PIA has released its 2021 Issues of Focus in preparation for its upcoming Advocacy Day, formerly known as the Federal Legislative Summit (FLS). PIA members will highlight these issues during their meetings with their elected representatives on Advocacy Day.
PIA deploys its grassroots advocacy resources throughout the year on countless issues of importance to independent insurance agents. For our annual Advocacy Day, our members are focused on timely advocacy on the matters that are most vital to them and their businesses. That said, throughout 2021, PIA members will have ongoing grassroots opportunities to engage virtually on many crucial issues, like defending the employment status of independent agents (for which our current grassroots action alert can be found here), for example, and, of course, the wide array of ongoing pandemic-specific topics.
PIA is unique in that we do not use a single-day strategy for our grassroots advocacy efforts. While Advocacy Day is our premier event, our grassroots advocacy activities continue year-round.
Our full Issues of Focus document, including background information on each issue, can be found here.
Below is an overview of the five issues on which PIA members will focus their advocacy efforts during their meetings with lawmakers next month:
Flood Insurance: PIA supports the long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In the last Congress, PIA endorsed a legislative package that unanimously passed the House Financial Services Committee but then stalled and never received consideration by the full House or Senate. This year, PIA is advocating for that House Financial Services package to serve as the starting point for this Congress’s efforts to reauthorize the program. If Congress does not act, the NFIP will expire on September 30, 2021.
During Advocacy Day, PIA members will advocate for a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that includes key reforms while recognizing the essential role independent agents play in delivering it to consumers.
Cannabis Safe Harbor: PIA strongly supports the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would protect insurance agents and carriers from federal criminal prosecution for engaging in the business of insuring cannabis-related entities in states where cannabis is legal. Initially conceived as a banking-specific bill, the SAFE Banking Act has been reintroduced in this Congress and now includes several key insurance provisions meant to protect agents, brokers, and insurers.
PIA views its position as respectful of state insurance laws; PIA and our members seek to protect independent agents from criminal prosecution for engaging in business activities that are legal pursuant to state law.
PIA members will ask members of Congress to include provisions to protect insurance agents in any cannabis safe harbor legislation it considers.
Tax Deduction: PIA supports the Main Street Tax Certainty Act (H.R. 1381/S. 480), which would make permanent the 20 percent tax deduction available to some S corporations, also known as passthrough corporations. Following the passage of the 2017 tax reform law, PIA successfully advocated for insurance agents to be eligible for the deduction. However, unlike the permanent tax benefits provided to C corporations by the law, the passthrough deduction is a temporary provision. The benefit available to eligible PIA members with agencies organized as passthroughs will expire on December 31, 2025, unless Congress acts to extend it.
PIA members will ask Congress to make permanent this important tax relief for owners of qualifying passthrough businesses.
Repeal the Federal Insurance Office (FIO): The FIO was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and is an ongoing threat to the successful state insurance regulatory system. PIA supports the full repeal of the FIO and has led efforts to develop the Federal Insurance Office Abolishment Act (S. 524).
PIA members will encourage support in Congress for the repeal of the FIO by adding cosponsors to the Senate bill and urging House members to reintroduce a companion bill.
Crop Insurance: Administrations from both parties have tried to cut crop insurance funding using the budget and appropriations process in recent years. PIA is working with industry allies to urge policymakers to protect the crop insurance program from cuts in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and appropriations process. Any cut to the program would compromise the affordability and availability of crop insurance for farmers, seriously undermining the strength of the farm safety net during a time of profound struggle for farmers and rural America.
PIA members will ask Congress to reject these proposed cuts to the crop insurance program and oppose any amendment that would seek to cut its funding.
PIA members’ advocacy on these and other issues will continue to evolve as the work of the 117th Congress proceeds.