Big “I” Testifies Before Congress at Insurance Oversight Hearing
Association continues efforts to work with Congress on NARAB II and the implementation of surplus lines reforms.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 28, 2011 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) along with the Council of Independent Agents & Brokers (CIAB) jointly testified today on the need for agent licensing reform and the progress of the insurance reforms enacted in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). Clay Jackson, Nashville-based BB&T Cooper, Love, Jackson, Thornton & Harwell senior vice president and regional agency manager, appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity at a hearing titled “Insurance Oversight: Policy Implications for U.S. Consumers, Businesses and Jobs” representing both organizations. Specifically, IIABA expressed its strong support for the National Association of Registered Agents & Brokers Reform Act (NARAB II). IIABA believes that the most effective way to address the marketplace inefficiencies associated with today’s agent licensing system is to enact this common-sense, pragmatic legislation that has already passed the House in two prior Congresses. “True reciprocity and interstate consistency have yet to be achieved with state licensing laws,” said Jackson. “The NARAB II proposal would provide agents and brokers with a long-awaited vehicle for obtaining and maintaining licenses on a multistate basis. It would eliminate barriers faced by agents who operate in multiple states, establish reciprocity, and creating a one-stop facility for those who require nonresident licenses.” “Compliance remains costly, burdensome and time consuming…for smaller businesses, which lack the staff and resources of larger competitors, the cost and complexity of ongoing licensing compliance is especially burdensome,” said Jackson. “The NARAB II proposal would strengthen insurance regulation, and reduce unnecessary redundancies and regulatory costs,” continued Jackson. “Ultimately, this would enable the industry to more effectively serve the needs of the insurance buyers – and it would achieve these results without displacing state regulatory oversight.” In addition to calling for action on agent licensing reform, IIABA thanked Congress for passing surplus lines reform as part of Dodd-Frank but raised concerns with the way the provisions are being implemented at the state level. As the insurance reforms contained within Dodd-Frank continue to take shape, the Big “I” has been at the forefront of the implementation process. To read Jackson’s entire statement click HERE. In addition to Jackson’s live testimony on behalf of both associations, the Big “I” also individually submitted a formal statement for the record. In it, the Big “I” reiterated and expounded on many of the points Jackson made and also reminded the subcommittee of the extremely limited scope and authority of the newly created Federal Insurance Office (FIO). The Big “I” said, “It is important to remember the [FIO] activities are restricted in many crucial ways and that the entity lacks any formal regulatory authority over the business of insurance.” To view the full Big “I” statement click HERE. 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.