Thursday, August 3, 2017

2017 IFAPAC and MEC

In the early years of Single Premium Life (endowments), producers sold the heck out of them. It took a while before the feds figured out they were being used as tax-shelters. That epiphany led to the resurrection of the decades old debate about taxing the inside build-up in a life insurance contract, a war NAIFA has been fighting since 1913. And won every battle.

But this time a law was even closer to being enacted, a law that would cause the taxation of inside build-up in all life insurance policies. And the lawmakers were not going to “grandfather” older contracts. Producers feared the end of their careers! NAIFA’s PAC swung into action once again and, with the ACLI and other advocates, convinced the itchy-fingered representatives in Washington, DC to avert the disaster.

The result was the Technical Corrections Act of 1988 (H.R 4333, S. 2238) and the Modified Endowment Contract, or MEC. The MEC is a cash value life insurance contract where the premiums paid have exceeded the amount used to keep the full tax treatment of a cash value life insurance policy. Anyone that sells permanent life insurance knows about the MEC. It’s important to remember that NAIFA was a key player in negotiating the legislation that saved the beloved life insurance contract from being taxed as was the original plan of said lawmakers.

NAIFA, on both the State and Federal level, continues to fight battles to preserve this noble business. If the life insurance industry is to survive, we need Advocates. The PAC sustains our Advocates in Olympia and DC which means NAIFA represents you and your clients. Which really means NAIFA and IFAPAC work to assure that your career is allowed to continue. IFAPAC has been called “Career Insurance” and it is! That’s why I continue to contribute to the PAC after 42 years in the business. That’s why Alex Collins and I urge you to contribute to IFAPAC monthly, by bank draft.

$8.50/month makes you a Century Club member. Do it! It won’t hurt. In fact, it will help your career.

Richard Ek
NAIFA member since 1975

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Change is in the Air

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress on One Washington. At this point I am happy to report all but one association has reported back unanimous board approval. I expect to hear in the coming few weeks the last local to report, but this is great news for the future of our association! I really look forward to helping lead the charge on this critical path towards long term success of our association. 

One of the biggest questions I continue to get is what are the next steps. So, I will do my best to answer them in this article so everyone knows what is to come.

For the associations that have already reported approval of the measure to the state, you and your members will receive an email from Jenna asking your local for a formal email vote to merge your local into the new One Washington Local. Once you have voted (either in affirmation or declination) you will stop receiving emails asking for your vote. Once your local has reached 75% in favor of the merger, your local will officially be merged into the new local. Nothing will be done with your current membership until your local has reached 75%! If you are strongly in favor or opposed, please help us get the vote out! We need to hear from the membership to know how to best lead you all moving forward. 

We do not expect this to happen overnight, and Micheal Staeb, myself or anyone on the Steering Committee would be happy to address any concerns or questions you have. We all know how hard change is and like many of you, I remember 15 years ago how different it was in local meetings. This is our chance to ensure our association is around not just 15 years from now, but hopefully another 130 years! I look forward to doing my part to carry this great legacy you all have handed me.

Stephen Good
Incoming President

Friday, June 9, 2017


I know nothing about art or artists. My wife is unhappy with me when the best compliment to escape my lips on one of her mandatory tours of a gallery are, "that's purdy." Imagine my surprise when I came across the following comment attributed to Pablo Picasso: 

 Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

My wife tells me that to really understand art or an artist, I need to look for the meaning of the picture (I’m not even sure if what Picasso produced were pictures). Or, in this case, apply the words of the artist to your own life and see if there is an application that means something to you.  Thus, I sat down on the banks of the Susquehanna River and contemplated the quote. We had just visited Gettysburg a few days earlier and were touched by the bravery, loyalty and sacrifice made by the men and women that fought a brutal and costly war to change the course of this country. I recalled the trips to Washington, DC with Richard Miller, John Scott, Jim Mitchell and others to tell the NAIFA story to legislators (see Richard Miller’s article).  Sometimes you feel powerless against the political machines that often steamroll our profession. But at the same time, NAIFA and IFAPAC continue to work the system on our behalf. And all of us, all professional insurance men and women, benefit by those efforts. Success is within reach when we have a plan, put our shoulder to the wheel and push toward the goal. Thank you, again, to all who contribute regularly to the Political Action Committee that works to ensure that we have a business, that we have options to perform our financial magic with the people in our community. We encourage you  to act vigorously, contribute monthly to conserve this great business and keep the doors of opportunity open to your protégé. You have one, don’t you?

Richard Ek

Co-Chair IFAPAC 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Moving NAIFA Forward

 NAIFA is changing…..are you ready?

We held our State Convention in Lake Chelan, Washington May 24th to the 26th and we had a wonderful agenda of education, entertainment and business to move NAIFA forward.  Thank you to all those who attended because without you it would not have been the great convention that it was.

We were so privileged to have our National President Paul Dougherty and our Secretary/Treasurer Jill Judd in attendance.  Both of them taking the time away from their family and business to support our State and Local associations is an amazing show of leadership and support for our industry.

NAIFA is changing because the leadership at our State level knew it was time to get off the status quo train that we are on.  A steering committee was formed and they stepped up to the plate and did what they said they were going to do.  They discussed, analyzed and came to the conclusion we needed to create the One Washington Initiative.

With the leadership of our President Elect and now State President Stephen Good and Communications Chair/RVP/Graphics Stud Michael Staeb, a detailed presentation was given to our local attendees on why this change is best for local associations and overall general membership in Washington.  We had great dialogue, questions, and concerns. At the end of the 1 hour presentation and discussion, it was very clear, what had been created and proposed will benefit our members if we continue to follow through and do what we say we are going to do.  I know we will have success with this change!

Taking on a leadership role such as President is not always easy but it is a smoother process when you have a team surrounding you that is engaged and wants our association to stay viable so it may continue to help grow and protect our businesses. 

Many, many thanks to all of you that held positions on the State Board and supported the change we needed to make!

It was an absolute pleasure to serve our member association and it is an absolute pleasure to pass the torch to our new President Stephen Good.  I feel the flame is strong but it will become even stronger with Stephen as President.  We need to “Resist the urge to become uninvolved” and step up to help President Good in serving our membership.

Our clients, communities and industry are counting on us…….are you in?

Thank you NAIFA!
Neal Kloke, Immediate Past President

2017 Sponsorship

Thank you to each of our sponsors who attended our Annual State Convention in Lake Chelan.  We appreciate your partnership and look forward to capitalizing on the relationships we created together!

Ohio National
Illinois Mutual
​Kiel Mortgage
​Reverse Mortgage Funding

Keith Wallace

Sponsorship Chair

2017 Government Relations

I recently returned from the Congressional conference in Washington DC (the other Washington) and it was the usual bittersweet trip.  You see fellow members, I am aggravated by politics, but I feel compelled to act.  I can’t sit on the sidelines.  I just wonder at times, as you do, whether it matters.

Make no mistake though, our efforts are effective.  Visiting with our Senators and Congressmen/women, especially those who fundamentally disagree with us, makes a difference.  I’ve experienced a change in the attitude and demeanor of many staff aides and at least some legislators.  It’s much harder to dislike and dismiss us once we’ve met multiple times over several years.  I know it seems like we’ve lost some battles, but we would be far worse off without the advocacy effort.

Our membership numbers are not where we would like them and that certainly causes angst, but the team of professionals representing us in the nation’s capital is more effective than ever. We also have representation in every congressional district across the country.  Don’t fret over membership numbers.  Instead celebrate the largest PAC in the insurance industry!  IFAPAC is the gas in the advocacy car.  IFAPAC is alive and well, and it’s protecting our livelihood.  It is the answer to any objection from a member or prospective member who questions the viability of our association or wonders what’s in it for them.

I definitely believe we are on the right track with the PAC & initiatives like One Washington.  One Washington will streamline and centralize our functions, smooth out the member experience, and emphasize our most important function; advocacy.  I may grouse about the other Washington, but I will resist the urge to give in as long as it matters.

Richard Miller

Government Relations

Saturday, April 8, 2017

2017 Professional Development

Has this core tenant of NAIFA been replaced?  Has the ease of signing onto a computer to try and short cut a CE course become the new normal?  Is meeting with others to gain a better understanding of business and insurance concepts just an old school idea?
When one becomes a competent Agent, it isn’t because they passed their Life and Health exam, no that’s just the beginning.  Did you ever participate in the LUTC series of classes?  Maybe skipping into the CLU and American College program of self-study? 
American’s want their Agents and Registered Representatives to be credentialed.  This gives them the confidence that at least you have put in the effort to become an expert, not just a conscious incompetent.  Do you go to a bookkeeper to do your taxes, or do you use a CPA?  Do you prefer a nurse over a highly credentialed Physician to supervise your health?
It all depends on how you see yourself I guess, but if you want to increase your competency and your earnings, I would hope that you embrace the concept of being a lifelong learner.  I would argue that students that go to class and participate in discussion about the lessons they are studying, will gain far more from the experience.  However, I am very disappointed that we have very few classes active in our State.  I’m happy to see some taking advantage of the on-line courses offered for LUTCF, but they would most likely benefit so much more in a regular classroom.  Plus, they’d be able to get to know other agents in their area that they can learn and grow their business with.  Perhaps build alliances with, or referral networks with.  Encourage your local leadership to start classes and gain from this experience.
LILI is currently the only course that participates actively in the State.  A great program that everyone should be encouraged to participate in.  I only hope that in the future, we can find enthusiasm for developing the knowledge of insurance agents through the LUTC courses.  If you want to see the industry from the non-carrier perspective, take the classes, it will help to open your mind.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it well.
Best of luck to all of you in your futures as successful insurance agents, it’s a great and empowering career.
Roger McDowell, LUTCF
Professional Development Chair

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2017 Convention

Tired of all the rain? Come join us at Campbell's Resort on sunny Lake Chelan May 24-26th.

Fantastic line-up of speakers, great agenda, exhibitors, wine tasting. Come join us for an experience you won't forget.
Check out the details on the Events Calendar Tab above....

2017 March/April Legislation

There was no Trey Gowdy at this hearing

By the time you read this, HB2186 may be in the trashcan of the House committee that wrote it. Or, it could be law. For those of you that pay B&O tax, HB2186 was drafted to boost the B&O tax rate by 20%. Wait, there’s more. HB2186 was to also create a brand new tax, a capital gains tax on the sale of a business. And there were some other new taxes on real estate sales and a few other things. Both the 20% increase in B&O and the capital gains tax were our hot buttons.

 As you know, any other business that pays B&O taxes can transfer the tax to clients by adding it to their bid, to the product they sell or the service they provide. But insurance producers are forbidden from transferring the tax. To us, the B&O tax is an income tax: An income tax applied at all levels of distribution, resulting in a pyramid of taxation.

On Friday, March 31st, Lobbyist Mel Sorensen put out a call for a NAIFA producer to testify in Olympia on April 3rd. The NAIFA WA P&D committee were committed to other work so I answered the call. Who better to testify than a “sore arm pitcher” from Fungus Corners (aka, Everett)? I, representing NAIFA WA, joined Keith Wallace of Bellingham, President of WAHU, and Dale Kelly of Roy, past President of the Professional Agents & Brokers Association at the Capitol for the 8AM hearing. Mel got us signed in. He told us the list of people that planned to testify was a long one! It turned out over 100 citizens and businesspeople crammed into Hearing Room A at the JLOB building. More were in a basement room waiting for their turn.

First up were citizens with children. Madam Chair called them up so the kids could go outside and enjoy the sunshine (and 38 degree temperature). So the mothers (no fathers that day) each took their turn singing Kumbaya-Tax-The-Rich and had their juveniles read prepared statements about how much they loved their teachers and want the wealthy to pay more taxes. Great. Next up were those that had come the farthest to testify. That was our cue to come forward. Dale was first, I went next and Keith wrapped it up. Now, you have to picture this: Madam Chair and the other 7 House members had just heard from 9 women championing HB2186 and were still glowing from their pleasure of listening to praises for their work to wring more tax money out of the rich white guys. And so three white guys step up to the microphones.

Dale spoke of the hardships the additional taxes and the capital gains taxes will place on small agencies in every corner of the state. Most small business owners, in their retirement planning, expect to sell their book. The capital gains tax will cut into the retirement plans of thousands of producers. He also made it clear that insurance commissions are taxed multiple times. In my two minutes (that’s all the time you get at the microphone) I gave an example of how unfair it is that insurance producers are the only businesspeople that eat the tax because it is forbidden, by law, for us to charge extra or otherwise transfer the B&O tax to our clients. Keith told the committee that the 20% increase in income tax (he reminded them that the B&O tax is an income tax to our service segment) will lead to fewer job openings in agencies. And in fact, it may lead to layoffs.  So in about 6 minutes we laid it out for the House Committee and the others behind us about the unfair tax on the producer community. By the way, none of the legislators had questions for us, so we didn’t face a Trey Gowdy.

After we left, dozens of other businesspeople echoed our sentiments about HB2186, including other independent insurance producers. Of the 100 or so people that testified, not many repeated the mantra of the first 9 women. However, later that day the committee approved the bill as read which means it will go to the floor of the House. It may pass, but there is a chance the bill will die in the Senate.  Again, there are only a couple of weeks left in the 2017 Session. If you get this newsletter before the floor vote, call, email, fax or visit your legislators, both House and Senate, and ask them to oppose the B&O tax hike and capital gains tax. Silence is perceived as approval.

It’s your turn next!

Richard Ek, LUTCF

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 March/April IFAPAC

An Amazing Story from 9-11 You Probably Haven’t Heard

We all remember where we were when we heard that someone had flown a plane into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City and that not long after, a second plane had struck its target. A third would hit the Pentagon and a fourth would go down in an attempt to reach another target in Washington, D.C. The ripple effect of those events continues even to this day, but we don’t often stop to remember those that stepped forward with common kindness in the midst of the terror.

This is one of those stories as told by a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, a flight on its way to the U.S. and diverted to a small town in Canada:

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain.

As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland, to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that’s 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”

Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.

In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.

People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.

We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.

Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.

And they were true to their word.

Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel.

We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!

We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.

What we found out was incredible…..

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.

Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.”

Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.

Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day.

During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips.

Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.

Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.

In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time.

Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days.

He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.

He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.

He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

“The gentleman, an MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.

It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward. Let’s not forget THIS fact.

By Meridian Magazine · March 7, 2017
Submitted by Richard Ek, Co-Chair IFAPAC Washington

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 January/February Day on the Hill

NAIFA/WAHU Day On The Hill was held Thursday, January 26, 2017. Close to 100 producers from Health Underwriters and NAIFA met at the Double Tree Hotel in Olympia for a morning session. Mel Sorensen, our lobbyist extraordinaire, led the combined meeting of both professional associations.

Earlier in the morning, Mel and the two presidents, Neal Kloke of NAIFA and Keith Wallace of WAHU, testified before legislative panels on key topics important to our business.

We heard from; Michael Marchand, Director of Marketing for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange; John Mangan, Regional VP for the American Council of Life Insurers; Grace Campbell, of AHIP; and comments from Neal Kloke and Keith Wallace.

Michael Marchand acknowledged the positive role of brokers in increasing the participation and growth of the exchange.  It is a dubious acknowledgement, however.  Whether we agree with necessity of an exchange, we’ve certainly helped get more folks covered and at the same time I’ve spoken to a number of agents who are now charging fees to help folks with their decision making.  I don’t even focus on health insurance and I’m getting calls daily from people who were referred by the exchange.   I’m wondering why we need the exchange? (paragraph submitted by Richard Miller)

Before breaking for lunch and our own lobbying efforts on “the Hill” we discussed the talking points for the day. Some were pertinent to health insurance, some to life insurance:

  • Agents and brokers know the markets, know the applicable laws and regulations, are trained and certified by the OIC, know their clients and provide valuable service to the communities we serve
  • Oppose any legislation that would impose adverse tax impacts on licensed insurance producers or the insurance industry
    • The Business & Occupation Tax is equal to an income tax on producers with no recourse to pass the tax on to our clients. We oppose any increase in the B&O which Governor Inslee has proposed.
    • Life insurers pay millions of dollars via Premium Taxes to support the State General Fund and fund the costs associated with the Office of Insurance.
    • Washington allows life insurers to take a credit against Premium Tax obligations for their assessments paid to the Guaranty Association-20% each year over a 5-year period. There are bills to either increase the tax burden on life and health insurers OR eliminate the credit allowance currently in place.
  • Oppose HB 1185 and SB 5242 – bills that would alter the Washington Insurance Inducements Requirements and destroy the agreement reached between the OIC and licensed producers in 2015.
A controversial San Francisco-based employee benefits firm is apparently behind the introduction of HB 1185 and SB 5242 – companion measures that would allow insurers, insurance producers, or title insurance agents to offer goods that are free or for less than fair market value incident to an insurance sale or solicitation. The bills were introduced at the request of Zenefits after Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler ordered the company last month to cease offering free employee benefits software, finding that the activity is in violation of Washington’s law against inducements. The company was fined by the OIC in 2016 for allowing unlicensed individuals to sell insurance in Washington. Last November regulators in California imposed significant fines and penalties against the company for licensing violations in that state.

HB 1185 was considered at a hearing of the House Business & Financial Services Committee for consideration, and a hearing has been scheduled to consider the measure on Wednesday, January 25. SB 5242 was considered by Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee at a hearing on Thursday, January 26. NAIFA, together with other producer associations and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, testified in opposition to the measures. NAIFA President Neal Kloke, together with Keith Wallace, the President of the Washington Association of Health Underwriters, along with representatives of the Professional Insurance Agents of Washington/Alaska and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Washington, testified that the measures would unravel recently-enacted revisions to Washington’s Insurance Inducement provisions that were the result of careful negotiations between the OIC and producer groups only two years ago. They also expressed concern that the bill would provide competitive advantages to large entities who are able to offer large financial inducements to build client relationships that are completely beyond the reach of main street agents and brokers. The OIC also testified against the bills.

    • An out-of-state firm wants to eliminate the $100 maximum allowance for gifts to insurance prospects or clients.
    • This firm offers a software suite for no charge that most small businesses would normally pay thousands of dollars to purchase. While they say the software is free to any small business, the firm strongly seeks to take over insurance plans by BOR and remove the local producer, forcing the small business to deal with an 800 number on all issues.
    • This firm does almost all business by phone and email using unlicensed representatives.
  • Support HB 1338 and SB 5253 to continue the Washington State Health Insurance Pool – WSHIP – which is designed to sunset at the end of 2017.
    • With changes coming to the Affordable Care Act, the Insurance Commissioner as well as all insurance associations (NAIFA, WAHU, PIA, etc.) believe the WSHIP should not be allowed to sunset but be available as a lifeboat for the 200-300 insured individuals that have coverage through WSHIP. Most of the WSHIP insureds are in ESRD and unable to obtain coverage elsewhere.
Producers met with dozens of Representatives and Senators during the afternoon and discussed these issues. For the most part, legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, seemed to better understand the impact of these bills and most of them agreed with our positions.

Thanks to Mel Sorensen and all the members of NAIFA that sacrificed a day from their normal business activities to be at Day On The Hill. Your participation is appreciated. Now is the time to contact your own representatives and Senator. Make sure they know you stand ready as a resource to their office on insurance and investment topics.

Richard Ek, IFAPAC Co-Chair

Richard Miller, Advocacy/Legislative Chair

Mel Sorensen, NAIFA-Washington Lobbyist


2017 January/February President's Message

Embracing Change?
After our last board meeting in October 2016 we created a “NAIFA Steering Committee” to evaluate, strategize and discuss impactful change that would attract new members, retain current members and keep members involved in their local associations and communities.
After a handful of phone conferences, the Steering committee came up with the idea of the “One Washington Initiative” to help Unify, Simplify and Energize our membership.
The committee felt it would be more efficient to brand our membership more consistently as one unified NAIFA Washington. 
The committee felt it would be more efficient to simplify the governance requirement by reducing or eliminating the individual local association’s legal obligations, freeing up local resources to focus on more important events or projects.  Get more by asking less of current membership.
The committee felt preservation of identity in local associations was necessary for programs, participation and membership growth.
The NAIFA One Washington Initiative was outlined and discussed with your local leadership that were in attendance at the State Board Meeting on January 25th in Olympia WA.  Please contact your local leadership to learn more about the proposed Initiative.
If you have further questions please contact Jenna Olson our State Executive and she will have one of the Steering Committee leaders reach out to you.

Thank you!
Neal Kloke
President WA State

2017 January/February IFAPAC

Do you have a gold box?

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?" "Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said...

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom, I'll be
there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly...

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said.. "What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said.
"I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! - Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was... my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.
 "Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

4.. You mean the world to someone.

5. If not for you, someone may not be living.

6. You are special and unique.

7. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better.

8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.

9. When you think the world has turned its back on you,
take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

10. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

11. Always remember the compliments you received.
Forget about the rude remarks.

12 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy .

13. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them
know that they are great.

What's in your gold box?  To whom will you send it?

I know, what does this have to do with IFAPAC?

Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
We appreciate your support and encourage you to challenge another NAIFA member to match what you contribute to this great profession.
Richard Ek