As part of PIA’s Virtual Advocacy Day last Wednesday, PIACT and CTYIP leaders met with staff members from the offices of Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Rep. John Larson, D-1, and Rep. Jim Himes, D-5.
PIACT and CTYIP leadership included the following:
- PIACT President Shannon Rabbett, CIC,
- PIACT President-elect Bud O’Neil, CPIA,
- PIACT Treasurer and CTYIP past President Nicholas Ruickoldt, CPIA,
- PIACT past President and PIA National Director Jon Black, LUTCF, CPIA,
- PIACT Director Chris Paradiso,
- PIACT Director and CTYIP immediate past President Katie Bailey CPIA, ACSR, CLCS,
- CTYIP President Anthony DeSalva,
- CTYIP President-elect Ryan Kelly,
- CTYIP Secretary Jim Kannengeiser, and
- CTYIP Treasurer Robyn Ricciardone.
During the meetings, PIACT, CTYIP and the legislators discussed a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, the need for a safe harbor for insurance agencies that sell coverage to state-legal cannabis businesses, and the importance of making the tax cut for S corporations permanent. Additionally, PIACT discussed how businesses are faring as the state reopens.
Regarding flood insurance, PIA’s top priority is a multiyear extension of the NFIP, which includes provisions that would improve the program for policyholders. According to insurance producers, it is important that the reimbursement rate for the Write-Your-Own policies does not get cut so that it can continue to make sense for independent agents to sell and provide services for NFIP policies.
Currently, the NFIP includes grandfather clauses that keep rates from rising too quickly for policyholders to afford their insurance. A policyholder can continue to qualify for these rates only if they maintain continuous NFIP coverage. PIA advocates for the clause to include continuous flood coverage, which would allow homeowners to purchase private flood insurance without losing the grandfathered NFIP rates. Additionally, PIA requests that the extension include funding for improved mapping and mitigation measures.
Tax deduction extension
Following the 20% tax deduction for passthrough and S corporations in 2017, PIACT leaders advocated for the deduction to be permanent. Currently, the deduction is set to expire at the end of 2025. PIACT emphasized the importance of the tax deduction to small businesses, and asked the legislators at the meeting to cosponsor or support the Main Street Tax Certainty Act (H.R.1381/S.480), which would make the deduction permanent if it is signed into law. While the deduction will not expire during this congressional session, PIACT leaders discussed the issue to illustrate the importance of the deduction.
Federal safe harbor
PIA successfully advocated for the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2021 to pass the U.S. House in April, The bill would provide a federal safe harbor for financial services and insurance businesses to provide products and services to state-legal cannabis businesses.
PIACT leaders had the opportunity to personally thank Rep. Himes for co-sponsoring the resolution, and thanked staffers from Rep. Larson and Sen. Murphy’s offices for co-sponsoring of the legislation in their respective chambers.
Although states Legislatures may legalize cannabis for various uses and regulate it at the state level, it remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. Insurance agencies already sell policies to cannabis businesses that are legal in their states—a detail the PIACT leaders highlighted. The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 simply would ensure these insurance agents are not risking federal penalties for selling products such as workers’ compensation and general liability insurance to state-legal cannabis businesses.
Clare Irvine, Esq.
Clare Irvine, Esq., graduated from Fordham University School of Law and Arizona State University.