The beginning of a new year in Washington is always filled with both a sense of promise and of trepidation–and this is particularly so when the new year coincides with the beginning of a new Congress.

The new political situation in Washington seems as if it could be quite a friendly one for the industry. After all, the executive branch, as well as the two houses of the 108th Congress are under the control of Republican, and presumably, business-friendly hands.

Certainly, one would expect that there might be fewer attacks on the taxation of life insurance products–and the business uses of these products–than was seen in 2002.

As Jack Dolan, a spokesman for the American Council of Life Insurers, told NU: “ACLI believes that the threat of taxation on insurance product-specific provisions has declined somewhat given the new Republican control of the Senate.”

David Winston, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., also views this as a favorable development.

But if the industry has learned one lesson over the last two decades, it is that one can never let down ones guard because so-called friends are in charge. Over the years, attacks on life insurance products have come as easily from the GOP as from Democrats.

Both ACLI and NAIFA recognize this and know the new regime is no cause for complacency. Vigilance will be the watchword of the day.

But, at the same time, is it expecting too much to hope that Congress–instead of simply laying off the attacks–might actually be more receptive to some of the items on the industrys wish list?

Stay tuned.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 6, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.