Oregon Politcal Action Committee (OIPAC)
What is OIPAC?
The Oregon Insurance Political Action Committee(OIPAC) is the vehicle by which the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Oregon(IIABO) supports legislative candidates sympathetic to the concerns of independent agents. OIPAC is totally dependent upon individual agent contributions because IIABO dues dollars cannot be used for political activities. Financial participation in political campaign activities is an absolutely essential element of any successful government affairs program.
During the 2003 Oregon legislative session, there were over 3000 bills introduced. IIABO tracked over 300 bills with potential insurance implications. Bills such as those dealing with the use of insurance scores or producer licensing have a direct day-to-day impact on agency operations. As a result of IIABO involvement, producers now have a new broker license option, as well as new flexibility for structuring compensation options in commercial transactions.
Why a Contribution is Particularily Important Now:
· Oregon is experiencing a “hard market” for a number of insurance coverages. When costs rise significantly or access is limited, politicians feel compelled to tinker in varied ways. Proposals will appear to alter the regulatory system because hard market conditions are somehow perceived as regulatory failings. On the other extreme, some legislators will assume that they can “help” the industry craft better products for their constituents by mandating specific policy language, coverages or operations.
· Unfortunately, market conditions encouraging political intervention are coupled with an unsettled Oregon legislative environment. Five special sessions followed by the longest regular session in Oregon’s history in 2003 have prompted veteran legislators to leave the process in frustration. The insurance industry is particularly disadvantaged in this roiling environment. Insurance is a complicated business, yet we deal with legislators whose insurance experience is limited to that gained by writing checks for their auto insurance. Constant relationship building is necessitated by this ever-changing legislative lineup. Participation in candidate campaigns is one key way to develop those necessary relationships.
What Others are Doing:
If IIABO members do not provide for OIPAC’s participation in political activities, you can be assured that others will not be reluctant to aid candidates sensitive to their interests. In a recent primary race, trial lawyers funded roughly two-thirds of the contributions to a Senate candidate whose opponent had supported caps on non-economic damages, a position favored by the insurance industry. If you want somebody else, such as the trial lawyers, to select the legislature, do nothing! .
Why Individual Candidate Contributions are no Substitute for Supporting OIPAC:
Your contribution may help you develop a personal relationship with a political candidate, but you are unlikely to be in Salem when the critical work is being done. Only OIPAC contributions establish a presence for IIABO and its lobbying effort. A contribution from OIPAC makes a collective statement for the entire independent agent community. Elected officials will not forget a constituency that appears active and united. OIPAC can make your contribution count – in districts whose candidates you do not know – when a timely donation in a close race can make the difference.
A married couple can contribute up to $100[a single person up to $50] to a qualified political committee, such as OIPAC, and receive the full amount of their contribution back as a credit on their Oregon tax return. It is a no-cost way to further the interests of independent agents. OIPAC can also accept contributions from business entities, although such a contribution does not qualify for a tax credit.
As members of a complex and highly regulated industry, IIABO members need to ensure that both new and returning legislators are sensitive to insurance interests. We rarely, if ever, have an insurance licensee in the legislature. The absence of such understanding creates very difficult challenges when dealing with bills as relatively simple as licensing measures or as complex as 2003’s pollution liability issue. Inexperienced legislators can do, even with the best of intentions, very damaging things.
It is imperative that IIABO members financially support OIPAC. Member contributions are the only way we can fund OIPAC. IIABO dues cannot be used for political activities. OIPAC can accept contributions in unlimited amounts from either business or personal accounts. Oregon income tax credits up to $100 per couple are available for personal contributions.
Please join us by making a contribution today! Make your check payable to OIPAC and mail to the IIABO, 5550 SW Macadam, Suite 305, Portland, OR 97239. Contributors will be placed in the following recognition groupings: Platinum(<$1000); Gold(<$500); Silver(<$250); Bronze(<$100) and Contributor(>$100).
Thank you for your support!