NU Online News Service, March 13, 8:44 a.m. EST

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents said it will hold its annual 2011 PIA Federal Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. on March 30-31.

“This year’s PIA summit occurs as professional insurance agents face new challenges. Fortunately, the environment on Capitol Hill has undergone a transformation which may benefit our issues,” said PIA National President Fred Thomas.

Mr. Thomas said that among the issues members will discuss with their Congressional representatives will be opposition to both federal regulation of insurance and an optional federal charter. He said the association’s support of state regulation “remains steadfast.”

Members will also urge legislators to exempt health insurance agent commissions from the medical loss ratio (MLR) formula that will be used by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to calculate allowable expenses under the 2010 health care reform law.

They will also push for a reversal of a mandate that the newly created Federal Insurance Office conduct a study of insurance regulation and make recommendations to Congress. Mr. Thomas said such a study “creates an ideological conflict-of-interest.”

Members will also ask their Congressional representative to pass a five-year extension for the National Flood Insurance Program. Additionally, they will advocate for the creation of a national natural catastrophe plan.

The meeting will begin with an issues briefing on March 30 at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, Va.

Also on hand, award winning journalist Bob Woodward will be the keynote speaker at the March 31 breakfast. A reception will be held that evening after a day of meetings with Congressional representatives on Capital Hill.

The evening’s reception will be followed by the annual fundraising and awards dinner of the PIA Political Action Committee. The evening’s speaker will be Gary Walters. Mr. Walters worked at the White House for over 30 years, and was the chief usher there from 1986-2007.