PIA Announces Issues of Focus for 2022January 24, 2022
WASHINGTON — Issues of Focus for 2022 have been announced by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Among the association’s top issues of focus are flood insurance, tax issues, repeal of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) , protecting crop insurance from cuts and the establishment of a “safe harbor” for agents engaging in the business of insurance with cannabis-related entities in states where cannabis is legal.
“In consultation with PIA members across the country, we have developed these 2022 issues of focus,” said Jon Gentile, vice president of government relations for PIA. “While these items are our top priorities for 2022, PIA is always working to promote the interests of our independent agent members, wherever those interests take us.”
Among PIA’s issues of focus for 2022:
Flood insurance: PIA supports the long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In the last Congress, PIA endorsed a legislative package that unanimously passed the House Financial Services Committee in 2019 but stalled afterward and ultimately did not receive consideration by the full House or Senate. This year, PIA is encouraging the House Financial Services Committee to use that package as the starting point for this Congress’s efforts to provide the NFIP with a long-term reauthorization.
Cannabis Safe Harbor: PIA strongly supports the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1996/S. 910), which would protect insurance agents and carriers from federal criminal liability for engaging in the business of insurance with cannabis-related entities in states where cannabis is legal. Initially conceived as a banking-specific bill, the SAFE Banking Act has been reintroduced in this Congress with several essential new insurance provisions meant to protect agents, brokers, and insurers. PIA will advocate for Congress to include insurance agent protections in any cannabis safe harbor legislation it considers.
Tax Issues: PIA supports the Main Street Tax Certainty Act (H.R. 1381/S. 480), which would make permanent the 20 percent tax deduction available to some S corporations, also known as passthrough corporations. Following the passage of the 2017 tax reform law, which established a deduction of up to 20 percent for “agents,” PIA successfully advocated for insurance agents to be identified in regulation as eligible for the deduction. Since then, eligible independent agencies have used this deduction to strengthen their businesses and provide for their families, despite an unprecedented economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, in contrast to the tax benefits provided to C corporations by the 2017 law, which are permanent, the passthrough deduction is temporary. The tax deduction for passthroughs will expire on December 31, 2025, unless Congress acts to extend it. PIA will ask Congress to provide certainty and consistency to eligible independent agencies by making permanent this important tax relief provision.
Crop Insurance: Presidents of both parties have historically tried to cut crop insurance funding using the budget and appropriations process. Along with industry allies, PIA has aggressively worked to protect the crop insurance program from such cuts. Our advocacy paid off last year, when, in a victory for our crop insurance agent members, the budget released by the White House sought $27.8 billion for the Agriculture Department—which represented a 16 percent increase—and, importantly for PIA’s crop insurance agents, included no cuts to the crop insurance program. This victory was especially welcome because billions of dollars in cuts to crop insurance have been included in presidential budget requests for most of the last decade.
This year, PIA will advocate to protect the crop insurance program. In addition, with the Farm Bill up for reauthorization at the end of 2023, PIA will continue its work to ensure policymakers understand the critical role PIA’s independent agent members play in delivering this vital program to consumers.
Repeal of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO): PIA supports legislation to repeal the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) (S. 524/H.R. 4866). The FIO was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and is an ongoing threat to the successful state insurance regulatory system.
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes, and businesses. PIA’s web address is www.pianational.org.