Leaders of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the American Council of Life Insurers also submitted a response. Read it here.
With regard to the column by Dr. Larry Barton of The American College (“The Importance of One Voice” - January 2013), the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA), while not specifically mentioned by Dr. Barton, would like to offer the following comments.
NAILBA absolutely agrees that a unified voice is necessary for many of the issues facing the financial services industry in these difficult economic times. As often as possible, the organizations that DO represent the interests of the industry – and that DO have advocacy as a significant part of their mission – call upon each other for assistance, sharing of resources (human AND financial) and guidance. The paid executives of many of the organizations Dr. Barton mentions regularly consult with each other (and with each other’s volunteer leadership as well) to strategize and collaborate on issues affecting our memberships.
As an example, NAILBA has resources – primarily access to a large number of producers – that NAIFA and AALU (and others) may not have, and vice versa. NAILBA is currently actively promoting a NAIFA Congressional Conference as a way to encourage producers to present this unified voice to legislators. We are also participating with AALU on their Brokerage Task Force (co-chaired by a NAILBA member), which is designed to increase the level of influence we have in Washington by tapping some of the best members of both organizations and providing a platform for their engagement.
I would also point out that the differences that Dr. Barton suggests that these organizations put aside are simply areas where there is not a complete “meeting of the minds”; a priority for one organization’s members may not have the same priority ranking for others. In these times of limited resources, priorities MUST be established within each organization to ensure that each organization’s core membership is being responsibly and appropriately served.
NAILBA’s leaders are encouraged and energized when we meet with the volunteer and paid leadership of no fewer than 12 other industry organizations (all on the distribution – not the product manufacturing – side of the industry) each summer at the Joint Executive Committees meeting. This meeting allows each organization to identify areas where assistance is needed from the others, and to offer assistance to those who may need it. The JEC meeting is one of the most valuable expenditures of time and money in which NAILBA participates each year, because it provides balance and perspective to each of our organizations and broadens the often narrow lens through which we may be viewing our issues.
And, finally, NAILBA offers this. The fact that our membership numbers are stable serves as an indicator that we are meeting our members’ needs, wants and expectations, and that our industry is weathering this economic crisis. We are not doing it alone – we have our industry friends to thank for many of our successes, and we’d like to think that the feeling is mutual.
Thank you for this opportunity to point out some of the good work that all of us industry organizations are trying to do. The cooperation currently being exhibited is positioning this industry for long-term success. This is not a sprint, but a marathon.
Jack Chiasson, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA)