Thursday, December 15, 2016

2016 November/December Washington Initiative

The OneWashington Initiative

Our state is currently comprised of 11 local associations that act autonomously in many areas NAIFA provides member benefits. In this increasingly busy, electronic society it becomes a greater challenge for each local to be effective, causing programming and membership to suffer. To address this, your State Board has created a strategic committee to develop a plan to bring our state together, increasing efficiency by easing the administrative burden of each local, all towards building a stronger NAIFA Washington.

The first step in this process is standardization of dues. Starting with all members joining or renewing on or after December 31, 2016 we will have a uniform dues structure statewide. No longer will there be a financial barrier to joining one local association over another. The OneWashington Steering Committee will be presenting additional recommendations for the state at the January 25th State Board Meeting in Olympia, including soliciting feedback from each local association. We anticipate a final plan to be presented in advance of, and voted on at, the 2017 State Convention at Lake Chelan, in May. If you have any feedback, please share it with your Local President (contact info). Please direct questions to State President-Elect, Stephen Good or RVP Michael Staeb (contact info).

Michael Staeb

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016 November/December President's Message

Merry Christmas fellow NAIFA members!

It has been interesting 2016 especially with a very crazy Presidential Campaign that has finally come to an end.  There is so much speculation and uncertainty of how things will fold out with the new leadership and control on Capitol Hill.  So much noise out there…..

Unfortunately we can only control so much in our ever changing world.  Fortunately, we are here listen, learn, educate and motivate our clients to the necessary solutions needed to protect and improve their financial wellbeing.  Helping them navigate through the noise….

Remember to set your goals for 2017 and reflect on your goals from 2016.

Remember to do what you said you were going to do. 

Remember to let others know you are member of NAIFA and why important it is to you.

I hope everyone has a safe, wonderful and blessed Holiday Season with their family and friends!

Thank you for allowing me to service as your President so far this year.  It truly is an honor.

Neal Kloke
President NAIFA WA

2016 November/December IFAPAC

I remember as a young boy learning the word imitation and it's various uses, both negative and positive. At that time, at least to me, the word seemed mostly negative. I would hear, "That is just a cheap imitation." I attached a negative meaning to that expression as well as from seeing the quality of the items that were being referred to. Then one of my brothers was teasing a younger one who complained to mother by saying, "Mom, he is imitating me!" To me, both of those meanings were negative and I don't believe I came to know the positive aspects of imitations or imitating until many years later. I was told that during WW II natural products were often substituted by some type of synthetic substance. For example, tires for civilian vehicles were made out of a synthetic or imitation rubber so that the better and more reliable tires made from real rubber would be available for military vehicles used in the war effort.

Margarine became a very poor substitute or imitation for butter. It came in a white one pound bar with a little package of reddish/orange coloring. The package of coloring had to be mixed into the white margarine until it was supposed to look yellowish like butter but it never did look or taste like butter. The fat in the butter was used to make explosives; at least that is what I had heard. Instead of nylon stockings women had to wear stockings made out of some type of synthetic imitation or use the painted on stocking effect. The synthetic nylons developed runs very easily and so it was not unusual to see at least one run in a woman's stocking. I remember seeing mother putting a little fingernail polish on the beginning of a run, which was supposed to stop it from continuing to run. The real nylon material had to be used in making parachutes, etc. There were many more examples of cheap imitations but those imitations got our nation through the war without too much deprivation.

Many of the imitations today, however, look as good if not better than the genuine product. They say that the average person can't tell the difference between a real Rolex watch, for example, and the imitation. There are a lot of imitations, even in the world of art. There are artists who specialize in creating almost perfect imitations of original and very valuable pieces of art. There are even people who try to imitate other people. Some have become enamored with someone famous and find themselves imitating their behavior. For example, there are many who try to imitate Elvis Presley. Sadly, there are people that try to imitate infamous figures from history that were evil and destructive.

Francesco Guicciardini stated that, "He who imitates what is evil always goes beyond the example that is set; on the contrary, he who imitates what is good always falls short." The young of the human family as well as the young in the animal kingdom learn and grow by imitating their parents and others who are older. Being able to observe the process of imitation is both wondrous and often humorous. I was watching a short video of a small puppy learning how to come down a set of stairs. Obviously the puppy was scared to take the first step. So his mother went up to the top and showed or demonstrated for the puppy how to do it. The puppy would start to follow but then hesitate so the mother went back up to the top and demonstrated again and she actually had to show the puppy about six or seven times before the puppy gained enough confidence to imitate its mother and took its first step down the stairs.

From the alleged quotes of Confucius we find the following: "By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter."  If the easiest way to gain wisdom is by imitating others then imitation should be recognized and professed as the primary method of learning throughout the land. The Preacher in Leviticus said that: 'There is nothing new under the Sun,' meaning that no matter what we say or do, it has already been said or done somewhere, at some time in this world. If that is true then we are all, unwittingly, imitators.

Imitation has also been said to be one of the sincerest forms of flattery. That, however, would only be true if we were aware of the person we were imitating beforehand. Imitation then, like many other things 'under the Sun', has both a positive and a negative value or side to it. On the positive side we can gain wisdom by imitation and we can often become better people by emulating or imitating those whom we know are good. The best and the 'easiest' way to become a successful insurance and financial advisor is to sit down next to those who are already good advisors and to begin to imitate what they do. To think that you can just start at home and become successfully involved in this relatively complex profession is probably the wrong approach. Virtually everything we have accomplished in life, whether in part or in whole, we owe to the art of imitation. I have heard people tell about starting on their own, over and over, and then giving up because they just didn't know how or what they were doing. They were like the puppy at the top of the stairs without the mother nearby to show them how. Imitating knowledgeable insurance and financial advisors either within your agency or within NAIFA is the very best way to become experienced and successful. You have learned via imitation all your life, don't stop now, nor feel embarrassed about it. The work is a good work and a work that may be more important than any other that you will ever be involved in. It is the work of this noble profession. Do your work so that others will want to imitate you.

Richard Ek, LUTCF

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

DOL Guidance On Fiduciary Rule Does Little To Clarify Ambiguities

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued new fiduciary rule guidance in the form of 34 frequently-asked questions, which focus primarily on the best interest contract exemption, grandfather issues, and some compensation issues. 

This is the first in a series of three FAQs the DOL has said it will issue. The current FAQ explains that new money can be invested to an established portfolio without negating the DOL rule’s grandfather clause, and that selling an asset will not negate the grandfather provision unless there is an advisor makes a recommendation to purchase a new asset that would result in new compensation.

Otherwise, however, the FAQ lacks significant clarity or simply restates what is in the rule and its preamble.  NAIFA hopes that future guidance from DOL will address remaining ambiguities.

Monday, October 3, 2016

2016 September/October In the News

We were told by President Jules at our State Convention this would happen; so this is what I recently read:

State Farm agents with licenses to sell securities will stop offering clients variable annuities, mutual funds and other financial products starting in April as the company works to respond to the Labor Department's fiduciary rule. Agents can continue to sell life insurance and fixed annuities.

I also see that California is forging ahead with a Plan to have a State Run Retirement Savings Plan run by the state not subject to ERISA Protections, and mandated that all small businesses be subject to it unless they already have a 401(k) in place.
Submitted By Al Zalewski, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 September/October Professional Development

This is promising to be an exciting year!  With classes forming for the new LUTCF curriculum on both sides of the State.  We have now 5 moderators, and plans to begin classes in Seattle/Eastside, Tri-Cities, and soon in the greater Tacoma area.  Get started in a classroom course, as it'll increase your knowledge retention and the membership camaraderie.  

The Advisor 20/20 course is scheduled to be presented on both sides of the mountains, and we are anticipating a fairly intimate class with 10 or more per class.  This course is designed to help you target your efforts by managing your practice into a new dynamic business model.

With an ever growing interest in LILI, the NAIF-Washington’s hope is to actually have two classes this year for LILI.  Ask your local if they are sending anyone, and encourage them to stretch and get enrolled in one!  

Like I said, lots going on and we encourage you to get involved in one way or the other.  If you would like to be a moderator, check with me as we need many to get our newer Agents the training they need!

 Have a great Fall season!

 Roger McDowell, LUTCF

2016 September/October President's Message


After returning home from attending the Performance + Purpose 2016 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, it is crystal clear to me that we have the best leadership our National Association has ever had…..Period.

The NAIFA 20/20 Mission and Vision is set and ready for action.  Over the next 5 years this strategic plan will empower NAIFA, its members and the industry.

Without the NAIFA 20/20 plan, we as Insurance and Financial Advisors will have a much more difficult time protecting our clients and business in the future.

Please take the time and go to the website and spend the time to review the NAIFA 20/20 plan and determine what you are going to do to continue to help our Great Association continue to stay Viable in the many years to come.

Neal Kloke
WA State President

2016 September/October Sponsorship

Please let us know who your best partner is for potential sponsorship and we will contact them.  If we all follow up with one of our best relationships, we can meet our goals together! 

The Board of Directors invites you to take full advantage of the benefit-rich opportunities below. Sponsorship is a valuable way to not only show support for your local NAIFA organization but also to put your business in front of prospective customers on a consistent basis.


(Exclusive Opportunity: only one offered per year)

Recognition as Platinum Partner at all NAIFA Washington events
Includes two individual memberships to NAIFA including national, state, and local dues ($1,000 value!)
Back cover ad in the Who’s Who annual membership directory ($750 value!)
Complimentary Financial Services Forum and State Convention Exhibitor Packages ($750 value!)

Plus these additional benefits:

·        Additional admission to Financial Services Forum for 2nd member
·        Additional registration to State Convention for 2nd member
·        Special Recognition during the program as “Presenting Sponsor”
·        Option to provide marketing materials at each seat (if applicable)
·        Prominent placement of company logo on website (with a link to your website)
·        Prominent placement of company logo in e-blasts (with a link to your website)
·        Prominent placement of company logo in The Washington Advisor newsletter
·        Special Recognition at Day On The Hill
·        Additional registration to State Convention for 2nd member
·        Access to membership mailing labels (two sets per year, PRICELESS!)
·        Up to four guests may attend any NAIFA Washington event at member rates
·        Company logo and website address displayed at all events
·        Option to promote your business’s events on NAIFA Washington’s public calendar (maximum of 12 per year)

(Limited to four per year, no more than two competing businesses)
Recognition as Gold Sponsor at all NAIFA Washington events
Includes one individual membership to NAIFA including national, state, and local chapters ($500+ value!)

½ page ad in the Who’s Who annual membership directory ($400 value!)
Complimentary Financial Services Forum Exhibitor Package ($300 value!)
Complimentary State Convention Exhibitor Package ($450 value!)
Prominent placement of company logo on website (with a link to your website!)
Prominent placement of company logo in e-blasts (with a link to your website!)
Prominent placement of company logo in The Washington Advisor newsletter
Recognition at and admission to Day On The Hill
Access to membership mailing labels (one set per year, PRICELESS!)
Up to two guests of the sponsor may attend all NAIFA Washington events at member rates
Option to promote your business’s events on NAIFA Washington’s public calendar (maximum of 8 per year)

(Open to any dues-paying member)

Recognition as Silver Sponsor at all NAIFA Washington events
¼ page ad in the Who’s Who annual membership directory ($275 value!)
Complimentary Financial Services Forum Exhibitor Package ($300 value!)
Complimentary State Convention Exhibitor Package ($450 value!)
Prominent placement of company logo on website (with a link to your website!)
Prominent placement of company logo in e-blasts (with a link to your website!)
Prominent placement of company logo in The Washington Advisor newsletter
Recognition at and admission to Day On The Hill
One guest of the sponsor may attend all NAIFA Washington events at member rates
Option to promote your business’s events on NAIFA Washington’s public calendar (maximum of 4 per year)


(Available to non-dues-paying members subject to board approval.)

Company name in e-blast announcements and reminders for the event (with a link to your website!)
Company name on event page during promotion (with a link to your website!)
Company name on website main page while event is featured (with a link to your website!)
Complimentary admission to the event for one person
Recognition during the program as helping to underwrite the cost of “Day On The Hill”

(Available to non-dues-paying members subject to board approval.)

Company name in e-blast announcements and reminders for the event (with a link to your website!)
Company name on event page during promotion (with a link to your website!)
Company name on website main page while event is featured (with a link to your website!)
Display table for your signage and marketing materials during event
Complimentary admission to the event for one person
List of event attendees following the event
Recognition during the program as an exhibitor
Option to speak for up to 2 minutes about your business during the program

(Available to non-dues-paying members subject to board approval.)

Company name in e-blast announcements and reminders for the event
Company logo on Convention promo page (with a link to your website!)
Company name on website main page while event is featured
Display table for signage and marketing materials during full 3-day convention

Complimentary registration to the convention for one person (includes standard registration and meals, does not include your accommodations or any add-ons)

List of event attendees following the convention
Recognition during the program as an exhibitor with multiple “Exhibitor Breaks” throughout the convention

Option to speak from the main stage for up to one minute about your business on the first day of the convention

Option to do a raffle drawing on the second day of the convention (you must supply your own bowl, tickets, prize, etc.)

Thank you
Keith Wallace


2016 September/October IFAPAC

You've surely seen this paragraph with the letters out of order, but this is the first time I've seen it with numbers, F1gur471v3ly 5p34k1ng?

Good example of a Brain Study: If you can read this you have a strong mind:

7H15 M3554G3
53RV35 7O PR0V3
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
R34D1NG 17
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
R3AD 7H15.

Do we sometimes speak to prospects like this? Do we get caught up in the jargon that goes along with our product and services? If you have experienced this and figured out how to recognize the glaze in their eyes and were successful in getting your intended message across, share it with others! Whether or not you have a strong mind it does you no good to communicate in convoluted terms.

As IFAPAC insiders, do we sometimes speak in jargon or terms that are difficult to follow? If so, shame on me/us. Herewith is a glossary of the terms IFAPAC insiders use:

IFAPAC is the Insurance and Financial Advisors Political Action Committee. Old-timers remember is as NAIFAPAC – the REALLY old-times used LUPAC for Life Underwriters Political Action Committee - they can be used interchangeably. IFAPAC is for all NAIFA members to be able to take part in the political process through monthly contributions to the PAC. Half of what you contribute to IFAPAC comes back to our state association to be used in Washington election cycles. We have a State IFAPAC Chair – Alex Collins. Each local should have an IFAPAC Chair.

 APIC is NAIFA's Advisors Political Involvement Committee. APIC oversees a database of thousands of insurance agents and financial advisors who have volunteered to be part of NAIFA's nationally-recognized legislative action team. When federal legislation hits a crucial point in the process on Capitol Hill, NAIFA activates its contact system. Agents and advisors around the country communicate NAIFA's message on Capitol Hill about issues that affect their livelihoods. This contact takes place in the form of letters, faxes, phone calls and face-to-face meetings in congressional districts and in Washington, D.C.. Each local should have an APIC Chair to find members that have connections with legislators and thus communicate NAIFA’s messages to the congressmen they know.

NARAB is the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers. NAIFA has worked for years with state insurance departments to untangle the cumbersome licensing requirements that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. NARAB became official in 1999 but it took longer to get congressional approval. In January 2016, the Office of the President released the names of four nominees for membership on the Board of Directors of NARAB. Among the nominees selected by the President is former NAIFA Board Trustee and current NAIFA member, Tom McLeary. Nominees are now waiting to receive confirmation from the U.S. Senate before taking their seat on the Board. The board will help determine simplified licensing standards for producers to become eligible to sell in various states.

That should be enough for today, class. Just remember, NAIFA works for YOU, your business and your clients. Support the IFAPAC fund raising drives that are taking place NOW, during the presidential election cycle. Monthly contributions are encouraged. $8.50/month makes you a Century Club member. $25/month makes you a Statesman.

Richard Ek, LUTCF


Saturday, August 6, 2016

2016 July/August President's Message

What does 800 look like?  Are we up to the Challenge?

What are we talking about?  We are talking about Membership!

At the State Convention in May we were challenged by our National President, Jules O. Gaudreau Jr. that our State Association needed to have 800 dues paying members by May of 2017.
We as a state association were challenged so that the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Team and Staff can continue to operate at the necessary level financially to continue to offer the many benefits we as members have access to but most of all PROTECT our business and main street Americans on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

Jules did not beat around the bush…..he was very frank. 
National is currently 36 months away from going out of business if we continue the current trend with our membership numbers……Wow……Can you believe that?

We need to change this!
We as a State Association will not be viable and will continue to struggle financially if we don’t stop our downward trend of membership.

Our leadership at the State Level is committed to reaching this goal of 800.  Are you?
Is it achievable?  You better believe it is!

How are we going to do it?  Together as a team!
At the State Presidents retreat on August 5th we will presenting an action plan of how we are going to accomplish this and we are going to hold those accountable that are committed to the goal and the challenge.

Are you with us?
Please reach out to your local association leadership and help grow your local association and EXPERIENCE what NAIFA offers and has been offering for over 125 years!

 Neal Kloke
State President of NAIFA WA

2016 July/August Membership

Ask Not What NAIFA Has Done for You…
Ask What You Can Do for NAIFA

As we all get ready to ramp up for a new year for school, the 4th quarter for our business and of course the start of our association meetings with our new leadership, I am sure many of us are faced with the same challenge. Time. I hear from people in my agency almost every day, I would do more or I would get involved or I wish I just had more TIME. I know most of the people who are going to read this article are already the uber NAIFA involved, but I am going to ask you to reach deep. I was sitting with a new agent in my office the other day, reflecting on my time as a producer in the business. We talked about my most successful year, and in the conversation the agent asked me “how did you have time to do all that?” I hadn’t realized the year I had my best year in production, was the same year I gave the most of my time and energy to NAIFA. During the year I served on the National Membership Committee and was President of my local in Northern Virginia, yet somehow found a way to have my best personal production year. In talking with some old NAIFA colleagues the other day, most of them said the same thing, the year they gave the most to NAIFA was the year they did the best in their business.

So therein lies my challenge. Step up this year (or for many of us, let’s step up higher this year) Let’s commit to make one more phone call on National Membership Day October 5th. Commit to attend one more local, state, or the national meeting. Bring a new member to a meeting, or just sit with them for a cup of coffee and share your guidance. Call someone who was in the association a few years ago and has drifted away. I called someone a few years ago who was lapsed and the advisor had no idea! He just assumed NAIFA was fixing the issue every time he got the lapse notice for his bank draft. We all know the axiom that the largest waterfall starts with one drop… how can you get into the stream?

Together, if everyone who is a member of our proud state just gives of themselves a little bit more, we will dramatically put NAIFA Washington at the forefront of NAIFA National.  

Stephen Good

2016 July/August Government Relations

On Friday August 5th I and my Government Relations team of Alex Collins, IFAPAC Chair & Ryan Jewell, APIC Chair will unveil the Advocacy plan for 2016-2017.   For those of you who will not be in attendance at the retreat, allow me to give you an overview.
I believe we can best increase our membership by not focusing on membership.  What’s that you say, Richard? Increase membership by not focusing on it? Interesting thought, but how?
Many of us have had the opportunity to attend company or industry-sponsored events and for me those types of events have become my benchmark for a successful convention.  If you’ve ever experienced a NAIFA convention on the State or National level, you’ve likely been hooked by the experience.  I sense heads nodding up and down!  (As an aside, a tip of the hat to Wayne Lunday and his team for making the recent State convention a resounding success by that measure).  I digress.  If more rank and file members experienced a Convention, Congressional Conference, a Day on the Hill, or delivering a check to a legislator they too would be hooked.  The experience helps us connect the dots.  It’s where we get a first-hand lesson in terms of the value of our association, the protection we enjoy, and the threats we are up against.
Our Advocacy plan is grounded in the goal of bringing folks along to participate in our core mission.  Hearing our Advocacy Team lay out our issues and meeting eye to eye with a legislator does far more to demonstrate the value NAIFA provides than monthly lunch meetings, CE events, or affinity programs.  Those are all useful, but secondary to advocacy.  In fact, non-members are more likely to become members if we bring them along as well.  They are benefiting, so let’s let them participate!
Now, the advocacy plan is not a panacea.  It won’t happen overnight.  Many, many successful, intelligent, energetic folks have come before us with well thought-out plans to increase membership, to little avail, and none of those plans suggested we NOT focus on membership. An incremental shift could make the difference.  Let’s give a try.
Richard L. Miller,
NAIFA-WA Government Relations Chair

2016 July/August IFAPAC

By now you should know the results of the PRIMARY elections throughout the State. NAIFA did what we could to support the candidates that understand our business and vote sensibly. Now we are into the GENERAL election cycle. The big time. The last man standing (okay, and the last woman standing) in your district is the one that can make or break your day. Get to know him/her and see what you can do to assist in his/her decisions. Offer yourself as a resource your Senator or Representative can call for help understanding important issues relating to your industry, your profession. Be certain he/she knows you are a member of NAIFA. Once in office legislators cannot accept donations but knowing you are with NAIFA counts. If you can volunteer in any way, you will be noticed by the candidate and his/her aides. That can make access to the office much easier for you.

Can’t afford the time to volunteer? Give to IFAPAC. Can’t afford to give a meaningful contribution? Give to IFAPAC. We plan to make additional contributions in time for the GENERAL election cycle. Your Senator and your Representative knows where donations originate. When they see a NAIFA IFAPAC check made out to them, you want them to link your name to it. Even if the check isn’t made out directly to your district Senator or Representative, the money sometimes filters down to them through the party. IFAPAC often makes contributions to a committee that then shares the funds with campaigns that need help.

NAIFA headquarters makes contributions to the campaigns of candidates for federal offices. Just the other day I hand-delivered an IFAPAC check to Representative Rick Larson. (He was in Philadelphia for the DNC so his aide at the Everett office accepted it). I made sure he knew me, knew that I was a member of NAIFA and asked that he make sure Representative Larson is made aware. Similar checks were delivered to other [federal level] representatives around the Evergreen State last week.

When you contribute to IFAPAC the funds go directly to NAIFA headquarters. NAIFA then returns fifty percent of the funds back to NAIFA-Washington where it sits in an account until needed for an election cycle. What this means is your contributions get split between candidates at the federal level and the state level. What this really means is IFAPAC needs more contributors! This is the most important election cycles of your lifetime because it is NOW. Whether you contribute once a year or monthly (preferred), we appreciate it very much. We will be delivering contributions in the general cycle prior to November 1st. Send your contributions as soon as possible. Contribute online at:

We have Day On The Hill in January, usually the 3rd week of the month on a Tuesday. Join us in Olympia in January 2017. We haven’t set the date yet but go ahead and pencil in January 17th, 24th and 31st. As we get the date set we’ll tell you which dates to clear and which day to count on being with us at the State Capitol. It’s always a good experience to meet with and talk to your legislators. Plan now on figuring out a gift for his office. A monogrammed bowl for candy? A set of NAIFA golf tees? An RFID sleeve for his/her credit card? Wait, I’m doing that one!
Richard Ek, LUTCF