Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of how a bill becomes a law, let’s throw a wrench into the works. Oftentimes, the fate of a piece of legislation is affected by lobbyists – a group of people who try to influence the thinking of legislators or other public officials on a specific cause.
As a multi-billion dollar business, the insurance industry is sure to have lobbyists – strong ones – camped out on Capitol Hill. How strong? The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) – the nation’s leading full-service property and casualty trade association – recently grabbed the 59th spot in “Fortune” magazine’s ranking of the country’s top lobbying groups.*
The NAII beat such influential groups as the American Bar Association (No. 61), the Christian Coalition (No. 65) and America’s Community Bankers (No. 68).
NAII President and CEO Jack Ramirez attributes his association’s high ranking on the list to the expertise of its government relations staff in Washington, as well as active involvement by executives and employees of the association’s 690 member companies.
“This combination of skilled staffers and concerned insurance professionals exerts a collective influence that gets things done,” Ramirez says. “We’re in daily communication with legislators and their staffs on Capitol Hill and in district offices, supplying information and collecting feedback.”
According to NAII, strong personal relationships between NAII lobbyists, member company executives and members of Congress are “the backbone of the association’s political efforts.” In addition, NAII utilizes NAIIPAC, the property and casualty industry’s largest political action committee, to contribute to candidates and incumbents who share the association’s principles. More than 120 congressional candidates who received NAIIPAC financial support were elected in 2000.
*The “Fortune” survey was conducted by mail in March and April 2001 by two polling firms. “Fortune” sent surveys to more than 2,900 people, including every member of Congress, senior Capitol Hill staff, senior White House aides, professional lobbyists and top-ranking officers of the largest lobbying groups in Washington. More than 13 percent responded.