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PIA Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Lower Court Ruling on Preemption

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2003 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to...
May 19, 2003

High Court Asked to Review Decision That Upheld OCC Actions

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2003 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to hear an appeal of a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fourth Circuit ruled that insurance consumer protection provisions in West Virginia law were preempted by an interpretation of federal statutes made by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

In arguing for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal, PIA and co-petitioner the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America state there is a conflict between the Fourth Circuit Court's ruling and another issued by the First Circuit that must be resolved by the High Court.

At issue are opinions issued by the OCC declaring specific state consumer protection statutes in West Virginia and Massachusetts preempted. In response to lawsuits against the OCC, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the OCC opinion had authority to preempt state law under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), while the First Circuit ruled that the OCC's opinion had no legal effect on the states.

PIA believes the OCC is attempting to illegally expand the scope of its limited regulatory role with respect to insurance matters, that it does not have the authority to determine whether the state insurance sales regulations at issue are preempted, that the basis upon which they assert that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is preempted is wrong, and that the OCC's actions are arbitrary, capricious and in violation of law.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.