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Big ‘I’ Leaders Named Among Top D.C. Lobbyists

The Hill, a prominent political newspaper, has once again named Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president & CEO, and Charles Symington, Big “I" senior vice president of external, industry and government affairs, among the top trade association lobbyists in Washington, D.C. this year.

As in previous years, the Big “I" was the only property-casualty insurance agent or broker group to make the list, where Rusbuldt and Symington rub shoulders with powerbrokers from various Fortune 500 companies including Walmart, Amazon, Exxon Mobil and AT&T.

“Not all of those honored on this list are registered lobbyists," the newspaper reported in its announcement earlier this week. “But they are all key players who the nation's biggest companies, advocacy groups, labor unions and trade associations turn to when they want their voices heard in the nation's capital."

The publication also noted that this was an especially busy and important year for lobbying, given the leadership changes in Congress and pressing pandemic issues. In particular, The Hill referenced the COVID-19 relief package, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending plan, on which the Big “I" has duly represented the interests of independent insurance agents and brokers.

“The Big 'I' is proud to have our president & CEO and senior vice president of government affairs recognized, once again, by one of the premier political newspapers in the country," said Bob Fee, Big “I" chairman and president of Fee Insurance in Hutchinson, Kansas.

“It is an honor to be selected for this list and serves as a testament to the hard work of Bob Rusbuldt, Charles Symington and the entire government affairs team," Fee said. “Their meaningful relationships and dedication result in our association being named among the most influential in the country time and again."

A vital component of the association's advocacy efforts is InsurPac, a multimillion-dollar political action committee. It develops and strengthens relationships with elected officials and candidates for federal office, amplifying the Big “I" brand on Capitol Hill.

During the 2020 election cycle, InsurPac disbursed $1,948,000 to a total of 254 federal campaigns, winning at least 237 of them, resulting in a 93% victory rate. In disbursing this money, InsurPac did not look at party affiliation; as always, it gave money to representatives, senators and candidates for federal office that have been friends and advocates of the independent agency system.

2021 marks the 125th anniversary of the Big “I," which formed in 1896 as the National Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents. The association's political involvement is long and storied. Most famously, the Yonkers case in 1903 solidified agents' ownership of expirations and secured their future.

To learn more about the storied past of the Big “I," check out the 125th Anniversary Supplement that appeared in the September 2021 edition of Independent Agent magazine. Big “I" members can read the entire 125th anniversary edition in an all-new digital format here.

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Regan Ellmer

Director of Government Affairs