Indianapolis and Washington - During the past few months, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to repeal or alter the existing limited antitrust exemptions afforded under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.Many associations and organizations have publicly opposed the repeal. Among those are the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA).
"NAMIC opposes any change to, or repeal of, the existing antitrust exemptions afforded under the McCarran-Ferguson Act," says Chuck Chamness, NAMIC's president and CEO. "Such actions could place smaller and regional firms at a distinct disadvantage, increase consumer costs, reduce consumer choice, and seriously undermine competition."
Washington-based IIABA is also concerned about the effects of a repeal. "We are concerned that repeal of McCarran-Ferguson's limited federal antitrust exemption for the business of insurance would have a direct negative impact on insurance consumers, independent agents and small and medium sized insurers in the marketplace," the Big "I" said in testimony earlier this year. "We believe that the qualified application of federal antitrust law to this sector has served both the market and consumers well, and there is little evidence indicating that wholesale changes to the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption are needed or even desirable."
These two organizations are taking action to educate insurers and agents/brokers about the concerns and misconceptions about the act.
On April 27 the IIABA will host its annual Big "I" Legislative Conference & Convention. Each year during the legislative conference, Big "I" agents and brokers hold hundreds of meetings with their elected officials on Capitol Hill to share their perspective on how legislation affects their business. One of the top issues this year, according to IIABA, is the McCarran-Ferguson Act.
Indianapolis-based NAMIC created a resource center dedicated to addressing the concerns and misconceptions about the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The McCarran-Ferguson Act Resource Center found online at www.namic.org/policy/mfa.asp offers a plethora of objective information on the law that is vital to assuring a competitive insurance marketplace and stable rates for consumers.
Included at the resource center are:
- Explanations of the Act and how it promotes competition within the insurance industry
- Issue statements and position papers
- NAMIC news releases
- Industry coverage
- Opposing viewpoints
- Action steps to prevent repeal
- Bloggers' comments
Sources: National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
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