The structural underpinnings of the proposed National Insurance Consumer Protection and Regulatory Modernization Act (NICPRMA) are coming into view.

Most notably, the act creates a federal regulator, the Office of National Insurance (ONI), to oversee federally chartered insurance companies, agencies and producers. States would maintain oversight responsibilities for companies not opting for the federal charter.

According to the sponsors, the law will ensure there is a physical ONI office in every state, housed in either the Office of the Ombudsman or the Division of Consumer Affairs.

If the proposed law is enacted, national insurers will be required to file forms directly to the ONI. The agency will also examine insurers and agencies to make sure they are adhering to financial and market conduct guidelines. Also of great import, the NICPRMA will require nationally chartered insurers and agencies to have a consumer liaison dedicated to handling consumer complaints.

The sponsors of the bill, Reps. Ed Royce (R - Calif.) and Melissa Bean (D -Ill.), are expected to introduce it in the House in the next few weeks.

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