by Keith Phillips, LUTCF
Let me begin by saying that I am truly honored to serve as
your State President. I realize that there will be many
challenges that come with being President. I do however, believe
that we will be able to accomplish many good things with the
competent Executive Committee of Jeff Case, Pat Saltsman, Jay
Burgad, Pat Hoffman and Ted Haugan. These individuals have shown
their dedication and passion for NAIFA and I look forward to
working with them this next year. I would especially like to
thank Past President, Ted Haugan for his year serving us as
President. When you see Ted, thank him. However, we cannot do
this alone. We need your help, all of your help.
Here are some items that I feel are crucial to our Association;
- Membership - I know you have heard this before, but let me
emphasize that we all have an obligation to see that our
Association grows. Each year we have a number of members who
leave the business due to retirement or for a variety of other
reasons. It is crucial that we at least replace these members.
Then, we must increase our membership so as to increase our
clout regarding legislative issues. Also, increased membership
brings additional revenues to our Association. This helps us
to be able to do a better job achieving our various goals.
Last year less than 5% of our members recruited a new member.
We cannot continue to rely on so few people to increase our
membership. We have a very capable state membership chair in
Jason Middaugh, but he cannot do it by himself. Remember it is
an obligation for each of us to assist in increasing
- IFAPAC and Freedom Builder Fund - If you are not
contributing to these funds, you need to ask yourself why.
Better yet, call me and let me know why. Each year more and
more legislation that is detrimental to our industry becomes
closer to becoming a reality. Let's not wait until it is too
late. It is much better to be proactive before rather than
reactive later, wondering what just happened. For assistance,
contact Jay Burgad regarding IFAPAC and Terry Weis regarding FBF.
- Read your NAIFA GovWatch.
I realize that we are all flooded with emails from everywhere
and everyone. I cannot stress enough the importance of you
taking a few minutes to keep abreast of important pending
legislation. In addition, it is extremely important to contact
your state and federal elected officials regarding many of
these issues. Dee Stroh is the chair of federal APIC and Jim
Simons is the chair of the state APIC. Norbert Mayer will
continue to chair government relations.
There are additional committees and committee chairs that are
willing to assist you and your local Associations. Please
refer to the state website for their names and contact
- Be involved - Support your local Association by attending
meetings and lending a helping hand when needed. Offer to be a
committee chair or assist a committee chair. We are only as
strong and successful as we need to be if we all become
I would like to close by saying, I welcome all calls and
emails. If you have a complaint, I can only address it if I
know about it.
NAIFA-ND can have a banner year if we All get involved.
NAIFA-ND 2010 State Convention
By Tim Deitemeyer
The 2010 State Convention is scheduled for April 28, 29, and
30th at the DoubleWood Inn in Fargo!! Please mark this on your
calendar and plan to attend, over the course of the last year we
have all seen unbelievable changes in our industry. This is an
opportunity for us to come together and strengthen each other
and defend this awesome career that helps and supports our
families and the clients we serve!!
Here is what we are currently planning:
Golf tournament at the Meadows golf course in Moorhead MN, the
flood-proof course that is British links style!!
Speakers: A few yet to be named but confirmed so far are: Adam
Hamm, ND Insurance Commissioner! Van Mueller, the most
recognized living insurance agent in the country!! Jim Johnson, Hallett Financial and always a treat to hear! These speakers
are worth the trip and price of admission, there will be a
significant return on your time and investment!!
Fun and more fun: A YAT open house, a real social and
drawings!! IFAPAC Fun Night, a banquet and silent auction!!
Sponsors galore!! Mystery entertainment!! Food and more food!!
This one is really going to be a dazzler so put it on your
calendars now and plan on this!! Please talk about this with
other agents and your spouse and start making plans to get to
Fargo on April 28, 29, and 30th!!
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NAIFA - Central
by Mike Bergquist, Central President
It's been some time since our last report and I would like to
behalf of our local for those inconsistencies that have
occurred. I think
over the next year you will see some nice changes at Central.
As a group of
concerned members, we will increase our membership as well as
value to our monthly meetings. I'm confident that some of our
will be stepping into the roles to carry our local forward,
people to join and seeing the great value we have to offer to
and their clients. I'm excited to see some of the
accomplishments we have
had at the State and Federal levels of Government. Wishing you
all the best
in the upcoming year.
NAIFA - Fargo Moorhead
By Shawn Gruenberg
Our association held an annual golf tourney
at the very end of our fiscal year 2008-09. The tournament was
followed by large amounts of sponsor donated items to be
raffled. This event brings many of our members together for a
fun-filled social gathering to raise funds for our local
As we enter into a new NAIFA year, our
industry and our association have many challenges ahead. As a
team I am looking forward to working closely with our local
association and its board to work through each challenge we are
facing. Our association will be holding a new board member
picnic gathering and full board meeting on August 20th.
NAIFA - Minot
By Elaine Schilla, President
upcoming year will be a challenging and exciting year for NAIFA
Minot. Working throughout the summer to make plans for the
upcoming year is proving to be very profitable as we already
have many of the programs lined up for the months ahead as well
as our legislative forum well in the works. Each year we meet
with our legislators at least twice as a group and many of our
members are on very friendly terms with our local leaders. With
advocacy being our main function, the benefits of a good
relationship with the legislators cannot be overstated.
Membership will be high on the list of
priorities for our association. We have put together numerous
ideas including making presentations using the membership
booklet, calling sessions and a few other ideas.
Sue Sjaastad and I are looking forward to
representing Minot at the National Convention in Orlando in
September. With several important issues on the agenda, it will
be an interesting convention.
by Jonathon Spilde,
Greetings fellow NAIFA members:
It’s hard to believe we’re already on the
“South end of Summer” and the new Association year is upon us!
Your State and Local board and committee leadership just
completed an excellent ALC in Devils Lake, where we discussed at
length the challenges and opportunities that lay directly ahead
of us. The debate over Healthcare—what it should look like and
who should pay for it—promises to be front and center in the
coming days, and our NAIFA lobby in Washington DC is right in
the thick of it. The details of the proposals seem to change
daily, and they are doing a great job of staying on top of it
and keeping the role of the agent a key component of the
discussions. At the same time, our industry also figures
prominently in discussions about how to pay for whatever new
health proposal is designed, as well as the various economic
stimulus packages being rolled out. All of this points out the
necessity of speaking with a singular STRONG VOICE in Washington
DC. That requires that we have a strong membership initiative,
and it requires us to effectively communicate the AIFA PAC
message. Our focus this year at Missouri Slope is all about
both. We look forward to meeting the challenges head-on and
growing a stronger Association in the process!
- North Valley
by Gregg Webster,
Members of NAIFA-NV met in early June to
plan the upcoming fiscal year. We will host the annual
Insurance Commissioner’s Forum, have 4 Quarterly meetings
including CE Speakers, and actively encourage our members to be
involved in advocacy.
We plan to spread the responsibilities in
line with the adage, “Many hands make for light work.”
Separating the Board Meeting from the
Association Meeting proved effective in the past year.
by Richard Tabert,
The Roughrider group does not meet in the summer. The only event
we have had
is the summer picnic in July. The ALC was attended by Dee Stroh,
Greff, and Rick Tabert. Our first meeting is scheduled
tentatively for Sept.
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By Jay Burgad
Hello everyone, yes it's time to get back into the mind set of
asking your local members to contribute to IFAPAC.
There is a stronger need than ever before for the many to come
together as one with unity in our message and in our delivery
there for the need for the PAC. The PAC, which provides money
for the lobbyist, (The lobbyist by definition, a person who
tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest.)
allows you and I ,each of us, a bigger voice if joined by
something greater than us which is not one voice but a voice of
many. The Pac is a joint effort of over 6,000 dues paying
members for which we all benefit from. If you believe we need a
paid lobbyist to watch congress, to make sure that changes that
come from congress, if need be, are of the best interest of
those whom we serve (our clients), then go out and start asking
for funds to support our efforts and if you can't ask then make
sure that you yourself are a dues paying member.
North Dakota's 2009 financial goal for the PAC $38,000, last
year we raised 36,675.98, year to date we have raised
$15,495.41. Yes, it is time to get back into the mind set of
asking people to get away from inertia of ambivalence and to
make a stance by belonging to the PAC and by doing so you are
making a statement. Your contributions of any amount is critical
and most important will make you a member. We need to get
organized in our efforts and I'm confident that we will meet or
exceed our goal.
I look forward to coming out to visit each local between now and
the end of the year to help you with achieving your local goals.
I will be in touch with your local chairs soon.
I enjoy being your State Chair. It is truly a privilege.
By Terry Weis
The Freedom Builders Fund will become a
more important part of what NAIFA-ND does in North Dakota as
time goes on.
The health insurance reform that is being
debated in Washington has heated up and will not go away anytime
soon. We have to be ready here in North Dakota to deal with
anything that is going to come along.
As you may know the Freedom Builders Fund
is for the benefit of tracking and Lobbying our Legislature in
North Dakota. The goal is to someday be able to hire a lobbyist
to be our advocate on state issues.
We can be prepared for the (BIG ISSUE)
if we can accumulate the funds to meet our needs on an ongoing
basis. This needs to continue to be our focus and come up with a
funding method that will take us to a level of funding to pay
for those needs every session.
This is all of our responsibility, not
just a few. We need to find a way to fund the Freedom Builders
Fund that we all participate in equally. This is our state and
we need to take the bull by the horns and get the funding in
place so we can concentrate on the issues not the money.
Look for some ideas in upcoming issues to
achieve our objective for the Freedom Builders Fund.
By Dee Stroh, Chair
I attended the ALC Training in Devils Lake on July 30-31, 2009
and it was
exceptionally informative and fun. It is really essential for
every one of us to get involved in the political arena and keep
what is happening.
I did receive an answer from Senator Conrad regarding health
However, I am just one person --we really need every NAIFA
member and every
licensed agent in the state to get involved with our Senators
Representatives so they know how we feel and what NAIFA
APIC - State
By Jim Simons, Chair
I want to thank everyone that attended the
ALC in Devils Lake on the 30th and 31st of
July. We had a great discussion with Government Relations,
APIC, and IFAPAC. My records show we are still missing a local
APIC chair for Central, North Valley, and Roughriders. Please
forward to me the names as they become available. I asked at
the ALC that each local prepare an annual APIC plan and provided
a sample plan in their packet. I would like these plans
forwarded to me by the 14th of September. We are in
the process of automating the State Legislative Contact list.
When it is completed, I will forward a copy to each local chair
and ask that you update it within 30 days of receipt. I hope
each local this year will qualify for the Jack E Bobo Award of
Excellence. Let me highlight the Minimum Standard Questions
which are highlighted in Orange on the Award Application. Does
your local association have an IFAPAC and APIC Chair? Did your
local association hold a fund raising event to raise money for
IFAPAC? Did your local association send three written
communications to its members dedicated to IFAPAC? Did your
local association hold and actively promote either a local
legislative day or a local legislative forum, so members could
attend and interact with state and/or federal legislators and
their staff. Remember IFAPAC contributions need to be in by 31
Dec 09 to count for the Bobo Award.
By Gregg Webster, Chair
2008-2009 AHIA Award of Excellence
AHIA-NAIFA Health and Employee Benefits is pleased to announce
the winners of the 2008-2009 AHIA Award of Excellence.
Recipients of this award have excelled in upholding the mission
and purpose of AHIA through notable membership and programming
at the local and state level.
Please join us in congratulating the following local
associations on their achievements.
Roughrider Missouri Slope
By Jeff Case, President
A new fiscal year has begun for NAIFA-ND as
well as a new year to promote the LEADERSHIP IN LIFE INSTITUTE (LILI)
Program. I believe this to be one of the greatest if not the
greatest program ever initiated by NAIFA.
At the moment I need to have a contact
person in each of the seven locals, a local LILI Chair I believe
is the correct term. It is important to discuss among your
local boards the names of potential candidates for LILI, members
that you could recommend for the class. I would appreciate it
very much if each local would consider a group of potential
candidates for this years’ class and submit those names through
their local LILI chair. It will then be possible to initiate
marketing efforts to inform prospective candidates. Any member
who wishes to participate or simply wants to receive information
about LILI may contact anyone on their local Board or me
The benefits of LILI are too numerous to
mention here. However; there is a great deal of information on
our website. The following link will take you directly to the
webpage for more information:
The full tuition this year will be $650.00
per student. Last November the State Board adopted a motion to
match reimbursements to any LILI student, up to $100.00 and upon
graduation from the course, granted to the student by his or her
local association. I would strongly recommend that every local
consider investing in its future by investing in their
candidates and adopt a motion to reimburse the graduating LILI
candidate $100.00. That would reduce the upfront out-of-pocket
cost to the graduate to $450.00. Please remember, each student
commits to attending and participating in every class,
completing all assigned course work, and two years involvement
in NAIFA. The students bear their own expense for travel to and
from classes (one day per month for six months) and any meals to
and from classes. Each student must successfully complete and
graduate before being granted the matching amount from NAIFA-ND.
ND Pres Elect
Jeff Case, LUTCF
It looks as though we are off to a good
start. Our President conducted a great ALC at Spirit Lake
Casino and Resort in Devils Lake on July 30-31. We do have some
interesting issues before us this year, and perhaps a few
challenges as well. However; with the team Keith has put
together, I believe we will accomplish our goals.
I will chair a committee this year to
study the feasibility of establishing a NAIFA-ND State
Convention Committee, and in conjunction with that, a State
The major idea is to see if by doing so it
may be possible to effectively present better conventions in the
coming years that will increase attendance and participation at
our state conventions. The major objectives would be to
increase the overall benefits to the membership, since that is
what the convention is for, and to generate greater convention
revenue; thereby enabling us to bring in top notch presenters. A
portion of the revenue would pass through to the NAIFA-ND
operating budget. A secondary goal would be to ultimately share
revenue with the locals as they participate/assist in each state
I personally have no idea if such a concept
will work. There are several issues to consider. For that
reason I am soliciting members from throughout the state who
would open mindedly and objectively volunteer to participate on
such a committee to conduct a critical review of this concept.
Ideally it would be great to have one member from each of the
seven locals to assure statewide participation. We are often
reminded to “think outside the box” in order to arrive at new
ideas for meeting our goals and to reach greater
accomplishments. This presents a great opportunity whatever the
outcome. I will be contacting the local presidents to solicit
I anticipate forming the committee by the
end of August, and having a report completed by the Spring Board
meeting. The work would be accomplished primarily through
written communication and perhaps at least one conference call.
I would ask members of the State Board from the seven locals to
consider participating on this committee, or recommending
someone from their respective locals.
Thank you in advance for your help.
By Norbert F. Mayer,
FIC, LUTCF, Chair
I hesitate to comment on Legislative issues
because they seem to change daily. The best advice I can
provide is for you to make sure you are receiving the NAIFA Gov
Alerts and making contacts with our Senators and Representative
If you are not receiving the Gov Alerts,
send an email to the state office
email@example.com and we
will get you signed up.
It does appear that the single payor health
care plan is losing its support, in fact the support may never
have been there in the first place, but we need to remain
vigilant. The Federal debt continues to grow and at some point
Congress needs to get serious about dealing with the ever rising
deficit. Future tax increases are a given and we can rest
assured that taxation of insurance products will be scrutinized
carefully and often.
Now more than ever we need to increase our
membership numbers. NAIFA membership is job insurance, please
go out and get a new member.
Government Relations Report
by Elaine Fremling
First, I wish to address my leadership commitment to you and
each of our NAIFA members. I have worked actively for nearing
32 years on all levels of the NAIFA federation. In my current
role, in each of my committee's contacts, I remind all of us
that the sole purpose for the work that we do must be for our
members best interests and their careers, and for their clients.
Second, in these current times which are a new era, I must tell you that the NAIFA staff that supports all
of us as members work tirelessly to build relationships at all
levels of government, stay abreast of issues and challenges at
both the federal and state levels (and now even international
level), act or react as needed, keep us informed and engaged
when it is summized we, the grassroots have the greater
influence in the direction of regulation and legislation that
affects our membership. As we work numerous times daily, by
emails that come and go in the wee hours of the morning, or late
at night, and phone calls to our government affairs employees or
NAIFA leadership or the CEO late in an evening, Saturday morning
or even Saturday and Sunday evenings in additions to very full
weeks, I must say that I firmly believe we can rest assured
that the best that can be done will be done on our behalf.
Third, the issues are intense to say the least. There are the
broad topics of- health care and the workup and bills that are
read by our staff; federal regulation of insurance; securities
laws and oversight; FINRA regulations; investment advise
legislation; pension protection revisions; legislative and
regulatory contact management; NAIC oversight, regulations, and
suitability; commission disclosure law changes pending (NY
state); children's health insurance; life settlements and
viaticals; state insurable interest laws; 12 b (1) fees;
affiliated associations relationship management, NAIFA
associations day on the hill at the state and federal level; and
the list goes on. Our staff and the volunteers in the arena of
these topics dare not leave the phone or blackberry for long.
Further, several taskforces are at work in our committee as self
management examining the definition of government relations
success, and a review of our past, present and future proactive
position as a federation.
Fourth, because of the nature of the topics, our members and
staff that work on these and many others must work on a
bipartisan front keeping focused on the topics at hand. With
the number of visits I personally have made to the hill, I
believe it would be virtually impossible to make headway for the
benefit of our members if we did not maintain the topic at hand
in the forefront at all times. That then means, all are
instructed to leave there personal interests on the side when we
describe to the hill what it is that we are there to discuss.
Our livelihood - right to sell insurance and advise our clients
had been challenged and will continue to be challenges. We were
removed in the current health care proposals, only to have our
right to work with health care insurance placed back into
language due to the tireless efforts of the NAIFA staff and it's
members at the grassroots level. Further, new inroads are being
made with opportunities to describe face to face to SEC, FINRA,
and leaders of Congress and in written form just what is it that
an agent/financial advisor does for our clients on a daily
basis. New doors are being opened that we as a federation had
not done in the past in my recollection. We and they that
represent us are not gutless, but rather maneuver on a daily
basis in the thick and thin of issues and topics that allow all
members and even those that are not, to go about their business
yet another day.
Finally, organizations, associations, the members and their
affiliates are banding together for the common good. No more
can petty differences continue to fracture an industry that must
instead stand bold and strong for the benefit of its members,
their clients and now this country. While the face of all
things change and evolve, I believe that this industry, the free
enterprise system and democracy must stand. We, you and I, one
by one, and together can and will make a difference by spreading
the news of the good works, paying our dues and bringing others
together to do the same.
by Jason Middaugh, Chair
National finally got the final numbers for
2008-2009. We started a little slow but we finished strong.
North Dakota finished 7 out of 29 for our
size. Local numbers were –
Central – start 23, end 22, -1
Lake Region – start 9, end 8, -1
Minot – start 62, end 69, +7
Missouri Slope – start 108, end 102, -6
North Valley – start 36, end 37, +1
Roughrider – start 34, end 34, 0
Fargo – start 219, end 213,
Overall we had a good year and a great
finish to the year. Again thank all of you for the work that
We have a new year ahead of us and we have
the right people in place to make this an excellent year for
membership. Next year’s final number goal is 512 which is an
increase of 16 members. With the commitments of the state board
and the efforts of the local membership chairs this should be
easily attainable but it is something we all share equal
responsibility to get accomplished.
The 4 P’s of Marketing
Any Marketing student could repeat the 4 P’s of Marketing if
asked, but how can these be applied to NAIFA and our current
situation? As a Marketing Major, I review these P’s regarding
NAIFA and my own practice regularly. The 4 P's of Marketing are
Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion – let’s
review them one at a time.
If you have no product to sell or are selling a product that a
prospective buyer does not value, you have nothing to market.
In my opinion, NAIFA has spent the last two years, after
extensive research on what our members want, rebuilding the
“product” of NAIFA. This includes beefing up our Advocacy
efforts AND building the Professional Development Programs. We
needed to expand our "Product" - and in the case of Advocacy
rebuild it to what it had been in the past. The good news – we
have a GREAT PRODUCT!!!
The "Place" (delivery) will continue to be the locals/states
with local and statewide programming but now it can also be
online (for those interested in that delivery mechanism) on the
Professional Development piece. How we sell (deliver) NAIFA
membership is also quite broken. Many of our member volunteers
are no longer interested in selling the NAIFA product and they
list the following reasons for that - no time, no passion, not
willing. There are some exceptions to this – some that are
recruiting. There are volunteers and NAIFA staff working on
finding the solution. Is it a recruiter, telemarketers,
corporate partnerships? I believe the answer is yes to all of
these but there may be others we haven't discovered yet. I do
not think we can continue to rely on volunteer leaders to go out
and recruit new members – most do not have the time or passion
to do it. We have been attempting to “do” member recruiting in
the same way year after year and it isn’t working anymore. That
is why we are trying new ways to deliver our product – but the
perfect combination will not be discovered overnight.
"Promotion" is another area that we can do better (in my
opinion). We need to spread the word. We could be charging
non-members for Professional Development services. This is
definitely something that is being considered along with
promoting the NAIFA resources to companies. So many companies
are reducing their training programs and this is a void that I
believe NAIFA can fill. One of the first things that has been
delivered is the Member Benefits Web Demo video so that states
and locals can do a "live" demo of the new website features.
Much more will be coming here. We have a top notch staff at
NAIFA I have no doubt we can get the word out. We have built a
product that should (if people know about it) be easy to sell.
The only "P" I haven't addressed yet is "Price". We must price
our product accordingly so that we can sustain it. If we had
140,000 members we wouldn't be having an issue that would
require us to increase our price. We still need to sustain our
product because our current members expect it. I shutter to
think if we lost a significant legislative battle because we
were unprepared or not at the table - our members assume that we
will always win especially when it comes to some of the major
issues. I don’t think you will find any member that would
complain about $110 if we lose the battle over taxation of our
products. I don’t believe that anyone wanted to be here today
asking for more money from our outstanding members. We all
hoped that we could turn the ship around and start to see
positive growth. The one luxury we do not have right now is
TIME. If we had another year or two to season all that we have
done in the past few years we may not need the money – but we
don’t have that.
In summary, I don’t believe money is problem. It is the band
aid only but will provide us the time we need to fix the real
problem. I believe the real problem is threefold:
Marketing our awesome product must happen otherwise all the hard
work and money spent over the past two years is worth nothing.
We have built this great product but not enough people (members
and non-members) know about it.
Selling Membership is a HUGE piece that we must figure out. We
need to think creatively and differently then we ever have
Finding leadership is becoming more difficult at ALL levels of
the federation. We have been trying to put those “lucky”
volunteers into our box – our idea of what we need them to do
for us. We need to allow them to determine what they have time
and passion for. More and more we are finding that people are
looking for “bite sized” jobs and not an overwhelming job
description. Either positions are left empty or a name is
placed on the line and the job doesn’t get done. We need to be
open to changing our structure to accommodate the new
volunteer. We need to lift some of the burden we have placed on
the backs of our states and locals (locals in particular) so
that they don’t just throw up their arms and surrender.
As you can see we have some work to do. And if you have taken
the time to read this entire article, I hope you see that so
much has already been done. Much more communication will be
coming on the increase and I would be happy to discuss this
further with you as well. Please feel free to contact me at
with any comments or concerns. Here’s to a great year for NAIFA
and for each of you in your practices! Hope to see you at the
NAIFA Convention in Orlando (September 12 – 16)!!!
Life Insurance Awareness Month click here to see the
NAIFA-North Dakota - 1811 East Thayer Avenue - PO
Box 5010 - Bismarck, ND 58502 (701) 258-9525