As legislators from both chambers craft compromise legislation that would establish a federal insurance regulator, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) is urging conference committee members to adopt the House version of the legislation.

The IIABA appeal comes on the heels of a letter from a coalition of associations representing insurers and reinsurers urging the legislators to adopt the Senate version of the legislation.

While both the Senate and House bills call for creation of an Office of National Insurance (ONI) housed within the Treasury Department, the bills vary over how much preemptive power over state insurance regulations to grant the ONI. In a statement, IIABA SVP of government affairs Charles Symington asked legislators to make some additional changes to the legislation to enshrine the primacy of state regulation of insurance.

The Big ‘I’ would like to thank Chairmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Ranking Members Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and the other members of the conference committee for recognizing that state insurance regulation has operated effectively during the financial crisis to protect consumers and for agreeing to make some important improvements to the language creating a federal insurance information office,” Symington said. “However, two essential changes remain: properly defining international insurance agreements by using the House ‘covered agreements’ language and providing for de novo review of preemption decisions by the new Federal Insurance Office. Making these additional changes will go a long way to ensure that the goals of the office are met while limiting inappropriate preemption of state insurance laws. We urge the conferees to support the House language on these matters.”



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