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PIA Members Converge on Washington, D.C. for Federal Legislative Summit

Starting today, many of your fellow PIA members are arriving in Washington, D.C. to meet with their legislators and let them know firsthand what effects proposed legislation will have on their businesses
March 20, 2012

Starting today, many of your fellow PIA members are arriving in Washington, D.C. to meet with their legislators and let them know firsthand what effects proposed legislation will have on their businesses.

PIA agents from around the country are participating in the PIA Federal Legislative Summit, which is being held March 21 and 22.

“We all know that 2012 is a critical election year, both for the future of our country and the interests of professional insurance agents,” said PIA National President Thomas C. Adderhold. “Our summit this year occurs as many issues with the potential to affect agents’ bottom lines remain in focus on Capitol Hill. That’s why this is no time for agents to sit on the sidelines.”

Issues at This Year’s FLS

PIA members participating in the summit remain unalterably opposed to federal encroachment on insurance, and instead support modernization of the nation’s state-based system of insurance regulation which has served consumers well. In addition, the insurance agents will urge lawmakers to pass a bill to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and extend it for five years.

“It is crucial that Congress finally pass an extension bill,” said Richie Clements, secretary/assistant treasurer of PIA National and PIA National’s representative to the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee (FIPNC). “The current authorization runs until May 31, 2012, which should be plenty of time for Congress to finish work to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for a full five years and enact key reforms to put the program on a firm financial footing.”

PIA members will also advocate for a 2012 Farm Bill that’s fair and against caps on agent compensation in crop insurance under the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA). In addition, the insurance agents will advise lawmakers they oppose any recommendation that may be forthcoming from the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to grant the federal government or the FIO any measure of regulatory authority over the business of insurance.

Main Street insurance agents who sell health insurance are reeling from a decision by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include agent compensation in the calculation of medical loss ratios (MLR). As a result, the compensation of many licensed health insurance agents and brokers has been cut by as much as 50 percent. PIA members will urge that Congress enact legislation to clarify that producer compensation will not be considered as part of MLR calculations, taking that determination out of the hands of HHS.

Schedule of Events

The 2012 PIA Federal Legislative Summit will begin with a legislative briefing for participants, held at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, PIA’s headquarters hotel. The following morning, participants will begin their day with a breakfast program featuring remarks by PIA leaders and Members of Congress. Following breakfast, PIA members will spend a full day of scheduled meetings with lawmakers in their Capitol Hill offices. In addition to legislative meetings on Capitol Hill, PIA members will meet with Bill Murphy, the Administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) on March 23 to discuss the federal crop insurance program in greater detail.

At day’s end, a reception will be held, followed by the annual fundraising and awards dinner of the PIA Political Action Committee (PIAPAC).

“Issues that are very important to insurance agents, the insurance industry and insurance customers are being debated every day in Washington, D.C.,” said PIA National President-elect Andrew C. Harris. “These issues run the gamut, but what they have in common is the potential – depending on how they are decided – to help or hurt professional insurance agents and our customers.”

“For our voices to be heard above the clamor of those that would gain from our loss, we need to be present in the decision making process and highly visible in Washington,” Harris said. “Not being involved is simply not an option.”

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