If 500 people show up in Washington for the fixed indexed annuity legislative “fly-in” next week, Blair O’Connor will find some place to send them.
O’Connor, president of Producer’s Choice Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., is helping to lead efforts to organize the March 17 fly-in.
O’Connor, who is legislative affairs committee chair at the National Association for Fixed Annuities, Milwaukee, and chairman of the new Independent Fixed Annuities Agents Council, Sterling Heights, and the other organizers are hoping to attract more than 100 participants.
RULE 151A FLY-IN
Readers can follow Allison Bell at http://www.lifeandhealthinsurancenews.com/rule151a as she reports live from Capitol Hill once the event begins.
Feel free to ask Allison questions on Twitter, at http://twitter.com/NatUndLife, and join in the discussion by using the Twitter hashtag #rule151a.
But the more people the organizers have visiting the offices of lawmakers, the better, O’Connor says.
“This is a middle-American issue, and it resonates from right to left,” O’Connor says. “The senators are very cognizant of something: They represent us.”
Committed fly-in participants already have lined up meetings with many senators’ offices, and participants also are working to arrange meetings with House members. Members of Congress usually will try to find bigger conference rooms if citizens groups turn out to be larger than expected, and, even if all fly-in participants fail get into a meeting, the fact that they have walked in with the others sends a message about the level support that exists for their cause, O’Connor says.
IFAAC is working with NAFA, which represents both insurers and producers, and the Coalition for Insured Products, Washington, which represents insurers, to organize the fly-in.
Organizers are focusing hard on the Senate, where they are trying to win support for S. 1389, the companion bill to H.R. 2733.
H.R. 2733, the Indexed Annuities and Insurance Products Classification Act of 2009 bill, would stop the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from classifying FIA products as securities. That bill, which was introduced by Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and Thomas Price, R-Ga., already has more than 70 cosponsors.
The SEC decided in January 2009 to adopt Rule 151a, which would classify FIA products as securities, arguing that consumers see FIA products as being about the same as securities, and that the products ought to be regulated as such.
Opponents of Rule 151a, including NAFA, IFAAC and insurers’ Coalition for Indexed Products, Washington, have argued that indexed products offer a guaranteed component that insulates purchasers from loss of principal or other investment risk; that insurers’ back the products guarantees with their own general account assets; and that, during the recent market downturn, FIA products have performed much better than products already regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, such as mutual funds.
For life insurance agents who are not licensed as securities brokers, implementation of Rule 151a would mean that they would have to spend significant amounts of time and money to become licensed to sell securities.
Fly-in organizers hope to have as many participants as possible arrive at the Omni Shoreham Hotel Tuesday, then shuttle in for a breakfast and rally around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Hyatt Capitol Hill.
At the rally, participants will get packets containing maps and information about getting to appointments.
The organizers hope to have a cocktail party Tuesday for fly-in participants who get to Washington in time, but many participants will first join group Wednesday at the Hyatt, O’Connor says.
The event will represent a kind of debut for IFAAC, which represents the interests of agents, agencies and independent marketing organizations.
The FIA producers who have joined IFAAC remain committed to NAFA, and most of them belong to NAFA, but they felt the need to have an organization that would present the producer’s point of view on some FIA issues, O’Connor says.
More information about the fly-in is available at http://www.nafagetactive.com/march-2010-fly-in.html