WASHINGTON -- Some of the world's top producers belong to the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and they have been spending the day going door to door in the halls of Congress, trying to win support for NAIFA legislative priorities.
NAIFA, Falls Church, Va., capped off its annual meeting by sending members to Capitol Hill to lobby for relief from a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act minimum medical loss ratio provision that has been blamed for cutting individual and small group health insurance producer commission rates by as much as 50%.
NAIFA members also have been lobbying to keep the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from replacing the suitability standard of care that now applies to broker-dealers with a fiduciary standard, and they have been defending the current tax treatment of life insurance death benefits and the "inside buildup" of cash value inside permanent life insurance policies.
The 'NAIFA Day on Capitol Hill' [is] a critical event for our future," NAIFA President Terry Headley told NAIFA members at a meeting general session. "We have faced just in the last 21 months historic, landmark, sweeping and transformational issues, the likes of which we have not witnessed in generations."
NAIFA represents the "best and only hope for the American public to achieve financial freedom," Headley said.
Headley and other NAIFA leaders also talked about NAIFA finances.
NAIFA operating revenue has fallen 6% this year, but operating expenses have dropped 13%, and the net result is that NAIFA will have an operating surplus of $500,000 in fiscal year 2011, Headley said.
"Also, our headquarters building is fully leased, and this will be reflected in a continually improving cash flow picture," Headley said.
Outgoing NAIFA Treasurer Randy Scritchfield said NAIFA's total capital reserve now exceeds $3 million.
Although operating expenses are down, NAIFA Chief Executive Susan Waters said NAIFA has invested more resources in advocacy efforts, especially in the regulatory and securities areas.
NAIFA is also trying to get more out of its resources by working with other life and health organizations, Waters said.
In Hawaii, she said, NAIFA teamed with other groups to keep lawmakers from imposing an excise tax on
insurance products and a new tax on corporate-owned life insurance and bank-owned life insurance.
NAIFA launched a campaign during the annual meeting to raise cash for its political action committee, IFAPAC. Robert Miller, who took over as NAIFA president Tuesday, announced at a Wednesday morning general session that convention attendees had contributed a total of $147,000, exceeding the original $126,000 goal.
Miller also reported that NAIFA now has 47,000 members.
New York Life Insurance Company, New York, has added about 2,000 members to NAIFA over the past two years, Waters said.
Waters also praised the recruiting efforts of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee; Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass.; and State Farm Life Insurance Company, Bloomington, Ill.
Waters said NAIFA will need all the resources it can get in the year to come.
"NAIFA's greatest challenge is tax reform," she said. "We have to be ready when the bill comes, which may happen sooner than we think. [This] is a potential danger to the products and services that you offer your clients."