U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) has been named the Gerald Solomon-IIABA Legislator of the Year for 2013 by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”).
The award was presented Tuesday during the annual Leadership Luncheon, just prior to the Big “I” Legislative Conference. The Legislator of the Year Award is given annually by the Big “I” to 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-N.Y.), the former House Rules Committee chairman and Big “I” member who championed independent agent and broker legislative concerns during his 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sen. Tester serves on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over insurance issues, and is a key player on the committee’s Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment. He also serves on the Appropriations Committee.
In March 2013, Sen. Tester introduced S. 534, the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (NARAB II).” This bipartisan bill is a top legislative priority for the association and is a main focus of the Big ‘I’ Legislative Conference.
“Sen. Tester has a strong track record of working across the aisle and standing up for small business, including independent agents in Montana and across the country,” said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, when presenting the award. “As the lead sponsor of NARAB II, Sen. Tester is a forceful advocate for licensing reform and strong supporter of state regulation of insurance.”
Upon accepting the award, Sen. Tester discussed numerous issues that impact the small business community, consumers and the independent agency system particularly agent licensing. He also shared a personal story of his family sitting with their insurance agent at the kitchen table and said, “I got to know our insurance agent at a very young age. I know the importance of having access to good insurance, and I am humbled by this award.”
Sen. Tester discussed NARAB II’s journey and his collaboration with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) to move the bill. They are working to pass the legislation along with a Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) reauthorization bill in the Senate. He noted the many reasons why NARAB II will help small businesses and streamline the agent licensing process.
“It [NARAB II] saves time, it saves money and it helps consumers,” said Sen. Tester. “It is good for small business. It is good for consumers.”
The Big “I” Legislative Conference is taking place April 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The legislative conference is an opportunity for Big “I” agents and brokers to discuss important issues with their congressional representatives. Top issues this year include: terrorism risk insurance, agent licensing reform, insurance regulatory reform, tax reform and other issues facing independent insurance agents and the industry.