working and what is working and taking it back and improving or fixing problems. I have not found a company that is as dedicated to their clients as HawkSoft.

  • You listen and try to find a solution to make it better - I am grateful.



Breakout sessions

One of the highest-rated features of this year’s conference was the wide variety of breakout sessions presented by agents and HawkSoft employees. There were 34 unique breakout sessions held, many of which focused on hot industry topics including AI, growth during the hard market, VAs, agency acquisition and perpetuation, promoting good mental health at the agency, and more.

There were also a wide variety of sessions on both HawkSoft 5 topics (reporting, accounting, HawkLink, etc.) and HawkSoft 6 features (Tasks, Download Center, Quick Reports, and more). Attendees enjoyed being able to learn from experts and other agents about the topics that were most relevant to their role and interests in the agency.


Breakout session
1 Malena Farrell and Mike Stansbury teach at a breakout session
Breakout session
2 Stephen Harrington-Descoteaux leads a breakout session
Breakout session
3 Justin Miller presents a breakout session


Attendee feedback:

  • I thought all breakout sessions were super informative, and I learned something at each session. Each speaker was knowledgeable on the subject matter. I was super impressed!


  • HAWKLINK session! So excited to try it. Also loved the Agency Efficiency session with Stephen Harrington-Descoteaux. He was engaging and so funny. I really enjoyed all the sessions and thought all the speakers and presenters were great.

  • I learned many things about the awesome new capabilities offered by HawkSoft 6.

  • Breakout sessions were by far the most valuable this year! The presenters were well-prepared, well-informed, and well-spoken.

  • Honestly, the speakers I attended had so much experience and wisdom, 60 min went by way fast!




One of the best parts of any HUG National Conference is the HUG LAB that’s available throughout most of the event. Attendees can come to the lab to ask questions about HawkSoft 5 or 6 and get hands-on training or demos from HawkSoft employees on how to use features or configure workflows for their agency. Attendees loved having the chance to talk to HawkSoft staff face to face and get help with questions or issues.

1 HawkSoft employee Dean helps an agent at the HUG LAB
2 Sean Hawkins demonstrates Agent Portal to attendees in the HUG LAB
3 HawkSoft employee Tiffany works with an attendee at the HUG LAB
4 HawkSoft employee Katie works with an attendee at the HUG Lab
Brian lab
5 HawkSoft employee Brian helps an attendee at the HUG LAB
6 Attendees get help from HawkSoft employees at the HUG LAB



Attendee feedback:

  • It is so awesome to have the lab as an option. It is so nice to bring your laptop to the conference and get one-on-one help in your agency system. One of the best features of the conference.

  • I think the lab is one of the most valuable items at the conference.

  • The lab is OUR FAVORITE! This is worth the conference alone!    



Solution circles (day 2)

On Friday, there was a dedicated time slot for solution circles, where agents could meet up in groups to discuss topics of interest. It was a great chance for attendees to meet other agents, network, and share ideas with their peers. HawkSoft employees and leaders also joined in to listen and get feedback from agents on their pain points and suggestions.

This year, solution circle were held on 25 different topics including:

  • Virtual Assistants
  • Personal Lines and Commercial Lines retention
  • Commercial certificates
  • Tech stack automation & AI
  • Networking
  • HawkSoft 6 migration
  • Agency clusters
  • Owner’s circle (small and large agencies)
  • Reporting


Solution circles
1 Agents have a discussion in a solution circle
Solution circles
2 Agents have a discussion in a solution circle
Solution circles
3 Agents have a discussion in a solution circle
Solution circles
4 Agents have a discussion in a solution circle


Attendee feedback:

  • Solution circles were very helpful in getting insight into what others are doing and great tips on things I can try in my office.


  • At the solution circles, I got to interact with others on the same topic, struggle, or process.

  • Networking with fellow agents and discussing solutions was very valuable.

  • Being able to network with fellow users and agents is super helpful, learning how they do things and being able to implement those ideas into our agency.




The exhibit hall at the conference gave attendees a space to learn about and speak with 62 different companies. Agents had the opportunity to talk to existing technology partners and learn about new technology solutions for their business. HawkSoft and HUG are grateful to all our fantastic partners who attended and contributed to the atmosphere of education and collaboration at the conference. You can take a look at all HUG partners here.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to HUG’s platinum and premier sponsors that made this event possible!

Platinum sponsors:

Premier sponsors:


Exhibit hall
1 Attendees speak with vendors outside the exhibit hall
Cover Desk
2 Vendors speak with Cover Desk in the exhibit hall
3 The ePayPolicy team 
Elevate Teams
4 An attendee speaks with a member of Elevate Teams
5 An attendee speaks with Lightspeed Voice
Exhibit hall
6 Attendees and HawkSoft employees mingle at the exhibit hall
HawkSoft booth
7 HawkSoft employees speak with attendees at the HawkSoft booth
b atomic
8 Attendees speak with vendors at the exhibit hall
Agency Performance Partners
9 Attendees speak with vendors at the exhibit hall
Vendor Leo
10 Attendees speak with vendors at the exhibit hall


Attendee feedback:

  • Quality vendors. Not just one of each category, but a range so we were able to meet and get info from several.

  • The vendors are great to have available to learn about their products and what would work best within our agency.

  • Catching up with some vendors in an in-person setting was great!

  • Enjoyed networking and meeting vendors for the areas I have interest in.



Networking & fun

While education is a huge component of HUG, one of the best parts of HUG National Conference is having opportunities to meet old and new friends, network, and have fun together! This year there were many chances to enjoy the beautiful Omni La Costa resort, starting with a golf tournament for agents, partners, and HawkSoft and HUG team members on Wednesday before the official start of the conference.

The “Havana Nights”-themed welcome reception on Wednesday night gave agents a chance to meet and mingle while enjoying live music, dancing, delicious food and drinks, and a “hat bar” where attendees could get a hat customized with their choice of fun patches.

Attendees also enjoyed a cocktail hour on Thursday afternoon, and had plenty of time to explore the resort’s amenities including pools, a spa, restaurants and bars, shopping, and the surrounding beaches and beautiful scenery of Carlsbad.

Welcome party
1 Attendees mingle at the welcome reception before the conference
Havana Nights outfits
2 Attendees wore their best for the "Havana Nights" theme!
Welcome party decor
3 Attendees enjoy the fun "Havana Nights" decor at the welcome party
Live music
4 Live music and dancing at the welcome party
Hat bar
5 Attendees make customized hats at the Hat Bar
Welcome party matt
6 Attendees at the welcome party
welcome party group
7 Attendees at the welcome party
bessie 2
8 Attendees pose with Bessie, HawkSoft's beloved purple cow 
9 Attendees and HawkSoft employees enjoy the golf tournament before the conference
Resort 5
10 Attendees enjoy a drink in the beautiful surroundings at the resort
11 Attendees enjoy the nearby beach

Attendee feedback:

  • The welcome reception was wonderful. It was a lot of fun and the music and dancers were fantastic.


  • Havana Nights and the hat bar were a blast!

  • Love the family-type feel of the event and that the Hawkins family shows up and greets everyone.

  • HawkSoft is central to everything we do, so having that as a connecting point allowed for meaningful conversations.

  • Great comradery! Love the spirit and the one big family vibe.



Join us at future HUG events!

HawkSoft is honored to contribute to and participate in HUG events like this year’s national conference. We’re especially grateful for HUG Executive Director Amelia Jach, Project Manager Jennifer Thompson, and this year's HUG National Conference Chairman Brent Thurman , as well as the whole 2024 HUG National Planning Committee, the HUG Board, and all the HUG members and HawkSoft employees that helped make this year’s conference special.


HUG committee

The HUG 2024 National Conference Planning Committee

Whether or not you attended this year, we hope you’ll join us at future HUG events! HUG will be holding an Owner’s Retreat in Vail, CO, this fall on September 26-28, and will also be offering one-day regional meetings in cities across the country this fall:

  • Philadelphia, PA - Thursday, September 5th
  • Columbus, OH - Thursday, September 12th
  • Canby, OR - Thursday, October 3rd
  • Arlington, TX - Thursday, October 17th
  • Newport Beach, CA - Thursday, October 24th
  • Atlanta, GA - Tuesday, October 29th
  • St. Petersburg, FL - Thurday, November 7th


Stay tuned for more details on these events – watch for registration details in May!



HUG 2025 National Conference sets sail for the Bahamas!

In 2025, HUG will hold its first National Conference at sea, on a cruise from Orlando to the Bahamas! Space is limited for this special event, so register now to secure your spot and get the best price. Watch the highlight video below, and learn more about the 2025 HUG Cruise here.



If you haven’t attended a HUG event yet, please join us! Membership in the HawkSoft User Group is free (register here), and you’ll get access to tons of great resources like a template library and monthly webinars about HawkSoft. HUG is a great way to learn from and interact with other agents who use HawkSoft!


This was my first experience as an agency owner at the HUG conference, but it will not be my last! Organized with great speakers, vendors, and community in the industry. Very impressed overall!

Conference attendee






Learn more about HUG

 Register to be a HawkSoft User Group member and take advantages of great resources like webinars, templates, events, and more!

   Learn more   






HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

Author: HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

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