David Fear wants to expand the reach of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Fear, the new president of NAHU, Arlington, Va., says he believes NAHU needs to do more to get the word out to the agent-broker community about what NAHU is and what it does.

NAHU has increased membership to 20,200 this year, up from 17,000 in 2003.

But Fear says NAHU can do even more to attract new members.

“Agents are now looking to affiliate with an organization that sees the big picture about what their role is in the future,” Fear said here in an interview at the NAHU annual convention. “We also need to expand the tent to include agents who specialize in other areas related to health insurance: long term care insurance, worksite products and disability.”

NAHU recently added an advisory group for agents who sell LTC insurance. The association already had advisory groups for agents who sell Medicare supplemental, worksite and disability products.

NAHU also should help members prepare for the changes affecting the health insurance industry, Fear said.

In the group market, he sees a subtle but inevitable shift toward worksite products as smaller employers realize they cannot afford traditional benefits.

Fear also wants to see NAHU become more involved in state legislative forums and with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

Maintaining access to both Democrats and Republicans is also important, Fear said.

“We recognize that if the political climate in Washington changes, we are going to need to be able to talk to whatever side is in power,” Fear said. “That’s true at the state level, too.”