WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2017—Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) is the Gerald Solomon-Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Legislator of the Year for 2016.
“As a member of both the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, Sen. Heller is at the center of many of the Big ‘I’ priorities on Capitol Hill including efforts to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), reform the tax code, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and numerous insurance regulatory issues,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO who presented the award. “Over the years, Sen. Heller has also led the charge on efforts to protect the employer-sponsored health care system and to repeal the ‘Cadillac tax’. The Big ‘I’ is proud to announce that Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada is the Gerald Solomon Legislator of the Year.”
In his acceptance remarks, Sen. Heller discussed his bipartisan efforts to protect the NFIP, address tax reform, repeal the ”Cadillac tax” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the important role insurance plays in the economy.
Whether it’s flood insurance, commerce or another industry, Sen. Heller said he’s “all for more competition – higher quality and less cost.” He noted that “higher quality and less cost” is his “driving force.”
Sen. Heller has taken a leadership role on a number of insurance-related bills including introducing S. 563, the “Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act,” which would allow for private flood insurance to satisfy NFIP continuous coverage requirements.
Working in a bipartisan fashion with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), Sen. Heller was instrumental in getting a two-year delay of the “Cadillac tax” signed into law at the end of 2015 and is again the lead sponsor of S. 58, the “Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act,” which would fully repeal the “Cadillac tax”.
Although Sen. Heinrich supports the ACA and Sen. Heller does not, they joined forces to address a provision that is highly opposed by the Big “I” and countless small business organizations: the “Cadillac tax.”
“My hope is that we will eliminate this 40% excise tax,” said Sen. Heller. He noted that some in Washington want to keep the excise tax, but he does “not think it’s fair. It’s not fair to the individuals and the companies that are trying to decrease the cost of health care.”
In conclusion, Sen. Heller said that “a healthy insurance industry is an economic indicator of how strong this country is.”
A native Nevadan, Sen. Heller grew up in Carson City and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Nevada’s Secretary of State, in the Nevada State Assembly and as a stockbroker on the Pacific Stock Exchange.
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-New York), the former House Rules Committee chairman and Big “I” member who championed independent agent and broker legislative concerns during his 20 years in Congress.
The award was presented during the annual Leadership Luncheon, just prior to the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Attendees included Big “I” executive and government affairs committee members, agents and brokers from Sen. Heller’s home state of Nevada and other industry leaders.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or 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.