|By Brian Scarborough
Florida InsurPac Chair
As the federal government exercises more and more power over small
business, the future of our industry depends more and more on agent
involvement in the political process. The U.S. Congress regularly
considers legislation that directly affects the livelihood of
independent agents—from taxes and flood insurance to the overhaul of financial services regulation.
We’re fortunate to have a strong federal advocacy team working for us
through our membership in the Independent Insurance Agents &
Brokers of America (IIABA) and FAIA. But they can’t do it alone. It is
vital that we, as insurance producers and small business owners, play an
active role in shaping the public policy debate, and ultimately the
laws that come out of Washington, D.C.
We can do this by supporting our federal political action committee, InsurPac. Visit InsurPac online to make your voluntary, personal contribution; you must log in first with your IIABA user name and password.)
At the federal level, our lobbyists advocate for us by demanding less
government involvement in our day-to-day businesses. For example, as
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act made its way through Congress
several years ago, IIABA successfully maintained insurance as a
state-regulated business. Unlike banking and securities regulation,
which were drastically changed by Dodd-Frank, the insurance implications
of the legislation were modest.
Your federal government affairs team had some major wins over the last year, including:
- Enactment into law of both a long-term renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and NARAB II.
The TRIA extension helps stabilize the commercial property-casualty
insurance market and NARAB II effectively creates one-stop producer
licensing for nonresident licenses, while maintaining state regulation.
If implemented correctly, NARAB II will significantly reduce
administrative burdens and costs for independent agencies operating in
- Passage of the “Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”
Among other things, the legislation reduced the price shock experienced
by many consumers as a result of certain provisions in the
Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Bill of 2012 (BW-12). This was a
major win, as mitigating the unintended harmful effects resulting from
BW-12 had been one of the association’s top priorities for 2014. The Big
“I” was the only major producer trade association to advocate in favor of this legislation.
- During Farm Bill consideration, IIABA protected the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP)
and successfully beat back against amendments aiming to cut or cap the
premium subsidies that producers use to purchase adequate coverage for
their farmland. In addition, the Big “I” worked to ensure that the FCIP
remained the cornerstone risk management tool for farmers across the
country and preserved the role of the agent as the sole sales force of
Through constant dialogue with members of congress and participation
in numerous congressional meetings, hearings, and events, our federal
lobbying team has forged an impressive list of achievements. The
government affairs team has done an excellent job developing
relationships with many influential members of congress, something made
possible in large part due to InsurPac, your federal political action
committee. It solicits voluntary, personal contributions from agents
throughout the country, and then distributes that money to congressmen,
senators, and candidates for federal office who support small business
and the independent agency system. InsurPac allows our federal advocates
to attend fundraising events nearly every day of the week, constantly
developing relationships with legislators and their staff from both
sides of the aisle.
In the 2014 election cycle, more than 5,000 independent agents came
together to support InsurPac, helping raise over two million dollars.
InsurPac distributed over $1.8 million to a total of 292 races, winning
272 of them for a 93% victory rate. Of this amount, $77,500 was disbursed to members of the Florida delegation.
Because no InsurPac dollars are used for administrative expenses, it
means that 100 percent of agent investments are put to good use
supporting legislators that support our business.
With so many important issues being debated in our nation’s capital
by a new congress, the time for agents to be involved is now.
Congressional opinions on issues are being shaped every day and we must
continue to have a seat at the table to educate them.
Please do your part by supporting InsurPac and actively participating in both local and federal politics.