Agents Advocate for Commonsense Solutions on Taxes, Flood Insurance and Storm Scammers
OIA’s Advocacy Day
In June, OIA leaders and members of OIA’s Advocacy and Political Committee from around the state met with Ohio policymakers to advocate on issues that affect their clients and shared the importance of their role as trusted insurance advisors to individuals and business owners.
OIA members shared their perspective on several issues, including advocating against the proposed tax increase that the Ohio House inserted into the state budget that would have a negative impact on many OIA members and their clients. Currently, Ohio has a Business Income Deduction (BID) in place that allows pass-through entities to deduct up to $250,000 of their business income from Ohio income tax liability. Additionally, a flat three percent tax on all business income above the $250,000 exists. In an unexpected move, the Ohio House has proposed that the BID be reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 and that the three percent flat tax rate be eliminated altogether. Further complicating matters, the House has proposed making these changes retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019, potentially subjecting taxpayers to fines and penalties on estimated payments they have already made.
OIA Members also lobbied for support of forthcoming legislation that will be introduced by Senate Majority Whip Jay Hottinger to make changes to Ohio law to regulate residential roofing contractors. The intent of the legislation is to protect consumers from “storm scammers” who often fail to complete work and deceive consumers about their need for unnecessary repairs following severe weather events.
Conversations with Ohio’s Leaders
Prior to visits with policymakers, OIA committee members met with the ODI Director Jillian Froment, Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee Bob Hackett and high-level representatives from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, including John Logue who serves as Chief of Strategy and Kendra DePaul, manager of the Other States Coverage Program.
To kick off Advocacy Day and thank committee members for their involvement, OIA hosted a reception and dinner with key legislators in the evening on June 18. Legislators in attendance included Sens. Jay Hottinger and Bob Hackett and Reps. Haraz Ghanbari and Tracy Richardson. To conclude the evening, special guest Lt. Gov. Jon Husted discussed how his role as Director of both the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and InnovateOhio will lead the way for better solutions to the state’s greatest challenges. Much like OIA is leveraging data to help independent agents in a number of ways, the state of Ohio also sees the value in capturing and utilizing datapoints to get a more comprehensive view of different issues and better direct resources in problem solving.
OIA’s Advocacy Day was a great opportunity to showcase the thought leaders in Ohio’s insurance community and at the same time advance our advocacy agenda in the Ohio Legislature. OIA greatly appreciates the time and expertise our members offer to support OIA and the independent agent community.
If you are interested in becoming involved in our advocacy efforts, contact Carolyn Mangas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy Day was “a great combination of interaction and information with legislators as well as networking with other agents”.
– Andy Stephey CIC, CRM, LUTCF - UIS Insurance & Investments, Tiffin
Big “I” Legislative Conference
In May, OIA’s advocacy team, along with a group of Ohio independent agents, visited with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. during the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference.
A diverse group of Ohio independent agents were in attendance, from young professionals to experienced leaders in the industry, as well as representatives from small and large agencies. Overall, the event brought together more than 1,000 independent agents from across the country to lobby for issues such as crop insurance, state versus federal insurance regulation, health care and cybersecurity.
“I definitely now see our
issues on a larger scale
and the impact we as
agents and OIA can
have on the outcomes,”
shared Kirt Trimble,
CPCU of Trimble Insurance
in Delaware after
attending the conference
Top issues discussed were a long-term reauthorization of a modernized National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that would increase take-up rates, both in the NFIP and the private market, and calls on Congress to extend the NFIP before it was set to expire on May 31, 2019. Fortunately, a lapse was averted, and Congress has ultimately extended the program until Sept. 30. Since 2017, the NFIP has seen numerous lapses which have significantly impacted consumers, small businesses and real estate markets in addition to undermining confidence in the program.
In addition to the NFIP, continued tax relief for independent agents was also a key issue. As part of the tax reform package passed in 2017, a significant victory was secured for independent agents when the Treasury Department issued regulations earlier this year that ensured that insurance agents and brokers could take advantage of the 20% deduction for certain small businesses that are sent up as pass-through entities. Notably though, the 20% deduction is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2025. With this date not far off and Congress oftentimes waiting until the last minute to act, independent agents made a push while on Capitol Hill for members of Congress to support legislation which would make the small business deduction permanent.
After seeing how advocacy works at the federal level by attending the Legislative Conference, Bill Brooker, CPCU of Brooker Insurance Agency in North Royalton, said “I had a very rewarding experience and now feel a strong curiosity towards state level legislative issues.”
Interested in Attending?
If you are innterested in attending the 2020 Big “I” Legislative Conference on May 13-15, contact Carolyn Mangas at Carolyn@ohioinsuranceagents.com.