The Director of Political Affairs develops expertise in a number of regulatory areas important to TPAs (third party administrators) and serves as a resource to and liaison with federal officials, as well as 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 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 works and what 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.
Responsibilities and Skills
Serves 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 as a lobbyist) on the employee benefit regulatory environment (health) impacting TPAs.
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.
Skill: Understand what is relevant to our members.
Alert and Educate Members
One of the goals of SPBA is to help TPA members be informed on the Washington political arena. 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. 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. The Director contributes to planning webinars and educational sessions at the two annual meetings.
Skill: Strong writing skills. Ability to quickly summarize a situation and place it in context for our members. Ability to present 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 two annual meetings (approximately 300 people).
Gather Member Input and Answer Member Questions
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 valuable insights. Note: We must be careful not to identify them or reveal their sources unless they give us approval first.
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.
Skill: Genuinely takes an interest in the members and draws out their unique experiences.
Alert and Educate SPBA Staff on Developments
Collaborating with the government relations team is essential to ensure the team is benefiting and incorporating the insights of the Director of Political Affairs.
The government relations staff leads issues based on each person’s technical expertise.
Expertise in ERISA preemption, ERISA fiduciary, MEWA, and commissions are some of the areas where expertise should be developed.
Additional Salary Information: Salary depends on experience and knowledge in employee benefit arena. A simplified employee pension contribution is available after one year of service.