NAIFA - North Dakota  

President's Message

Trustee Report

Achieving Greatness

Local Reports

2011 State Convention





Government Relations



Dakota Advisor
Fall 2010


Presidents Message
by Keith Phillips, LUTCF


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Trustee Report
by Kenneth Evans, CLU, ChFC, CFP, AEP, LUTCF
NAIFA Trustee

           I am thankful for this opportunity to give you a short message. We just returned from the NAIFA Convention and Career Conference in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington.  If you have never attended or if you remember the old NAIFA Convention, you really need to give the new format a chance.  Yes, there is a good reason to attend for your professional development and improving your personal bottom line.  It isn’t just a meeting to go to only if you are a voting delegate anymore.  Plan to attend next year in Washington D.C. 

The Main Platform presentations were informative and motivating.  The NAIFA Government Relations staff and our outside counsel gave us a run down on all of the pressing issues we are facing.  They discussed our wins and the battles we are still fighting.  The LIFE presentations from the Main Platform reminded us of why we are in this business.  As the stories were told by the agents and the people involved there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  What we do makes a difference in peoples lives.  We can be proud of who we are and what we do.  There was more break out education events than you could attend.  The difficult part is deciding which of the many excellent presentations to go to. 

          As part of the business of NAIFA I was re-elected to another two year term as a trustee.  I am looking forward to working with your state this year.  If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.

NAIFA has expanded where we are working in your behalf.  With financial services reform we are responding to various regulators as they are tasked with studying our industry.  I had the opportunity to be one of the two trustees involved via a 2 hour conference call as the GAO visited NAIFA headquarters to talk about how we are regulated in our daily business lives.  As a result of that call I was the trustee asked to fly to Washington D.C. as part of the task force to help our attorneys craft their formal response to the SEC on reform.  NAIFA has expanded our relationship with the firm of Steptoe and Johnson by retaining two additional attorneys who specialize in Securities.  This is in addition to the counsel we have retained to assist us in insurance lobbying.  One of the new attorneys is a former senior official with the SEC.

          As good as our team is, WE NEED YOUR HELP.  Please respond to each and every Gov Alert you receive.  The staff thinks very carefully about each and every time they ask you to respond.  If they send out a Gov Alert it is important.  Please take the very few minutes required and respond promptly.  And with all the issues we are facing please make a contribution to NAIFA PAC.  Even a few dollars helps, and we get to tell your representatives that we have a higher percentage of our members who contribute.  That is a statistic they watch for when gauging the potential influence an organization can bring to bear.

          Finally, thank you for your membership, and to the volunteers I want to thank you for what you do.  It is rewarding to be part of the executive board of NAIFA, but NAIFA lives in your own local.  Without you there is no NAIFA.

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Achieving Greatness: The Value of Association
By Don Yaeger

 Association leaders and corporate executives have long recognized that great lessons – lessons in leadership, team building, handling adversity, and managing success – can be learned from their peers in the world of sports.

 This explains why some of the most sought after public speakers at corporate events are sports greats – Miami Heat President Pat Riley, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyewski, former Pittsburgh Steeler running back Rock Bleier and former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown are among the most popular speakers on the circuit. The lessons they teach and exhibit in their world translate perfectly into yours.

 In my 20-plus years as a writer for Sports Illustrated and author of more than a dozen books, I have been blessed to spend hours interviewing great winners like Riley, Krzyewski, basketball legend Michael Jordan and Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.

 Some of the best lessons I have learned, however, have come at the foot of the greatest winner of them all, the late John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach and winner of unprecedented 10 NCAA championships. Wooden also was an oft-tapped corporate consultant on the subject of leadership.

 Before Wooden’s passing, I often traveled to Los Angeles to talk with him about Greatness and the traits of those who have achieved it. One characteristic he was passionate about was that the truly “great” understand that value of association. They know they can only become great if they surround themselves with others who are headed in that direction.

 Just a couple of years ago, the then 97-year-old Wooden, his mind sharp as any 30-year-old I had met, got a twinkle in his eyes when told me he had a story to share, one I would enjoy sharing with others.

 “Many people, when they ask me about coaching great players, always ask me about my two most famous centers, Lew Alcindor (who became Kareem Abdul-Jabaar) and Bill Walton,” the coach said, “But one of the greatest I have ever coached is a player many wouldn’t suspect. It was Swen Nater.”

 I think Coach enjoyed the look of surprise on my face. I remembered Nater, but just barely. What I remembered was that he was cut from his high school basketball team as because, even at 6-foot-11, he was too clumsy to offer the team any value. He didn’t give up, though, and several years later made a community college team. He became talented enough that several four-year colleges offered him scholarships.

 At the time, UCLA and Wooden were in the middle of one of the most spectacular runs in all of sports, winning seven of eight national championships. Alcindor had graduated, but Wooden had a new center, Walton, who he thought might be even better.

 Nater’s community college coach asked Wooden to consider his player. “I was told he could, at the very least, be a great practice opponent for Walton,” Wooden recalled. “So I spoke with Swen. I was honest. I told him he could go to a small school and play all the minutes he wanted, or he could come to UCLA, where he likely would never start a game, but where he could play against the best center in the country every day. That’s the best I could offer him.”

 Nater didn’t flinch. He accepted the opportunity and, as Wooden had promised, he didn’t start a single game at UCLA.

  “Swen understood that to become the best he needed to associate himself with the best he could find,” Wooden said. “There was no better than Bill Walton.”

 Or John Wooden.

 When his three years at UCLA were complete, Nater had been part of a team that won a record-breaking 88 straight games and had played for three more national championships – all as Walton’s backup.

Nater then made history when he became the first player selected in the first round of the professional basketball draft without ever starting a college game. He played 12 years professionally and now is a senior executive in the corporate offices of COSTCO. His career “is absolutely and directly the result of having made the decision to associate myself with folks who were the very best,” Nater told me. “I learned that you are who you associate yourself with.”

Coach Wooden was succinct: “Mark these words…You will never out-perform your inner circle. If you want to achieve more, the first thing you should do is improve your inner circle.”

At its core, that is exactly why associations hold annual events. Those conventions are a member’s opportunity to improve his or her inner circle, to learn and associate with the very best.

 Like Swen Nater, I hope that each of you have identified those in your profession from whom you could learn, those who share your passion for greatness. Then, while attending your state or national conferences, introduce yourself, spend time asking and learning what it is they do that makes them successful. These lessons are often transferable.

Then take the lessons home with you. Make your aspirations known to your staff and your membership because they want to associate themselves with greatness, too. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve when you surround yourselves with those headed in the same direction.

At each of these steps you’ll understand why John Wooden agreed that the value of association is one of the most significant traits of greatness. 

            Don Yaeger is a nationally acclaimed inspirational speaker, New York Times best-selling author and longtime associate editor of Sports Illustrated. He speaks on the subject of Greatness, taking lessons from the world of sports and translating them to business and professional audiences. He can be reached through his Web site:

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NAIFA-ND 2011 State Convention

The 2011 NAIFA-ND State Convention will be held in Bismarck at the Radisson Inn on January 31 - February 2, 2011. We will hold the legislative reception on January 31st, so mark your calendars and plan to attend!!

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NAIFA - Fargo Moorhead
By Tim Deitemeyer, President


NAIFA - Minot

By Lyle Kraft, President

 Todd Ringoen and I had a wonderful time at the NAIFA National Convention in Seattle. We really enjoyed the convention and the time that we spent with NAIFA-ND members.

 We have had a busy month so far in October.  Susan Sjaastad was the chair person for our October Blood Drive that we just completed and we were fortunate to promote NAIFA and the blood drive on two of the Noon Shows on TV. 

 Jim Simons worked with Vanda Campbell to try get as many of our State Representatives to our Legislative Forum that we had during our October membership meeting.  There was a combination of current and newly running candidates for a total of 12.  This was a powerful meeting for NAIFA-Minot with building relationships.  We used the last 10 minutes at the meeting for everyone to get a chance to meet each other.  I personally was able to shake hands and visit with all 12 that were present and I know some of the others did the same. 

 The fall LUTCF Class was not conducted due to a lack of class members.  We are having a class on the New Health Care Program at our November meeting and are finalizing speakers for our December Blitz.  We are also raising some money for the “Angel Tree” Project. 

 We’ll see you at the State Convention in Bismarck.


NAIFA - Missouri Slope
by Bill Davis, President



 NAIFA - North Valley
by Chad Lindgren, President



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APIC - State

By Jim Simons, Chair


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By Gregg Webster, Chair

Health Insurance continues to be a topic in the media.  Nationally, NAIFA is monitoring the details as the bureaucracy hammers out the details of the bill passed in 2009.  As agents, we continue to be asked to respond through Gov Alerts.

 Commissioner Hamm will be having hearings in November.  Health Insurance Agents will want to be sure to attend and offer testimony.  Will we be provided talking points from NAIFA?

 Rulings and exceptions are continuing to come as the implementation of the Health Care Act progresses.  Recently, two companies were granted exceptions for Mini-Meds.  The issue of Agent Commissions is yet to be settled.

 Agents need to monitor, communicate, and be prepared for quick response as implementation continues.


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Jay Burgad, Chair


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 Membership Report
by Jay Burgad, Chair



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Government Relations
by Norbert Mayer, Chair


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