NU Online News Service, Sept. 23, 4:10 p.m. – The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., has hired James Benson to be its interim chief executive officer.

Benson, formerly the chairman of New England Financial, Boston and president of individual business at MetLife Inc., New York, succeeds Arthur Kraus, who resigned in August.

Benson will be responsible for helping NAIFA restructure, according to the NAIFA press release announcing his appointment.

The move comes during a year when NAIFA has suffered through budget cuts, staff reductions, and yet another year of declining membership.

This year, membership has dropped about 4%, according to Robert Nelson, NAIFA’s president.

“We haven’t had a decline that small in the last eight or nine years, but a successful year will be really measured when we have a membership increase,” Nelson says.

Nelson predicts that naming Benson to be interim CEO will help. Benson “is such a passionate believer in NAIFA and an enthusiastic supporter,” Nelson says.

NAIFA officials are hoping to find a new, permanent CEO within the next four months.