MAJORITY LEADER BOEHNER AND SENATOR PRYOR ADDRESS BIG “I” LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
Elected leaders discuss policy concerns, insurance and small business issues
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2006—House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) addressed almost 2,000 independent insurance agents and brokers at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (the Big “I”) National Legislative Conference this morning.
Boehner discussed issues of national importance, including national policy concerns, Social Security, medical malpractice, the deficit, and small business and insurance-related issues pending before Congress.
Boehner discussed Congress’ responsibility to Main Street Americans. “We have the responsibility to spend your tax dollars wisely,” said Boehner. “Americans deserve accessible and affordable health insurance.”
Boehner also addressed Congressional action in the wake of last year’s hurricane season.
“In Congress, we have been participating in a project called ‘Katrina Lessons Learned’ for the past six months,” said Boehner. “We are better prepared now and have made changes that allow us to respond more quickly next time.”
“Majority Leader Boehner is a mover and shaker in Congress—he’s viewed as an effective leader by his Congressional colleagues,” says Big “I” CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “John Boehner is not about Wall Street, he’s a Main Street guy.”
Pryor is a moderate Democrat who frequently reaches across the aisle. In his speech on Thursday, he discussed the importance of independent agents and insurance regulation. He also discussed the SMART Act, the Optional Federal Charter, the gas crisis and upcoming elections.
“I like the SMART approach because you are forcing the states to be more uniform and consistent while recognizing the differences between them,” said Pryor. “Montana has different needs than New Jersey. Arkansas has different needs than Alaska. The SMART Act addresses that.”
Senator Pryor also discussed the controversy surrounding gas prices. “We need to look at the possibility of market manipulation,” said Pryor. “I don’t know if we’ll find manipulation, but I think we’ll find we have a lot of questions that need answering.”
“Senator Pryor is a moderate and centrist Democrat, which is rare in this age of partisanship,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs and federal relations. “Senator Pryor’s appreciation for small business and working both sides of the aisle is something our members really respect.”
Boehner and Pryor are only two of several prominent leaders speaking to agents and brokers at the Big “I” event. David I. Maurstad, insurance administrator and mitigation director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will speak about the National Flood Insurance Program on Friday. Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-La.) spoke to the Young Agents and InsurPac on Wednesday. Additionally, House Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), the leading Congressional voice on insurance issues for the past five years, spoke to national leaders of the Big “I” on April 24.
Highlights of the Big “I” National Legislative Conference include an in-depth issues briefing session; the annual Big “I” congressional reception on Capitol Hill; appearances by numerous high-profile speakers; and hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill between Big “I” agents and brokers and their elected representatives in the Congress.
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 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.