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The Big “I” to Host Political Panel Featuring Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke

Commentators to discuss presidential politics at annual gathering of agents and brokers.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 26, 2012 —Veteran journalists and political commentators Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke will headline the political panel at The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) annual Legislative Conference & Convention this spring.

Barnes is a FOX News political analyst and founder of the Weekly Standard. Kondracke is also a FOX political analyst and serves as Roll Call newspaper’s senior editor. The political panel will be held on Friday, April 27 at 8:30 a.m. ET at the Grand Hyatt Washington and moderated by Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO.

“We look forward to Fred Barnes’s and Mort Kondracke’s insight from opposing sides of the political spectrum on an array of important issues to independent agents and brokers, such as health care, tax implications and much more,” says Rusbuldt. “Their incredible expertise, insider Washington knowledge, and decades of experience covering politics will provide an interesting discussion. Hosting such a panel in the middle of a presidential campaign year is particularly important and timely to Big ‘I’ members.”

Barnes is co-founder and executive editor of The Weekly Standard. He previously served as senior editor and White House correspondent for The New Republic, covered the Supreme Court and the White House for the Washington Star, and served as the national political correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. From 1998 to 2009, he was host, along with Kondracke, of the Beltway Boys on FOX News. Barnes also appears regularly on FOX’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” and has also appeared on “FOX News Sunday,” “CBS This Morning,” “Nightline,” “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Kondracke has been a journalist for nearly 50 years, 45 of them in Washington, and has covered nearly every phase of American politics and foreign policy. In 2011, he retired after 20 years as executive editor and columnist for Roll Call and remains with the publication as senior editor. Kondracke also writes a weekly column "Pennsylvania Avenue" on national politics, domestic and foreign policy that is syndicated nationally. He has been a regular commentator for the FOX News since October 1996, was co-host of the weekly political show, “The Beltway Boys,” and is currently a panelist on Special Report with Bret Baier.

The Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting. This year’s event will take place April 25-27 at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The legislative conference is an opportunity for Big “I” agents and brokers to discuss important issues with their congressional representatives. Top issues this year include: insurance regulatory reform, extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), agent licensing reform, medical loss ratios (MLRs) and other health care topics, tax reform; the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP), and other  economic challenges facing independent insurance agents and the industry. 

Other highlights of the Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention include in-depth issues briefing sessions; appearances by numerous high-profile speakers discussing important insurance and national issues confronting lawmakers as well as agents and brokers and hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill between Big “I” agents and brokers and their elected representatives in the Congress.

For registration and hotel information, go to and select the “Events and Conferences” link. Journalists interested in attending, please contact Margarita Tapia, director of public affairs, at (800) 221-7917 or for media registration.

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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