The debate in the industry over an optional federal charter for insurance companies has been brewing for several years. But now, there are some numbers that attest to the value of a single federal regulator-at least for the life insurance sector.More than $250 million, or 55% of all regulatory costs, are directly related to addressing the requirements of multiple regulatory jurisdictions, according to a recent study conducted by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Washington, D.C., and El Segundo, Calif.-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). A majority of respondents to the ACLI/CSC survey indicated their companies had lost premium (73%) and deferred or shelved products (83%) as a result of delays in the state-by-state approval process. What's more, nearly every aspect of a life insurer's delivery system is affected by regulatory costs-from designing new products to paying claims.

Under a single regulatory authority, life insurers' regulatory expenses-which amount to $1.1 billion industrywide-could be reduced by more than half, according to the study. And. over time, that savings could exceed $600 million per year.

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