By Scott Maker, senior vice president, Government Affairs
With mid-term elections right around the corner, there’s no shortage of political noise and posturing in Washington. Despite these distractions, Unum and the industry remain focused on raising awareness among policymakers of the importance of income protection in achieving financial security for workers and in developing policies that will enhance the availability and affordability of these products.
You may recall that the industry is pursuing legislation to expand the number of individuals who have access to private income protection at the workplace. The proposal would facilitate auto-enrollment for employers by clarifying that it is a permissible activity under federal law. Draft legislation reflecting this proposal has been well-received by legislators, administration officials and others, and the industry continues to build broad support.
Separately, Unum has been engaging thought leaders and policymakers in a dialogue about ways to expand the availability of workplace financial protection products. With the help of a Washington public relations firm, we’ve been working to educate legislators and opinion makers about our company, our industry and the important ways that workplace financial protection products help both consumers and taxpayers. We’ve launched an integrated, digital communications campaign and you can view the campaign headquarters at ProtectingYourIncome.org.
In addition to our communications campaign, we are participating in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Leader’s Council. The BPC is the only Washington think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship as it works to address some of the key challenges facing the nation. The BPC’s Economic Policy Program includes an initiative that will focus on personal financial security issues and will address, among other things, the role of private disability insurance in helping ensure that Americans are financially secure. This partnership with the BPC will provide us with another avenue for getting the message out about the safety net our products can provide for working Americans.
At the state level, we are exploring opportunities for states to encourage more employers to make financial protection benefits available to their employees. At the recent National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) summer meeting, state insurance legislators heard an educational presentation on “Disability in America – The Toll it Takes and Why Taxpayers Should Care.” The session generated interest in the impact of private coverage on employees, employers and state budgets. In partnership with the industry, we continue our outreach to ensure that state legislators and regulators understand the value our industry provides to their constituents.
We appreciate your partnership in promoting our industry’s public policy message. If you have any questions about these issues, please feel free to contact Scott Maker in Unum’s Government Affairs department at firstname.lastname@example.org.