The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, based in Falls Church, Va., is implementing dramatic changes to meet the needs of its members. Called “NAIFA in the 21st Century,” the plan addresses the need for NAIFA to create “customer value and dedicate itself to its members’ success.”

On Jan. 19, NAIFA’s board of trustees approved a strategic plan that calls on NAIFA to strengthen its core product, legislative and regulatory advocacy, create new products and services, and utilize technology to deliver products so members have “total ease and convenience of access.”

To do this, NAIFA will create products and services that its members said they need in the areas of advocacy, education, training and networking. And NAIFA will deliver the newly created products using wireless and computer technology so members have “on demand” access. NAIFA’s Strategic Planning Committee based its recommendations on an extensive study of members, lapsed members and prospective members conducted by Ketchum Inc.

“I think the message in the plan comes across loud and clear – we are putting the needs of our members, our customers, before anything else,” said David E. Smithkey, NAIFA’s immediate past president and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. “To deliver the value they expect requires NAIFA, in many ways, to let go of the past and embrace change.”

Maximizing technology to deliver value, the plan points out, minimizes reliance on the distribution
system in place for more than 100 years. That system relied on the nation’s network of local NAIFA associations to deliver that value. “Times have changed, and so should NAIFA,” Smithkey said. “NAIFA has communications options that it must utilize to help the 21st century advisor succeed.”

Instead of requiring members to join a local association, the plan calls for local membership to be optional beginning in September 2008, and allow advisors to choose to join a local association or not, and belong to any local association they want, if they perceive additional value in doing so. Membership in both a state and the national association will be required.

The plan also calls for an extensive marketing program to showcase NAIFA’s new products and
services. “When we build the 21st century NAIFA, we have to tell people about it,” said John
Davidson, LUTCF, NAIFA’s president. “We will tell advisors nationwide that we are ready to serve our members in a much more effective way.”

NAIFA comprises 800 state and local associations representing the business interests of 225,000 members and their employees nationwide.