The 2014 PIA Federal Legislative Summit a Tremendous Success!
“The 2014 PIA FLS was a tremendous success with a large attendance by PIA agents,” said PIA National President John G. Lee. “We were able to visit with our lawmakers face to face and review our different issues of concern with them, such as the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), healthcare, insurance regulation, flood insurance and crop insurance.”
PIA members participated in a legislative briefing; heard remarks by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) in a keynote address; and spent a day meeting with their Representatives and Senators, engaging them in discussions about issues that are important to Professional Insurance Agents.
“Meeting with your Senators or representative gives you a sense of accomplishment, in that you have helped explain our position on the issues and represented your fellow agents in doing so,” Lee said. “I know our congressmen love to see and hear from us as they make decisions on insurance matters that affect both consumers and agents. They may not vote our way all of the time, but at least we can sit in front of them and explain our position and hopefully persuade them to vote our way. It’s great to play a part in the legislative process by visiting them on Capitol Hill.”
PIA Members Comment on the 2014 PIA FLS
Attendance at the 2014 PIA FLS was up and members were very enthusiastic. Here are impressions from some of the FLS participants:
“The PIA Federal Legislative Summit is just the thing agents need to really keep in touch and influence our Congressmen and Senators,” said PIA National President-elect Richie Clements. “There is nothing like a face to face meeting with the person that represents your area and state. This year, the FLS was particularly successful. The delegation from Louisiana was able to meet with both Senators and most of the state’s Congressmen or staff person. We were able to thank them for their work on the flood insurance reform and ask their help on renewing TRIA, reforming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to protect the participation by licensed agents, and roll back the cuts to crop insurance proposed by President Obama in his budget proposal. We also stressed that we could be their resource on any insurance matter.”
“It was very satisfying to take part in the kind of grassroots advocacy that epitomizes citizen involvement in the legislative process,” said PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Rob Hansen. “Hundreds of PIA agents descended on Capitol Hill to discuss our views on the issues that matter to us. It’s a very humbling experience and our lawmakers were very receptive. Our Federal Legislative Summit is another way that Main Street insurance agents can influence legislation and truly protect our livelihoods as insurance agents and business owners. There is no better way to stand up for our customers and ourselves.”
“PIA’s Federal Legislative Summit is an example of effective grassroots advocacy in practice,” said PIA National Government Affairs Committee Chairman Tim Russell. “Agents from around the country converge on the Capitol with a common goal: to protect and promote the independent agency system.”
“The best part about it is that it actually works,” Russell said. “We met with Allison Smith, a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) on Thursday. The following Monday she was writing us, not only to thank us for sharing our views, but to make us aware of potential opposition to those issues by way of an article about conservative opposition to the renewal of TRIA. We can now ask our agent representatives in the states where some members of Congress are opposed to renewing TRIA to redouble their efforts and ask them to please reconsider their stance. The relationship we formed with this staffer is beneficial to PIA and is a direct result of the FLS.”
“Not everything is broken in Washington!,” said PIA National Immediate Past President Andrew C. Harris. “The ability to meet with, and discuss the major issues impacting our industry with the Representatives that make the laws is still alive and well, as evidenced by our meetings last week. Although the process is still cumbersome, we were able to advocate for our members and help forge our mission forward in Washington.”
“Outside of the fact that the FLS was successful and energized members, I was impressed by the ‘family’ aspects of the event,” said PIA National Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Gary Blackwell. “PIA itself is a family – supporting one another as we hit the Hill; the nods of encouragement as we quietly walk past members attending the infamous hallway meetings with House staff; PIA members genuinely asking each other how their visits went, with a few slaps on the back for a job well done. A second family aspect is where members actually brought their families to participate in our effort. To me, it is very powerful when a PIA member is voicing our cause with their spouse and children standing in support. I believe this shows Congress that their decisions affect families, not just a group or industry.”
Twitter tidbit:As you know, we asked FLS attendees to use the hashtag #PIAFLS. By looking at the analytics on Monday, there was a total of 224 tweets and retweets of that hashtag. The hashtag reached 11,381 users, supported largely by some Twitter users with large followings who used the hashtag (A.M. Best Company, for example) to retweet PIA’s tweets. Because some people used it multiple times, the hashtag was delivered to Twitter timelines 116,007 times!