A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicled the advocacy efforts of approximately 100 members of an industry group during a visit to the nation’s capitol, and how their lobbying activity was essential for maintaining a favorable business environment. While I doubt we will garner WSJ coverage, 13 NAIFA-Washington members joined over 1000 NAIFA members nationwide for the Congressional Conference April 8-9, 2013. Our primary purpose was to discuss tax reform policy with our legislators as it relates to our industry, products, and the clients we serve.
Our grassroots effort certainly made an impression, and most legislators didn’t dispute our position. Some even seemed a little curious that we were raising the prospect that taxation of our products could change, and a few directly asked if there were any bills pending. While there is no adverse legislation pending at this time, we cannot afford to sit on our hands. It was also instructive, but not surprising, that many legislators didn’t have a full understanding of the taxation of life insurance and annuities.
Our 13 attendees split into 4 groups, and kept appointments with 9 of 10 congressmen/women and both senators. In the majority of cases we met with staff members who are familiar with our industry, and most were surprised by the impact we have in terms of revenue generation, employment, and of course providing for families during the most difficult times. This is why we need to cultivate these important relationships. We are educating staff members (and by extension the legislator) and we are positioning ourselves as a resource if negative legislation should arise; and that is bound to happen!
Advocacy is the essence of what we do as an association and the Congressional Conference success shows that we have the presence and strength in numbers to bring the effort whenever it’s needed. I am particularly pleased with the Washington State group. You represented yourselves and your fellow members well. Thank you for resisting the urged to be uninvolved!
Richard L. Miller,NAIFA-WA APIC Chair