Grassroots lobbyists in the office of Sen. Dean Heller (Photo: Allison Bell/TA) (Photo: Allison Bell/TA)

The American Council of Life Insurers says it will be handling “advocacy,” or lobbying, for accident insurance and other supplemental health benefits as well as for life insurance and annuities.

The new supplemental benefits advocacy effort will include products such as dental insurance, vision insurance, critical illness insurance and hospital indemnity insurance.

The ACLI will represent insurers on those issues at both the state and the federal level, the group says.

(Related: Homeland Security Department Co-Creator to Lead ACLI)

The ACLI’s advocacy work “will focus on ensuring that employers and individuals maintain access to the supplemental benefits coverage they want and need,” the ACLI says.

Chuck Piacentini, the ACLI’s vice president for insurance regulation, said in a statement that representing supplemental benefits issuers fits well with the ACLI’s mission of working to secure Americans’ access to financial protection products.

“The costs of a significant injury or illness not covered by major medical plans can be devastating to a family’s finances,” Piacentini said. “Paying these expenses can put a family deep into debt or very quickly deplete a family’s savings for retirement, education or other future plans.”

The ACLI as a Lobbying Organization

The ACLI spent about $1.7 million on lobbying during the first half of this year, according to Senate Office of Public Records data compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

The ACLI has 13 registered lobbyists of its own, and it has worked with lobbyists at Barnes & Thornburg, Williams & Jensen, the Federal Policy Group, DLA Piper, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to the OpenSecrets.org data.

What Issues?

ACLI supplemental benefits lobbyists will start out by focusing on state and federal efforts to impose new taxes or assessments on supplemental benefits products issuers.

The ACLI has already been fighting efforts by Affordable Care Act public exchange plan programs to impose assessments on companies that do not sell exchange plan coverage, according to the OpenSecrets.org data.

The ACLI has also been working on draft federal legislation that could allow for workers to be enrolled in an employers’ disability insurance plans automatically, and to create new tax incentives for the purchase of stand-alone long-term care insurance.

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