Wins & Accomplishments

NAIFA 2015-2016 Federal Advocacy Victories 

  • As one of the first acts of the 114th Congress, both the House and Senate passed the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II) in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015. The bill was shortly thereafter signed into law by President Obama. Former NAIFA-National Trustee Thomas McLeary, CLU, was nominated to the Board of Directors by the President.
  • NAIFA members, including President Juli McNeely, testified before Congress three times as well as the Department of Labor, explaining the impact the fiduciary proposal for retirement accounts would have on Main Street advisors and savers.
  • President Obama signed into law the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act, which will ensure that small group markets remain defined as 1-50 employees rather than change to 1-100 employees on January 1, 2016. The bipartisan modification to the ACA will help NAIFA members continue to serve their small employer clients and avoid plan disruption for employers with 51-100 employees.
  • NAIFA's efforts through testimony and meetings with Congress, DOL, OMB and others in DC and in the district offices made a remarkable difference in what was the proposed rule to what was issued as the final product. Key differences include:
    • BIC contract provisions can be incorporated into New Account forms and signed at point-of-sale,
    • Definition of education versus recommendation clarified,
    • Electronic Notices to existing clients, with “negative consent,”
    • Advice on rollovers, distributions and too small employer plan sponsors and participants covered by BIC,
    • Advisors not signatories to BIC contract, so no private right of action against advisors,
    • Proprietary products will satisfy Best Interest standard, under certain conditions,
    • Definition of reasonable compensation clarified,
    • Removal annual disclosures and 1-,5-, and 10-year projections.
  • Congress enacted legislation extending expired tax benefits and approving the omnibus appropriations to fund the government through September 30, 2016. The year-end bills include NAIFA-backed provisions including:
    • Permanent and much higher small business expensing limits (Sec. 179 Expensing) – Current law allows a full deduction of certain business acquisitions for purchases up to $25,000. This bill allows the deduction for purchases up to $500,000. The higher limit was the law in 2014, but it expired 12/31/14 so it needed to be reinstated/extended for 2015 and beyond.
    • Permanent IRA-to-charity gifting rules – Allows IRA owners who are 70½ or older to make a direct tax-free gift (of up to $100,000) to a charity.
    • Authority to roll over retirement plan funds into a SIMPLE IRA – Current law restricts/prevents rollovers to SIMPLE retirement plans. This bill would allow them.    
    • Delay in the ACA Cadillac tax – Current ACA law imposes a 40% tax (payable by insurer/health plan sponsor) on the amount of health insurance premium that exceeds statutory limits ($10,200 for self-only coverage; $27,500 for family coverage). The bill delays its effective date (ACA set it to go into effect in 2018) for two years, to 2020.
  • Due to the efforts of NAIFA and industry partners, FINRA’s final rule regarding recruitment practices is a much less onerous and disruptive than the original proposal from 2013. That initial proposal would have required specific disclosures of dollar ranges of incentive compensation, among other information, be provided to clients who were being solicited to follow their representative to the new firm. The new rule as approved by the SEC instead requires that an educational communication be sent to investors who are considering moving their accounts to a representative’s new firm, which would suggest questions for clients to ask the representative on matters such as any financial incentives the representative received to join the new firm and any costs the customer may incur to transfer their accounts.
  • 5 NARAB nominees were placed on the Senate Banking Committee’s Executive Calendar.
  • The House of Representatives approved the Senior $afe Act, H.R.4538 which included language crafted by NAIFA to protect both seniors who are at risk of abuse and the financial advisors who serve them.
  • In June 2016, NAIFA joined the ACLI in challenging the DOL fiduciary rule in federal court in the Northern District of Texas.
  • NAIFA President Jules Gaudreau, along with several NAIFA Government Relations staff members, met with SEC Commissioner Kara Stein. NAIFA expressed concerns that any SEC fiduciary rule should not adversely affect middle-market investors who rely on the advice of NAIFA members.

NAIFA 2015-2016 State Advocacy Victories

  • NAIFA-National testified before the NAIC on the growing problem of senior financial exploitation and recommended the NAIC become involved in this issue. NAIFA-National developed and distributed to state associations model state legislation designed to protect seniors from financial abuse.
  • NAIFA State Associations including NAIFA-Louisiana, NAIFA -Colorado, and NAIFA-Oklahoma successfully amended bills designed to protect seniors from financial exploitation to include provisions that protect advisors from liability and establish a voluntary rather than mandatory reporting standard for suspected elder financial abuse.
  • NAIFA state associations played a crucial role in successfully opposing state-run retirement plan legislation in numerous states, including Maine, Vermont, Utah, Georgia and Colorado; and state associations in Connecticut and Maryland were key players in successful efforts to moderate the more onerous requirements of state-run plan bills which were enacted in those states. NAIFA state associations in Washington State and New Jersey worked towards the successful enactment of legislation which will establish a voluntary marketplace for employers and retirement savers to connect with private market retirement plan providers.
  • NAIFA-Nebraska and NAIFA-Iowa successfully lobbied to reverse a decision by insurance regulators to suspend agent commissions on policies sold through the now bankrupt Affordable Care Act (ACA) Co-Op operating in those states. Due to those critical efforts, agents will be placed higher in the bankruptcy process of the Co-Op to retrieve payments owed. 
  • NAIFA-National developed model state legislation that would allow financial advisors to receive up to 4 hours of CE credit for membership in a professional insurance association. NAIFA testified before the NAIC and requested that insurance regulators consider supporting the NAIFA model. 
  • NAIFA-Arkansas successfully secured written authorization from the Arkansas Department of Human Services that permits advisors to assist those consumers who are eligible for the Arkansas “Private Option” Medicaid expansion throughout the entire enrollment process. 
  • NAIFA-Oregon participated in a coalition to successfully defeat Measure 97, which would have increased the state’s corporate tax by imposing an additional 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on company revenue in excess of $25 million.  NAIFA and industry partners were concerned that this tax would be especially harmful to the insurance industry.  Oregon voters rejected the Measure by a vote of 59% to 41%. 
  • NAIFA National has been an active participant in the NAIC’s efforts to develop a cybersecurity model law that would be specific to the insurance industry. Although the regulator’s initial draft of the model law contained numerous provisions that were of fundamental concern to industry, later drafts have included significant revisions which have narrowed the gulf between the industry and regulators. While the industry still has significant concerns with the most current draft, the regulators do appear to be listening more closely to the concerns raised by industry.

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