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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to Address IIABA National Legislative Conference



WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20—Sen. Bill Frist, M.D. (R-Tenn.), the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, will be a keynote speaker at the 27th Annual National Legislative Conference of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) in April, speaking to nearly 800 independent insurance agents and brokers.

Frist, who assumed the mantle of Senate leadership in January, is the first speaker on what promises to be an impressive speakers docket for the Big “I” legislative meeting—the insurance industry’s largest and most effective gathering of its kind.

The IIABA legislative conclave will be held April 2-4 at the Capital Hilton Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. Frist will speak at the April 3 breakfast session. 

“As the senate majority leader, Sen. Frist is the key player in shaping the Senate’s course on a number of critical public policy issues, including legislative concerns important to the livelihood of independent agents and brokers as well as Main Street America,” says Association CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “He also is a staunch ally of President Bush who, along with House Republican leaders, is helping to steer the Administration’s economic growth agenda through Capitol Hill.

“IIABA has enjoyed a good working relationship with Sen. Frist since his arrival in Washington on health care and other issues of mutual interest,” continues Rusbuldt. “Because of his leadership role in the Senate, Majority Leader Frist will offer attendees at the National Legislative Conference unique and unfiltered insight on issues being debated on Capitol Hill by lawmakers.”

Frist was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, becoming the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928. In 2000, Frist was re-elected by the largest margin ever for a candidate for statewide office in Tennessee.

In 1999, Frist was named a deputy whip of the Senate; in 2000 he was tapped to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and in 2001 he was selected as one of two Congressional representatives to the United Nations General Assembly.

Frist’s meteoric rise in the Republican leadership culminated last January when he was elected to the post of senate majority leader by the members of his party’s caucus. In addition to his leadership position, Frist also currently serves on the Rules, Finance, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.

Before being elected to the Senate, Frist was on the teaching faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he founded and subsequently directed the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, which under his leadership became an internationally renowned center of multi-organ transplantation. He also maintains his board certifications in both general surgery and heart surgery.

The 2003 legislative agenda on Capitol Hill will spotlight a number of agent and broker issues including modernization of state insurance regulation, asbestos litigation reform, tax cuts for business owners, medical and civil justice reform, the depreciation schedule for intangible assets (expirations), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the use of confidential insurance information by third parties, says IIABA Sr. Vice President of Government Affairs Maria Berthoud.

Throughout the past 25 years, independent agents and brokers attending IIABA’s annual legislative meeting have heard from many prominent political leaders, including the last three sitting presidents—Ronald Reagan, George Bush (also spoke when he was vice president) and Bill Clinton—and former vice president Dan Quayle, as well as a who’s who list of Congressional leaders highlighted by the last three sitting House Speakers—Reps. Dennis Hastert (R- Ill), Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and Tom Foley (D-Wash.); three Senate Majority Leaders—Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and George Mitchell (D-Maine); 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and 2000 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

Highlights of the 2003 National Legislative Conference will include an in-depth issues briefing session, the ninth annual IIABA Congressional Reception, additional appearances by other high-profile political speakers discussing important insurance and national issues confronting lawmakers and agents in Washington, and hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill between IIABA agents and their elected representatives in Congress.

Online registration is available at www.independentagent.com by clicking on “Register ONLINE” under the National Legislative Conference banner on the home page. Contact Tabitha Gass at (202) 863-7000 for more information about the legislative meeting.

Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 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.

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