I think we can all agree that last year's elections pretty dramatically altered the political landscape. We have a popular new president with large ambitions and a Congress controlled by the president's party. We also have some issues on the table that have some serious implications for insurance agents and brokers. Consequently, if you haven't done it before, this is the year you should make the trip to Washington, D.C. for the Big "I" Legislative Conference & Convention, April 29 through May 1.
Why is it so important to get involved this year? The big reason: The drive for federal regulation of the insurance industry seems to be gathering momentum. IIABA and IIABNY have steadfastly opposed taking insurance regulation away from the state governments, but the collapse of the banking system has many in Congress thinking that increased regulation of the financial services sector (including insurance) is desirable. This may well be the year that a federal insurance bill begins to move. If you believe in state regulation of insurance, your participation this year is vital.
Other key issues include modernization and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program, health care reform, reform of non-resident licensing rules, changes to the crop insurance program proposed in the president's budget, and funding for natural catastrophes. If these issues are important to you, you need to come to Washington.
The deadline for booking hotel rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel is March 20, so don't delay in making your reservations. Both IIABNY and IIABA will provide you with materials to get you up to speed on the issues, and there will be briefing on Wednesday, April 29 put on by IIABA's highly-regarded lobbying team. I'm your contact for New York if you have any questions about this event, and you can reach me through the usual channels. This not being a podcast, I won't even throw anything.
I hope to see you all in Washington.