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Professional Insurance Agents to Hold Federal Legislative Summit April 1-2

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2009 - Members of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents will convene on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on...
March 16, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2009  - Members of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents will convene on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 1 and 2, 2009 for their 27th annual Federal Legislative Summit.

The Main Street insurance agents will be on Capitol Hill as Congress receives President Obama's proposals for a major overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system. The proposals are slated to be unveiled by April 2, in time for the start of the G-20 economic summit in London. President Obama will attend the G-20 summit.

"This year's PIA Federal Legislative Summit will be very timely," said PIA National President Kenneth R. Auerbach, Esq. "We will be meeting with Members of Congress as they debate regulatory reforms designed to ensure that the financial crisis our nation is now dealing with is never allowed to happen again. Our message is clear: state regulation of insurance has worked well and any regulatory reforms Congress enacts should build upon that state system, not undermine it."

The PIA Federal Legislative Summit begins April 1 with an orientation session followed by an in-depth legislative briefing conducted by PIA government affairs staffers, held at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, PIA's headquarters hotel.

On April 2, summit participants will gather for a breakfast program featuring a keynote address by Norm Ornstein, a political analyst and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, along with an exclusive video interview with Dr. Therese M. Vaughan, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), conducted by PIA National's CEO Leonard C. Brevik.

PIA members then head to the House and Senate for a full day of scheduled meetings with lawmakers in their offices. At day's end, a reception for all summit participants will be followed by the annual fundraising and awards dinner of the PIA Political Action Committee (PIAPAC).

"PIA's legislative summit is particularly important this year, because we are opposing the efforts of advocates of federal regulation of insurance to portray their ideas as reform measures that will strengthen insurance regulation," Auerbach said. "This is not the case. Proposals to create a federal insurance regulatory office and transfer most state authority to Washington, D.C. would weaken insurance regulation by undercutting the more stringent oversight provided by the states."

"PIA supports the position of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that any framework established to regulate financial stability must build upon, not displace, the successful state-based system of insurance regulation," Auerbach said. "Our existing national system of state-based insurance regulation has performed well in safeguarding insurance companies and their stakeholders, including consumers, compared to the crisis in the federal regulatory system."

Auerbach added that PIA supports the Obama Administration's efforts to achieve common sense regulatory reforms and that such efforts should concentrate on fixing  failures in the federal regulation of banking, securities and capital markets, with a special emphasis on bringing the unregulated sectors of the economy such as 'non-bank' banks, sovereign investment funds and credit default swaps under appropriate supervision.

PIA supports a more effective and successful federal systemic risk regulator for banking, securities and capital markets that would, through the current Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), coordinate with the existing national system of state-based insurance supervision.

"We need to encourage a balanced approach that increases the stability of all sectors, not toss the insurance sector and its reserves into the bubbling cauldron of financial chaos that resulted from inadequate and imprudent supervision at the federal level," Auerbach said.

During their Capitol Hill visits, PIA members will also advocate for the creation of a national natural catastrophe plan that supports the availability, affordability and stability of property insurance in catastrophe prone areas, as well as the economic viability of local communities.

Improvements and advancements in the federal flood insurance and crop insurance programs are also on PIA's list of legislative priorities. In addition to legislative meetings on Capitol Hill, PIA members will meet with USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) officials on Friday, April 3 to discuss the federal crop insurance program in greater detail.

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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