BIG “I” PRAISES HOUSE FOR STEP FORWARD ON REGULATORY REFORM
House passes surplus lines bill, H.R. 5637
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 27, 2006—The House of Representatives took a step forward today in reforming state insurance regulation by passing H.R. 5637, the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2006.
The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) supports the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) and Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), and today thanked the House for moving forward.
“This bill’s common-sense, pragmatic approach is just what we need to get the ball rolling on real reform of insurance regulation,” says Big “I” CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “We believe it not only eliminates duplication in surplus lines regulation, but that it can also serve as a shining example of how responsible insurance reform can occur—by using targeted federal legislation to address areas of concern while retaining the strengths of the current regulatory system.”
The Big “I” testified last week before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee in support of the bill, which singles out two areas—surplus lines regulation and reinsurance supervision—where there is general consensus for early action, and that independent insurance agents and brokers play a crucial role in surplus lines (or nonadmitted) insurance, which provides coverage for unique or hard-to-place property/casualty risks. It streamlines surplus lines regulation by making the insured’s home state the source of regulation for individual surplus lines transactions. Additionally, the bill’s second title would seek to reduce overlapping, multiple-state regulation of both reinsurer financial condition and credit-for-reinsurance. This is important to the Big “I” due to its reaffirmation of state-based regulation, which the Big “I” supports, but also recognizes is in need of reform.
The Big “I” praised the bill’s sponsors, as well as Chairman Richard Baker (R-La.) of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises for his leadership on this issue and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for her hard work on this legislation.
“This is a great bill for the industry, for agents and brokers, and for consumers, and we hope to see it move forward from here as soon as possible,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs and federal relations. “We thank Representatives Brown-Waite and Moore for their bipartisan, middle-ground approach and pledge our ongoing support. We also thank Chairman Baker for moving the bill quickly through the House of Representatives. We look forward to working with Chairman Baker and other members of the House on additional reforms to the insurance regulatory system, most importantly in the area of agent licensing.”
Founded in 1896, IIABA (the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.