WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2008— Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) spoke to young independent agents and brokers from nearly all 50 states, along with the state and national InsurPac leaders, at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) Legislative Conference & Convention yesterday. Roskam addressed the Young Agent-InsurPac luncheon.
Both the Chicago Sun Times and Roll Call newspapers called Roskam a “rising star”. Because his district is heavily impacted by the financial services sector, Roskam sought and received an appointment to the House Financial Services Committee and sits on the subcommittees for Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises; Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology and Oversight and Investigations. Prior to coming to Congress, Roskam served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1993-1996. In 2000, he was appointed to the Illinois Senate and served in the leadership as the Republican Whip and Floor Leader.
Roskam spoke to the group about the need for independent agents and brokers to educate members of Congress on insurance issues.
“There are people out there who show up on Capitol Hill every day who fundamentally don’t understand the [insurance] industry,” he said. “I know it’s another thing to put on your to-do list, but it’s an important thing to do to come to Capitol Hill for a few days to get your point across.”
He noted that independent agents need to have a seat at the table to shape the insurance regulation that Congress considers. “I know what it’s like to be in the room and make decisions, and I know what it’s like to be outside the room with my nose pressed against the glass of the room where the decisions are being made,” he said.
Roskam also touched on insurance regulation, and expressed doubt about the merit of a federal regulator of insurance. “What federal regulatory agency have you ever seen…happy to come over the horizon?” he said. “The Big ‘I’ has been behind Rep. Geoff Davis [in a bill] to bring about some of the [agent licensing] reciprocity that needs to happen.”
The Young Agent-InsuPac luncheon was also an opportunity to recognize achievements by young agents in the industry. Awards included:
National Championship Award: North Carolina - Given to the state whose agents contribute the most money for InsurPac in a calendar year. North Carolina was responsible for raising 9% of InsurPac money nationwide in 2007. Their $72,000 outpaced the next closest state by nearly $10,000.
Inaugural Young Agent National Championship Award: North Carolina - Inaugural award given to the state whose young agents contribute the most money to InsurPac in a calendar year. North Carolina young agents raised $19,800.
InsurPac Young Agent Award: Roberta Gibbons (Minn.) – Gibbons’ dedication to raising InsurPac money and passion for political involvement has ignited Minnesota's young agent program for years to come.
Eagle Awards: Arkansas & South Carolina - Given annually to states that surpass a fundraising average of $100 per member agency.
Rep. Roskam is one of several prominent political leaders speaking to agents and brokers at the Big “I” event. Thursday morning, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) addressed the group. Highlights of the Big “I” National Legislative Conference and Convention include an in-depth issues briefing session; appearances by numerous high profile speakers and hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill between Big “I” agents and brokers and their elected representatives in 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, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com