When the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies kicks off its annual conference this week in Hollywood, Florida, it will be “the dawning of a new age,” according to Jim Sorebo, the 2017 chairman of the industry association.

Earlier this year, Jack Chiasson retired as NAILBA CEO, after 13 years at the helm, and NAILBA 36 will serve as the public debut of NAILBA’s new leader, Dan LaBert. “Jack left the organization and staff in fantastic shape for the future, and we plan to have a great send off for him at the event,” Sorebo said. “He helped craft our three-year strategic plan, and we believe we found the perfect person to lead us in Dan.”

LaBert is the former executive director of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and earlier served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. With this being such a transformational time, not only within NAILBA, but also within the industry, Sorebo said the search committee was looking for someone with specific qualities.

“We needed someone with strong leaderships qualities, someone who was results-oriented, and someone who had experience growing associations,” said Sorebo. “Dan is someone who understands how to grow revenue and grow membership while also reducing expenses. That’s why he’s a great fit for us.”

Collaboration

One of LaBert’s challenges will be the implementation of NAILBA’s strategy to further collaboration among the various industry associations. “We started this collaboration effort three years ago when we put together a plan with AALU to share resources and band together in an effort to develop ‘one voice’ for the industry,” Sorebo said.

Sorebo points to the National Association of Realtors, with its 1.3 million members, as an example of what the insurance industry could be one day. “We have all these organizations — AALU, NAILBA, NAIFA, GAMA, MDRT, and all the others — and we’re all working so hard, but mostly we’re working independently.”

(Related: NAILBA announces 2017 board, executive committee)

He considers the the U.S. Department of Labor and its fiduciary rule “an abomination.” If all the industry associations had “banded together, if we had collaborated and developed one voice for Capitol Hill instead of crafting 17 different messages, I believe we’d have had a different result.” he said.

NAILBA 36

Speaking about the show, being held at the Diplomat Beach Resort from Nov. 16 through Nov. 18, Sorebo said this year’s content reflects what’s going on within the life insurance industry today.

Underwriting automation, cybersecurity, longevity, succession planning, and life insurance planning in a changing tax environment are some of the session topics available to attendees.

They keynote speakers caught his attention. “I’m looking forward to Theresa Payton’s talk on cybersecurity,” Sorebo said. Payton served as White House chief information officer. She is an expert on cybersecurity, big data, and behavior analytics. “Today the cyber insurance industry is at $1.3 billion in premiums,” Sorebo said. “By 2020 it’s estimated to be at $20 billion in premiums. Cyber threats are truly disrupting our industry and we have to pay attention to that threat.”

Craig Venter, the biologist who mapped the human genome, is also a must-see keynote, according to Sorebo. “The technological advancements being made with nanobots and viruses will have a transformational effect on longevity, which will have a transformational effect on the insurance industry once life expectancy goes up another 15-20 years, or even longer.”

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