Irma Forces NAIFA to Cancel Annual Conference

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The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors has canceled its 2017 annual conference in the Orlando, Florida, area because of Hurricane Irma.

NAIFA was preparing to bring about 1,500 life insurance agents and financial advisors to the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel from Friday through Sunday. The Falls Church, Virginia-based group had scheduled a vote on a major chapter realignment proposal for the conference business meeting.

(Related: Why NAIFA Needs to Update Its Bylaws)

Paul Dougherty, NAIFA’s president, and Keith Gillies, NAIFA’s president-elect, wrote in an open letter announcing the cancellation that the group plans to reschedule the business meeting.

“Information will be forthcoming,” the NAIFA leaders said.

For people who were hoping to run exhibit hall booths, give presentations, and enjoy the exhibit hall and presentations, “additional information will be sent and posted as available,” the NAIFA leaders said.

Irma’s Path

At press time, Irma’s eye was passing just north of Puerto Rico with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and gusts of up to 225 miles per hour.

Irma path forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now show the storm passing over the Orlando area with hurricane-strength winds between Monday morning and Sunday morning.

People who live along the Florida coast are already evacuating to the Orlando area and filling every available hotel and motel room. Many airlines are letting travelers who were planning to fly through Orlando International Airport over the next few days change their reservations without paying the usual route-change penalties.

Organizers of another major Orlando event, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, have postponed that event to Oct. 11 through Oct. 13, from Sept. 10 through Sept. 13.

Irma and Harvey

Dougherty and Gillies said they canceled the NAIFA conference because of concerns about the safety of NAIFA members, members’ families and NAIFA’s guests.

“This storm has the potential of being a catastrophic event, and our thoughts are with all those in Irma’s path, as well as those still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” Dougherty and Gillies said.

NAIFA recently activated a nonprofit fund to provide a vehicle members and others can use to support agents and financial advisors hurt by Harvey. NAIFA itself is contributing $10,000 to the fund, and it’s hoping other individuals and groups will also make donations. 

—Read Will LTC Providers Keep Your Clients Safe from Disasters? on ThinkAdvisor.

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