NAIFA is an active participant in interstate advocacy efforts, including working with groups like the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) to create policies and model regulations that protect the interests of consumers and preserve the ability of producers to provide products, services, and advice that help Main Street Americans achieve financial security.
Most recently, Josh O’Gara, CLU, ChFC, CFP, a NAIFA member from Woburn, MA, and NAIFA Policy Director Maeghan Gale testified at the NCOIL 2021 Summer Meeting in Boston to provide the producers' prospective on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and also to talk about the importance of independent contractor status for independent broker-dealers and independent financial advisors.
The PRO Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act by adding language that expands the definition of “independent contractor” by adopting an “ABC” test to define who is an “employee." This worrisome “ABC” test is gaining traction beyond the PRO Act on both the state and federal levels, and if it were to become a model it could negatively harm the way insurance carriers and producers best see fit to maintain their business structures. Producers could be caught in a quagmire of conflicting and uncertain employment status.
NAIFA members are professionals who generally operate their own small businesses. In a survey of NAIFA members conducted earlier this year, respondents overwhelmingly opposed attempts to reclassify them as employees. According to the survey:
- Approximately 90% of NAIFA members receive income reported on a 1099.
- 94% do not want to be treated as an employee for union organizing.
- 95% operating as independent contractors want to remain so.
Gale and O’Gara provided expert testimony to the Joint State-Federal Relations & International Insurance Issues Committee at the NCOIL meeting.
In his testimony, O’Gara gave personal insights as a licensed financial professional into how operating as an independent contractor contributes to his success as a business owner and gives him the freedom and flexibility to serve the best interests of his clients.