Two industry organizations, fresh off their legal victory against the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, are teaming up and turning their attentions to issues that affect their members on the state levels.
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is joining forces with the American Council of Life Insurers to coordinate advocacy efforts in seven states in 2020, with plans to expand those efforts into the remaining states in 2021. The seven states that the organizations will focus on first are California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey.
“We are doing things to coordinate our efforts between the two groups, knowing that when the companies and the advisors speak in a unified voice, we can get more done,” Kevin Mayeux, NAIFA CEO, told InsuranceNewsNet.
He said the NAIFA/ACLI advocacy partnership is nothing new, as the two organizations worked together to fight the DOL rule and promote passage of the SECURE Act in Congress. But now that several states are considering their own versions of fiduciary regulations, the time is right to take that partnership to the state level.
“If you get some major states adopting things like that, the wave can go across the country, and more and more states will pick up on similar standards,” Mayeux said. “Or the companies will do things to address the highest common denominator and start imposing those standards in every state because they have to comply with the law of one or two other states.
“So we thought it was important to make sure that we have a strong voice when it comes to states considering those things to make sure that policymakers, whether they be legislators or regulators, understand the impact of what those sorts of legislation or regulation can have on Main Street consumers and retirement savers.”
The state-level advocacy is not limited to fiduciary or best interest issues, Mayeux said. State lawmakers are considering other issues that affect the insurance industry and its consumers, such as genetic testing and privacy, and senior citizen protection. “Those are other areas we care deeply about,” he said.
In addition to adding some staff members, NAIFA also will work with its state chapters to update the association’s database of members who have relationships with state lawmakers.
ACLI has a working conference scheduled for November, where those who do state-level advocacy will attend, along with NAIFA state executives and lead lobbyists for each of the seven targeted states. ACLI also participate in NAIFA’s National Advocacy Meeting in early December.
“We can have a ton of impact on the state levels, and this gives us a chance to prove that to the company CEOs and others – and that will help reinforce our value proposition,” Mayeux said.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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