A group that helps process securities trades wants to change its membership standards for insurance companies.[@@]

The group, the National Securities Clearing Corp., New York, says it hopes to gauge the strength of member insurers by using risk-based capital ratios computed in accordance with standards developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

Today, the NSCC, one of the companies that support the U.S. financial system, depends mainly on ratings from agencies such as Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Shifting to an RBC standard would be better because “the information needed to calculate the RBC ratio is readily available in the statutory financial statements, which are to be provided to the NSCC annually,” NSCC says in a statement describing the proposed change.

NSCC needs approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before it can make the change.

The SEC will be seeking public comments on the proposal until Feb. 14.

An SEC notice that describes the NSCC proposal is on the Web at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/pdf/E5-219.pdf