SEATTLE — Lobbyists on a panel here at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors annual meeting warned against assuming that all producers need to do to protect their interests is to get Republicans elected in November.
Pat Raffaniello of Raffaniello & Associates L.L.C., Washington, said efforts to impose more regulations – and tax hikes — on the insurance industry are in the offing no matter who wins the elections.
The federal government now has a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, and it wants to fix the alternative minimum tax and extend at least some of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, Raffaniello said.
Republican control of the House and Senate would not necessarily help the situation, because “choices will have to made” about taxing insurance products, Raffaniello said.
“And that’s where you [NAIFA members] come in,” Raffaniello said. “Without you being involved politically–getting to know your member of Congress, responding to NAIFA [e-mailed] GovAlerts, and participating in IFAPAC, we on the government relations committee can’t save you. Only you can save yourself.”
Magenta Ishak, an assistant vice president at NAIFA, Falls Church, Va., gave a similar warning.
“When the House Republican leader and quite possibly next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives starts talking about special carve-outs in the tax code, you need to sit up and pay attention,” Ishak said.
The major political tax debates will no longer pit business against labor, but businesses against businesses–and insurers could end up on the losing end, Ishak said.
“So,” Ishak said, “if you think that all we need to do is elect a Republican majority to the Congress and all 50 state legislatures, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to talk to you about.”
Michael Kerley, a NAIFA senior vice president, said NAIFA has succeeded so far at protecting the tax-favored treatment of life insurance, and especially at protecting the tax-deferred growth of cash values, or “inside buildup,” in permanent life insurance policies.