National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

NAIFA's Mayeux Speaks to National Advocacy Meeting

NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux delivered the following remarks at NAIFA's National Advocacy Meeting, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington, D.C.:

Welcome, everyone, to Washington, D.C., and to NAIFA’s National Advocacy Meeting.
 
I’d like to start off by recognizing our Board of Trustees, including our three new board members who will begin their terms next month.
 
This is a group that has worked tirelessly over the past year to usher in the New NAIFA and will continue to ensure that all of you and every NAIFA member has a quality membership experience. It’s my pleasure to work with such an amazing, talented board.
 
They are all deserving of our thanks, but let’s hold our applause until the end.
 
When I call your name, please stand up.
 
  • Dennis Cuccinelli
  • Connie Golleher
  • Stephen Good
  • Todd Grantham
  • Bryon Holz
  • Larry Holzberg
  • Beth Jones
  • Delvin Joyce
  • Ryan Pinney
  • Stephanie Rivas
  • John Wheeler
  • Brian Wilson
 
Beginning their terms next month are:
  • Mark Acre
  • Win Havir
  • Steve Saladino
 
And, of course, our Executive Committee:
  • President Jill Judd
  • President-elect Cammie Scott
  • Secretary Tom Michael
  • Treasurer Brock Jolly
  • Immediate past president Keith Gillies
 
Thank all of you for your leadership and hard work. Let’s give them a hand.
 
This event gathers our association’s most dedicated, energetic, and influential advocacy leaders from around the country. We come together as one NAIFA to promote the best possible regulatory and legislative environment for yourselves and your fellow NAIFA members so you may enjoy professional success and advance our industry. You also advocate on behalf of Main Street Americans, those who rely on your products and services to mitigate life’s inevitable risks, obtain financial security, and achieve prosperity.
 
As state grassroots chairs and IFAPAC chairs, you are fully invested in NAIFA’s advocacy mission. You provide an example and inspiration to our rank and file who make up our grassroots army and are the driving force behind NAIFA’s success.
 
You are the loudest, most passionate, most informed, and most influential. You are why groups like ACLI, NAILBA, FSP, WIFS, NAAIA, LAAIA, and AAIFPA seek out NAIFA to partner with us on advocacy that benefits all of our members, the industry, and consumers across the country. You are the reason NAIFA’s advocacy is second to none in the industry.
 
Today and tomorrow, in general sessions, committee meetings, and state caucuses, you will gain insights from NAIFA staff and Capitol Hill insiders, share intelligence, hone your skills, and fine tune NAIFA’s vital advocacy message. You will generate an energy and momentum that you’ll carry into our Day on the Hill Wednesday and, more importantly, back home to your state chapters and the NAIFA members there who look to you for leadership.
 
This year, NAIFA  has seen explosive growth in first-time members. This means we have more than 1,200 individuals who are now forming their first impressions of what it means to be a NAIFA member. We must capitalize on this great opportunity to make sure they are fully engaged. We need to instill in them the same passion for political involvement and political action that drives each of you.
 
These are thousands of new members we can educate about how they can make a difference on issues that impact their professional success and their clients. Thousands of new members to get excited about grassroots advocacy and to cultivate as key contacts for legislators. Thousands of new IFAPAC contributors.
 
As we enter an election year, this is the perfect time to get these fresh voices hooked on NAIFA’s advocacy mission. Candidates across the country will be talking about issues that directly impact the livelihoods of agents and advisors and the financial wellbeing of your clients: tax and spending proposals, retirement legislation, health care, to name just a few.
 
It’s an ideal environment to stoke people’s interests, raise their excitement, and get them engaged for the rest of their careers. We just need to put some work in.
 
A great place to start is NAIFA’s Congressional Conference. I don’t have to tell anyone in this room what a big deal this is. Each May, NAIFA brings six, seven, eight hundred insurance and financial professionals from all 50 states here to Washington for a day of advocacy education and motivation followed by the largest, and most influential Day on the Hill in our industry. This year, wouldn’t in be great if we got over 1,000?
 
That’s my challenge to you. Couldn’t everyone in this room would go back to your states and communities and recruit one or two agents or advisors? They don’t even have to be NAIFA members. In fact, it might be better if they aren’t. Anyone who gets a first-hand look at the power and importance of NAIFA’s advocacy, who joins our grassroots army at Congressional Conference, is certain to think: “This is an association I need to be a part of.”
 
I don’t need to convince any of you that the Congressional Conference is an important, effective event. Still, it’s worth reminding ourselves what Ways & Means Committee Member Jackie Walorski of Indiana told us last year.
 
She said that during our Congressional Conference days on the hill people wearing NAIFA pins make a huge impression, sometimes making it hard for members of Congress and their staff to get from floor to floor in the congressional office buildings.
 
“In Congress, we know the NAIFA people,” Congresswoman Walorski told us. “And when NAIFA is in the House, we listen. You fill a lot of elevators.”
 
That is impact!
 
Our strength is in our Main Street message and our strength is in our numbers. Let’s see how many more congressional elevators we can fill this May.
 
Over the past year, we’ve built a new NAIFA with revised bylaws and a new chapter structure. We are more efficient and nimbler than ever in the past. This is having a positive impact on our advocacy work, as well.
 
I’ll give you an example.
 
We are putting together an Advocacy Go Team we can call on to quickly wield influence – by writing letters or making calls, submitting letters to the editor or op-eds, or speaking about important issues at state chapter or local affiliate meetings.
 
In November, ACLI approached us with the idea of sending a letter to congressional leadership urging passage of the SECURE Act. As you know, this legislation would give small businesses greater opportunities to offer retirement plans and encourage 700,000 workers to prepare for retirement. The idea was that NAIFA members representing every state would demonstrate widespread support for the Act and have a profound impact on policymakers.
 
We went to our Go Team and were able to get a member from each state and the District of Columbia to sign on. In fact, we had dozens more volunteers than the 51 names ultimately attached to the letter. NAIFA members want to be involved!  And NAIFA members make a difference. 
 
Aside from the obvious impact a constituent letter like this has on members of Congress, this effort showed our advocacy partners at ACLI that NAIFA’s grassroots army is unmatched by any other association in our space. No other group would be able to pull together a group of motivated advocates from every state so quickly.
 
The letter attracted the notice of several media outlets, and gained significant attention on social media. It got our members excited about their advocacy impact. It’s a great example of how the new NAIFA, with our new structure and improved internal communication, is allowing us to up our advocacy game.
 
It’s also another opportunity for every NAIFA member to become politically involved and for us to build excitement around advocacy. If you are not a member of our Advocacy Go Team, ask a staff member how you can put your name in or check NAIFA’s weekly leaders and members newsletters for an invitation. Then encourage members in your state chapters and local affiliates to do the same.
 
With a little work, we can improve our response time, increase our influence, and get more NAIFA members fully engaged in the political process.
 
Because with 1,200 new members ready to receive our advocacy message, this is a time for us to act. And there is no one better than the people I see in front of me today to generate the energy and enthusiasm that makes NAIFA’s advocacy message so compelling. There is no other advocacy organization in the industry has the breadth and impact of NAIFA – period.  No other association has members in all 435 Congressional districts.  No other association raises $4M each cycle to support federal and state candidates for office.  No other association, no matter what they say, has the potency and impact of NAIFA.  That’s why senior politicians and lobbyists refer to us as “formidable”.
 
Tell your colleagues who aren’t yet politically engaged how NAIFA’s advocacy has protected your business. Tell them how your involvement has given you a sense of empowerment and professional responsibility. Tell them about the rush you get when a member of Congress or a state legislator asks for your opinion or seeks your guidance. Tell them how important it is. Tell them how much fun it is!
 
We are so fortunate to have a great advocacy leadership team. You are simply the best. I thank each one of you for your dedication, passion, and hard work.
 
Together we can take on anything, and together we can continue to build our grassroots army and take our unmatched advocacy success to new heights.
 
  • Posted December 3, 2019 IN


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