ORLANDO, FLA. — As the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors battles legislative and regulatory challenges, it also is battling an operating deficit and a continuing drop in membership.
Executives from NAIFA, Falls Church, Val., delivered those sobering messages delivered here earlier this week at a general session of the 2009 NAIFA convention.
The 5-day event attracted 2,100 of NAIFA’s 50,000 members.
“As we work through the coming year, and deal with proposals on tax, regulation and health reform, it has never been as important as it is today for all of us at the local, state and national levels to band together as a team,” said NAIFA President Cliff Wilson. “Our clients and the industry need a proactive and strong NAIFA. I believe the progress of this past year positions us to lead with credibility as we move forward.”
The blueprint for this progress, he added, is the NAIFA 21 Strategic Plan.
Adopted in April 2007, the plan lists 5 strategic objectives:
1. Reconstituting and growing NAIFA political programs, including its political action committees.
2. Introducing legislation and regulation.
3. Working collaboratively with sister organizations.
4. Strengthening state legislative and regulatory activities.
5. Improving the speed and frequency of communication.
NAIFA has had successes on all 5 fronts, and most notable in respect to advocacy, Wilson said.
NAIFA’s federal relations staff attended or co-hosted more than 100 D.C. fundraisers for members on key committees of jurisdiction between January and July, Wilson said.
NAIFA was also one of two organizations invited to meet with high-level White House and Treasury officials to articulate insurance industry positions on regulatory reform.
Additionally, Wilson said, NAIFA crafted bills to streamline producer licensing and to give agents the ability to participate in a proposed federal health system “navigator” program. He said the organization also has expanded securities lobbying efforts and engaged directly with officials at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
NAIFA also has worked with a dozen organizations on an effort to limit the authority of a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
The stakes in the legislative battles are high, and that is particularly true of the continuing congressional effort to remove or limit the tax-favored treatment of life insurance, said NAIFA Chief Executive Officer John Healy.