International Insurance Talks Bill Wins Bipartisan Support

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An effort to give state insurance regulators more clout in international negotiations has strong bipartisan support in the House Financial Services Committee.

The 60 committee members voted 56-4 Wednesday to approve H.R. 4537, the International Insurance Standards Act of 2017 bill.

The bill would require the Federal Insurance Office to work more closely with state insurance regulators, and consult more with Congress, when negotiating with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors or successor organizations.

(Related: Republican Questions Constitutionality of Insurance Regulatory System)

Congress would get to review and approve any agreements.

Members of congressional committees, and committee staff members with the right security clearances, would get to see to the U.S. negotiating proposals, draft texts and other relevant materials, including classified materials, according to the bill text.

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., introduced H.R. 4537.

Duffy has also sponsored several other insurance-related bills now under consideration, including H.R. 3746, the Business of Insurance Regulatory Reform Act of 2017 bill, and H.R. 3861, the Federal Insurance Office Reform Act of 2017 bill.

Duffy has rounded up 11 cosponsors for H.R. 4537. Three of the 11 cosponsors are Democrats.

The House Financial Services Committee did not break the vote on the bill down by party, but at least 22 of the 26 Democrats on the committee voted for it.

NCOIL President Jason Rapert (Photo: NCOIL)

NCOIL President Jason Rapert (Photo: NCOIL)

The National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) put out a statement welcoming passage of H.R. 4537.

“This bill will ensure that U.S. negotiators do so, and provide greater oversight and transparency on international insurance standards setting,” NCOIL President Jason Rapert said in a statement.

Rapert is a state senator in Arkansas.

FIO officials recently negotiated a “covered agreement,” or reinsurance collateral agreement, with the European Union. State insurance regulators have complained that the FIO shut them out of the negotiating process, and would not even give them access to the negotiating materials.

Rapert said in his statement that he believes U.S. trade negotiators’ support for the state-based insurance regulatory system was sorely lacking throughout the negotiations over the covered agreement.

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The ACLI is backing a bill that would give commissioners the edge in turf wars.

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