NAIFA - North Dakota  

President's Message

Trustee Report

Achieving Greatness

2011 State Convention

Local Reports





Government Relations



Dakota Advisor
Fall 2010

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Presidents Message
by Keith Phillips, LUTCF, LTCP


Happy New Year to each and every one of you!  I hope that 2010 was a year that treated you well and I hope that 2011 will be even better!  For many of us, we start out the year with the “infamous” New Year’s resolutions.  As far as NAIFA goes, I am not going to ask you to make resolutions that will make your local or state association better.  However, I am going to ask that each of you reflect on your participation and commitment to NAIFA over the last year and what you can expect it to be for 2011.

Here are some suggested areas that you may want to reflect upon:

1.      What have I done for, or what can I do to make my association more effective.  You have heard the saying, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  I suppose we could argue the validity of that statement, but think we can agree that there is some merit to it.  It is easy to sit back and complain about dues increases, too much government intervention, wrong party or politician in office, not getting enough value for our dues, too many NAIFA emails, and the list goes on.  What can you do to help solve some of these problems?  Maybe the more important question is will you help solve these problems?  Have you been willing to step up to the plate and be a problem solver?

2.      Membership:  I am sure this one surprises you!  When was the last time you brought a new member into your organization?  Or, when was the last time you made an attempt to recruit a new member?  I am not going to say anything more about membership, as you have heard it all before and you know what has to be done. 

3.      How has your attendance been at local association meetings?  Did you sit on a committee or assist with a special project?  Hopefully you don’t feel it is the responsibility of someone else to do these things.

4.      Did you contribute to IFAPAC and the Freedom Builder Fund?  If you already contribute, great, consider increasing your contribution.  This is one of the areas where we have done extremely well.  If you haven’t looked in the past, check out the amount of monies that we have donated to the politicians who have an extreme impact on our careers.  A big thank you to all of you who have made the NAIFA ND IFAPAC a strong and viable entity.

5.      Stay positive.  We have all at one time or another felt like giving up.  Please don’t do that.  By giving up when we drop our dues, or quit donating time, we are letting the opposition know that they have defeated us.  Who is the opposition?  It is those individuals who do not understand the value that we as advisors give the consumer.  It is those who want to over-regulate us.  You all know who the opposition is.  For those of you who fight frustration, let me offer this quote from an unknown source,whenever something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent.”

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your efforts in 2010 and want to thank you in advance for what you do for NAIFA North Dakota and your local associations in 2011.


Keith A Phillips, LUTCF, LTCP


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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, register now!!

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 Local Association Report

by Tim Deitemeyer, President

NAIFA-FM is having a great year!  On December 20th we are our 1st annual NAIFA Social and Christmas Cheer, many donated hats, gloves, and canned food items for the needy.  Thanks to Sara Mehrer, Tammy Hanson, and Julie Phillips for arranging a fun and special evening.
We continue to have our monthly Breakfast meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, come and join us sometime if you can!!  We meet at 8:30am at the Doublewood Inn, in February we are planning on the President of NDSU to be our keynote speaker!
Membership has been a constant issue, while we have recently added some new members, there seems to be just as many who are letting their membership drop.  As NAIFA members it is our responsibility as a whole to remain positive and encourage others to join and help ourselves, our clients, and our industry!  We need the strength of many locally, statewide, and Nationwide!!
Thanks for all you do for NAIFA and keep up the great work!


APIC - State

By Jim Simons, Chair

The North Dakota Legislature Session has begun.  Has your local APIC Chair updated your APIC Contact Roster?  If not, please do so immediately.  Is your community sponsoring legislative forums throughout the session?  If you don’t know, find out!  We are fortunate that the Minot legislators meet at the Minot City Auditorium most Saturday mornings from 9 – 11 am during the session.  We plan to have 3 or 4 members at each forum. 

 Make sure you attend the NAIFA-ND State Convention to be held in Bismarck from 31 January to 2 February.  On Monday from 2-5 pm we will have our legislative update.  Commissioner Hamm is scheduled to attend.  We are in the process of inviting members from our Congressional staff in Bismarck to attend.  Our Legislative Reception begins at 6:00 pm on Monday night.  Come visit your local legislator and meet others.  Tuesday morning we visit the State Capital.  You won’t want to miss this great opportunity.

 I apologize that I will not be able to attend the State Convention as I will be representing our State at the IFAPAC/APIC Training Meeting in Washington DC 30 Jan – 1 Feb 2011.  We plan on meeting with Senators Conrad and Hoeven and Congressman Berg during our visit.


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By Gregg Webster, Chair

Health Care, specifically Major Medical Insurance continues to be a media magnet of the insurance industry.  With the March 2010 passage and the continuing implementation of the components (including changes, exceptions, and administrative rulings) of the Health Care Reform Act, the future has 1 guarantee: CHANGE!

 Recent news articles from Washington include a House of Representatives “repeal” of the Health Care Act.  We all know that it will never pass the Senate or the President’s desk, so…….

 Here in North Dakota, we need to monitor developments and participate in the development and implementation of the Health Care Exchange Program.  As of this writing, no bills have been introduced; we can be assured that it will likely go well into the session with hearings.  All NAIFA members need to be watching for action items from our team in Bismarck.  We do want to protect the relationship of consumers and insurance agents as informed consumers make sound purchasing decisions.

 Companies have increased their focus on voluntary as a way to maintain profits and commissions.  This is an entirely different insurance product.  If you intend to participate, look for some support (network with NAIFA members) and continuing education.  In the long run, what is best for the insured is best for the agent.


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Jason Middaugh, Chair

I’m taking over IFAPAC chair starting this year for three years from our past IFA PAC chair Jay Burgad.  I can’t thank Jay enough for doing such a great job the last three years and for helping me through the transition process.  We as North Dakota NAIFA members should thank him for all the hard work he put in over the years.

Norbert Mayer and Nancy Buechler also deserve a special thank you for the efforts they put in two years ago during North Dakota’s legislative session and the work they are going to be putting in this year.

I would also like to thank all the local IFAPAC chairs for the hard work they put in last year as well as previous years.  We have an IFAPAC team in North Dakota and it shows when we compare ourselves to the rest of the state associations.  This year we finished 1st overall in percentage of contributors and 5th overall in per person contributions.
As Jay said way back in spring 2009 “there is a stronger need than ever before for the many to come together as one with unity in our message.  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 me, 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.” 

There are many NAIFA members I have talked to over the years of involvement who cannot stand the political side of NAIFA.  I understand the frustration but the reality is that if we are not involved in the process we would be shut out of the discussion.  Contained within every bill voted on in Washington D.C. there are people who benefit from the passage of the bill and people who are harmed from the passage of the bill.  If we discontinue our support of IFAPAC we will be on the wrong of future bills.  We can be justifiable frustrated with our current political process and still realize that we need to stay involved in the process.  If we turn our backs on the process we will end up like England.  If you don’t know what happened to the insurance industry in England do a little research on it.

I look forward to serving as IFAPAC chair for our association and look forward to working with the local chairs. 

    2010 Goals    
  Contributor # Goal actual   Goals Actual    
State Members # IFAPAC # Ifapac % of  Total Contributions Per % of 
Association  6/30/2010 Goals Contributers cont Members Cont. 12/31/2010 Capita  Goal
Central - 2010 23   11 10 43.48% $1,005.00 846.00 36.78 84.18%
Central - 2009 22   12 9 40.91% 975.00 1216.00 55.27 124.72%
Fargo-Moorhead - 2010 191   90 76 39.79% 17,895.00 21,009.00 109.99 117.40%
Fargo-Moorhead - 2009 214   92 78 36.45% 16,475.00 20,129.00 94.06 122.18%
Lake Region - 2010 7   6 5 71.43% 1,200.00 958.00 136.86 79.83%
Lake Region - 2009 8   8 7 87.50% 1,200.00 1,286.00 160.75 107.17%
Minot - 2010 48   30 24 50.00% 6,450.00 5,405.00 112.60 83.80%
Minot - 2009 69   30 31 44.93% 6,250.00 6,127.00 88.80 98.03%
Missouri Slope - 2010 104   55 55 52.88% 7,250.00 8,366.00 80.44 115.39%
Missouri Slope - 2009 102   54 64 62.75% 6,950.00 8,303.00 81.40 119.47%
North Valley - 2010 35   15 15 42.86% 2,775.00 3,233.00 92.37 116.50%
North Valley - 2009 37   14 17 45.95% 2,700.00 3,398.00 91.84 125.85%
Roughrider - 2010 28   15 11 39.29% 2,775.00 1,936.00 69.14 69.77%
Roughrider - 2009 34   20 14 41.18% 2,700.00 2,014.00 59.24 74.59%
State - 2010 486   1 4   650.00 1,697.17    
State - 2009 486     2 0.41% 750.00 1,573.41 3.23747  
Total 2010 436   223 200 45.87% $40,000.00 $43,450.17 99.66 108.63%

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Membership Report
by Jaford Burgad, Chair

News worthy article! Alert! Alert!!
For those of you who believe your time is worth something you must take the time to read this report!
We are all screwed!!!
Ok, did I get your attention? Good!
Now, the important stuff.
82 members lapsed year to date state wide! 
Membership is the life line of NAIFA's ability to have the necessary cash flow to hire the resources necessary to influence political figures (Congress) in understanding the consequences of certain bill writing changes that affect our clients in an unfavorable or favorable way. (More money is needed if unfavorable) Yes, we can say we have 44,000 members nationally and yes this means more than if we had 200 but our biggest influence of political moods is our ability to hire the best full time person/persons that will be able to create a respectful relationship with each of our congressional leaders. Because of this understanding we need more members or our membership dues will have to keep increasing to do the work for the rest of us, including those non-members.

 So, I'm asking each of you throughout the state to understand your responsibilities to this cause. Without your involvement than whose? Certainly we (members) are not asking one or two people (chair,co-chair) to be responsible for keeping our dues down, for making up for all the lost revenue in membership to just a few? Please help me as your state Membership Chair retain and recruit membership for this 2011 year. We all have a responsibility to each other and our clients to do just that! If each of you just gave me one name (1) of someone you know, that should be a member, each year, (I know each of you know a agent from same or different company than yours that you talk to almost on a regular basis) than we would always be growing members.
I look forward in helping your local leaders in helping you meet your membership goals. Goals met mean progress. If not then we are non-progressive, which, if that becomes a pattern our future becomes predictable.
For your one name that I can call
please email or callJUST ONE! ) me or to your local chair. I assure you they will be followed up with on a timely matter.
Jay Burgad
State Membership Chair
Fargo, ND


Government Relations
by Norbert Mayer, Chair

As of Friday, January 14 we are tracking 57 bills in the ND Legislature.  The hearing schedule has been fairly busy.  At this time we have not identified bills requiring major testimony or a call for the membership to contact their Legislators.

 In the next two weeks we will be identifying those bills for which we feel that positions of for or against need to be taken and will have those ready for Board action on January 31st.

 On Monday afternoon, January 31st we will hear from Commissioner Adam Hamm on progress being made to comply with the Federal Health Care Legislation.  Than we will hear from staff members of Senators Hoeven and Conrad and Representative Berg as to what directions they hope to move in Washington.  I will follow up by bringing all of our Convention attendees up to speed on our Legislative issues to be discussed at the reception.

 The Legislative Reception is scheduled for 6:00 PM Monday evening, January 31st.  This has always been an excellent opportunity for you to connect with your Legislators and help explain our positions to them.  Our ND Legislators are very much hands on people and they listen best when it is one of their constituents talking to them.  We will be extending the official invitations the week of January 17, but please call you Legislators and give them a personal invitation.

The complete list of legislative items we are following can be found at:

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