WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 2008—The Big “I” today expresses its strong support for bipartisan agent licensing reform legislation introduced by Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) and Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky). This legislation is also supported by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
H.R. 5611, a follow-up to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and commonly referred to as NARAB II, would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving the market conduct rights of states and their ability to supervise agents and brokers. This NARAB reform legislation would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among NARAB members, leading to greater consumer choice, the original goals of the GLBA
“The current state regulatory system has worked effectively to ensure insurer solvency and protect both individual consumers and businesses,” says Big “I” Chairman Robert E. Fulwider. “However, our regulatory system needs reform in several areas, including agent licensing. The average independent agency is authorized to operate in at least eight states. That means complying with seven additional sets of non-resident rules that often serve no consumer benefit. This bill would reform and improve the current state-based system of insurance regulation by providing one-stop, non-resident licensing reciprocity.”
NARAB II would build upon regulatory experience at the state level and promote consistency, streamline procedures from state to state and preserve marketplace responsiveness. The result for all stakeholders would be a more efficient, modernized and workable system of insurance agent licensing.
“Big ‘I’ members from all over the country encounter unnecessary and duplicative non-resident licensing requirements that cost them time and money, and these expenses are ultimately detrimental to insurance consumers,” says Big “I” President & CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “The NARAB Reform Act would solve these difficulties created by a lack of true reciprocal licensing and also would not impact agents who are satisfied with the current system. This bill only applies to non-resident licensing and does not pertain to resident licensing in any way.”
The NARAB Reform Act only relates to marketplace entry and would not impact the day-to-day state regulation of insurance. Additionally, NARAB would not be part of, or report to, any federal agency and would not have any federal regulatory power.
“We commend Reps. Scott and Davis for introducing this important legislation,” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” Senior Vice President, Government Affairs. “Our support for this bill will be the primary focus of our Legislative Conference early next month when more than 1,200 insurance agents from across the country will come to Washington D.C. to advocate on certain issues with their federal representatives. We look forward to working with Reps. Scott, Davis and other Members of Congress on this bill that will benefit both insurance agents and the consumers they represent.”
Founded in 1896, 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, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.