CAIFA, PIA Group Form ‘Broader, Wider, Deeper’ Lobbying Coalition

January 15, 2002

The California Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (CAIFA) and the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA), two Sacramento-headquartered organizations that have worked together for years on legislative and other activities, have agreed to create a joint lobbying entity – the Coalition of California Insurance Professionals (CCIP).

The coalition, the formation of which was unanimously approved by the boards of both associations, will represent more than 30,000 insurance professionals. CAIFA represents approximately 6,000 insurance agents in California. The PIA Group represents more than 20,000 insurance agents and their staff in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

“What this means, quite simply, is that two of the most influential agents associations in the West are combining their resources to form the largest lobbying coalition to represent insurance agents in California,” stated Peter Brown, president of the PIA Group. “The coalition is a natural evolution of what has been a close working relationship between the PIA Group and CAIFA in the legislative arena as well as other areas.”

Russell A. Smith, president of CIAFA, said the new coalition will enable his association to provide what the CAIFA membership believes is the organization’s number one member benefit – legislative advocacy – in a more efficient, more cost-effective way.

“Broader, wider, deeper,” Smith said of the CAIFA-PIA lobbying combination. “There’s strength in numbers in terms of the ability to influence legislation that is important to the interests of the members of both associations, especially because PIA and CAIFA have such like interests.”

Brown noted that the cooperation between the PIA Group and CAIFA is consistent with a growing trend in the insurance industry: the increasing number of partnerships and joint ventures involving property/casualty and life/health agents. “That’s another reason this new coalition makes so much sense,” Brown said.

Shari McHugh, who leaves her position as lobbyist of the PIA Group to become senior vice president of the CCIP, will head the coalition, which will be effective Feb. 1. McHugh will be responsible for hiring the staff of the coalition.

“Shari has been an invaluable asset to PIA and the interests of our members,” Brown said. “She has an incredibly keen sense of legislation that can help or hurt agents and brokers. She has helped PIA members immeasurably through her efforts. The coalition could not be in better hands.”

Smith described McHugh as “absolutely a top-drawer, A-rated player who has the respect of all those involved in the legislative process.”

“I am very excited that the new coalition is being formed at this time,” Smith said. “Because the two associations are sharing the cost of the coalition, both memberships will benefit from a stronger, better funded lobbying function that they currently have, at a lower cost to each organization — and, as a result, to each member.”

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