More than 1,900 contractors, insurance carrier representatives and service provider partners attended educational sessions, listened to industry updates and networked during the Crawford Contractor Connection 12th annual conference.

ATLANTA, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1,900 contractors, insurance carrier representatives and service provider partners attended educational sessions, listened to industry updates and networked during the Crawford Contractor Connection(SM) 12th annual conference held recently at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The Contractor Connection Conference is an invitation-only event for participants in Crawford & Company's extensive contractor network, offering insurance carriers, network members and Crawford personnel an opportunity to focus on contractor program service offerings. This year's attendance set another year-over-year record for the conference, one of the largest restoration expos in the insurance industry, despite being rescheduled from its original date and location due to this spring's flooding in Nashville, Tenn.

"We are quality-focused and performance-driven in everything we do, and this conference is no exception," said Larry Thomas, senior vice president of Contractor Connection. "Based on the feedback we receive and continuing increases in attendance each year, we believe our conference offers our clients and network partners tremendous value and we remain committed to serving as the conference host for years to come."

Lisa Ford, an expert in customer service issues for more than 20 years and author of How to Give Exceptional Customer Service, a best-selling videoseries, shared her thoughts on building client loyalty in her keynote presentation during the conference general session. Ford, an Atlanta resident, speaks throughout the United States and internationally and was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame by the National Speakers Association in 2002.

In addition, Kevin Frawley, chief executive officer of Property & Casualty for Crawford's Americas region, and John Sharoun, chief executive officer of Crawford & Company (Canada), offered remarks, and Thomas gave a Contractor Connection program update. Also speaking during the general session was a panel of leading insurance carriers that discussed the increasing use of contractor networks in the industry.

Breakout sessions, workshops and training sessions covered such general business topics as strategic planning and employee retention and industry-specific subjects such as software applications and other new restoration technologies and techniques. Also included were sessions on timely compliance topics, including discussions of green building principles and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's lead-safe renovation, repair and painting rules.

In addition to the general session attendance, a welcome reception hosted more than 1,500 participants, including 105 exhibitors, the largest-ever showing by vendors during the event.

Crawford also recognized its top-performing network contractors with its "Golden Hammer - Excellence in Achievement Award" during the conference. Awards are based on overall performance and customer satisfaction results for the year.