The chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee wants to mark up a federal terrorism reinsurance bill with a group life provision and send it to the House floor Sept. 29.[@@]
The chairman, Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, also wants to send over a military base insurance sales bill.
The TRIA bill to be marked up by the panel probably will include a provision offering protection for group life operations, but executives in the group life industry–especially at companies with both p-c and group life units–are voicing concerns because the bill being supported by the committee’s Republican leaders does not create a separate pool for group life companies or group life affiliates. Group life lobbyists were told this by majority staffers of the House Financial Services panel Monday.
According to industry officials in Washington who are familiar with the legislation, admitting group life insurers to the program without creating a separate pool for group life would raise the amount of losses that the companies had to absorb before federal help kicked in.
Group life industry officials were so concerned that the heads of group life units scheduled a “fly-in” to Washington to seek support for a separate pool for group life companies from members of Congress and the White House.
The fact that the House panel is marking up the bill means that the debate on extension of TRIA is heating up, according to a note that analysts at Prudential Equity Group L.L.C., New York, sent to investors today.
A “top industry lobbyist remarked that prospects for extending TRIA ]for another 2 to 3 years, albeit with higher deductibles] by year-end merit odds on a cautious side of a tossup,” the Pru analysts write in the note.
“Passage in the House appears more likely than in the Senate, although Senate passage could be achieved if the TRIA extension is attached to an omnibus spending bill,” according to Charles Gabriel, Prudential Equity Group’s Senior Washington Analyst.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has indicated that he wants to hold a hearing on the issue in 2005 before voting. Whether he might be persuaded to allow something through this year may become clearer when he holds an afternoon hearing on insurance issues Wednesday.
In related news, Oxley talked about the H.R. 5011 mark-up plans during a speech he gave after he accepted a Legislator of the Year award from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Indianapolis.
The military sales bill was introduced earlier this month by Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga. The bill, officially known as the Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act, would explicitly give state regulators authority over sales of insurance at military bases within their states, require increased disclosure from agents selling insurance on military bases, and bar the sale of contract mutual funds.
Oxley said after the NAMIC speech that the final version of the military insurance sales bill probably will include a manager’s amendment incorporating provisions of a bill drafted by Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, D-Ill.
Emmanuel’s bill would strengthen Burns’ ban on contract mutual fund sales on military bases.
Links to more information about H.R. 5011 are on the Web at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.05011: