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  NAIFA - North Dakota  
 
April 10, 2008
 
 
 


Dakota Advisor
Spring 2008

 

Presidents Message
by Harlynn Bjerke, LUTCF

 

Let’s all go to Minot for our State Convention on April 30th, May 1st and 2nd. Our Minot Association always puts on a great convention. Thanks to Rick Wallace and all who have helped him in setting up this year’s convention.

Kicking off the event will be the Freedom Builders Golf Tournament, and a tour of the Minot Air Force Base. Please check our web-site, www.ndaifa.org  for the time and place of all events. Remember to register by April 11th  to get the early registration fee of $125.

 Among the issues we will be voting on this year, will be a retiree membership rate structure, and next year’s convention date and place.

 Membership-membership-membership. As of March 28TH, our Fargo-Moorhead Association is number 1 nationally for medium sized associations at 91.19% of goal with 36 new members. Special thanks to their membership co-chairs David Middaugh and David Klemisch. North Dakota is number 3 in associations of up to 899 members at 79.14% of goal. Let’s keep working right up to June 30th so we can be at 100% or more. Thanks to Jeff Case and his co-chairs, and all the local membership chairs, and to all who have helped sign up new members and renew current members.

Congratulations to Jay Burgad, our State IFAPAC Chair, North Dakota is number 1 in the nation in the percent of our members belonging to IFAPAC, the Fargo-Moorhead Association will be receiving the Award of Excellence, and Missouri Slope and Lake Region will be receiving the IFAPAC Leadership Citations.

 As my year as president is coming to a close, I would like to thank all members state wide for their support throughout the year, with special thanks to my Executive Committee, Nancy Buechler, Al Fabricius,Ted Haugan, Keith Phillips, Jeff Case, David  Klemisch. The Local Presidents, David Bjornson, Jason Middaugh, Kevin Vistad, Alan Vandelinder, Jay Gotta, Bonnie Baglien, and Dee Stroh; and the State Committee Chairs, Bonnie Baglien, Todd Otto, David Middaugh, David Falk, Elaine Fremling, Hank Prien, Jay Burgad, Norbert Mayer, Jeff Case, Traver Silbernagel and Pat Saltsman.

 See you in Minot.

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NDAIFA State Convention Update
Ted Haugan, President Elect NAIFA-ND

Welcome to spring in North Dakota. Springtime has been traditionally time to think to our state convention held this year in Minot. Our featured speaker is Scott Brennan from South Bend, Indiana sponsored by the M.D.R.T. foundation. Scott will describe how he built his business and share concepts to help us grow our business and become of more value to our clients in the future. Additionally, we have four break out speakers scheduled on Thursday afternoon. Presentations on topics of life insurance, annuities, long term care and college funding concepts and sales ideas will be available. However, due to time constraints you will be able to attend only two of the presentation, of your choice. Just one concept or sales idea can make us much more than the cost to attend this state convention.

   We have arranged discounted room rates at the Grand International Inn in Minot but you must tell them you are with N.A.I.F.A.N.D. to get the discounted rate upon reservation and or arrival at the convention. The number to reserve a room is 800-735-4493. The discounted room rate is $65.00 per night, but is available only if you inform them that you are with the convention.

   On Friday morning you will absolutely want to hear Dr. Bob Edwards use humor and energy to remind us that we are always accountable. The work we do has such a tremendous impact upon our clients and their families that we must strive daily to help as many as we can to do all they can to prepare for the future.

   Complete your convention registration, make your room reservation today and I look forward to seeing you at our state convention in Minot on April 30th to May 2nd.

            [Click here to Register] [Click here to view Speakers]  [Click here for Schedule]

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 NDAIFA Freedom Builder Fund -

We would like to invite you to come to Minot for the Freedom Builder Fund Golf Outing.  We will play golf at the Minot Country Club on April 30, 2008. This will be a fun event to kick off the 2008 NDAIFA State Convention.   If you have not had an opportunity to play this course, it is one of the top 5 courses in the state as rated by Golf Digest.

Our format is designed to be enjoyable for golfers of all levels.  Those of you who have played little golf will have just as much fun as those of you who play often.  You can check out the Minot Country Club Golf Course at  http://minotcountryclub.com/Holes/Hole01.htm.  The donation to the NDAIFA FBF is $150.00. This covers your green fee, cart, use of the practice range, meal and drink. We hope to see you play and have fun while enjoying one of the most beautiful golf courses you will ever play. Your entry form is included in the State Convention Registration and you can also sign up to sponsor a hole, go to: www.ndaifa.org/golf.htm.

Minot AFB Tour -

If you are not a golfer, please join us for the Minot Air Force Base Tour on Wednesday, April 30th. We will leave the International Inn at 1:00 p.m. This is an exciting tour that you won’t want to miss. Please notify the state office by April 16th if you are planning to go on this tour, as your social security number is needed for a background check to be conducted prior to the tour.

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Local Association Reports

NAIFA - Fargo Moorhead
Jason Middaugh, President

We are almost done with the year and we are looking forward to spring.   We are still first in the nation in percent of goal met for medium sized locals.  We exceeded both the January and March benchmarks for membership.  We are lucky enough to have some great individuals heading our membership, chairs Dave Middaugh and Dave Klemisch have done an outstanding job this year.

Going forward into 2008-2009 year we have plenty of reasons to be excited.  We have a great incoming President in Traver Silbernagel.  Tim Deitemeyer has agreed to be our Secretary/Treasurer for the upcoming year.  He has been a great asset to the board over the years and we are looking forward to him taking the next step.  We have a couple of people who are stepping down from their board positions and they will be missed but we have got some capable people replacing them.

Upcoming events for us include our local golf tournament June 30th at the Moorhead Country Club which of course any member in the state is more than welcome to attend and of course we are all looking forward to the upcoming state convention in Minot April 30 through May 2nd.  Sounds like an exciting State convention.

 NAIFA-Missouri Slope Report
By Jay Gotta, President

In March, our association hosted Insurance Commissioner, Adam Hamm, at our monthly meeting.  By all accounts, it was a wonderful opportunity for members and the commissioner to get to know each other better.  We look forward to a continued good relationship with the commissioner's office.

Missouri Slope continues to strive to meet membership goals by conducting monthly membership blitzes.  We have had good success in recruiting new members by dropping by a prospective members office, as a group, to extol the virtues of membership.

Our association is in the process of planning a bike run to benefit for the Freedom Builder's Fund.  Tentative date is May 17th.  Dust off your Harley or favorite Roadster and make plans to participate.  Contact Kim Brandner at 391-5669 for details or to sign up.

 NAIFA - Roughrider
by Dee Stroh, President

NAIFA Roughrider has added 2 new memberships.  We had our March meeting in Bowman and I am confident we will obtain 3-4 new members.  Timothy Sadowsky, Attorney provided our Continuing Education hour and the information was very informative.

  NAIFA Roughrider would like to have 2 members attend a LILI Class per year.  Kathy Johnson, Todd Schweitzer and Todd Otto (LILI graduates) are in charge of this.

 After the meeting in Bowman, 8 of us traveled onward in a limousine to Deadwood, SD for an afternoon and evening of fun.

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 Government Relations
by Norbert Mayer, Chair

 By now we are aware that this is an election year.  We get so tired of the endless campaign commercials and constant news coverage of the campaigns, but in spite of all that, this is still the best way to elect our leaders.  If you don’t believe that, just try living for a few years in a country controlled by a dictator.

 So now is the time to get involved in helping the candidates of your choice by making campaign contributions, hosting fund raisers for them, posting lawn signs volunteering for their campaign etc.  Getting elected and then re-elected is a top priority of our politicians.  Few people get involved in their campaigns; in fact many don’t even bother to vote.  This of course gives them a license to complain because they did not support the politician who is now making all of the wrong decisions.

 NAIFA-ND needs your involvement now so that when our issues are debated and ultimately voted upon at the 2009 Legislative Session we have the politician’s ear.  There appear to a lot of retirements from our ND Senators and Representatives so there will be a number of new faces in the Legislature.

 Please get out and make a difference by getting acquainted with your candidates, make them aware of your concerns, so that when we need their favorable vote, you can help deliver that vote.

 This is also the time for you to bring to us any issues of concern for our industry that should be considered at the Legislative Session.  Please forward your issues to our Executive, Nancy Buechler at info@ndaifa.org.

 See you at the State Convention in Minot.

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 IFAPAC

The Insurance and Financial Advisors Political Action Committee (IFAPAC) is a term used to describe collectively the PAC sponsored by NAIFA at the federal level and the PACs sponsored by each state association. Each PAC is a fund that supports the campaigns of candidates for public office who understand issues important to insurance agents and financial advisors. IFAPAC’s goal is to help the associations advance the legislative and regulatory interests of the members of NAIFA. While any U.S. citizen can contribute to IFAPAC, only members of local NAIFA associations may be solicited to do so. Contributions must be voluntary. Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Of approximately 3,700 political action committees registered with the Federal Election Commission, IFAPAC ranks in the top 1 percent. IFAPAC is the largest insurance PAC in the country. In the last election cycle, the national IFAPAC and the 50 state IFAPACs contributed approximately $2.5 million to federal and state candidates and committees.

The IFAPAC network is needed even in years when there aren't federal elections. The candidate evaluation and support processes go on all the time. PACs that have the resources to make contributions when candidates need them most are highly visible in the political arena. IFAPAC occasionally makes debt-retirement contributions following elections and some states hold elections in odd-numbered years.

On the national level, a panel of ten NAIFA members, appointed by the Executive Committee of NAIFA, determines which candidates for federal office will receive PAC contributions. This group is called the Candidate Selection Group. On the state level, contributions to candidates are made via a similar process through our State IFAPAC board. Input from state and local association officers and current contributors is vital to the ability of state and national selection committees to make informed decisions regarding which candidates to support. IFAPAC encourages contributors to provide factual information on candidates.  If you would like to make a contribution or obtain more information on becoming a contributor, please contact our state office at 701.258.9525 or email: info@ndaifa.org

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APIC

Make a difference

Even if you've never run for office, if you don't know much about politics or elections, you can still make a big difference in the way the legislature votes on legislation important to insurance and financial services professionals.

How? By being an effective constituent. Nothing matters more to a member of Congress than how his or her constituents feel about issues they care about. That old adage about the customer always being right is even more true with elected officials. Their customers – the voters – are always right!

To stay in office, legislators must do a good job representing the interests and views of those they were elected to serve. They value the input of knowledgeable and concerned constituents like you. That gives you a lot of clout! Clout that can have a big impact on matters that affect you and your clients.

APIC: Creating a Network of Active Constituents

Active, informed constituents communicating directly with their members of Congress – that's what APIC (Advisors Political Involvement Committee) is all about. Your involvement can range from responding to an Action Alerts on legislation affecting your business, signing up as a legislative contact (if you personally know a member of Congress). The level of involvement is up to you.

To sign up as a legislative contact, contact State APIC Chair Todd Otto, or Federal APIC Chair Dave Middaugh - or our office for further information and assistance.

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10 Rules for Reassuring Clients in Volatile Markets
by William F. Nicklin

When markets are volatile, we’re more stressed and so are our clients. That’s when it’s more important than ever to articulate our recommendations and provide reassurance of a positive outcome. Here are 10 rules of effective language.

At no other time is it more important to communicate with clients than when what you've been telling them is being tested. That time can arrive when markets are calm but the way you've helped clients structure their portfolios seems a little out of sync with what they're reading in the newspaper or hearing on CNBC or Bloomberg TV. Effective communication is needed when volatility that expresses itself in dropping markets causes clients to worry that their financial expectations may be in jeopardy.

It’s then that clients are most reliant on our reassurance that what we’ve told them will hold up and that our recommendations will provide the positive outcome they expect. We need to convey this in a very effective way if we’re to maintain our credibility and perceived value to a client. Even more important, if it’s time to make changes in our recommendations, we must effectively communicate why those changes are a better course of action than the one that seemed appropriate before the commotion in the market.

Because we’re a little more stressed in volatile markets (and our clients are too), it's more important than ever to know exactly what we want to say and express it in a way that clients will hear. For help in this area, I offer up some advice from Dr. Frank Luntz. He provides his thoughts with his “10 Rules of Effective Language” list in his book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear. The intended audience for this book is policymakers and business leaders, but what Luntz has to say can also help us communicate with clients when our words take on more importance than usual because of volatile markets. Following are Luntz’s 10 rules (the applications to advisors are mine):

Rule 1: Simplicity—Use small words
Try to use words that clarify rather than obscure. Clients are already a little confused and on edge when things are not going their way and they're not sure why. Adding complexity with words that obscure the true meaning of what you're saying only makes matters worse. I try to stick with words that I’ve used in the past to describe my advice and how that advice will lead to a positive outcome. This introduces familiarity with past expectations and reassures clients.

Rule 2: Brevity—Use short sentences
Clients can’t easily absorb a treatise when their heads are already spinning. Try to use short sentences in your communications with them. These sentences will stick in their minds after the conversation. When the news is blasting them with 100 different opinions of what is happening and why, your sentence will be easily recalled.

Rule 3: Credibility is as important as philosophy
Do not try to contradict the facts. If things look lousy, you cannot gloss over them. Explain in concise terms what you believe about the circumstances at the moment. You have likely incorporated your philosophy into clients' portfolios. There is no need to dwell on that philosophy. Simply state how what you've said in the past is working out in the current environment, good or bad.

Rule 4: Consistency matters
Consistency and credibility go hand in hand. Consistency is achieved through disciplining your mind to stick with your basic underlying beliefs and not to be pushed around by events. Your value is added because your clients are not paying as close attention to what is transpiring as you are and their emotions are more easily whipsawed.

By incorporating what you are seeing into the philosophy you've been espousing all along, you will be providing a calming and comforting effect that has value. The most credible people are those who are not flip-flopping all over the place. They are the people who stay on message.

Rule 5: Novelty—offer something new
Every situation offers something new, some new insight. Find out what you can regarding current events that support your consistent philosophical views, and use that as an add-on to your past thoughts and advice given to a client. Give them a new take on an existing idea. This will show that you are paying attention to what is going on and that you are on top of your game.

Rule 6: Sound and texture matter
Because clients are more stressed than normal in volatile and declining markets, we need to place more emphasis on the parts of a conversation we want them to remember when events start swirling through their heads. I like to raise my voice and repeat two or three times a thought I want remembered while watching the financial news shows or reading the paper. I also like to use phrases such as “game changing” when they’re appropriate.

Rule 7: Speak inspirationally
Stick with delivering thoughts that offer clients a positive outcome. We need to convey what clients want to hear in a way that does not compromise our philosophy. We can do this by saying, “If we look at the situations this way, and conduct ourselves in this way, we will do just fine.” I also like to incorporate insight into the current situation from people who have been successful in the past, such as Warren Buffett. When going through individual stocks in a portfolio, I offer up what the CEO may have recently said in a conference call or an SEC filing.

Rule 8: Visualize
Take a similar situation from the past and project it onto a potential positive outcome in the future. For instance, the market got killed in the October 1987 crash, but it ended up for the year. Paint a picture of how the market might act if corporate profits drop and the Fed cuts. Project further how components of a portfolio might act if that happens.

Rule 9: Ask a question
I like to say, “We have been through markets like this in the past. How did things work out for us?” Or, “Take a look at each investment in our portfolio. How much confidence do we have in that investment? Would you like me to walk you through my thinking on each?”

Rule 10: Provide context and explain relevance
Luntz puts it this way: “You have to give people the ‘why’ of a message before you tell them the 'therefore' and the ‘so what.’” In my experience, this is the most important aspect of client communication. If clients don’t know why their portfolio is structured the way it is, they will have no idea of what might affect it (therefore) in a way that produces a positive outcome (so what). Structure conversations in this sequence: We did this to the portfolio in the past (why) so that in situations like we are experiencing today, our portfolio would perform like it is (therefore) and put it in a position to come out of the current situation in better shape (so what).

We all take our client relationships and the advice we give seriously. One way we show this is by being diligent in how we form those relationships and that advice. We should be just as diligent in giving thought to what we say and what our clients are hearing when we say it. Our future depends on it.

I can learn from you. You can learn from me.

Bill Nicklin is a partner in a full-service brokerage and investment management firm providing advisory services to high-net-worth individuals and families, institutions, and corporations.


COMPLIANCE ALERT & DISCLAIMER

NAIFA reminds readers that it is your responsibility to ensure that the manner in which you solicit and sell insurance and other financial products, and the advertising and sales materials you use, comply with applicable state, federal and NASD/SEC requirements, and the compliance rules of the insurance and other financial companies you may represent. While NAIFA tries to provide accurate information, the accuracy and timeliness of the information herein is not guaranteed, and the generic nature of this information may conflict with specific, and frequently changing, state and federal laws and regulations and the rules of insurance and other financial services companies. If in doubt about compliance issues, check with your company. The material herein does not constitute insurance, financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting or other professional services or advice by NAIFA or by any individual or entity identified herein. The content herein represents the views of the individuals identified and does not necessarily reflect the views of NAIFA. NAIFA does not endorse any products or services offered by the individuals or entities identified herein and NAIFA disclaims all liability for any claims or damages that may result from their use.

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NAIFA-North Dakota - 1811 East Thayer Avenue - PO Box 5010 - Bismarck, ND 58502 (701) 258-9525 info@ndaifa.org