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PIA Calls for Repeal of Federal Insurance Office

PIA is proposing that the Federal Insurance Office be repealed. The election of Donald Trump as president and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress will bring about a unique opportunity to reexamine the regulatory framework for insurance. As part of regulatory reform, PIA is calling on policymakers to fully repeal the Federal Insurance Office...
November 29, 2016

Regulation

(PIA) is proposing that the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) be repealed.

The election of Donald Trump as president and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress will bring about a unique opportunity to reexamine the regulatory framework for insurance. As part of regulatory reform, PIA is calling on policymakers to fully repeal the FIO.

PIA opposed the creation of the FIO from the outset. In 2010, advocates of federal insurance regulation succeeded in getting the FIO established as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank)—but PIA, along with the NAIC, fought back attempts to give this office broad authority. In the end, a prohibition on the FIO acting as a regulator of the business of insurance was included.

While over the years the FIO has adhered to this restriction, there have been repeated indications that it favors more federal involvement. Former NAIC CEO Ben Nelson once felt compelled to state that “the FIO does not speak for insurance regulators.” Former Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi recently observed, “Since its creation, the FIO has often taken positions in direct contradiction to the views of the state regulators.”

FIO Director Michael McRaith once gave a speech saying that the insurance sector should be treated the same as the banking and securities sectors, prompting a strong rebuke from PIA.

“One should never forget that all insured risks will always be local,” commented PIA National Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski at the time. “The United States has an effective and efficient state-based insurance regulatory system that protects policyholders and offers them a broad array of competitive choices from many insurance carriers. To those who want a different system, we simply say they are woefully misguided.”

“If the goal is to eliminate unnecessary federal regulation, getting rid of the FIO makes good sense,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. “Doing so would reaffirm that regulation of insurance should continue to be the responsibility of the states. PIA will remain vigilant in its efforts to ensure that no new paths to the federal regulation of insurance are created as part of any Dodd-Frank rollback.”

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