Washington - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has asked its members to challenge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent endorsement of optional federal charters for insurers.

Optional federal charters would grant insurers the right to choose state or federal regulation.

"PIA is disappointed that … the national U.S. Chamber has taken a position on optional federal charters that we believe is clearly not in the best interest of agents, taxpayers or insurance consumers," says Len Brevik, PIA executive vice president and CEO.

Brevik has urged PIA members to express their displeasure by sending letters to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or by speaking up at local Chamber meetings.

"Main Street insurance agents who are active members of their local Chambers of Commerce care about business conditions in their own communities," Brevik says. "They do not believe that all roads lead to Washington, D.C. They know local business is best served by state-based regulation.”

Oversight from Washington would be less efficient, less responsive and more costly, according to Brevik. Small businesses and taxpayers would pay for a new federal insurance bureaucracy if the government grants federal charters, he says.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and cites federal legislation introduced during the previous Congress by Sens. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), as well as companion legislation introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.). No bills on optional federal charters have been introduced in the current session of Congress.

"Our opponents are attempting to convince members of Congress that our state-based system of insurance oversight is 'broken' and in need of a fix," says Donna L. Pile, PIA National President of Lexington, Kentucky. "There's just one problem: it is not broken.”

PIA members are set to converge on Washington in the next few days to lobby Congress against federal insurance regulation during the association's 25th annual Federal Legislative Summit.

A prominent insurance executive argues in favor of federal regulation in a guest column in the June issue of Insurance Networking News.

Source: PIA

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