WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2016—U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), a former insurance agent, delivered a keynote address to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) membership at its annual Legislative Conference breakfast, which occurs just prior to the association’s annual day on Capitol Hill.
Senator Scott discussed issues that directly impact the industry and are currently before Congress—including regulation and taxes—and the importance of business experience.
After 25 years in the insurance business in the Charleston area, Senator Scott understands firsthand the concerns of independent agents and brokers. Prior to his political career, Senator Scott owned and operated an insurance agency. At the beginning of his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2013 after his predecessor unexpectedly resigned. He won a special election the following year with 61 percent of the vote—the highest for any statewide office in South Carolina’s history.
“Unfortunately in Washington, there aren’t many people who have actual business experience,” said Senator Scott when he addressed Big “I” membership during the Legislative Conference Breakfast this morning. “My ask of the industry is to stay consistently engaged in the process of reminding people like me that we work for you. We need to be reminded that we serve the people, not lead the people.”
Without service-oriented leadership, Senator Scott said the country will “matriculate to this new paradigm that ‘Europe knows best.’”
“I do not want Europe’s economic policies or central bank policies or their insurance policies or much of anything else,” Senator Scott said. “We’re doing OK over here—in spite of our anemic growth, we’re still in better shape than the Europeans. Why not get them to adopt our policies that actually work and produce a better global economy?”
In his work on the Senate Finance Committee, as well as the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Senator Scott has found that ongoing conversations about the globalization of insurance regulation inevitably trickle down into every facet of the market.
In the year ahead, Senator Scott said the Senate plans to review Dodd-Frank and consider different perspectives on tax reform. “We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” he said. “The reality is for us to see the economy grow, we have to have a serious stab at tax reform and a responsible level of regulations. If we can tee that up for 2017, perhaps the 115th Congress will be the first Congress since 1986 to see real tax reform happen.”
For Senator Scott
, who served in the House in 2011-2013 and previously served on the Charleston County Council and in the South Carolina House of Representatives, tax reform is ultimately about removing the “disproportionate share of economic burden” from the average American.
“At the end of the day, the only person that pays taxes in this country is the consumer—everything is passed down to the individual,” Senator Scott said. “To the extent that we’re able to reform our taxes, we can lift the burden from the everyday person and find ourselves in a far better position to grow our economy.”
“It was a real honor for the Big ‘I’ to hear Sen. Tim Scott’s perspective on the important issues facing our members and their clients,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for external and government affairs. “As a former small business owner and insurance agent himself, no one in the Senate better understands the insurance market than Senator Scott. His commitment to small business and insurance consumers has been evident throughout his service in Congress and in the South Carolina state house. We look forward to continuing to work with him on numerous issues.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York)
also delivered a keynote address at the breakfast event which occurs just before members go to Capitol Hill to lobby their federal representatives. The Big “I” Legislative Conference is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting.
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.