WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2013 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investments at a hearing titled “Streamlining Regulation, Improving Consumer Protection and Increasing Competition in Insurance Markets.”
Jon Jensen, an independent agent from South Carolina and Big “I” Government Affairs Committee chairman, represented the association. He is president of Correll Insurance Group, headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C.
The hearing discussed S.534, the “National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2013” (NARAB II) which the Big “I” strongly supports and is also pending in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1155). The bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate by Subcommittee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and in the House by Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.). There are 14 original bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 41 in the House.
NARAB II would build upon regulatory experience at the state level, promote consistency in agent and agency licensing and improve marketplace responsiveness. The legislation would provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broker licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections.
“The foundation of state regulation remains strong and offers considerable benefits, but the difficult truth is that sufficient progress on producer licensing reform and similar marketplace access issues has not been achieved,” says Jensen. “The need for effective licensing reform is greater than ever.”
Jensen further discussed how the Big “I” is an advocate for reforming state insurance regulation and continues to oppose federal regulation. However, the association believes that there is a vital role for Congress to play in helping to modernize state regulation for the 21st Century through targeted and limited federal legislation.
“IIABA believes the most efficient, effective, and sensible way to address the licensing and marketplace access problems discussed above is through targeted legislation at the federal level,” continued Jensen. “Limited federal legislation can effectively remedy identified deficiencies in the current system, establish greater interstate consistency in key areas, and preserve day-to-day regulation in the hands of state officials. This pragmatic and politically-feasible approach can be used on a compartmentalized issue-by-issue basis to address acknowledged problems and to establish uniformity and interstate consistency where necessary.”
NARAB II has previously passed the full House in two previous Congresses by voice vote. It also received strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the 112th Congress.
To read Jensen’s written 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 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