The Director of Federal Affairs for SPBA cultivates expertise in a number of regulatory areas important to TPAs (third party administrators) and serves as a resource to and liaison with federal officials. Likewise, he/she monitors and writes about the Washington political scene as it relates to employee benefit issues relevant to SPBA member TPAs, and offers insights into future actions. Knowledge of the employee benefit regulatory environment (health) impacting member TPAs is required or must be developed. The Director works collaboratively with the SPBA government relations team to understand the issues being followed and worked. Ability to interface collaboratively with federal agency officials and understand the issue from the policymaker perspective is required to be an effective liaison. Existing federal agency relations in our target area is a plus.
SPBA is nonpartisan. TPA member clients reflect a wide variety of political opinions and SPBA does not want to serve as a source of conflict with client political leanings. SPBA staff does not engage in active lobbying of members of Congress (with some rare exceptions). We provide insights and education and encourage our members to develop relationships with their congressional representatives as people who have a real-world perspective on what will and will not work.
The Director is employed by ACL, Inc., the management company that runs the SPBA trade association. The Director does not supervise other roles in the office.
Optimal candidate must have the ability to:
Serve as Resource and Liaison with Federal Officials
Establish relationships with regulators and other parts of government and organizations to provide input as a subject matter expert (not a lobbyist) on the employee benefit regulatory environment (health) impacting TPAs. Expertise in ERISA preemption, ERISA fiduciary, MEWA, and commissions are some of the areas where expertise should be developed.
Stay Informed/Assess Relevance of Current Event Information to Our Industry
Read a variety of sources to stay informed on political developments and understand the big picture. (ACL, Inc. has developed a list of resources.) Being aware of what other groups are doing: the medical community, medical-issue groups and health-related Congressional Committees, and lobbying groups.
Effectively Alert and Educate Trade Association Members
Through experience working in a trade association environment, Director is able to quickly summarize a situation and place it in context for our members, presenting information in a way that will be meaningful to the varying functions and roles within TPA firms (CEO, COO, compliance, marketing claim administrators, etc. Ability to speak in front of members at Spring and Fall Annual Membership Meetings (approximately 300 people), with travel required for Fall Meeting.
One of the primary goals of SPBA is to help TPA members stay informed on the Washington political scene. We strive to educate our members so they can share insights and forecasts with their clients so they are prepared for what may happen. For example, leading up to a Presidential election, we provided thoughts on how health policy could be impacted depending on which candidate was elected.
Strong writing skills are a must: members often take our written material and adapt it for their clients. The Director writes email alerts when needed and contributes to the monthly SPBA UPDATE publication and SPBA website. Likewise, she/he contributes to planning webinars and educational sessions at the two annual meetings.
Gather Member Input and Answer Member Questions
The Director must genuinely take an interest in the members and draws out their unique experiences. Stories and questions from members often reveal insights into issues that we have not considered. Some members have deep political connections and can give us invaluable insights. While SPBA members are fierce competitors in the marketplace, they have a family attitude about SPBA and are willing to help fellow members and share experiences.
Coach/Advise SPBA Members
The Director will provide guidance to trade association members on how to talk to congressional representatives about issues to ensure members are able to best represent themselves and their industry’s interests to elected officials and staff.
Update and Collaborate with Fellow SPBA Support Staff
Close work with the government relations team is essential to ensure the team is benefiting and incorporating the insights of the Director of Political Affairs to programs and information for the benefit of entire membership.
Uphold Flexibility and Adaptability as a Key Team Member
SPBA’s support staff is comprised of small office and the candidate must be a team player, willing to adapt to the changing preferences of members and the Board. Willingness to develop an understanding of the association's operations finance, and technology needs.