Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s Blueprint for Financial Regulatory Reform landed in the insurance industry’s lap this week with all the subtly of a hand grenade. Indeed, Paulson’s plan brought to the fore an issue many thought would spend the year dormant, eclipsed by election-year politics. Though hardly a centerpiece of the document, the plan’s call for an establishment of an optional federal charter (OFC) for insurers quickly summoned partisans on both sides of the issue to the barricades.

“The proposal for change comes at a propitious time. Congress will soon examine the causes behind the recent market turbulence and restart its review of insurance regulation reform legislation,” says Frank Keating, president & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

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