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NAIFA: Washington's calling

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At its annual meeting at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas last week, NAIFA leadership had plenty to say about the challenges facing not only the association, but the industry it advocates. As my colleague Warren Hersch, senior editor at National Underwriter Life and Health, reported from the event, NAIFA is making a big push to ramp up its political advocacy efforts to guard against proposed federal and state regulations and legislation that threatens the industry.

See also: NAIFA Government Relations Team Warns of Threats to Industry

Incoming NAIFA President Robert Smith, addressing NAIFA membership during last week’s meeting, said, “We’re in the midst of a perfect storm, with health care reform, regulatory reform and tax reform. We’re currently battling to protect the products we sell and the business models we use.”

NAIFA plans on taking the battle to Capitol Hill next spring. Diane Boyle, NAIFA’s vice president for federal government relations, announced during last Monday’s legislative forum session that the NAIFA Congressional Conference is scheduled for April 8-9, 2013. The idea is for NAIFA members to take the message directly to lawmakers that tax reform must not harm the ability of Americans to rely on insurance products to protect their financial security.

“NAIFA has the ability to put a member in front of every member of Congress,” Boyle said during the legislative forum. “When you get in front of them, eyeball-to-eyeball, and explain the value of our products, they get it.”

Following Boyle during the legislative forum session, outside counsel Pat Raffaniello told the audience that the tax reform debate will require boots on the ground. “We need 1,000 members to show up in April on the Hill to educate Congress about the tax treatment of life insurance,” Raffaniello said. “Democracy is about numbers. We need you to tell Congress how important the tax status of our products is.”

Magenta Ishak, NAIFA’s assistant vice president of political affairs, echoed the call for members to converge on Capitol Hill next April. “If NAIFA members think their congressmen are sick of hearing NAIFA members visit about the tax protection for life insurance products… too bad,” she said.

Ishak said with tax reform set to take center stage next year, it’s a critical time to make sure the industry is visible with a clear message. “Somebody’s going to be thrown under the bus. Don’t let it be us,” she said.

For more 2012 NAIFA Annual Meeting coverage, see:

New NAIFA president details association’s challenges, plans for growth

NAIFA awards top industry honor to Brian Ashe

NAIFA also is concerned about state issues


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