NAIFA, WIFS form partnership to strengthen advocacy, education

October 5th, 2015, No Comments, be the first ».

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) will form a partnership to strengthen collaboration of programs that advance member professional development and education, and support political advocacy and engagement. NAIFA and WIFS announced the partnership today during NAIFA’s Career Conference and Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

“NAIFA and WIFS are closely aligned in our commitments to advance the knowledge and professionalism of insurance and financial advisors and position our members as industry leaders in financial services,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux, CAE. “Studies show that American’s ability to save and plan for retirement is at an all-time low, so the need for consumer access to affordable, professional financial advice is critical. This partnership reflects NAIFA’s commitment to ensure our members have the knowledge to serve their clients, as well as our commitment to diversify the workforce with talented women advisors in the field,” Mayeux said. The NAIFA-WIFS partnership also will help unify our voice on Capitol Hill at a time of unprecedented challenges in the legislative and regulatory environment, Mayeux added.

“WIFS welcomes the evolving collaborative relationship with NAIFA.  This partnership speaks to our commitment to advancing women, supporting our members and lending our voice to the industry” said WIFS President Susan L. Combs

NAIFA and WIFS have collaborated successfully on previous programs that benefit members. Opportunities for formal collaboration in the area of professional development and education include:

  • WIFS-hosted breakfasts and workshops at the NAIFA Career Conference and Annual Meeting, and NAIFA-hosted events at the WIFS National Conference (see conference schedule, Monday, Oct. 5)
  • The production, promotion and distribution of joint NAIFA/WIFS webinars on industry practices and resources.
  • Distribution of the NAIFA-sponsored Advisor 2020 workshop through WIFS channels.
  • WIFS’ collaboration on NAIFA’s LUTCF designation, LILI program, and other NAIFA programming.
  • Continued WIFS participation in joint programming with NAIFA state and local associations.

Opportunities for collaboration in advocacy and government relations include:

  • NAIFA and WIFS will form a joint task force to foster greater collaboration of advocacy efforts and leadership across both organizations.
  • NAIFA will represent WIFS on industry task forces and coalitions that work to advance the parties’ mutual interests on key legislative and regulatory issues.
  • NAIFA will represent WIFS on Capitol Hill, before regulatory agencies, in state capitals, and with state insurance departments.
  • NAIFA will provide advocacy experts at WIFS meetings and conferences, and offer customized government relations webinars and other presentations.
  • WIFS will promote member participation in NAIFA’s annual Congressional Conference.
  • NAIFA will provide grassroots advocacy training for WIFS members.
  • WIFS will encourage WIFS members to participate in NAIFA state association Days at the Capitol.

“NAIFA’s leadership in grassroots, along with our record of promoting positive legislative and regulatory outcomes, benefit our members and the entire industry,” Mayeux said. “As advocacy partners, NAIFA and WIFS will work together to form and even stronger voice that ensures lawmakers understand and make informed decisions about the industry.”

About NAIFA: Founded in 1890 as The National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU), NAIFA is one of the nation’s oldest and largest associations representing the interests of insurance professionals from every Congressional district in the United States. NAIFA members assist consumers by focusing their practices on one or more of the following: life insurance and annuities, health insurance and employee benefits, multiline, and financial advising and investments. NAIFA’s mission is to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members.

About WIFS: Founded in 1936, WIFS is the preeminent professional organization for women in the insurance and financial services industry, Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) is dedicated to attracting capable women to the insurance and financial services sector, developing their talents and advancing them toward their fullest potential.


As Northwestern Advisor, NAIFA is Indispensable

September 17th, 2015, Comments Off on As Northwestern Advisor, NAIFA is Indispensable.

robsmithI never set out to be an insurance and financial advisor. But after a stint as a corporate lawyer, I made the auspicious decision to join Northwestern Mutual as an agent. That was about 30 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I love what I do, helping my clients secure their financial futures and leave legacies for their loved ones. I can honestly say that I found my dream job.

I’m proud to say that NAIFA has been with me, helping me protect and grow my business, every step of the way. NAIFA Past President Dick Koob was my insurance agent before I changed careers, and he soon became a good friend and mentor.  Over the years, NAIFA has introduced me to innumerable colleagues who have helped me in my career and provided valuable support and friendship.

But that’s the tip of the iceberg. I am a proud graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute. LILI helped me improve myself as a person, a business owner and a leader. It is one of the best things to come out of NAIFA. And I cannot say enough about the importance of NAIFA’s political advocacy work.

I’m also proud to work for a company that has provided such broad support for NAIFA, its members and its mission. Northwestern Mutual has encouraged its agents to be NAIFA members and provided support and sponsorship for NAIFA’s advocacy efforts.

Advocacy is an area where NAIFA excels. NAIFA’s work promoting positive legislative and regulatory outcomes for advisors and their clients is a benefit to members and the industry at large that cannot be overstated.

Two of the highlights of my tenure as NAIFA president were when I testified before the House Ways and Means Committee Financial Working Group on the importance of preserving the existing tax treatment of insurance and retirement products and when I presided over the first annual NAIFA Congressional Conference in 2013.

The Congressional Conference has become the financial sector’s premier grassroots fly-in, where insurance and financial advisors educate their lawmakers on issues that directly impact our industry, businesses and clients. Northwestern Mutual agents have been well represented among the upwards of 800 NAIFA members who visit Washington each spring for the event.

I am gratified that my company has supported the Congressional Conference, as well as other NAIFA advocacy efforts, in the past and will urge them to continue doing so. The strong ties between my company and my professional association have bolstered the industry and have been a huge factor in helping me achieve the success I have been fortunate enough to realize in my career.

During my three decades in the industry, I have become acquainted with hundreds, maybe thousands of advisors. The one piece of blanket advice I give to every one of them, no matter where they are in their career or what their practice specialty, is to be an active member of NAIFA. It is no coincidence that the smartest, most dedicated and most successful advisors I know are NAIFA members. NAIFA is indispensable. The investment in membership pays off many fold. That is why the top advisors are members.

That is why companies like Northwestern Mutual have been so supportive of NAIFA through the years, and that’s why they say they will find more opportunities to invest in NAIFA to ensure success for years to come.


By Robert O. Smith, CLU, ChFC, JD

NAIFA President, 2012-2013