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The 2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit

Now is the time for all PIA members who are concerned about the success of their agencies to make plans to be in Washington,...
February 22, 2005

This Year More Than Ever, You Need to Attend

Learn more and register for the
2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit

Register for the 2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit!Now is the time for all PIA members who are concerned about the success of their agencies to make plans to be in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2005.

PIA National will hold its annual Federal Legislative Summit (FLS) on that date. The summit is a one-day legislative gathering of PIA members who spend the day meeting with their elected representatives to advance the views and positions of professional insurance agents.

"PIA's annual legislative summit is an important part of our year-round program of legislative advocacy," said PIA National President Terry Adams. "Laws passed by Congress have a direct impact on the ability of our members to serve the insurance needs of their customers. We must always be proactive in Washington, D.C. to ensure that as far as PIA members and our clients are concerned, good legislation is passed and bad legislation is not."

More Important in 2005

This year, it is more important than ever that PIA agents turn out for the FLS.

By now, you are aware of some of the fallout from the investigations and lawsuits by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer against some individuals at major Fortune 500 mega-brokerages. While these actions have involved alleged wrongdoing in this specific sector of our industry - and there has been no evidence of any such alleged wrongdoing in our retail sector - some have suggested that reforms designed to address mega-brokerages should also be applied wholesale and without distinction to local, independent insurance agents.

As of now, the issue of broker disclosure requirements is currently being played out in the appropriate forums - at the NAIC and in the states, where insurance is regulated. However, it is possible that Congress could decide to exercise its authority to directly regulate the business of insurance by weighing in on this issue. This could be done by addressing the issue individually or by tying it into a broader regulatory bill. As a matter of principal PIA believes this would be bad for agents and bad for consumers.  PIA believes that broker disclosure, like the regulation of insurance in general, is better left to the states, who know their consumers and insurance professionals best, and can address reform to best meet their needs.  This is one message we will be taking to Capitol Hill.

This year, Congress is expected to hold additional hearings on the issue of insurance regulatory reform, specifically regarding the State Modernization and Regulatory Transparency Act (SMART). This bill has been presented by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and Rep. Richard Baker (R-Louisiana), chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee and will very likely be the vehicle for any change that could come about in Congress in the near future. PIA agents have a stake in how any resulting legislation is fashioned, and must be heard.

There are other important issues this year, as well.

Among them are obtaining an extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which is critical for the future viability of commercial insurance markets, and legislation providing for a coordinated state-federal mechanism to address funding solutions for natural disasters.

The Summit Details

Although logistics for each state's delegation vary, generally delegations visit Senators together. As schedules permit, delegations visit constituents' Representatives as a whole or in clusters, ensuring that a seasoned FLS veteran is present at each visit.

If you've never visited your lawmakers on Capitol Hill, this process may seem intimidating. Rest assured, the staff at PIA and many PIA members in your home state have done this before and will be with you every step of the way.

The 2005 PIA FLS will kick off during the evening of Wednesday, April 6 with an informal, in-depth issue briefing for participants at their hotel headquarters, the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

On the morning of April 7, agents will gather on Capitol Hill for breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. There, PIA members will again be briefed on PIA's current legislative initiatives by Members of Congress and PIA lobbyists, prior to a day of scheduled meetings with lawmakers.

Speakers at the 2005 PIA event will be announced later. Previous speakers at FLS events have included Rep. Richard Baker (R-Louisiana), Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises; Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), chief deputy whip of the U.S. House of Representatives; Rep. Sue Kelly (R-New York), vice chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services; Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky), a member of the Senate Banking, Finance and Budget committees; and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who was campaign chairman for Bush-Cheney 2004.

Following the day of lobbying on the Hill, all FLS participants are invited to attend a reception sponsored by the PIA-Company Council of Executive Officers (PIA-CCEO), followed by the PIA Political Action Committee (PIAPAC) annual fundraising dinner.

Make This Your Year

"What Congress does or fails to do can have a dramatic impact on local independent insurance agents across the country," said Jon D. Spalding, Chairman of the PIA National Federal Affairs Committee. "But this year, the stakes are even higher. Congress will likely hold hearings on insurance regulation reform and as we all know, whether or nor reforms are positive depends on how those reforms are crafted."

"There is no better way to forge and maintain relationships with lawmakers than to do it up-close and personal," Spalding said. "That's why it is essential that PIA members have this annual opportunity to visit with their elected representatives in their Capitol Hill offices to make their views known."

Make 2005 the year you raise the level of your political involvement to the next level.  Make a personal decision to attend and participate in the 2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit.

Consider it an investment in the future success of your agency.

For a complete overview of the 2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit, including a schedule of events and downloadable registration form, click here.

Learn more and register for the
2005 PIA Federal Legislative Summit