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Agents See Battles Ahead

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Life insurance agents know they have work to do in explaining to members of Congress that outright repeal of the estate tax and creation of Lifetime Savings Accounts are bad ideas.

“Our work is cut out for us,” said David Woods, CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers. “Given the greater Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, and the fact that President Bush won an outright majority, support for the Presidents agenda, which includes LSAs and outright repeal of the estate tax, will be greater,” he said.

“We are concerned about LSAs,” Woods said. “It takes on a much greater likelihood of passage given the stronger Republican majorities.” The greater majorities “will embolden the Republicans to project the Presidents agenda with greater vigor.”

NAIFA also will be watching the progress of proposed regulatory modernization legislation proposed by the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee. “We are supportive of regulatory reform,” Woods said.

Regarding the estate tax, Woods said NAIFA supports increasing the threshold where estate taxes kick in but not outright repeal.

“We believe the exemption should be raised, but the tax should not be repealed,” he said. “Our feeling is that estate taxes are never finally repealed, they just go away for a little while until someone sees the need to restore them to pay for something. So, it would be better for long-term planning if the exemption were just raised.”

–Arthur D. Postal

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, November 4, 2004. Copyright 2004 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.