WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 8, 2011 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today commended the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity for their support of the “Insurance Data Protection Act of 2011.” This legislation, introduced by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), would rein in the authority of both the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and the Office of Financial Research (OFR).
“The Big ‘I’ commends the Subcommittee Members, particularly Chairman Biggert and Rep. Stivers, for their work on this legislation to limit the authority of both FIO and OFR,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “Though the legislation does not directly affect Big ‘I’ members, we see strong merit in any legislation that further limits the authority of these new federal offices.”
The “Insurance Data Protection Act” would prohibit the FIO and OFR from collecting data directly from insurers by revoking their authority to subpoena information from insurance companies. Under current law, both FIO and OFR are prohibited from collecting data from agents and brokers due to the efforts of the Big “I” during consideration of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Dodd-Frank did, however, allow both FIO and OFR to subpoena data from insurers even though this data is already collected by state insurance regulators and the law requires the state regulators to share the data with the federal entities.
“Very simply, the Federal Insurance Office was principally created to be an informational office, and the information that they need is already collected and readily available through state insurance regulators,” says Symington. “It is important to the Big ‘I’ that both the FIO and OFR have no more authority than they absolutely need to complete their very limited Congressionally-mandated duties, and we thank the Committee for their action today in this regard.” 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.