NEW YORK -- Next Tuesday is sure to be a wild Election Day, and there are enough important issues on the table to keep life insurers fully engaged.
In fact, if control of Congress changes in any way, a very real possibility, insurer teams will likely have to retrace lobbying steps, said a panelist Monday at LIMRA's 2018 Annual Conference.
"Most lawmakers and their staffs are not insurance people," said Carolyn Coda, deputy head of Americas Regulatory Affairs at Swiss Re. "When you have that type of turnover, it all goes back to square one and you have to start all over again."
The Regulatory and Legislative Terrain panel was subtitled "evolving and uncertain." A very appropriate assessment of the political climate in Washington, D.C.
With one week until the midterm election, the Democrats are favorites to take control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans are expected to retain Senate control.
But panelists cautioned that the 2016 election of President Donald Trump rendered any and all predictions guesses at best.
Whatever happens, Randy Hardock, partner at Davis & Harman, said the atmosphere isn't likely to improve.
"It's worse than I've ever seen it in almost 40 years in Washingston," he said. "Democrats and Republicans in Congress are afraid of alienating their base. The key is to have your ideas developed so people can understand them."
If Democrats do win the House, "where does the soul of the party lie?" asked Bridget Hagan, partner at The Cypress Group, a lobbying firm. Progressives could box moderate Democrats in through the 2020 presidential campaign, she explained.
Harman vowed to be long asleep by the time the election results are confirmed next Tuesday. But he offered viewing night tips for those who do stay up.
"Ignore the fact that the Democrats are winning all the early races," he said, noting the early races are from the northeast, where Democrats run strong. "The first race to watch is in Florida. If either Sen. Nelson or his Republican challenger are ahead in Florida, that could be a bellwether for what's happening elsewhere."
The GOP is polling very well in its bid to hold the Senate, despite the high-profile campaign being waged in Texas by Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke in challenging Sen. Ted Cruz, R.
"If (Republicans) lose the Texas seat then we have had a sea change in our country," Harman said. "And it may be coming, but I don't think we're there yet."
The election will be followed by a lame-duck session and that does not mean a cessation of hostilities, he added.
"This lame duck session was going to be controversial no matter what," Harman said. "This president is itching for a fight on the border wall, and I think the Democrats are eager to give it to him."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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