WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2009 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) today expressed its strong support for bipartisan insurance agent licensing reform legislation, H.R. 2554, introduced by Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) and Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas).
The legislation, commonly referred to as NARAB II, would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections. This bill would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among NARAB members.
“Throughout the current financial crisis, the state insurance regulatory system continues to show how well it protects both individual consumers and businesses,” says Brett Nilsson, Big “I” chairman. “Although the system has worked effectively to ensure insurer solvency and look after policyholders, the system does need improvement in the area of agent licensing. NARAB II 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, promote consistency, and preserve marketplace responsiveness. Similar legislation, H.R. 5611, passed the full House on suspension in September 2008 with over 50 bipartisan cosponsors.
“NARAB II provides a mechanism for establishing true nonresident licensing reciprocity for the tens of thousands of Big “I” members who operate on a multi-state basis,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “This legislation improves licensing while ensuring that states retain the authority to regulate marketplace activity and enforce important consumer protection laws.”
The Big “I” is an advocate for reforming the state system of insurance regulation and continues to oppose federal regulation, optional or otherwise. However, the Big “I” believes that the state system can’t effectively address certain regulatory problems and thinks there is a vital role for Congress to play in helping to modernize state regulation. The NARAB Reform Act is such targeted reform as it only relates to marketplace entry and would not impact the day-to-day state regulation of insurance.
“We commend Reps. Scott and Neugebauer for introducing this important legislation and the over thirty members of Congress who have signed on as original cosponsors,” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “We were encouraged by the House’s action on this legislation last year and look forward to working with both the House and the Senate on consideration of this legislation in the 111th Congress.”
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.