The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors had the largest insurance industry Political Action Committee (PAC) for the 2002 election cycle as of the most recent reporting date of July 31, 2001.
NAIFA has nearly $491,000 in receipts, just ahead of AFLAC with almost $461,000, Citigroup with $438,000 and the Independent Insurance Agents of America with $335,000.
The American Council of Life Insurers reported $134,695 in receipts as of July 31, but the figures for life insurance companies must be viewed in context.
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Many life insurance companies have substantial individual PACs, and generally lobby on behalf of the same issues.
For example, Met Life reported $306,339 in receipts; CIGNA, $279,261; Mass Mutual, $196,725; American General, $181,161; and New York Life, $153,834.
When these figures are aggregated with other life insurance PAC numbers, life insurers represent a very powerful force in the financing of Congressional elections.
Turning to an issue that could become a focus of emotional Congressional debate, the American Academy of Actuaries last week addressed the perceptions and realities of genetic testing.
In the Senate, two genetic testing bills–S. 318 and S. 382–are currently pending. They seek to limit the ability of insurance companies to use genetic information when making underwriting decisions.
In its presentation, the Academy says that while life insurers may indeed require applicants to reveal results of genetic tests already performed in order to avoid adverse selection, the impact of such a requirement will not be uniform.
However, the Academy says, while the perception is that genetic testing will cause more people to be denied life insurance, the reality is that some people could gain greater access to coverage.
Others, or those with specific genetic conditions, the Academy says, could see reduced access to coverage or higher premiums.
The Academy cites the example of Polycystic Kidney Disease, which an individual has a 50% chance of inheriting from a parent and which usually takes effect between the ages of 20 and 30.
Under current underwriting practices, the Academy says, those under age 30 who may be at risk pay premiums six to seven times the standard rate.
Those over 30, the Academy says, may pay standard rates if they demonstrate no symptoms and exhibit no biochemical markers.
But looking at the potential effect of genetic testing, the Academy says that if the individual does not have the gene for Polycystic Kidney Disease, he or she will likely pay standard or even preferred rates.
Another perception, the Academy says, is that genetic testing will alter the way life insurance is sold.