David Woods took the helm at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors at a time when the organization was bleeding members, and its financial condition was deep in the red.

But following what has been a year of transformation, NAIFAs CEO feels confident about the future of the association. A recent audit of NAIFAs financials revealed the organization actually has added about $630,000 to its bottom line this year, compared to a year ago where it posted a loss of $2.7 million.

“We had a 3.3 million dollar swing in just one year, all the while sharpening our focus and becoming much more effective in areas like political advocacy,” says Woods.

“Its an unbelievable turnaround for just one year,” adds Randy Kilgore, president of NAIFA.

At NAIFAs recent annual meeting, the organization announced it was taking a “back to basics” approach by only focusing on 3 areas: political advocacy, ethical conduct and providing benefits that add to members bottom line.

Looking ahead, Woods says NAIFA will be working closely with the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Educationwhere Woods serves as president. LIFE has created several marketing programs designed to help agents in the field explain the importance of life insurance to the public. “We [at NAIFA] are collaborating very closely with the LIFE Foundation to take their material, package it, distribute it and teach people how to use it,” he says.

Current membership levels at NAIFA are surpassing last years numbers already, says Kilgore, who is out recruiting new members everyday. “We have everybody out there carrying the same message–advocacy is what we do best and were going to help bring more to your bottom line.”

Woods also is optimistic on next years membership drive, but he attributes the recent increase mostly to a change that was made in how the organization collects membership dues. “Were ahead because we went to a direct billing system,” he says. “A lot of those have come in onlineits resulted in a huge upsurge in renewals.”

Woods adds that because of this new system its difficult to gauge where membership levels are compared to last year, but the system has “helped our cash flow enormously.”

To provide more value at the local level, NAIFA will soon be releasing a “best practices” model which will be distributed to all local associations by April. This model will provide the locals with a roadmap to building an association that really adds value to members, Woods says.

Barry Higgins


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, December 19, 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.