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A Day on the Hill – Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the results of my recent series of meetings with congressional staff.  In that report, I mentioned how effective NFCA’s “Fraternals Serve” brochure was in setting the table for a discussion of the value and validity of the fraternal tax exemption with public policymakers.  Evidently, quite a few folks took note of that item because the brochures – which are available to members at no charge – are flying off the shelves.  Thanks to all of you for being dedicated readers.

I met with a few other folks during my week in Washington.  Here are a few highlights from those sessions:

  • Susan Waters, president and CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) – NAIFA represents both independent and captive life insurance agents/brokers and financial advisors. As more and more fraternals utilize independent agents to market their products to prospective members, NAIFA becomes an increasingly important constituency for NFCA. Susan and I discussed ways we could assess her members’ perception of fraternals (good and bad), so that we could determine ways to correct any misconceptions about our unique segment of the industry. We also talked about working more closely together to enhance the awareness of fraternals within her membership and more effectively educating independent agents on the value of having a fraternal among their suite of companies. Finally, I suggested that NAIFA consider options for working more cooperatively with the National Association of Fraternal Insurance Counsellors (NAFIC) to improve agent sales and training programs and get NAFIC members more engaged in public policy issues that affect the fraternal system and the life insurance industry.
  • Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships – It’s my sincere hope that you’ll get to meet Joshua at the NFCA Annual Meeting this September in Chicago. I’ve invited him to address our audience, and if he can fit it into his schedule, he’ll be there. Joshua’s primary mission is to facilitate partnerships between the federal government and non-profit organizations to address some of the nation’s most vexing problems. He is very interested in learning more about fraternals – many of our societies’ faith-based common bonds seem like a perfect fit for effective partnerships – and we identified several areas where our objectives may line-up perfectly. Joshua is an electric bundle of inspiration and energy – definitely a “glass half-full” kind of guy. Working with him could provide us a forum to demonstrate the value and validity of our tax exemption to an even larger number of public policymakers and community service organizations. Stay tuned…
  • Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association (NMFA) – You’ll get the chance to meet Joyce and learn more about her organization at the NFCA Annual Meeting. NMFA is an organization that is tailor-made for working with fraternals. The group was founded by military families over 40 years ago and has been serving their needs in a variety of ways ever since. One of their most important programs is “Operation Purple,” a summer-camp program whose curriculum is designed especially to meet the needs of children whose parents are in the military. No one pays to attend these camps – every child is provided a scholarship. Since virtually every NFCA member society engages in some type of activity to support the military or a military-related organization, it sure sounds like “2+2=5” equation to me. You’ll be hearing more about the NMFA in the weeks leading up to the Annual Meeting. I’ve love to hear your ideas on how fraternals might direct at least a small part of the work they are now doing to support the military toward this organization. Post your ideas here…

Next time: grab bag of articles, quotes, book recommendations, and anything else I can come up with for your reading pleasure…

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