WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2007—Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) addressed 1,400 independent insurance agents and brokers at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (the Big “I”) National Legislative Conference & Convention this morning.
Sen. Lieberman emphasized the importance of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). “It is not only time to extend TRIA; it is time to make it permanent,” announced Lieberman. He also said the backstop should be expanded to cover nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.
Lieberman highlighted the importance of choice--whether it is a choice of insurance products or a choice of political ideas. The Independent Senator joked, “I feel right at home with the independent agents.” He went on to talk about his frustration with partisan politics in Washington and the need for the parties to compromise on important issues. “We need to come together to adopt American ideas, and American solutions,” he said.
Blunt also stressed his support for the extension of TRIA, including a backstop for group life insurance. He touched on a number of other topics as well, including the House vote this week on funding for the Iraq War. “Congress should not be micromanaging the war,” said Blunt. “The right of Congress is to decide whether we go (to war) or not---not the conditions in the field.”
Blunt also addressed the value of small businesses---including independent insurance agencies---to the economy. He reflected on the current tax system and how it is a good climate for small business, and should not be changed by the new Congress. Blunt said keeping taxes low is “trusting the American people with their money and how to spend it, rather than trusting the government with people’s money.”
Blunt and Lieberman are two of several prominent leaders speaking to agents and brokers at the Big “I” event. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) spoke to the Young Agents and InsurPac on Wednesday. Journalist and television host Bill O’Reilly will address the group on Friday.
Highlights of the Big “I” National Legislative Conference include an in-depth issues briefing session for agents; 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.