WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9, 2014—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) today announced that U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year for 2013.
In his address, Sen. Tester discussed numerous issues that impact the small business community, consumers and the independent agency system particularly agent licensing.
“We have insurance for one reason: to prepare for the unexpected,” said Sen. Tester in his acceptance remarks. He also shared a personal story of his family sitting with their insurance agent at the kitchen table and said, “I got to know our insurance agent at a very young age. I know the importance of having access to good insurance, and I am humbled by this award.” He noted the importance of the relationship between farmers or small business people and the agents who serve them.
No stranger to the Big “I,” Sen. Tester delivered the keynote address at the 2009 Big “I” Legislative Conference and in March 2013 introduced S. 534, the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (NARAB II).” This bipartisan bill is a top legislative priority for the association and is a main focus of the Big ‘I’ Legislative Conference.
“Sen. Tester has a strong track record of working across the aisle and standing up for small business, including independent agents in Montana and across the country,” said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, when presenting the award. “As the lead sponsor of NARAB II, Sen. Tester is a forceful advocate for licensing reform and strong supporter of state regulation of insurance. We are grateful for his efforts to protect America’s Main Street businesses and his hard work as a steward of America’s small businesses and the independent agent community.”
Known for his ability to work across the aisle, Sen. Tester discussed NARAB II’s journey and his collaboration with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) to move the bill. They are working to pass the legislation along with a Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) reauthorization bill in the Senate. He noted the many reasons why NARAB II will help small businesses and streamline the agent licensing process.
“It [NARAB II] saves time, it saves money and it helps consumers,” said Sen. Tester. “It is good for small business. It is good for consumers.”
Sen. Tester serves on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over insurance issues, and is a key player on the committee’s Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment. Additionally, he serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee. Sen. Tester was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after a long history of public service in the Big Sky State which included service in the state legislature and local boards. The Montana native is also a farmer, former music teacher and small businessperson.
The award was presented Tuesday during the annual Leadership Luncheon, just prior to the Big “I” Legislative Conference. 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. The event was held at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Attendees included Big “I” executive and government affairs committee members, agents and brokers from Sen. Tester’s home state of Montana and other industry leaders.
The Big “I” Legislative Conference is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting. This year’s event will take place April 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
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: terrorism risk insurance, agent licensing reform, insurance regulatory reform, tax reform and other issues facing independent insurance agents and the industry.
Other highlights of the Big “I” Legislative Conference 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.
Journalists interested in attending, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (703) 706-5473 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 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.