WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2012 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) this week named U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) as the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year for 2011.
In his address, Rep. Bachus discussed numerous issues that impact the small business community, consumers and the independent agency system including unemployment, health care reform, tax reform and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Rep. Bachus discussed the importance of supporting small business so they can create more jobs. “Two-thirds of the jobs created in America are created by small businesses,” said Rep. Bachus.
“Our taxes are too complex. We’ve got to simplify our tax system,” said Rep. Bachus in pointing out discrepancies in the tax code. “People make decisions based on tax decisions not what they want to do.”
Many legislative issues pending in Congress are tied up in the process and, should they be allowed to move forward, would help alleviate unemployment, said Rep. Bachus.
In discussing the importance of the NFIP, Rep. Bachus called it a “jobs bill” and said that lack of action is “mucking up our economy” since reauthorization of the program is needed to provide certainty to homebuyers, real estate professionals and insurance. “It’s not a controversial bill. It has bipartisan support, yet we can’t get the Senate to act on it.”
The award was presented yesterday during the annual Leadership Luncheon, just prior to the Big “I” Legislative Conference & Convention. 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.
Rep. Bachus served in Congress with the award’s namesake and called his former colleague “an exceptional individual.”
Bachus is currently serving his tenth term representing the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama in the central part of the state. He is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which holds jurisdiction over the banking, securities, insurance, housing, and domestic and international monetary policy sectors.
“Rep. Spencer Bachus is the epitome of a conscientious member of Congress, he’s a thoughtful Chairman and a true legislator’s legislator,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, in presenting the award. Rusbuldt praised the chairman’s effort to protect small business and support efforts that promote fiscal responsibility and job growth.
The event was held at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. Attendees included Big “I” executive and government affairs committee members, IIABA board members and other industry leaders.
“Chairman Bachus has a long track record of standing up for small business, including independent agents in Alabama and across the country,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “He has played a leadership role on a host of issues that impact small businesses like many Big ‘I’ members and their clients. Just a few of the issues where we have had his support include: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), financial services regulatory reform and agent licensing reform. We want to thank him for his leadership before Congress and in Alabama as a steward of taxpayer dollars and Main Street America.”
Bachus is a native of Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Auburn University and the University of Alabama School of Law. Prior to his election to Congress, he was a practicing attorney and served in the Alabama state legislature.
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 approximately a quarter of a million 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.