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Federal Government Affairs

National legislative issues involving insurance are handled by the government affairs staff of the national Big "I". IIABSC members and staff play a key role in communicating our position on federal issues with the SC Congressional delegation.

For information on current national issues, visit: IIABA Government Affairs Issues webpage

South Carolina Delegation - Senate


The National Flood Insurance Program expires in July 2018 (after a series of short-term extensions starting in September 2017), and of course another long-term authorization of the flood program is a priority for our national governmental affairs team. 

The Big "I" also supports allowing the private market to offer flood insurance where appropriate as a complement (not replacement) to NFIP. Therefore we also endorse the "Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act."

Follow their progress on the Flood Insurance Issues page of our national website.

See also:

"Understanding Flood Options: Private vs. NFIP" By Craig Poulton in IA Magazine (April 23, 2018)

"FEMA makes changes to NFIP WYO Program" by Jennifer Webb in IA Magazine (March 22, 2018)

Guidance from FEMA in the event of a lapse in National Flood Insurance Program
issued Dec. 2017 by FEMA

"President's Budget Target FCIP and NFIP" by Jennifer Webb in IA Magazine

"House Committee Considers NFIP Reauthorization Package" by Jen McPhillips & Jennifer Webb in IA Magazine

​FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) was signed and approved by President Obama on March 21, 2014. This bill introduces changes to the NFIP to address some of the unintended consequences resulting from the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 (BW12). 

April 2015 - FEMA summary Bulletin W-14053

FEMA is rolled out the second wave of HFIAA changes, in effect April 1, 2015, of which they detailed in Bulletin W-14053

To help you clearly understand what to expect come April and how it may impact your customers, Selective prepared an overview of the changes, including information on new surcharges, residence verification, maximum deductibles, premium increases, fee increases, map policies and more. FEMA's HFIAA April Fact Sheet is another great resource.

View Selective presentation

View FEMA factsheet

View FEMA Bulletin W-14053​

May 2014 - FEMA Bulletin W-14014

FEMA recently published Bulletin W-14014 to provide rating guidance for the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013. To help you quickly identify the key elements of the bulletin, Selective has summarized it for you with answers to several commonly asked questions as well as links to the original bulletin.

Screenshot of Selective's summary of FEMA Bulletin W-14014

Download/view Selective's summary of FEMA Bulletin W-14014

If you have any questions or you would like more information, please email Big “I” Flood Specialist Jeff St.John or SC Selective Flood Territory Manager Tammy Goodman

In a striking legal victory for independent insurance agencies and the Big “I”, a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling to overturn the DOL overtime rule. The decision applies on a nationwide basis. The overtime rule (finalized under the Obama Administration) required that many employees who were not previously legally entitled to overtime be paid overtime. 

Pending a possible appeal by the Trump Administration, the overtime rule will not go into effect. Agencies are still legally required to comply with current state and federal labor laws, but they will not be liable for complying with the 2016 federal overtime rule. While agencies do not need to implement changes to comply with the 2016 federal overtime rule update at this time, changes to current law could be made in the future.

(+ Learn more about the recent court decision)

The ruling is the result of lawsuits filed by the Big “I”, other business groups, and 21 state governments. The Big “I” is the only insurance trade association to join the lawsuits for promulgating an overreaching and overly complex rule on overtime pay. 

The Big ‘I’ looks forward to continuing to work with the DOL and the Trump Administration to pursue appropriate small business regulation and to ensure that any potential, future changes to the overtime rule are workable.

In short, under the rule:

  • For any employee who is classified as exempt (does not require overtime pay) under the administrative, executive, professional or computer “white-collar” exemptions and makes less than $47,476, employers must either re-classify them as non-exempt (which would mean they require overtime pay) or raise their salary over the threshold. The $47,476 threshold is a 100 percent increase from the current $23,660.

  • Nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments, including commissions, can satisfy up to 10 percent of the $47,476 salary threshold.

  • Any employee who is properly classified under the “highly compensated employee” exemption must earn at least $134,004 in total compensation. The $134,004 threshold is a 34 percent increase from the current $100,000.

  • Starting in 2020, both the $47,476 and $134,004 thresholds will be automatically updated every three years. Thresholds are expected to reach $51,168 and $147,524, respectively.

UPDATE: Nov. 22, 2016


Response from Charles Symington, IIABA Senior VP of External Governmental Affairs:

"The Big ‘I’ is pleased with U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant’s decision to grant an injunction to stop the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule from taking effect pending the outcome of ongoing litigation. Earlier this year, the Big ‘I’ joined more than 55 other business groups, as well as 21 state governments, in filing lawsuits challenging the DOL overtime rule. The rule, should it go into effect, will have a significant impact on many Big ‘I’ agencies and their small business and non-profit clients. As litigation continues, the Big ‘I’—the only insurance trade association to sue the DOL—will continue to use all means necessary to fight this overly burdensome rule."

Lawsuit announcement

Our national association joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 12 other national trade associations in September 2016 in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Labor (DOL) to halt its recently promulgated overtime rule set to go into effect Dec. 1. 

“This misguided overtime rule will negatively impact independent insurance agencies and their employees,” says Bob Rusbuldt Big “I” president and CEO. “The Big ‘I’ believes the lawsuit highlights the burdens this regulation places on many businesses across the country, and the harm it will do to many employees who will lose the flexibility and benefits traditionally associated with exempt employment positions. This rule is a jobs killer and it needs to be fixed.”     

The DOL overtime rule, finalized in May, includes raising by 100 percent (from $23,660 to $47,476) the monetary threshold at which employees can qualify for the so-called “white collar” overtime exemptions. The rule pegs the threshold to inflation. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and asks the court to set aside the new rule. The lawsuit is also seeking injunctive relief barring the DOL from implementing the rule until the court has finished reviewing the case.

“The lawsuit takes aim at the arbitrary and excessive 100 percent increase in the monetary threshold required to be exempt from overtime, as well as the mechanism for automatically updating the threshold,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “The Big ‘I’ is the only insurance trade association to join the lawsuit. We believe this lawsuit is a necessary step to help protect our members, many of which are small businesses, against unreasonable regulatory overreach by the Department of Labor.”

A coalition of 21 states also filed a separate challenge to the rule.


​In the biggest legislative win for the Big “I” in well over a decade, the U.S. Congress passed H.R. 26 during the first full week of January and it has been signed into law by President Obama. This legislative package includes BOTH a six-year extension of TRIA and the Big “I” preferred, permanent version of NARAB II to streamline nonresident licensing. 

The basic mechanism is simple. Once an agent or broker is licensed in good standing in their home state, they could choose to apply to NARAB for membership. By meeting membership criteria, they could operate in any other state. Members would still have to pay each state's fees, but NARAB would still seamlessly and efficiently reduce their administrative burden.

For details, download and view the Big "I" Member Guide to NARAB II. Implementation of NARAB II will begin almost immediately after enactment, but we likely will not see NARAB II “go live” for at least two years (in 2017).​​

Our national association has prepared two documents to further explain the changes to nonresident licensing:

In the biggest legislative win for the Big “I” in well over a decade, the U.S. Congress passed H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, during the first full week of January, and it has been signed into law by the President. This legislative package included a six-year extension of TRIA and the Big “I” preferred, permanent version of NARAB II to streamline nonresident licensing. 

The bill reauthorizes the TRIA program “retroactively” to the Dec. 31, 2014 expiration, and most experts expect little market disruption to occur.

Our national association has prepared a section-by-section summary of the TRIA extension to further explain this landmark insurance legislation.  ​​

View section-by-section summary of the TRIA extension

​​The U.S. Dept. of Treasury's Federal Insurance Office has released the report on how to modernize and improve insurance regulation required by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

The report also specifically calls on Congress to enact the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Act (NARAB II). It says that “consumers are detrimentally affected by the absence of uniformity and reciprocity in producer licensing” and that “NARAB II must provide producers an efficient and streamlined multistate licensing mechanism.”

The Big “I” strongly supports NARAB II and believes its approach of using narrow and targeted federal legislation to address a long-standing, persistent problem in the market is the correct approach for modernizing insurance regulation.

View/download 2017 report