A leading membership organization for financial services professionals is extending help to producers hit hard by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.[@@]

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., has created a charitable fund for life insurance agents and advisors. The NAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund will draw on donations from NAIFA members and employees to provide financial support for insurance agents and financial advisors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who have been significantly affected by the 2005 hurricanes.

The support will cover both business and personal losses, but it will focus on losses caused by interruption of business and by physical losses that are not easily insured.

“There have been numerous requests from NAIFA members across the country who have wanted to help their own in the affected areas, so they can do their jobs to help others,” says NAIFA President David Smithkey in a statement. “A fund such as this gives us the opportunity to respond to these requests.”

Thousands upon thousands of consumers need service and advice from insurance agents and other financial advisors, Smithkey says.

In addition to creating the new relief fund, NAIFA has participated in many general hurricane relief efforts.

NAIFA also established an online clearinghouse to encourage NAIFA members to offer assistance, such as room and office space, to NAIFA members hit by the hurricanes.

To qualify for grants from the NAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund, recipients must be individuals who are active in the insurance profession with a resident life insurance license in one of the 3 affected states. A grant application must be completed to determine eligibility. The application is available at the NAIFA website, at http://www.naifa.org

The NAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund was created with assistance from the Community Foundation of Acadiana, Lafayette, La., which is administering the fund.

Checks made out to the fund should be made payable to “The Community Foundation of Acadiana” with “NAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund” included on the memo line. Mail checks to Community Foundation of Acadiana, P.O. Box 3892, Lafayette, La. 70502.

To pay by credit card or for more information about payment options, call 337-266-2145 or visit http://www.cfacadiana.org