Friday, December 4, 2015

2015 November/December Day on the Hill

If INSURANCE is your profession, POLITICS is your Business!

Tuesday January 26, 2016 
8:30 AM to 12:00 PM PST

Double Tree by Hilton
415 Capital Way North
Olympia, WA 98501

Never before has there been such a need for lawmakers (both federal and state) to hear from us about the invaluable services we provide to their constituents, our clients.  This event is held for you to meet with them; the State Representatives and Senators in your district.  It is your opportunity to shake hands with these elected officials in their Olympia legislative offices and make sure they know you and learn how to call upon you when they are faced with important decisions about this great industry.

Morning Program- Speakers include:

Update on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange  
Pam MacEwan, CEO, Washington Health Benefit Exchange
Mark Stensager, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Don Conant, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board  

2015 November/December LILI

**WANTED** 2016 Leadership In Life Institute Class Participants

Our LILI Class of 2015 has only one class left!  It’s been quite a journey for them and it can be for you too but you have to register for the class today!

LILI Class of 2015 on their way UP!!

R/L: John Nichols, LILI Apprentice, Jody Lentz, Kelly Allen, Lisa Kruckeberg, 
Rollo Van Slyke, Chris Wertenberger, Kevin Gleim, 
Sharon Sparling, Moderator, Scarlett Kendrick

It’s time to get set for 2016 and the class is limited.

Do you want to take your business to the NEXT level? 

The Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) curriculum is based on the leadership writings of Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Jim Collins, and Kouzes & Posner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 November/December Health Insurance

November 1st 2015 thru January 31st, 2015 is literally the only time you can change plans. Once signed up for a plan you are locked in until January 2017. It’s a very important choice to make and our goal is to help you get the BEST policy for your specific needs.

There are some huge changes in the individual health insurance market. Moda has pulled out of WA, Group Health Cooperative has a True PPO plan and the WA Exchange has royally screwed up the renewal timeline. If people renew their Exchange account before Nov 24th it won't work properly.

Below is a link to a blog article I wrote (with a video of how to sign up for 2016 health insurance and the plans that are best).  

Gary Franke
NAIFA-Washington Health Chair

2015 November/December IFAPAC

I was listening to the radio on the way home the other evening and Gladys Knight happened to be singing, "Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me". I have always enjoyed that song, especially, the way she sang it. What a thought provoker: I have had so many best
things happen to me that if I could share, where would I start, and how long would my list be? Can the best things include events, as well as things, and especially people? The thought occurred to me that making such a list would be a great way to start writing a personal history.

Verse two of the song states that; "If anyone should ever write my life story. For whatever reason there might be." Gladys should change the verse to say; "If ever I should write my life story, For whatever reasons there might be". If all of the personal histories that have ever been written were analyzed would the 'best things' described in those histories be primarily 'things' and 'events' or would the best things be described as the people that found their way in and out of our lives? My guess would be 'people' and the following study confirms that.

2015 November/December 2016 Convention

Combined Convention 2016!
May 20th – May 22nd, 2016

I thought I’d provide you with a quick update to the convention plans… Many have been asking pointed questions… like “how much?”

Funny that you ask!  We have been a very busy committee!  The final “price per delegate or attendee” has not yet been decided, but we are doing as much as possible to keep it reasonable.  We are well on our way to securing some major sponsors for some of the activities… Principal Financial is on board, as is Illinois Mutual Life.  Several other major sponsors are almost committed, only awaiting final approval from home offices!

That’s all good, but we need to deliver on our promises!  We have shared with them that this will be bigger than ever!  We intend to deliver at least 150 delegates and another 100 “guests” to the convention.  The rooms are blocked out and ready, the program is taking shape and dignitaries and politicians alike are lining up to join us! 

2015 November/December Professional Development

I think you would agree with me that we live and work in dynamic times.  This is why we always need to be considering the coming challenges and opportunities in front of us.  The new program known as NAIFA 20/20 addresses the future success of insurance and financial advisors.  It will lie in their ability to redefine and reinvent the value they bring to their clients, as a trusted advisor, in 2020 and beyond. The retirement of baby boomers, the growth of the middle market, the changing face of the traditional family and the use of technology are among the factors that significantly affect who advisors’ clients are and what products advisors will need to guide their clients to secure financial futures.

NAIFA 20/20 is available for you to participate in and stimulate your thinking.  The second way to get your practice moving forward is through Continuing Education.  Besides being a requirement, it’s what you need to do to stay relevant.  As the saying goes, if you aren’t learning and expanding your knowledge, you are working with old information.

Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 November/December NAIFA CEO

Letter from NAIFA President

Dear NAIFA Members,

Does it sometimes feel like you’re in the crosshairs? Attacks on Financial Advisors and misrepresentations about the kinds of work you do for your clients seem to be coming at an ever quickening pace.

We have critics in many corners, whether it’s President Obama infamously railing against “snake oil salesmen,” a current series on National Public Radio questioning the value of Advisors, or the Department of Labor swatting a gnat with a sledgehammer in the form of its thousand-page fiduciary proposal (which, by the way, in printed form may weigh as much as a sledge hammer).

Fortunately, as always, NAIFA has your back! Our advocacy team and grassroots organization are hard at work, educating members of Congress and federal regulators about the good work you do for your clients. We have produced materials like our “Securing America’s Future” report that explain to regulators, lawmakers, the media and the public how NAIFA members provide undeniably valuable products and services to their clients.

Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 September/October LILI

Leadership In Life Institute – Take the Challenge!

Success  is in the air…the LILI Class 2015 will be holding their third session this month!  The feedback has been so positive from the 7 students enrolled.  Great News!! John Nichols is serving as our 2015 LILI Apprentice and has enrolled in the Moderator Training being held in New Orleans.  John will be next year’s Moderator and I will be co-moderating with him!!!  
Are you ready to take on the challenge that the Leadership in Life Institute has to offer?   We’re in the process of opening registration for the LILI Class of 2016!!

2015 September/October The Back Page

Are You Sleeping Through the Opportunities??
Nearly 200 years ago, the American short story “Rip Van Winkle” became an instant classic. The main character, Rip, is an unambitious man who is very good at avoiding two things: work and his wife.
One day, while wandering in the mountains with his dog, he discovers a group of strangely dressed men drinking and playing games. After accepting some of their liquor, Rip becomes drowsy and closes his eyes for a moment. When he opens his eyes again, he is surprised to find that his dog is gone, his rifle has rusted, and he now has a long beard.
Rip makes his way back to his village only to discover that everything has changed. His wife has died, his friends are gone, and the portrait of King George III in the tavern has been replaced by a portrait of someone he does not recognize—by General George Washington.

2015 September/October IFAPAC

October is 100% Back to the States Month!!!

Even the funds collected at the NAIFA Career Conference in New Orleans (from contributors who have completed a Directive to share) will be sent back to the State IFAPACs!  This fundraising campaign offers your state the opportunity to build up its IFAPAC coffers in preparation for the 2016 elections. Contributions must be deposited in the National IFAPAC bank account no later than 2:00 p.m. October 30, 2015.

The Fiduciary Standard Rule proposed by the Department of Labor will have a lasting impact on our industry and your clients if it is enacted as is. NAIFA has been hard at work trying to ameliorate the proposed DOL rule.  Our President Juli McNeely has testified before both the Department of Labor and the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on your behalf.   To learn more about what NAIFA has done for you click here.  We will need everyone’s help to make sure the final rule does not prevent you from serving you clients!   Please capitalize on the DOL issue to bring in the IFAPAC dollars. 

Thank you for all of your hard work for IFAPAC!

P.S.  To access the IFAPAC contribution forms go to  

Richard Ek, LUTCF
IFAPAC Washington Co-Chair

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 September/October Health Insurance

Tips on 2016 Health Insurance Plans

OPEN ENROLLMENT Nov 1st 2015 – Jan 31st 2016

Clients and Future Clients, hold back your excitement, as the season for renewing your 2016 Individual Health Insurance is upon us. You only get to do this once a year…literally, once you change you are locked in for 12 months. All kidding aside, it’s a very important choice to make and our goal is to help you get the BEST policy for your specific needs. Give us a call at 425-305-1900 for tips.

Deadlines for Signing Up
The only time you are normally able to sign up for Individual Health Insurance is from Nov 1st 2015 to Jan 31st 2016. If you want coverage for January 1st, the last day to sign up for coverage on the WA Health Exchange is December 23rd and Direct to the Carrier (if your income is above the Tax Credit chart below) is Dec 31st for most carriers.

Click Here For More Information

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015 September/October Convention 2016

Combined Convention 2016!
May 20th – May 22nd, 2016

Welcome to Skamania Lodge

It’s official… when it was suggested that we “think outside of the box”… we did… and MORE!

You are going to love it!  There is no more beautiful destination than the Columbia Gorge in the late spring.   Skamania Lodge is a destination resort with plenty of fun stuff for the entire family.  Certainly a wonderful “couples get-away”!

So… that’s our plan. Instead of filling up all of your time with continuing education and motivational monologs, we decided to combine our convention with NAIFA-OREGON and create more of a “networking” opportunity with our brethren (and sisters) to the south! 

2015 September/October National Conference


We are all headed to New Orleans this October 3-5, 2015 for our National Conference.  Your leaders and delegates will be busy!  Let the good times roll in New Orleans! The NAIFA 2015 Career Conference and Annual Meeting is jam-packed with great speakers, educational workshops, advocacy updates and more, but let’s be sure to plan time to enjoy New Orleans. I’m adding a couple of days after the meeting to check out all there is to see and do in the Big Easy.

If you are a delegate please get your cell phone number to Jenna Olson, our Executive, so we can keep in touch during the convention and arrange to meet as needed.  We have a Western States Forum Meeting most likely Monday morning at 7:30 AM that we need you to attend.  We also want to gather everyone together for fellowship, camaraderie, and fun. I will be attending on Saturday the Advisor 2020 program so that I can share with you my experience as we will be putting this on for our members this October 15th.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 July/August Professional Development

The new NAIFA  year brings some new educational opportunities with it.   As a fundamental principle of NAIFA, education is a key component of being successful.  I encourage you to form a class in the New Year, to help foster engagement within your local membership, especially the new YAT members.

The New LUTCF designation and curriculum has been built and classes have begun.  Continue your education and develop yourself by getting this designation first.  A great way to meet other NAIFA members, by engaging in classes that better everyone!

2015 July/August IFAPAC

Have you ever been in an airplane and experienced turbulence? The most common cause of turbulence is a sudden change in air movement causing the aircraft to pitch, yaw, and roll. While planes are built to withstand far greater turbulence than anything you would encounter on a regular flight, it still may be disconcerting to passengers. What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road. Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.

One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles. Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. The wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”  In short, they focus on the things that matter most.

Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 May/June Advocacy

NAIFA WASHINGTON and WAHU working for their membership!

NAIFA WA members please read the following article from the President of WAHU about a meeting we had last Monday with regards to the changes of the Premera Blue Cross/LifeWise Health Plans.  Many of you wanted to know what we knew about this issue.  It was a very good meeting whereby NAIFA WA and WAHU discussed the issues that our respective members had about their decision to pay no commissions for their LifeWise business.  Please read.

~Sharon L. Sparling, NAIFA WA Government Relations Chair

WAHU Has Meeting with LifeWise Health Plan of Washington

Last week, WAHU Lobbyist Mel Sorensen, Immediate Past President Chris Free, and I, along with Sharon Sparling and Richard Ek of NAIFA (WA), met with the President & CEO Jim Havens and Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Executive Jim Messina, of LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, as well as the ‎Vice-President for Congressional & Legislative Affairs for Premera Blue Cross Len Sorrin, to review and discuss the recent announcement by LifeWise that they will be re-structuring their plans and discontinue paying commissions to Producers starting in 2016 (2017 in Clark County).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2015 May/June OIC

Insurance producers:

This is an update about the Office of Insurance Commissioner's review of association health plans in Washington.

Since January 2014, we have been reviewing all association health plans as they renew. To date, we have approved 11 plans, including the most recent approval for the Washington Education Association.

Our review is focused on two factors:
  • Does the association meet the federal definition of being a true large employer?
  • Are the rates fair?

How the review process works:

  • Large-employer status. First, we determine if an association meets the federal test of being a true or bonafide large employer and therefore able to sell large-employer coverage. Association members must share a common industry or trade and the association must be formed for a purpose other than to sell health insurance. If an association does not meet this definition, it can still offer health insurance to its members, but it cannot offer a large-employer health plan to its members.
  • Review of rates. Second, we review rating practices. Rates must be fair in relation to the benefits. This is true for every health insurance plan, not just for association health plans. If the rates are not justified, the plan is disapproved.

2015 May/June APIC

NAIFA national held the 3rd annual Congressional Conference on May 19-20 in Washington DC.  The Congressional Conference is a national Day on the Hill and approximately 800 Naifa members from around the country descended on the “other” Washington to educate legislators regarding our industry issues.   NAIFA-Washington State members Al Zalewski and Roger McDowell accompanied me, along with soon to be new member Brad Miller.  Between the 4 of us we kept 9 appointments from 10am to 5 pm, missing only 3 of a possible 12 federal legislators from the State. 

The primary topic of discussion was the proposed expansion of the fiduciary rule by the Department of Labor.  This is a confusing issue and consequently it is not on the radar of many agents, advisors, or consumers, as it should be.  Getting bogged down in the details does not inspire action, so here is a summary of key points.

Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 May/June IFAPAC

In the late 18th century, Catherine the Great of Russia announced she would tour the southern part of her empire, accompanied by several foreign ambassadors. The governor of the area, Grigory Potemkin, desperately wanted to impress these visitors. And so he went to remarkable lengths to showcase the country’s accomplishments.

For part of the journey, Catherine floated down the Dnieper River, proudly pointing out to the ambassadors the thriving hamlets along the shore, filled with industrious and happy townspeople. There was only one problem: it was all for show. It is said that Potemkin had assembled pasteboard facades of shops and homes. He had even positioned busy-looking peasants to create the impression of a prosperous economy. Once the party disappeared around the bend of the river, Potemkin’s men packed up the fake village and rushed it downstream in preparation for Catherine’s next pass.

Although modern historians have questioned the truthfulness of this story, the term “Potemkin village” has entered the world’s vocabulary. It now refers to any attempt to make others believe we are better than we really are.

2015 May/June President Elect


The world is constantly changing.  These changes may be large or small, for better or worse.  Change can be good and change can be scary, however one thing I know is there will always be change.
NAIFA has undergone many changes since I became a member in 1998.  We have seen changes in our name (formerly NALU), local and national leadership, membership participation, dues increases, and various member benefits.  However, throughout those years of change there have been a few things that have remained constant.  First and foremost, the emphasis that we work in a noble profession, where we help millions of people every day.   We help families identify and protect against the risks and uncertainty that life can provide.  Second, our industry and the services that we provide are constantly under attack by government entities that are seemingly out of our control.  And lastly, NAIFA members like to have fun while giving back to their industry .

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 March/April Legislation

Life Insurance Industry and OIC Representatives Urge Passage of OIC Request Legislation Modernizing Life Insurance Reserve Requirements

Although the House Appropriations Committee failed to consider and approve SB 5180 before the April 7 deadline for passage, House leaders have advised the OIC that the bill is not dead. The House Business & Financial Services Committee previously approved a "Do Pass" recommendation for SB 5180, and the bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration of fiscal issues. With a deadline for fiscal committee approval on Tuesday, April 7, industry representatives, together with the OIC unsuccessfully urged key members of the House Appropriations Committee to put the bill on an agenda in time for it to be approved before Tuesday’s deadline. Unfortunately, the bill was not scheduled for a hearing before the committee, nor was it brought to a vote. The OIC expressed concern about this development to House leaders, and they were advised that the bill is not dead. House leaders have the option to simply "relieve the committee" of the bill and place it in the House Rules Committee or directly on the House Floor Calendar. The OIC believes that is exactly what will happen in the next day or two.

The measure was introduced at the request of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to adopt the NAIC updates to the Standard Valuation and Standard Nonforfeiture laws, including a new approach based on principle-based reserves, and passed the Senate on March 5 on a final vote of 49-0. At the hearing on the measure the American Council of Life Insurers, Allstate, American Family Insurance, and USAA testified in support of the bill. The OIC also spoke in favor of the bill.

2015 March/April LILI

“WANTED:  LILI Candidates for Class of 2015”

Do you want to take your business
to the NEXT level? 

Ø  Current 2015 NAIFA Washington State Leaders that are LILI Graduates:  8 of the 11!

Ø  70 percent of LILI graduates report a measurable increase in the growth of their business.

The Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) curriculum is based on the leadership writings of Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Jim Collins, and Kouzes & Posner.

What Will You Gain as a NAIFA LILI Graduate?

1.    Creative and effective methods to develop and execute a business plan

2.    Tools and techniques that enhance your practice

3.    Increased productivity

4.    Enhanced personal vision and mission statements and guiding principles

5.    Improved professional and personal relationships

6.    Increased understanding of one's self

7.    Long-lasting bonds with classmates and LILI Alumni

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 March/April Past President's Message

I Learned It All In Kindergarten

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but right there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Flush. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody… Learn some and think some, and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some…

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together…

Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them, and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

                                              -Robert Fulghum

2015 March/April Advocacy

Senate and House Approve Competing Budget Proposals for 2015-2017 Biennium

Within only few hours of each other, the House and Senate separately approved competing budget plans for the 2015-2017 biennium. The House approved a $39 billion spending plan that will require $1.5 billion in increased taxes. The Senate approved a $38 billion operating budget that does not include tax hikes. The House approved its plan on Thursday, April 2, and the Senate countered with its proposal a few hours later, with action on a series of budget-related bills keeping the Senate working until nearly 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning.

Negotiations to find common ground will be difficult. Senate leaders have indicated that they won’t take the House-passed spending plan seriously until the House approves the taxes that support the spending increases. On the other hand, House leaders argue that the Senate-passed spending plan is more than $40 million short of balancing. With the 2015 Legislative Session scheduled to adjourn on April 26, efforts to find an agreement on the budget will move into high gear.

2015 March/April National Committeeman



                   MAYBE THE TIME IS NOW…

Hey, you have been working hard in a very tough profession for a long time now in a very stressful position: that of building as an entrepreneur in the life, health, retirement planning, and client advisory business.  You have had to put in long hours while wrestling two completely different alligators. 
The first is the “learn it from the bottom up” approach that you had to take a blank calendar and fill it with appointments and activity that would allow you to ask the right questions of the right people, people of character, and then design and present financial solutions to generate an income to pay for you and your family to live.
The second was the constant schooling and retraining that was essential to keeping up in this crazy, ever changing world of tax, legal, regulatory and insurance product design and everything that goes with it. 
Ever feel like a one armed paper hanger?  Ever had a stressful day?  Week?  Year?  Sure; me too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 March/April Convention


Wednesday to Friday, June 3-5, 2015

Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel
2611 East E St.
Tacoma, Washington
Be there! Le May – America’s Car Museum

Have you been to the Le May Car Museum?  Whoa, Nellie!  This is the place for all you Car Guys and Gals!  And if you’re not one, you will be one when you get to see this fabulous tribute to America’s Love Affair with the Auto! 
What you will get:
Indie 500:  John F. Nichols on How to Make Top of the Table, be Involved in NAIFA, and still have Fun!
Under the Hood: Levi Edgecome on Social Security Strategies that Work
Fuel Injection:  Stephen Good on Why Our Networking Fails and What to do to Make it effective

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 March/April IFAPAC

We talk a lot about the attacks on our noble profession by the government. Well, it doesn’t stop. That is why we urge all NAIFA members to contribute to IFAPAC regularly. NAIFA is the organization that fights for you and your clients every day in DC and in Olympia. Our NAIFA President, Julie McNeeley, made these remarks that address an urgent issue:

“President Obama said in a recent speech that some financial professionals are “selling snake oil” and bilking their retirement clients out of billions of dollars per year. By implication, he zeroed in on advisors who receive commissions as compensation. He said the financial services industry is not well regulated and that many of you and your colleagues are “like the gunslingers of the Wild West.” We at NAIFA know this is patently untrue.

Even more concerning is that beyond the rhetoric, the President has made imposing new layers of regulations on financial professionals a high priority, and your business could be in the crosshairs. Both the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission may soon propose regulations that would create new fiduciary obligations for many advisors.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 January/February Administrator Retiring

Linda Fox, NAIFA-Washington’s Administrator will be retiring on June 30, 2015. Linda stepped in when I retired in 2008. There was a lot to learn in a very short time and she learned quickly. Linda’s hard work and dedication is evident in everything she does.   

Linda has always been the “go to person” for whatever you needed. Her friendly outgoing, energetic personality is loved by all.

Please join us in saying thank you and let her know she will be greatly missed. Best wishes, Linda for a great retirement…you deserve it!

Cheryl McCracken

2015 January/February NAIFA-Washington Convention


What are you waiting for?  Check out this 1907 Pierce Great Arrow 4 Cylinder
Touring Motor Car and 300 plus more vintage to modern day vehicles!

When: Wednesday Noon June 3 -- Friday 11 AM June 5, 2015

Where: Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel, 2611 East E Street,
Tacoma, WA 98421

Conveniently located off the City Center Exit of I-5

Who: All Local and State Officer, Board Members, Committee Chairs, Delegates from Locals, and incoming 2015-2016 Officers, Board Members and Committee Chairs, and Members of NAIFA

2015 January/February LILI

LILI Graduates Two from NAIFA Washington!

This year NAIFA Washington joined NAIFA Oregon for our 2014 Leadership In Life Institute class.  We met in Vancouver with 6 participants from Oregon.  Success is when someone lets you know LILI changed their life dramatically and their business grew beyond their expectations!  We have our last class and graduation ceremony on February 20th at Vancouver, Washington’s historic “Grant House”. 
 Congratulations, Joe & Jim!! Your Journey Begins…

Joseph M. Newman, LUTCF, FIC, LCTC

James A. Scott, Sr., LUTCF

WANTED:  Students for the   2015  LILI  Class   
Please contact me for Class registration and information.
Sharon L. Sparling, State LILI Chair/Moderator; (360) 708-3210;