Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Illinois Director Testifies on Behalf of NAIC on H.R. 5840

On behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Illinois Insurance Director Michael McRaith testified today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises about H.R. 5840, the Insurance Information Act of 2008.

H.R. 5840 would establish the Office of Insurance Information (OII) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide advice on insurance regulation to the Administration and to Congress.

“We support H.R. 5840, subject to some important clarifications. This conditional support hinges on the proposal not changing in ways detrimental to insurance consumers,” McRaith said. “We look forward to continuing our constructive and substantive discussions to produce a measure that will garner our full support.”

State insurance regulators support the bill’s objectives of (1) allowing a federal agency to work with state insurance regulators to receive and analyze industry data; and (2) establishing a central point of contact in the federal government for foreign governments regarding international insurance matters.

“While state insurance regulators wholeheartedly support and actively engage in efforts to help U.S. insurers compete globally, we oppose and caution against any legislation with a broadly preemptive approach,” McRaith said. “State regulators would object to the OII or any other federal entity having the authority to preempt consumer protections and solvency standards adopted by the states.”

A state insurance regulator’s primary responsibility is to protect the interests of insurance consumers, and the NAIC assists regulators in fulfilling that obligation. From programs and publications to electronic systems and data, the NAIC helps the states achieve their fundamental insurance regulatory goals in a responsive, efficient and cost-effective manner.

“Decision-makers at the state and federal level should benefit from the insurance knowledge and expertise the states have gathered and maintained since the NAIC was founded in 1871,” said NAIC President and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. “This bill will ensure that this occurs seamlessly and that state insurance regulators continue to have a seat at the table in critical international negotiations.”

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