The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for advancing the debate over reforming the nation’s financial regulatory system by passing the Financial CHOICE Act, HR 10.
“The Financial CHOICE Act ensures that strong regulatory protections are maintained while also easing costly regulatory burdens and allowing companies greater freedom to grow,” said Jimi Grande, NAMIC’s senior vice president of government affairs. “Many of the problems the bill addresses stem from the Dodd-Frank Act passed as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. In the years since its passage, we’ve seen that many of those Dodd-Frank provisions have added more costs than they have provided benefits for consumers.”
Insurance is a state-regulated industry, and like the Dodd-Frank Act, much of the Financial CHOICE Act is focused on other federally regulated financial services and products. However, the CHOICE Act does deal with some important issues for the property/casualty insurance industry, including the replacement of the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office with the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate.
“Congress intended the FIO to serve solely as a source of data and information for members of Congress and other policymakers, but the actual experience has been far different,” Grande said. “After seven years, we have concluded that, at best, the office adds little value to the U.S. insurance system, policyholders, or taxpayers. At worst, the office has been actively causing harm whether by releasing controversial reports or by launching duplicative data calls. The intent of Title XI of the CHOICE Act is to help address some of these concerns and we appreciate that, but NAMIC believes the best option would have been to simply eliminate the FIO.”
With House passage, the Financial CHOICE Act now moves to the Senate. “We know that, given significantly different priorities and political circumstances, what comes out of the Senate will be markedly different than what was passed today,” Grande said. “However, NAMIC will continue to work to ensure that any financial regulatory reform legislation respects and protects the state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States.”
Media and Federal Advocacy