Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 June/July Immediate Past President

Outgoing President's Message 

Hello NAIFA Participants! On the State level, we’ve been together for 6 years…6 looooooooooong years! Hahaha. In that time, we have accomplished a LOT in moving the cause of NAIFA Washington forward as well as built a LOT of GREAT memories that I will never forget…until I trigger a LTCI claim…right? I could spend time listing all the accomplishments especially over the past two years as President (and if you want to go over this rather impressive list, I’d be glad to let you buy me a coffee or lunch…lunch would be better and talk about the “glory days”)!
Instead, I’d rather tell you a story about the difference between Lee Ioccoca and Jeff Kyle. (take LILI or read the Good to Great story about Ioccoca). How am I different than him…I look at my local and 4 of the 7 Officers and Board members, I recruited to NAIFA, recruited to leadership by managing expectations and mentoring them in the “ways of NAIFA”. I look at the State, I have built a tremendous team of leaders (including a couple who have now been elected and will serve as our President, as well as all of the chairs, co-chairs and some RVP’s! A think tank we refer to as the “Knights of NAIFA”, created an Ad-Hock Committee Chair position called “Communications” that has now given us a web presence, FB, Linked In, E-mail thru Constant Contact and we’re working through some challenges with on-line web conferencing and I’m confident we will have that “dialed in” sometime this coming year! Half of these Leaders are young (YAT young) and the others are helping me mentor them and THEY are my legacy!

2013 June/July OIC

As the licensing and education manager for the state insurance commissioner’s office, I’d like to take a moment to bring the NAIFA membership up to date on what’s happening within my program – and to ask for your input.

Online Licensing – The OIC has prioritized moving the licensing processes online since 2007.  Progress over the past six years has been steady, building our online services piece by piece. I am pleased to inform you that at the end of May 2013, more than 99 percent  of all state insurance licensing transactions are being completed online. As a result, in most cases it’s now significantly faster to obtain or renew an insurance license.

I would like your feedback on your experiences with the online licensing system. What can we do to make it better or easier for you to use?  Most of our best ideas for improvements come from those that use our system.  Send us your suggestions!

Electronic Fingerprinting – The latest piece of the online initiative has been electronic submission of fingerprints.  Washington residents are required to submit fingerprints for a state and federal background check as a part of the application process.  As a result, background results have been returned to the OIC within the same day as the fingerprints were submitted for a large percentage of applicants.  This is a significant improvement over the 2-3 week for returned results for hardcopy fingerprints.  At the end of May 2013, 94% of all fingerprints were submitted electronically. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 June/July Advocacy

NAIFA Washington Advocacy for Members in Constant Motion

Whew…what a year 2013 turned out to be!  But there is no time to rest on past successes.  Let’s look at NAIFA-Washington’s successes:

· “Day on the Hill” huge success.  Information, Attendance, Speaker line-up,  Legislative Contacts, 13 Locals represented, Profitability

·  “Call to Action” stopped a 271% increase for ALL Agents/producers paying B&O Taxed.  Leadership Coalition testifies in Olympia, NAIFA WA, WAHU, IIABW, PIA, Farmers, American Family, 1000’s of the Producer Community call their legislators!
Strong NAIFA WA representation on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Agent/Brokers Life, Health, Disability Advisory Council…keeping NAIFA WA informed and involved with the OIC.
NAIFA WA Members: (L/R   )Sharon Sparling, Kathy Smithson,
Andrew Hooper, Brian Berg, Alan Zalewski, Robert “Bob” Mertz, Matt Ryan

·  **NEW VICTORY**  “Agent/Producer” presence on the new Washington healthplanfinder.  Mel Sorensen, NAIFA WA Lobbyist notified us that after the June 16th Washington Health Benefits Exchange meeting with the Exchange’s Agent/Broker Advisory Group raised a number of priority issues for the producer community. The meeting was about the Exchange website and making sure that agents/brokers get credit for bringing business to the Exchange.

2013 June/July LILI Report

LILI 6.5   “In the Beginning…”

What an OUTSTANDING LILI 6.5 which was held at Tri-Cities during the NAIFA Washington State Convention.  This year was about going back to “In the Beginning…” when ALL LILI students had the experience of reading, studying and implementing John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”.

The weather was beautiful as we held our event outdoors on the patio of the Marriott on the banks of beautiful Columbia River in Tri-Cities!

It was an honor to have Thomas “Tom” D. Currey, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, Past NAIFA President as well as one of the founders of the NAIFA Leadership In Life Institute!  Our local Moderators were:  Thomas “Tom” Fowler, CLU, LUTCF, Past NAIFA WA President, Past NAIFA Trustee and first LILI Moderator for NAIFA Washington and  finally, to round out our ‘power line-up of Moderators’ was Scott Fowler of DI Brokers and now current NAIFA Washington Secretary/Treasurer.. 
We had a great time learning about each other and creating a new ‘bond’ between LILI Alumni current and past.  It was great to review the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and take the discussion from that as a student to the next level, how we have incorporated these “21 Laws” into our daily leadership roles within our business, Local NAIFA associations, families, church and communities!

2013 June/July President's Message

“ADVOCATE”   It is just a word, but oh does it have such important meaning.

I’ll come back to that in a few moments. Last month at the State Convention in Richland I was elected your President for the 2013/2014 NAIFA year. I am happy to serve in this capacity and I plan to have a very successful year in several areas but today I am going to speak about advocacy. You might be thinking that has to do with calling, emailing, writing and visiting our state and national legislators. You would be correct most of the time but now I am going to broaden the scope of the word and its significance to our profession, our association and our clients.

NAIFA’s mission statement reads: The mission of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of our members.

NAIFA is using the word advocate as a verb which according to Webster means “to plead in favor of.” Of course we are in favor of and plead for the benefit of our industry and our clients in encouraging positive action from our legislators. But I think it is equally or more important to view the word in its definition as a noun. Webster says: 1. One that pleads the cause of another, specifically one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court. 2. One that defends or maintains a case or proposal. 3. One that supports or promotes the trust of another.

2013 June/July APIC

What is the number one issue we should be discussing with members and non-members alike as we point up the importance of our association and the impact we have?  B & O tax.  Some of the usual objections we get from potential members such as “I don’t sell much life insurance” or  “ I’m primarily an investment advisor” don’t wash.  The B & O tax is an equal opportunity tax for those in our industry.  We are all subject to it and we can’t necessarily pass it on to our clients, not that we’d want to!
Now just how did we manage to defeat a potential 271% increase in the B & O tax?  With a classic grassroots effort, of course!  Our lobbyist put out the call to action, our State advocacy team contacted the local chapters, and the locals contacted their individual members.  In addition, many of us contacted non-members and ask them to voice their concerns to legislators as well.  The end result was Olympia getting a loud and clear message not to increase our taxes.
So what’s on tap for APIC this summer?  Our Congressmen/women will be in district during the month of August for summer recess, and we should continue solidifying our relationships by scheduling meetings to discuss issues and offer to be a resource.  You will receive additional information from me in July.
One final note; we do not have listed contact for our newest congressman, Denny Heck of the 10th district.  Who knows this guy?!  Let your APIC chair know!  NAIFA is relevant and powerful!

Richard L. Miller,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 June/July Health & Employee Benefits

Good things come to those who wait... right?

The following are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed before the October open enrollment of the State and Federal Exchanges.

Back in April, HHS released the long awaited proposed rule outlining standards for the navigator program in health insurance exchanges and, as usual, NAHU submitted a comment letter. Earlier this week we received word that the final navigator rule is at the Office of Management and Budget, which is every rule’s last stop before being issued and published in the Federal Registrar.

The proposed rule clarified who may be navigators, outlines navigator duties and proposes conflict of interest and privacy and training standards.

The proposed rule does not apply to traditional agents and brokers, who can choose to still continue to help individual and small-group health insurance consumers, including with exchange purchases under separate rules.  Alternatively, the proposed rule does provide a path for agents and brokers to serve as navigators; however, that path would require a significant change in most agents’ business model, as a producer who opted to become a navigator could not receive any commission or other compensation from a health insurance issuer or stop-loss insurer.

2013 June/July Membership

Just Ask!

Towards the end of the state convention, Kevin asked me to take on the State membership role for next year. I’m currently the south sound’s membership chair. Kevin and I have known each other for over 28 years. So it’s a convenience thing, more than replacing Wayne. Wayne has done an outstanding job and I will be hard-pressed to fill his shoes. Thank you Wayne for your outstanding service!

Our 2014 membership goals will be outlined soon by the state board, but until then you can begin at your local board level building membership.  I’m requesting that when you meet with your local board throughout the year you challenge each board member to bring at least one new member/reinstating a lapsed member into the local this coming year. Our local board is tracking this closely and we expect that everyone “Just Asks” and lead members in membership growth and retention.

“Just Ask” is our 2013-14 recruiting motto.

Be on the lookout for some exciting news about some recognition awards at the state convention for the Top Three locals that have the highest percentage of increase in reported membership by next year convention.

Jim Scott
State Membership Chairman

2013 June/July IFAPAC

Do you celebrate the 4th of July or do you celebrate Independence Day? If you think about it, every other significant day we honor has a name attached to it but we rarely describe the event by the date on a calendar. Societal changes are taking place all around us, often with deleterious effects on values and traditions. Importance of the reason for celebration gets lost when we talk about and make plans based on the date or the day of the week it happens to fall. For example, how many of you remember when we marked Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s birthday? Now we have Presidents Day and young people no longer make the connection to those two very important men in the history of the greatest nation on earth.
Ask your children or grandchildren to tell you about Independence Day. You may open up a “teaching moment” and have to explain what it is. Too many Americans relate to 4th of July as a summer holiday, a time for parades, picnics, BBQ, beach parties and fireworks without pausing to think about and embrace the concept of what makes this country unique among nations of the world. As for me and my house, we celebrate Independence Day. 

You and I are in a profession that celebrates and promotes independence every day we put on our uniform. We discuss self-reliance; providing for and guarding the security of individuals and families through the use of financial products. We create independence for the people we serve; financial independence from the effects of poverty, illness and old age. We must never lose sight of the value we bring to individuals, families and society in general. Ours is a noble profession.