New York state map (Credit: WPClipart.com )

New and old life agent groups are fighting for the hearts, and dues, of New York state financial professionals.

Finseca — a group created in July, from a merger of AALU and GAMA — announced Tuesday that it’s entering into a partnership with National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors-New York State (NAIFA-NYS).

(Related: New AALU-GAMA Combo Takes the Name ‘Finseca’)

NAIFA-NYS has been the New York state chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

Marc Cadin, the chief executive officer of Finseca, said in a statement about the combination that Finseca is honored join forces with the team at NAIFA-NYS at this critical time for the financial advice profession.

“The economic disruption of COVID-19 means that more Americans need personalized support to protect their financial future,” Cadin said in the statement. “New York is the largest market for the life insurance industry in the United States, and a presence there is critical to representing the profession successfully…. We know that an effective presence in front of state legislative and regulatory bodies is essential to represent the profession. The profession needs a new model based on a stronger and more effective state and federal collaboration.”

Phillip Held, president of NAIFA-NYS, said in a statement of his own that was included in the Finseca combination announcement that NAIFA-NYS believes that Finseca represents the future of the financial advice profession.

“The financial security profession is at a crossroads, and at a time of great economic turmoil, we need to work together to achieve results for our members and their clients,” Held said . “NAIFA-NYS’ board voted today to take a critical step toward coming together to strengthen outcomes and drive the results on important policy issues.”

Kelly Kidwell, Finseca’s chair, said the board of the organization has made unifying the profession a top priority. “Our profession is the key to delivering financial security, but the organizations that represent us are too fractured and divided,” Kidwell said. “Our new affiliation with NAIFA NY is the first step in building out a state-by-state approach that will deliver more value and strengthen our advocacy efforts.”

The Players

NAIFA is a Falls Church, Virginia-based group that was formed in 1890, as the National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU), by a consortium of local and state life insurance agent organizations.

The national NAIFA organization had about $12 million in revenue in 2016, according to the latest NAIFA Form 990 financial filing available at Candid.org.

(Related: Join Us, Because Washington Does Actually Listen to Us: NAIFA Leaders)

Six local New York state NALU chapters formed the New York State Association of Life Underwriters in 1919. The national organization and the New York state association took the NAIFA name in 2006.

NAIFA-NYS had about $400,000 in revenue in 2017, according to the newest filing available at Candid.org.

Finseca is based in Washington. Form 990 filings for AALU, GAMA and GAMA’s foundation affiliation suggest that Finseca had about $19 million in revenue in 2017.

How Finseca Sees the Membership Nuts and Bolts

Finseca said NAIFA–NYS membership will automatically roll over to Finseca through the end of 2020.

“Members will be invited to renew in 2021,” Finseca said. “Finseca is committed to offering a seamless membership experience aimed at reducing dues for state members with a stronger benefits package, effective advocacy and greater integration between federal and state issues.”

How the National NAIFA Organization Sees Things

Park Strategies, an association management firm, helps run NAIFA-NYS.

Kevin Mayeux, NAIFA’s chief executive officer, put out the following statement in response to the Finseca announcement about NAIFA-NYS:

Many NAIFA-NY members received an email announcing that the state’s board of directors, in concert with the paid staff of Park Strategies, voted to disaffiliate with NAIFA and instead affiliate with Finseca.

This action was taken by a handful of former NAIFA-NY board members and their outside association management firm without consulting NAIFA’s national leadership or the members of the NAIFA-NY chapter. Several former NAIFA-NY board members have tendered their resignations due to this move.

NAIFA was dismayed by the public announcement that was broadcast in an email to members, on the chapter website and on Finseca’s website. We only learned of this move when NAIFA members flooded our email inboxes and customer support line confused and upset at the notion that NAIFA’s New York chapter might change or no longer exist. NAIFA members were confused by an announcement that suggested their membership could somehow be transferred to Finseca.

That is not the case. NAIFA-NY members continue to be members of NAIFA in good standing. They are not members of Finseca, unless they have separately chosen to join that group on their own.

This turn of events has forced NAIFA to take unprecedented measures. Never in our 130 years has a group within a chapter board decided to secede from NAIFA and go against the NAIFA way of working together to represent the best interests of members in that state chapter.

We are putting in an interim leadership team to serve NAIFA-New York until the NAIFA members in New York can elect their own set of officers to represent their best interests. We have created a new chapter website with the official NAIFA-New York logo representing the members of the Empire State and we will continue to do the good work of NAIFA-New York like we have done every day for 130 years.

— Read New York Best Interest Standard Violates Law: NAIFA-NYon ThinkAdvisor.

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