WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2 - Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) was presented the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America's (IIABA) 2002 Gerald Solomon Legislator of the Year Award today during the Association's 27th Annual National Legislative Conference.
IIABA Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs Maria L. Berthoud presented the prestigious honor to Dodd, noting that his legislative efforts last year as the primary Senate influence behind passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act could not have come at a more critical time for the insurance industry and independent agency system.
“Through his proactive involvement in the legislation’s stop-and-go journey through Capitol Hill, Sen. Dodd once again distinguished himself as a dynamic and effective legislative leader,” Berthoud said while presenting the award at today’s issues briefing session. “He is a resilient and outspoken champion for independent insurance agents and brokers in Connecticut and throughout our country on a wide range of insurance and small business issues vital to their livelihoods.
“Sen. Dodd is a pragmatist who recognizes that bipartisanship and compromise are important ingredients if legislation that benefits the American people is to be approved by the essentially even-split Congress,” Berthoud continued. “He displayed his tremendous political skill when a federal backstop for terrorism insurance became an absolute necessity. He spent countless hours persevering in an extremely difficult environment to make the legislation, which faced many uncertain times, a reality.
“IIABA worked closely with Sen. Dodd on the terrorism insurance issue. He never lost faith in the legislation and answered the call on several occasions when prospects for bill passage appeared dim,” said Berthoud. “Independent agents and brokers are grateful for his efforts and are pleased to recognize Sen. Dodd as the most important legislator in 2002.”
The IIABA honor is named as a tribute to 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.
Dodd is a senior Democratic member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and is currently serving his fourth Senate term. He was elected to Congress in 1974 and represented Connecticut’s Second Congressional District for three terms in the House of Representatives before winning election to the Senate in 1980. He is the first Connecticut senator elected to four terms.
“Connecticut is a big insurance state and Sen. Dodd has a large number of independent agents and brokers among his constituency,” Berthoud explained. “However, his support transcends state lines and benefits independent agents and brokers nationwide. Sen. Dodd is an unwavering and outspoken proponent of numerous insurance and small business issues. He advocates a competitive and productive business climate that enables small businesses to continue their role as the life blood of the American economy.
“This award is presented annually to a ‘champion’ of independent agents and brokers, and Sen. Dodd is a champion in the true sense of the word to so many people. While we are honoring Sen. Dodd, the honor is truly ours that we can call such a distinguished and highly regarded leader our legislator of the year,” said Berthoud.
Dodd is the ninth IIABA Legislator of the Year honoree. Last year’s honoree was House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio).
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 and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.