The primary focus of the Big “I” during the COVID-19 pandemic has been advocating for independent agents and their clients on Capitol Hill and with the administration. Additionally, however, the Big “I” has been working on behalf of the trade associations representing those small businesses. The Big “I,” working in tandem with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), sent letters this week to congressional leadership advocating for support for 501(c)(6) organizations in the next coronavirus aid package. Without support, many associations will be unable to continue to provide the services on which so many members rely. This is the second series of letters that the Big “I” has sent alongside ASAE to advocate for trade association financial assistance.
The letter urges Congress to appropriate $25 billion for associations' financial losses from cancelled conferences and events and to include 501(c)(6) organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program or similar Small Business Administration loan expansions in the next coronavirus legislative package.
Access to direct aid and loans will allow trade associations across the country, including the Big “I,” our state associations, and local chapters, to continue to train America’s workforce, create industry and professional standards, and disseminate essential information and resources to people in need—particularly during the current time of crisis.
Meanwhile, the Big “I” chose to send its own letter to congressional leaders as the ASAE letter also included support and sought action on a Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). The Big “I” is still evaluating PRIA and other potential policy proposals to cover future pandemics and has not yet taken a position on PRIA. The PRIA concept has been met with initial skepticism by some in the insurance marketplace.
As Big “I” members and their clients look for guidance on federal and state action in the days, weeks and months ahead, the Big “I” is making the most up-to-date government affairs information available on our coronavirus resource page.
Joseph Cortina is Big “I” director, federal government affairs.