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One Day in PIA's Year-Long Capitol Hill Advocacy

Every year when PIA holds its Federal Legislative Summit, members who attend take part in what is literally a whirlwind series of activities. Briefings...
April 10, 2004

By Peter Bizzozero
Assistant Vice President, Federal Affairs
PIA National

Every year when PIA holds its Federal Legislative Summit, members who attend take part in what is literally a whirlwind series of activities. Briefings by PIA staff and key Members of Congress are followed quickly by visits with lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill, a short debriefing, a reception and then the PIAPAC fundraiser.

As our signature federal legislative event, the annual summit compresses into one day PIA's lobbying efforts that take place in Washington, D.C. all year.

Let me take this opportunity to extend to all of you who were able to attend this year's FLS our thanks, and share with you some good news. The 2004 FLS was our most successful yet. Not only were there many more PIA members participating, many were first-time attendees.

Our speakers were great. Two of them, Sen. Jim Bunning and Rep. Sue Kelly, are currently involved in drafting legislation relating to two of PIA's priority issues -- reform and reauthorization of the federal flood insurance program, and insurance regulatory reform. Their personal perspectives on the status of legislation were especially timely and valuable to FLS participants who were about to embark on their visits.

One of the speakers at the PIAPAC dinner was uniquely equipped to address our concerns. That's because Rep. Rick Renzi is a former insurance agent and PIA member.  The other speaker, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey), was also in the insurance industry prior to Congress.     

With the 2004 FLS successfully concluded, let's take a brief look ahead at how PIA's issues will be playing out as the year progresses:

Flood Insurance

Less than two hours after Sen. Bunning briefed us on the flood insurance legislation, he chaired a hearing on the bill before the Subcommittee on Economic Policy of the Senate Banking Committee. The next week, the full Senate Banking Committee held a mark-up. The bill is now being prepared for the floor of the Senate.  PIA continues to meet with key Committee staff to ensure good legislation that is beneficial to all.

Insurance Regulation

Shortly after our day on Capitol Hill, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprise held a hearing on insurance regulation.  Focusing on a proposal developed by Representatives Oxley and Baker, this hearing has set the stage for possible committee action on this issue.  Currently PIA is working with committee staff to develop legislation.  We will continue to provide our input to help shape the best legislation possible.

Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA)

TRIA will likely see more action as the year progress.  As we were conducting our visits, this issue was just beginning to show up on certain Members' radar screens.  PIA has and will continue to work with the rest of the insurance industry to ensure reauthorization beyond 2005 is secured.  Without this backstop, the insurance industry will find it very difficult to write terrorism insurance.  It is likely that the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings on this issue during the summer.

Crop Insurance

Shortly after our meetings on Capitol Hill, PIA National staff along with PIA members met with David Hatch, the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency's (RMA) Associate Administrator, to discuss our concerns regarding the crop insurance issue.  Since that meeting, PIA has worked closely with the RMA as it drafts its Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA).  We will continue to provide input on this issue as the process moves forward.

This year as every year, we have our work cut out for us on Capitol Hill.  PIA will continue to engage Members and their staffs on these and other issues.  It is equally important that all PIA members continue to keep in contact with their Representative and Senators and update them on these and other important issues.

As Rep. Kelly reminded all of us in her talk, "In Washington, being nice gets you in the door. Being firm gets you what you want."

This article originally appeared in the April 2004 PIA Connection.