An estimated 1,000 life insurance agents will be advising their legislative representatives on the importance of maintaining strong incentives for people to save as part of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers annual conference being held in Washington, D.C.
On Monday, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, told them, “You are interwoven in American history. When you spread the message about the great life insurance industry, you are spreading the great tale of American history,” as part of an issues briefing. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., also spoke.
|NAIFA members in Washington, D.C.|
On Tuesday, the attendees will go to Capitol Hill for a total of 428 meetings with their senators and representatives.
They will be visiting Capitol Hill as key members of Congress work to draft a blueprint for major tax reform they hope to get Congress to consider this year.
The tax rates on virtually all insurance products will likely be on the table as Congress considers how to reduce the burgeoning U.S. deficit, including the tax advantage provided for inside buildup in life insurance products.
For example, in his budget for fiscal year 2014 revealed late last week, President Obama proposed a cumulative limit on individual tax-favored retirement saving accounts, including IRA rollovers, of $3 million, a proposal which generated a lot of angst in the insurance agent and financial adviser community.
The industry fears that proposal implies that the entire issue of inside buildup will be in the cross-hairs of Congress if comprehensive tax reform is debated in this Congress.Diane Boyle, NAIFA vice president for federal government relations, acknowledged that the issue is a priority for agents and advisors.
She said NAIFA is preparing to counter the argument that the "inside-buildup" incentive mainly benefits wealthy investors, arguing that nearly 60 percent of the households served by NAIFA members earn less than $100,000 annually.
"We want to maintain those safety nets for individuals that are truly needy," Boyle said.
In his comments, Kempthorne advised the agents and advisors that, when talking to their representatives, to “Stake your claim clearly and solidly – this industry protects 75 million American families."You are soldiers for a just cause,” he said.
He told the attendees that, “You are part of an industry that keeps alive the dreams of families after the death of a breadwinner. This is not a job or a career, it is a calling.
“You are part of an industry that helps seniors maintain their dignity and financial independence by receiving income they cannot outlive. This is not a job or career, it is a calling,” Kempthorne added.
He also noted that, “You are part of an industry that advises people in their good times and their bad times, when babies are born and loved ones perish.”
Robert Smith, NAIFA CEO, told NAIFA members attending the annual event that, “Over 1,000 of us are here, we have people representing every State in the Union.”
He added that, “Together we can and will make a difference. We will make sure our elected representatives hear our message loud and clear. We are unified and we are national in our scope.
“We may be doing ‘write-ins’ and ‘call-ins’ and whatever else it takes to protect the interest of our clients. Prepared to stay engaged until we win!! Together, we will prevail!” he said.
“With your efforts today, along with your hard work up to this point and moving forward, Congress will see the light,” said NAIFA CEO Susan Waters.
She told attendees that Congress will learn through their visit that, “75 million American families depend on the life insurance industry. They will know these same people depend on Congress to make good decisions to protect our products and services. Decisions that will preserve the good we do for families, businesses and the economy.
“Your involvement will help influence an important outcome. I thank so many of you for volunteering your time and working for this common good,” Waters said.