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