Also responding was the chief executive officer of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies. Read his comments here.
We read with interest the column by Dr. Larry Barton of The American College (“The Importance of One Voice”) published in the January 2013 edition of InsuranceNewsNet. We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Barton that financial services organizations should speak in a unified voice to inform legislators of the vital role of our products. However, Dr. Barton’s assertion that we are doing a less-than-stellar job “cooperating and leveraging our resources” shows that the “leader of the nation’s premier financial services educator” should have done his homework.
1) Dr. Barton calls for organizations to “begin meeting on a quarterly basis to enhance the exchange of information.” This happens now through the well-attended “Financial Trades Group Dinner,” a quarterly event that fosters strategic discussion among 12 to 15 CEOs of financial services organizations. In addition, agent association leaders convene no less than annually in a Joint Executive Committees meeting in order to discuss relevant industry issues and carry out specific plans of action pertaining to mutually agreed upon positions on industry issues.
2) Dr. Barton also asks, “Who speaks for financial services?” He answers his own question, suggesting the following: NAIFA, AALU, ACLI, GAMA, MDRT, LIMRA, LOMA and The American College. He’s about half right, as the mission of some of these organizations is to lobby, while other organizations fulfill such valuable roles as research and education.
3) Finally, the organizations with a mandate to lobby are doing so collectively and cooperatively. Look no further than securefamily.org, a coalition aimed at communicating facts about our products and their role in securing American families and businesses. Among coalition members are ACLI, AALU, GAMA International, IRI, NAILBA, and NAIFA. As Congress looks at comprehensive tax reform as a way to reduce the national debt, several meetings will take place on Capitol Hill this year as a result of joint efforts to solidify and articulate a unified message about the importance of maintaining the tax status of our products. Currently, over 800 advisors are registered for the largest of these meetings in April, echoing previous efforts when more than 1,000 members convened to inform Congress on other financial services issues.
We appreciate The American College’s interest in serving as the convener, but rest assured a structure is well in place – and has been for years – that enables all of us to meet, share information and work together for the greater good.
Dr. Susan Waters
Chief Executive Officer
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Council of Life Insurers