Economist: Oregonian Insurance Agents Can Expect Unsettling Year

January 7, 2011

Oregonians should expect a long slow recovery from the recession, and it will be years before the economy returns to pre-recession levels, John Mitchel, an economist and former Western Regional Economist for U.S. Bank, warned insurance agents and brokers in the state.

Mitchel, who serves on the board of directors for Oregon Mutual Insurance and addressed the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Oregon on January 6, said, “Recovery from financial crisis have always been long slow drawn out experiences. If we do not lower interest rates and broaden the tax base, by 2025 Federal revenues will be completely consumed by interest, Medicare and Social Security”.

Independent Agents are severely impacted by declines in the economy, according to Tom BeLusko, IIABO president. He noted that more than 300 people attended his association’s Forecast Breakfast to hear Mitchel speak, making the event the largest meeting of Oregon property and casualty insurance professionals in more than two decades.

Mitchel suggested the state keep business tax rates low to encourage expansion, according to Jim Perucca, IIABO executive vice president. Perucca also said the economist said reducing debt is “vital,” and that it is important for the fed to eliminate uncertainty about fiscal policy and/or regulatory constraints. Mitchel added that the extension of the Bush tax cuts was a very important and positive move. And, he predicted home prices will drop a bit more because the foreclosure rate is still high.

The IIABO is a not for profit association of independent insurance agents.

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