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PIA Agents to Lobby Congress At Home in August

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2007 - When members of Congress go on a month-long recess this August, America's Main Street insurance agents will follow...
July 31, 2007

Opposition to National Insurance Act, McCarran Repeal Are Key Issues

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2007  - When members of Congress go on a month-long recess this August, America's Main Street insurance agents will follow them back to their home districts, keeping the pressure on them to defeat the National Insurance Act of 2007.

For the second year in a row, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has declared the entire month of August as Political Involvement and Advocacy Month and designated August 8 as PIA District Lobbying Day. This year, the stakes are higher as a coalition of banks, securities firms and large life insurers has mounted a well-financed special interest campaign to create a massive new federal insurance bureaucracy.

PIA members - local Main Street insurance agents - will be asking their elected representatives to oppose The National Insurance Act of 2007 (H.R. 3200, S. 40).

"This bill is bad for consumers, bad for the insurance business and bad for American taxpayers," said PIA Executive Vice President & CEO Len Brevik. "It is being pushed by special interests that want to establish a duplicative federal insurance regulatory regime for their own benefit and weaken consumer protections in the process."

The bill calls for the establishment of optional federal charters for insurers, a federal system of regulation that insurers could opt for and at the same time, exempt themselves from all state insurance and consumer protection regulations. The bill also provides for an unnecessary new federal bureaucracy, the Office of National Insurance (ONI) in the Treasury Department, which would impose an onerous new tax burden on businesses and individual taxpayers.

"Our message during August will focus on the broad, organized campaign now underway by the supporters of optional federal charters to tear down the structure of state insurance regulation and replace it with a new structure - under federal regulation - that would benefit a few major players, at the direct expense of most participants in our industry including Main Street insurance agents," said PIA National President Donna Pile, an insurance agent in Lexington, Kentucky.

Pile said that few Members of Congress would knowingly vote to destroy the consumer protections that have been carefully put in place to protect their constituents. "That's why all of us need to contact our Members of Congress and let them know that a vote for federal regulation of insurance will hurt the voters in their districts."

"Our fight to support state regulation of insurance is not just about us," Pile said.  "It's about our responsibility to our friends and neighbors, who are our clients.  If the kind of personal service and caring that we provide becomes another casualty of the push to make everything into a commodity, consumers will lose something they value highly: the ability to protect their dreams by working with Main Street agents who truly care about them."

In addition, PIA agents will point out to members of Congress that the optional federal charters called for under the National Insurance Act have been used before, in the banking industry, with disasterous results for taxpayers. In the 1980's, optional federal charters in banking led directly to the savings and loan crisis in which over 1,000 S&Ls failed and American taxpayers were stuck with a $150 billion bill for a bailout.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America(SM). PIA's web address is www.pianet.com.

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