NU Online News Service, March 7, 2003, 5:15 p.m. EST – Kansas officials are continuing to work to put variable insurance products under the jurisdiction of state securities regulators.

The Kansas House Judiciary Committee is considering H.B. 2347, a bill that would revise the state’s Uniform Securities Act. Part of the bill would make variable insurance products sold in Kansas subject to Kansas securities regulation.

Kansas lawmakers, who have already held two hearings on H.B. 2347 in the past month, are considering the issue for the third time in as many years.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, Kan., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Kansas Securities Commissioner David Brant says a recent increase in the number of complaints involving variable insurance products shows that consumers need the additional protection that securities regulation would bring.

But, outside of Kansas, pending state bills that would leave variable product regulation in the hands of state insurance regulators include H.B. 1529 in Arkansas, S.B. 427 in Missouri, and S.B. 2084 in North Dakota.

Members of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, Albany, N.Y., recently adopted a resolution opposing the regulation of variable products by state securities regulators.

“The current regulatory environment is handling these products just fine,” says Tim Tucker, NCOIL’s director of state-federal affairs.

Carl Wilkerson, chief counsel for securities and litigation at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, agrees that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers are already doing a good job of regulating variable products.

Adding another layer of regulation would be costly and unnecessary, Wilkerson says.

The text of Kansas H.B. 2347 is available at http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2004/2347.pdf