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Congressman John Tanner is Big "I" Legislator of the Year

West Tennessee Democrat is a former Agent and Big "I" Member

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2009—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers (the Big “I”) announced that Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) was recognized as the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year for 2008.

“No one in Congress understands our industry and the plight of independent agents and brokers better than Rep. John Tanner,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Rep. Tanner is a true leader and expert on the issues that directly impact the independent agency system. The Big ‘I’ is proud to present the highest award independent agents can bestow on an elected official to a true leader and no-nonsense legislator.”

The Legislator of the Year Award is bestowed annually by the Big “I” upon a member of Congress who has provided outstanding leadership on insurance issues. It is named as a tribute to the 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.

“As a former independent insurance agent Congressman Tanner understands, firsthand, the issues that our members confront on a daily basis,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “Rep. Tanner is a true voice for independent agents in Tennessee and across the country. In Congress, he is hailed as a problem solver who reaches across party-lines to find pragmatic legislative solutions.”

Tanner is a long-standing leader of the Blue Dog Coalition. He serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is also the Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and serves as president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Tanner is a former independent agent whose family is still in the business in Tenn. As an independent agent, he joined the Big “I” and remains active in the association. His professional background also includes a decorated military career, farming, and public service in the Tenn. state legislature.

Tanner was presented with the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year Award during the recent annual Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention.

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:

​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556

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