The 2012 Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention will be held this week from April 25-27, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C.
Organized by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and billed as a “one-of-a-kind” legislative event, the Big “I” conference will be a unique opportunity for both agents and the independent agency system as a whole to meet and educate members of Congress on the important issues facing agencies and their insureds.
The IIABA says that this year the top issues that will be discussed on the Hill will include insurance regulatory reform, extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), agent licensing reform, medical loss ratios (MLRs) and other health care topics, tax reform, the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) and other economic challenges facing independent insurance agents and the industry as a whole.
Among the highlights of the events scheduled for this week is the Young Agents & InsurPac State Chairpersons Legislative Luncheon to be held Wednesday April 25 at 12:00p.m. The luncheon will feature Rep. Aaron Schock as its keynote speaker.
“Rep. Schock is a rising star in the Republican Party and the Big ‘I’ is honored that he will be addressing our young agents and InsurPac leadership teams,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “His freshman year in Congress, he was selected by his peers to serve as Deputy Republican Whip and continues to make an impact on Capitol Hill. As the youngest member of Congress, our young agents are especially interested in his perspective.”
Rep. Schock represents the 18th congressional district of Illinois and was first elected to that position in 2008.
On Thursday April 26, 2012, Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Representative John Barrow (D-Ga.) will both address the Legislative Conference Breakfast. This annual breakfast occurs just prior to the Big “I” Day when agents and brokers head over to Capitol Hill to educate members of the House and Senate and their staffs on issues affecting independent insurance agents, brokers and consumers.
“Sen. Thune’s numerous leadership roles are pivotal to small businesses and consumers across the country,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work with him on many issues that directly impact the 300,000 professionals we represent and insurance consumers.”
Senator Thune currently chairs the Senate Republican Conference and serves on the Senate Finance Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee and the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 and in 2004 beat the then sitting Senate Minority Leader and was elected to his first term in the Senate. Previously, he served in the South Dakota government and as a congressional aide. A native of the Mount Rushmore state, Sen. Thune earned his undergraduate degree at Biola University and an MBA from the University of South Dakota.
“The Big ‘I’ is [also] honored to have Rep. Barrow address the association’s membership the morning of our annual agent pilgrimage to Capitol Hill,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “Big ‘I’ members will be advocating on behalf of H.R. 1206, a bill that would halt the devastating effects on agents that is being caused by the new health care law’s restrictive Medical Loss Ratio provision by removing agent compensation from the formula. Having the bipartisan bill’s top Democrat sponsor address agents will provide them with an insightful and informative lay of the land in Congress.”
In addition to his leadership as policy co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition, Rep. Barrow serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He represents Georgia’s 12th Congressional District and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004. He previously served on the Athens-Clarke County Commission. Rep. Barrow earned degrees in political science and history from the University of Georgia and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
Friday, April 27, 2012 will see the journalists and political commentators Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke headlining a political panel. Barnes is a FOX News political analyst and founder of the Weekly Standard. Kondracke is also a Fox political analysists and a senior editor of the Roll Call Newspaper. Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO will act as the moderator.
“We look forward to Fred Barnes’s and Mort Kondracke’s insight from opposing sides of the political spectrum on an array of important issues to independent agents and brokers, such as health care, tax implications and much more,” says Rusbuldt. “Their incredible expertise, insider Washington knowledge, and decades of experience covering politics will provide an interesting discussion. Hosting such a panel in the middle of a presidential campaign year is particularly important and timely to Big ‘I’ members.”
The Young Agents Committee will also hold a silent auction on Thursday April 26, 2012 from 9:30-midnight entitiled: YAC Gives Back: A Benefit for InVEST Scholarships.