Washington - The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) is pressing its case that it is possible to streamline and improve the current insurance regulatory system without launching a complete overhaul.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Chuck Chamness, NAMIC’s president and CEO, said reforming the current state-based regulatory system is best for insurance consumers and companies. Chamness said the current regulatory system is not so in need of repair as to warrant a federal takeover. “The property/casualty insurance industry has never had a taxpayer bailout,” he said. “The same cannot be said for other divisions of the financial services industry that are regulated by the federal government.

Specifically, Chamness said NAMIC supports legislation to create an Office of Insurance Information (OII), as long as it is accompanied by the strongest confidentiality and privilege protections, is limited in scope, has a well-balanced advisory panel with limited preemptive authority and is subject to congressional oversight.

The bill to create an OII, H.R. 5840, was introduced by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., in June. “Representative Kanjorski’s bill addresses two key points raised by proponents of an OFC: assuring that information on the insurance industry is available to the federal government–especially in times of crisis–and providing a process for agreements on international trade,” Chamness said. “Therefore, we believe the establishment of an OII diminishes the argument for an OFC.”

Chamness also touted H.R. 1065, the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2007, to modernize the regulation of nonadmitted insurance and reinsurance companies, and H.R. 5611, the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act or NARAB II, which would establish licensing reciprocity for insurance producers that operate in multiple states.

Source: NAMIC

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