Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm
The Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters (WAHU) annual convention will be held Sept. 13-15 at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The association has 550 members, of which 300 meet annually to explore the health industry.
"It’s our annual fall sales conference, but it’s not business as usual," said Jon Rauser, WAHU president. "There’s a lot of pressure for the private sector and public sector to do something about health care costs. States such as Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine have passed sweeping legislation changing the way that heath care is financed. Premiums are high because health care costs a lot. If health care costs are continuing to go up and no one can afford it, everyone gets involved. There are various bills being proposed in Wisconsin, and much like Maine and Vermont, it is sweeping legislation. Given that there is that much activity, we’re not just going to convene, party and talk about new products. We’re going to talk about legislative issues."
WAHU meets twice annually, once in February in Madison with legislators to assist in the crafting of legislation and again in the fall.
"In the past, we’ve focused on showing one another sales ideas," Rauser said. "The insurance carriers set up exhibits and show us their newest and best products so we get smart and go out and sell."
This year is different, however.
"Given the pressure from legislators for our business to reform itself, we’ve certainly changed the theme of our conference to get our members more attuned to what’s going on in other states. We can be better advocates of the private sector if we understand what’s going on around us. A lot of our speakers are talking about health care as a legislative issue," said Rauser, who is president of The Rauser Agency in Milwaukee.
The convention will begin with a golf outing at the Brown Deer Golf Course, which will raise up to $30,000 for the Breast Cancer Recovery and Juvenile Diabetes Research foundations. Afterward, the health insurance brokers and agents will attend a meet-and-greet with University of Wisconsin-Madison athletic director Barry Alvarez.
The core of the conference will be on Sept. 14. The speakers addressing health care and the legislation associated with it will include Kellyanne Conway, president and chief executive officer of Washington D.C. and New York-based The Polling Co., who is a renowned expert on polling matters. She will speak about the probable impact of the upcoming fall elections on health care.
Thomas Harte, a New Hampshire broker who is the former national chairman of the Legislative Council for National Association of Health Underwriters, will talk about what a broker’s role is in America today.
"We have an incredible opportunity to help consumers be better purchasers of health care," said Rauser, who will talk about the single-payer systems already in place in Canada and Western Europe and how they may fit into American health care.
The conference will conclude Sept. 15 with Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan performing an invocation and scheduled speeches from the candidates for governor, current Gov. Jim Doyle and U.S. Rep. Mark Green.
Small Business Times is a media sponsor for WAHU Conference.