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The Key to Success on Capitol Hill? Get Involved!

One of the benefits of belonging to a national trade association is the ability to join with thousands of others across the nation to...
September 3, 2005

By Kellie Bray
Assistant Vice President, Federal Affairs
PIA National

One of the benefits of belonging to a national trade association is the ability to join with thousands of others across the nation to make your collective interests known about issues that are important to you and your business.

A perfect example of working together toward a common goal is the current grassroots campaign PIA National is conducting to let Members of Congress know that it is important that they extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).  Currently, TRIA is set to expire on December 31, 2005. Members of Congress need to hear personal stories about how their constituents and the businesses in their districts will be affected if the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) is not extended beyond that date.

PIA National has a letter drafted for your use - all you need to do is add your personal story telling how your clients and your business would be affected if Congress were to not pass some form of terrorism risk insurance.  You can send your personalized message to your Members of Congress easily right from PIA's website here.

It would also aid PIA's lobbying efforts if you would print the text of your messages (1 to your representative and 2 to your senators) on your company letterhead and fax these letters to PIA National so that we may compile all PIA member responses. Nothing says, "This is important to your constituents" better than a fistful of actual letters from voters! Send your fax to: 703-836-1279 attn. Kellie Bray.

The Time to Act Is Now!

PIA knows letting TRIA expire would have severe consequences for you and your insureds. It is simply not yet possible for the private market to completely cover the financial losses of another terrorist attack similar to the one our nation suffered on September 11, 2001.

However, some Members of Congress do not fully appreciate the consequences small-to-mid-size business in their districts will face should TRIA fail to be renewed or not be renewed before the expiration date. That's why we need you to tell them! The future of TRIA hangs in the balance. Help PIA push it in the right direction today!

Status of SMART

With the intense focus over the past several months on renewing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, work on the State Modernization and Regulatory Reform Act (SMART) has slowed significantly, following an active and structured comment and discussion schedule during the spring and early summer.

So far, the operative word regarding SMART is "discuss." Although there have been several hearings covering its broad concept as well as various reform measures contemplated among its 17 separate titles, SMART remains a "discussion draft." To date, no bill has been introduced.

If momentum for SMART picks up again, perhaps late this year or early in 2006, PIA National will keep you updated on the status of the proposal.

Decisions made in Congress and by regulators all have a direct impact on the future business prospects of all PIA members. The effectiveness with which we make the case for agents will help determine the level of success all PIA members will enjoy.

No matter the topic on Capitol Hill, one thing is clear - we need active and knowledgeable agents like you to join with your fellow PIA members throughout the country to make Congress aware that PIA is fighting for the best interests of professional independent insurance agents everywhere!

Kellie Bray kelliebr@pianet.org is assistant vice president of federal affairs for PIA National.

PIA Connection

This article originally appeared in the September 2005 PIA Connection.