Josh O'Gara, CLU, ChFC, CFP, loyal member since 2011, spoke on behalf of NAIFA during the U.S. Department of Labor's virtual public forum on the classification of employees and independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. NAIFA strongly supports an exemption for insurance and financial professionals under any legislation or DOL regulation that would reclassify independent contractors as employees.
O'Gara, President of NAIFA-MA and Vice Chair of NAIFA's National Grassroots Committee, said that as an advisor who has contracts with more than 20 insurance companies operating as an independent contractor allows him to offer his clients a variety of products and services. Rules or laws that would interfere with his independence could hinder his ability to serve the best interests of his clients. Many insurance and financial professionals are entrepreneurs and business owners in their own right, so it makes little sense for them to be classified as employees of the insurance carriers and financial firms they contract with.
According to a NAIFA survey, more than 90% of NAIFA members have income reported to the government on IRS Form 1099, and very few of them show any appetite for giving up their status as independent contractors. Of those now working as independent contractors, 96% said they would not prefer to be reclassified as W2 employees. Additionally, more than 94% said they did not want to be treated as employees for the purpose of union organizing, with an additional 4% saying they were “unsure.”
O'Gara previously testified at the NCOIL 2021 Summer Meeting in Boston on the employment classification issue.