A More Focused NAIFA Looks To Spread The Word To Locals
By Barry Higgins
Kansas City, Mo.
“To me, this meeting is every bit as important as the first meeting held back in 1890,” stated David Woods, CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, at the groups annual meeting here.
At that first meeting, a number of agents got together in Boston, Mass. to address legislative issues, ethical issues, “and at the same time bring some good solid sales ideas and practice techniques to each other,” said Woods, in an interview with National Underwriter.
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Now more than 100 years later, leadership at NAIFA has redirected its focus on these very same principles, Woods said. A new mission statement has been developed focusing on three areas: political advocacy, ethical behavior, and bringing benefits to members that will impact their financial bottom line, he added.
“We got away from the fundamentals for a long time, but now were focused back on them,” Woods said.
In the past, there was a mindset at NAIFA that the association had something to offer everybody in the industry, said Richard Koob, president of NAIFA. But he admits that is not the case. “If you dont believe in advocacy at the state and national level, and you dont believe in ethical conduct, and you dont believe in member benefits delivered at the local level, we dont have much to offer,” he said.
“We were trying to do too much for too many people, we had to narrow our focus and have a clear concise message,” added Randy Kilgore, president-elect of NAIFA.
Kilgore explained that the NAIFA board has “graded” itself on the areas of advocacy and member benefits, “and until we get an A+ in those two areas, were not going to do anything else,” he said.
To bring members better bottom-line benefits, educational services and programming at the local association level will be segmented based on the different areas financial professionals are practicing. Segments will include life insurance and annuities, health insurance and employee benefits, multi-line, and investments.
Furthermore, these programs will not be designed by NAIFA; rather, the organization will outsource these programs to its sister associations that specialize in these areas.
“We want to be the deliverer of the product, not the manufacturer,” said Kilgore.
He added that bringing these programs to the local associations will improve the value members receive at the local level. “We need more meaningful meetings, meetings where the members get some value out of it.”
The biggest challenge NAIFA faces ahead will be taking this focused message to its local associations. “We can do all sorts of things at the national level, but if it doesnt get down to the local association its not going to happen,” said Woods.