WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2012 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today expressed its strong support for a bipartisan insurance agent licensing reform bill titled the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act” (NARAB II). The bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).
NARAB II would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections. This legislation would achieve much needed reciprocity in producer licensing and help policyholders by permitting greater competition among NARAB members.
“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 bill would greatly improve licensing while ensuring that states retain the authority to regulate marketplace activity and enforce important consumer protection laws. As our members come to Washington, D.C. later this week for our annual Legislative Conference & Convention, they will be meeting with members of Congress to urge them to support NARAB II.”
The legislation would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote consistency and preserve marketplace responsiveness. A House version of the legislation, H.R. 1112 by Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and David Scott (D-Ga.), has 60 bipartisan cosponsors. NARAB II has twice before passed the House of Representatives by overwhelming margins, but had not yet been introduced in the Senate until today.
“The Big ‘I’ is very encouraged by today’s introduction of NARAB II and we would like to thank Senators Tester and Johanns for taking the lead in the Senate on this important legislation,” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “We are grateful to now have strong bipartisan support for the bill in both the House and Senate. We look forward to working with both chambers over the next few months on consideration of this common-sense, pragmatic bill that will benefit our small business members and the customers they serve.”
The Big “I” is an advocate for reforming state insurance regulation and continues to oppose federal regulation, optional or otherwise. However, the association 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 targeted reform since it only relates to marketplace entry and would not impact the day-to-day state regulation of insurance.
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 approximately a quarter of a million 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.