October 3, 2013Some thoughts and observations on the meetings I’ve attended and the items that have come across my tablet over the past week. Add a dash of this, a smidgen of that, season to taste and stir vigorously… Members of NAIFA (the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) are one politically potent group. The association met in San Antonio this week and the highlight of the conference, in my view, was the “Government Affairs at Work” segment on Monday morning. As NAIFA President and CEO Dr. Susan Waters told me prior to the session, “If members want to see their dues dollars at work, this is the session they need to attend.” Almost a dozen of the association’s staff and retained lobbyists gave 5-minute overviews of a particular issue – from the taxation of inside build-up to fiduciary standards for life insurance agents and everything in between. The biggest revelation came from Danea Kehoe, an outside counsel for NAIFA at DBK Consulting, who states “The word is not yet final, but we are told that inside build-up will not be a part of the pending tax reform legislation.” (Read more here.) Not surprisingly, this drew a loud round of applause from the audience – many of whom were either captive agents of fraternals or independent agents who market fraternal products. The Alliance has built a solid political partnership with NAIFA over the past few years, and we can be proud to have them on our side. Here are a few other interesting factoids I learned while at the conference:
- NAIFA has identified key contacts among its members for every member of Congress. The organization’s goal is to schedule meetings between its members and all 535 members of Congress at its Government Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2014.
- NAIFA distributed more than $1.6 million in PAC contributions to members of Congress and candidates for federal office during the last two-year cycle. NAIFA leaders were attempting to raise more than $130,000 in donations to its PAC during the Annual Meeting.
- The correct collective noun when referring to a group of baboons is “congress.” Somehow that seems oddly appropriate given the current situation in Washington.
- Tax reform is like a Twinkie.Someone’s always willing to take a bite at it no matter how long it’s been on the shelf.
- The 10th of December – A terrific collection of moving, disturbing, poignant short stories by one of the best writers you’ve never heard of, George Saunders.
- This Town – A smart, wry, and a little bit frightening look at the dysfunction of our federal government and small group of people who influence the outcome of the public policy decisions that affect us.