WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2013 —The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today named United States Senator David Vitter (R-La.), who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, as the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year for 2012.
In his address, Sen. Vitter discussed numerous issues that impact the small business community, consumers and the independent agency system including the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), terrorism insurance, tax reform and the federal budget.
“Sen. Vitter has a long track record of standing up for small business, including independent agents in Louisiana and across the country,” said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, when presenting the award. “In his important role on the Senate Banking Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over insurance issues, he’s a key decision-maker on issues that directly impact our members. We thank him for his leadership before Congress and in Louisiana to protect America’s Main Street businesses and as a steward of taxpayer dollars.”
During his remarks, Sen. Vitter discussed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and its looming expiration. He said he “will be actively engaged” as Congress considers whether or not to reauthorize the program.
Sen. Vitter also discussed the budget challenges and noted that the one thing he thought was positive about the recent Fiscal Cliff deal is that it provided permanent tax reform. He has been hailed as a fiscal hawk and also discussed the upcoming debt ceiling debate expected this summer.
Sen. Vitter praised the Republican strategy on the Fiscal Cliff deal and said that they “made a strategic decision to lay the groundwork and reorder how this came up for the debt ceiling discussion” and, because of this effort, “they’re really going to stick to that and demand real spending debt reform.”
The award was presented Tuesday during the annual Leadership Luncheon, just prior to the Big “I” Legislative Conference. The Legislator of the Year Award is bestowed annually by the Big “I” upon a member of Congress who has provided outstanding leadership on insurance issues. It is named as a tribute to the late Congressman Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.), the former House Rules Committee chairman and Big “I” member who championed independent agent and broker legislative concerns during his 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. The event was held at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. Attendees included Big “I” executive and government affairs committee members, agents and brokers from Sen. Vitter’s home state of Louisiana and other industry leaders.
“Sen. Vitter has played a leadership role on a host of issues that impact many Big ‘I’ members and their small business clients,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “We look forward to working with him in the 113th Congress as the Senate Banking Committee considers agent licensing reform, terrorism insurance and other important issues to our membership and their customers.”
Sen. Vitter was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010. He is the top Republican on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and also serves on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Committee on Armed Services. Sen. Vitter is a Louisiana native. He earned his undergraduate degrees at Harvard University and University College, Oxford, and his law degree at Tulane Law School. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the Louisiana state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.