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Kanjorski Holds Hearing to Push OII

On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Capital Markets Subcommittee will hold a hearing on systemic risk and insurance. A statement by subcommittee Chairman Paul Kanjorski...
June 17, 2009

On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Capital Markets Subcommittee will hold a hearing on systemic risk and insurance. A statement by subcommittee Chairman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) indicates he will use the hearing to push for his bill providing for establishment of an Office of Insurance Information (OII) within the Treasury Department (H.R. 2609).

"At the very least, the federal government must have in-house expertise on this significant sector of the financial services industry and have an ability to watch over insurers as part of broad systemic risk and consumer protection authorities," Kanjorski said in his statement. "A federal office, focused on collecting and analyzing insurance information, would provide the minimum role for the federal government in ensuring that insurance is not at a disadvantage as compared to other financial products by helping Congress and the federal government make better decisions regarding insurance policy matters."

What It Means to Agents:  Last year, there were so many problems with this bill that PIA aggressively opposed it. PIA members should be proud that their efforts played a prominent role in preventing the OII bill from passing last year.

PIA National is in the process of reviewing this year's version of the bill. Our main concern is that systemic risk in insurance - which is much less of a risk in insurance than it is in banking and securities - should be the focus of reform efforts. Creating an OII in the Treasury Department with the ability to preempt state insurance laws, as last year's bill would have allowed, goes far beyond addressing systemic risk, or simply providing information. It risks setting up a structure for federal regulation of insurance, which PIA opposes.