By

Washington

The American Council of Life Insurers is following a two-pronged lobbying strategy as it seeks to reform insurance regulation.

Allen Caskie, vice president for financial services with the group, based in Washington, says that CEOs from member companies are engaging in personal contacts with members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, discussing the reasons why life insurers support optional federal chartering for insurance companies.

But at the same time, he says, ACLI understands that OFC will not receive active consideration this year. Therefore, Caskie says, ACLI is working with the House Financial Services Committee to include targeted reforms aimed at the most pressing problems facing the life insurance industry in the proposal the Committee is now developing.

“We are optimistic we can produce something that will really work,” Caskie says.

He says that ACLI still believes the solution for the regulatory problems facing life insurers is OFC.

The board of directors, Caskie notes, agreed last year that if ACLI was serious about moving OFC forward, members of Congress must be made aware of the problems.

And this should come not from the association, he says, but from those who have to deal with the problems in the real world.

ACLI, Caskie says, has been arranging visits with members of Congress for CEOs, who come to Washington either individually or in groups. On March 8, he notes, some 7 CEOs visited members of Congress on a single day.

This week, Caskie says, during the meeting of ACLIs Forum 500, which represents smaller insurance companies, more than 20 CEOs will make their case for regulatory reform on Capitol Hill.

The 30 members of ACLIs board, he adds, are also committed to making Capitol Hill visits.

Meanwhile, National Underwriter has learned separately that ACLI has provided the House Financial Services Committee with some ideas on ways to achieve incremental reforms.

For example, on the issue of speed-to-market, ACLI suggests creation of a single point of filing and reasonable, uniform and transparent product standards through an interstate compact.

According to ACLIs suggestions, states would be motivated to enact an interstate compact by eliminating all individual state prior filing and approval requirements, but at the same time, allowing states to impose prior approval requirements exclusively through the mechanism of an interstate compact.

On the issue of transparency, ACLI suggests that states only be allowed to administer published product standards.

As for uniform interpretations, ACLI suggests requiring states to adhere to “majority” opinions where present.

On market conduct, ACLI suggests that if an insurers state of domicile, or the state in which it does the most business, does a market conduct examination, other states may not do so except for cause.

The Financial Services Committee is examining insurance regulatory reform with an eye toward mandating uniforming and efficiency, but Committee leaders have ruled out any type of federal regulation.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 23, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.