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NCOIL Urged to Step Up Role in International Dialogues

State lawmakers need to be more vocal in international negotiations over insurance regulation or risk losing their place in the U.S. regulatory system, according to industry and consumer representatives...
March 13, 2013

State lawmakers need to be more vocal in international negotiations over insurance regulation or risk losing their place in the U.S. regulatory system, according to industry and consumer representatives. They told members of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) during a March 8 meeting in Washington that state lawmakers should push the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to be a stronger advocate for the U.S. state-based regulatory system during talks with its international counterparts.

Dave Snyder, vice president of international policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), said lawmakers need to “be aggressive in arguing that the reason the U.S. system has worked so well — and worked so well during the [financial] crisis — is that it allows stakeholders to be involved in the legislative and regulatory stages.” Otherwise, Snyder said lawmakers could see their role diminish if the FIO succumbs to “mission creep” and becomes a federal regulator of the insurance market.

“The surest defense against mission creep is for this organization [NCOIL] to remain engaged as unabashed supporters of the state-led system,” Snyder said, adding that lawmakers should analyze proposed regulatory changes on a cost-benefit basis to ensure that they address “demonstrable” issues. “That way you shape the future, and the future doesn’t shape you.”

Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, said he disagreed with the industry’s assessment of its performance during the financial crisis. But Birnbaum agreed with industry representatives who said state lawmakers should protect their role in the regulatory system. “Quit ceding authority to the feds,” he said. “If the federal government isn’t involved in the market, then you control your own destiny and don't have to answer to them.”

Step Up International Role, NCOIL Urged (BestWire 3/9/13) (subscription)

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