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PIA Members Hold Successful Federal Legislative Summit

Members of PIA from across the nation converged on Washington, D.C. April 1-2, 2009 for their annual Federal Legislative Summit. They did so against a...
April 14, 2009

Members of PIA from across the nation converged on Washington, D.C. April 1-2, 2009 for their annual Federal Legislative Summit. They did so against a backdrop of a pending major overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system. The specifics of that change will not be fully determined until the end of this year - the target date set by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) for enacting reform measures. However, the possible outlines of reform measures are beginning to emerge. Several weeks before the PIA Federal Legislative Summit, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that any federal regulatory authority should not replace state regulation of insurance -- but he left open the door to discussion of an optional federal charter at some point.

2009 PIA Federal Legislative Summit kickoff breakfast
PIA members gather for the kickoff breakfast of the 2009 PIA Federal
Legislative Summit.

PIA remains strongly opposed to federalization of insurance regulation, whether outright or through a so-called optional federal charter. That was the message that PIA members took to Capitol Hill in scores of meetings with their Representatives and Senators.

"Your attendance could not have come at a more precipitous time," said PIA National President Kenneth R. Auerbach, Esq., in remarks at the FLS kickoff breakfast. "Our country is in financial turmoil. Our political leadership is in transition. And a whirlwind of legislative initiatives stands poised to suck us into a vortex of failed federal supervision. We get frustrated when Washington does things so slowly, but what is much more frightening is when Washington does things quickly."

PIA National President Kenneth R. Auerbach, Esq. addresses the kickoff breakfast of the 2009 PIA Federal Legislative Summit
PIA National President Kenneth R. Auerbach, Esq. addresses the kickoff
breakfast of the 2009 PIA Federal Legislative Summit, urging agents to "instill a
single moment of clarity in the mind of a congressman, a senator or their staff"
during their visits to Capitol Hill.

Auerbach told the agents that their objective in their meetings with members of Congress and their staffs is critical and straightforward. Our mission is to guide them," he said. "All anyone of us needs to do is instill a single moment of clarity in the mind of a congressman, a senator or their staff. To help them change direction. To set the right course."

PIA National Director of Federal Affairs Mike Becker said there is a sense among the FLS participants that their personal involvement was more important this year than any other. "Getting our position in front of Members of Congress who will be determining the future shape of the insurance industry this year is a critical mission."

PIA members also heard remarks by new NAIC CEO Therese M. Vaughan in an exclusive video interview that was taped with PIA for showing during the FLS legislative briefing. Vaughan said that Congress is looking for solutions and "is tired of hearing people say they want an optional federal charter, [and] they're tired of hearing supporters of state-based systems say 'don't do anything, the system is fine just the way it is.'" Asked to elaborate on her priorities and the current debate on Capitol Hill regarding regulatory reform, Vaughan emphasized that state insurance regulation protects consumers, and that the state-based system of insurance regulation is actually a national system that is state-based.

Improvements still need to be made to the state-based system, according to Vaughan. "It's a good system, but can we make it better. This is an opportunity to look at ways to make the state-based system function more as a highly coordinated national system," she said. "I think if we look 3-5 years from now, we will see some changes in the relationship among the states, and I go back to the Interstate Compact … I think that's an example of the kind of thing that can be done to make this a more effective national system and deal with some of the inefficiencies we have." Vaughan also revealed that the NAIC is forming the Center for Insurance Policy and Research, a place to allow policymakers in Washington, D.C. to access the NAIC and its insurance information more easily.

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2009 PIA Federal Legislative Summit!

Gold Level Sponsors

The Hartford
The PIA Partnership

Silver Level Sponsors

Motorist Insurance Group
Travelers

 

FLS participants also heard remarks by Norm Ornstein, one of the most insightful political commentators on the American scene. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column called "Congress Inside Out" for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

Political analyst Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute
Political analyst Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute
addresses the kickoff breakfast of the 2009 PIA Federal Legislative Summit.

PIA National Director from Oregon Terry Adams (left), Rep. Greg Waldon (R-Ore.) (center), PIA of Oregon President Gary Steffen (right).
PIA National Director from Oregon Terry Adams (left), Rep. Greg Waldon
(R-Ore.) (center), PIA of Oregon President Gary Steffen (right).

PIA of Mississippi National Director Bill McGraw (left) and PIAPAC Chairman Harper Young (right) meet with Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) (center).
PIA of Mississippi National Director Bill McGraw (left) and PIAPAC
Chairman Harper Young (right) meet with Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) (center).

PIA of Kentucky President-elect David Thornton (left) speaks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right), while a McConnell aide takes notes in the background.
PIA of Kentucky President-elect David Thornton (left) speaks with
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right), while a McConnell aide takes
notes in the background.

PIA of Kentucky meets with Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.). Pictured from left to right are: PIA of Kentucky Membership Co-Chair Jared Morgan, EVP Christie LeMay, PIA of Kentucky President Bill McCoy, Rep. Davis, PIA National Director Stan Logan and PIA of Kentuc
PIA of Kentucky meets with Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.). Pictured from left
to right are: PIA of Kentucky Membership Co-Chair Jared Morgan, EVP Christie
LeMay, PIA of Kentucky President Bill McCoy, Rep. Davis, PIA National Director
Stan Logan and PIA of Kentucky President-elect David Thornton.

NAIC CEO Tells PIA State Regulatory Process Will Improve (National Underwriter 4/3/09)