When I studied history in school, the coverage of our countrys early days and the role of our founding fathers was cursory at best. We learned important dates and events and the deeds of significant individuals. However, there was little or no discussion of the passion, sacrifices and patience required to overcome countless obstacles.
Recently, though, I have enjoyed reading best-selling biographies of John Adams, Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton and have gained new insight and respect for what it took to put this country together. Too often, I think, we judge history by current values and environment, and that is a mistake. In an age of e-mail, fax, telephone, TV and radio, it is hard to comprehend the frustration of communications when it took 2 to 4 months to send and receive a reply from England. Our Constitution was 10 years in the making, whereas today we want instant results.
While we may not thoroughly understand the problems of yesteryear, our nations founders are still revered and their traditions have kept us strong, resolute and sufficiently flexible to deal with ongoing issues on the world stage. Understanding history is important for it keeps us relevantconnecting our past with our future.
I thought about this recently as a result of a conversation with a veteran agent. He said many agents today feel the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is no longer relevant. I disagree with this and suspect it stems largely from a lack of knowledge of our history.
We, too, had our own founding fathers and heroes that blazed a trail for us. The road to greatness in business, like government, never runs smoothly and also requires passion, sacrifice and vision. Our country remains relevant because we continue to build upon the base our founders created. NAIFA also will remain relevant so long as it continues to build. Those who have passed the torch to us, I am sure, expected us to keep it burningnot blow it out.
Perhaps a very short journey into our past will serve to refresh our memory and bolster our resolve to support that which we so often take for granted. Modern selling really began following the Armstrong Investigation in New York in 1905, which was called because of widespread and vicious attacks upon the insurance business by the press alleging mismanagement of companies and policyholder funds and rampant marketing abuses. For 10 years prior to the investigation, the National Association of Life Underwriters had been raising the same red flags. The publicity from the hearings was devastating, causing mass policy cancellations and aversion to new purchases. It took 5 years for the business to recover lost ground.
Subsequent to the investigation, President Roosevelt convened the “Chicago Conference” for the purpose of developing model laws for the states. NALU (now NAIFA) was the only industry organization invited to participate in the conference and did so with distinction.