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Be a Part of the PIA Circle

Part of the benefit of being a member of a national association like PIA is the opportunity to band together with individuals in the...
February 10, 2006

By Kellie Bray
Assistant Vice President, Federal Affairs
PIA National

Part of the benefit of being a member of a national association like PIA is the opportunity to band together with individuals in the same profession to further your education, meet new people, and take advantage of special member benefits to further your business's success. These are great reasons to join an association and they're the initial attraction for many independent agents who join PIA.

As an association member, however, you have the opportunity to play a larger role and have extraordinary impact on the forces that shape your future, forces such as those wielded by elected officials in state legislatures across America and on Capitol Hill. You have the opportunity to become part of the PIA Circle.

What do I mean when I say "PIA Circle"? How does your journey around the circle lead to legislative successes that benefit your business and your clients?

The PIA CircleLet's think of PIA's political process as a circle that starts with you, the insurance professional, at your desk and active in your community. As you travel around the circle, you take part in the legislative efforts of your local PIA affiliate - active in your state's legislative and regulatory process where much of the business of insurance is decided. As you continue around the circle you join with PIA National to ensure that legislators on Capitol Hill understand the views of independent agents and small business owners. Finally, the circle returns to the beginning with you, the Main Street agent at your desk and active in your community.

So you've decided to take your membership in PIA to the next level. You've decided that you need to be part of the PIA Circle.  Here's how you can build success within this circle:

At the Local Level

By being an active member of your community, you show that you not only care about the success of your business, but the success of your entire community as well.  Get involved in area events and use those events as opportunities to educate those around you about the insurance business. Take time at these community events to meet everyone, including those power brokers who make things happen on a larger stage, such as in your state government, as well as those who will be in that position five, ten and fifteen years down the line.

At the State Level

As a member of your state/regional PIA affiliate you not only have education programs and products and services benefits, but a legislative voice that you can take advantage of throughout the year.  Participate in state lobbying days, contribute to your state Political Action Committee if you have one, and get to know your state legislators.  Also make plans to visit your federal representatives and senators while they are back home.

At the National Level

There are numerous activities you can take advantage of at the national level to benefit your business and those of all independent insurance agents.

  • Attend the 2006 PIA Federal Legislative Summit. This year's summit will be held on April 6, 2006 in Washington, D.C.  This is the most important day for professional independent insurance agents on Capitol Hill.  Use this opportunity to meet with your elected officials and their staffs to tell them about issues of importance to the insurance industry. Learn more about the 2006 PIA FLS.
  • Learn more about emerging legislative issues. In 2006, the House of Representatives will reconvene talks on the State Modernization and Regulatory Transparency Act (SMART Act) that contains provisions of great interest to professional independent insurance agents.  In addition, the House and Senate will further explore a possible natural catastrophe plan that would have a direct impact on the insurance industry.
  • Support PIAPAC. PIA National's Political Action Committee is dedicated to supporting Members of Congress who support our issues and concerns.  By combining individual contributions, we can make our voices even louder on Capitol Hill! Learn how you can contribute to PIAPAC. 
  • Participate in Grassroots Alerts. With the help of independent agents from around the country sending over 2,300 messages to Capitol Hill and the President, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by the President just days before its potential expiration on December 31, 2005.  The grassroots alert system we have in place is easy to use and messages are sent directly to your Members of Congress and the President.  A message is provided for you by PIA National staff, and you can add your personal examples and any other helpful information for your representatives and senators. If you're a PIA member but have not received recent emails alerting you to PIA National's grassroots alerts, we probably don't have your email address. To get involved, just send your email address along with your name and agency contact information to PIA National at grassroots@pianet.org

Back at Your Desk

Once you have moved through the local, state, and national levels of the PIA Circle you return back to your desk.  If successful, you will see a positive change in the number of business contacts you have, the greater knowledge you've gained, and improved state and federal legislation to help the way in which you do business every day.

PIA Connection

This article originally appeared in the January 2006 PIA Connection.