Representatives for companies that sell financial services products on military bases were more critical today than other witnesses at a hearing on the Defense Department’s proposed base sales reforms.[@@]
The department held the hearing at a library in Arlington, Va., near the Pentagon, to gather comments on the proposed reforms. The proposed revisions would change existing regulations to make it clear that military base insurance sales fall under the jurisdiction of state insurance regulators. The revisions also would give commanders the authority to bar agents and companies from military bases.
One witness at the hearing, Frank Meredith, spoke for Trans World Assurance Company, San Mateo, Calif., and another witness, Larry Hill, spoke for a Trans World affiliate, American Fidelity Life Insurance Company, Pensacola, Fla. Trans World and American Fidelity both sell financial services products to military personnel.
Although Defense Department officials have made “significant strides in improving” the military base sales regulation, Trans World has concerns about a change that would remove language requiring a “show cause” hearing before a commander can bar an insurance agent or company from a base, Meredith said.
Requiring commanders to hold “show cause” hearings would give agents and companies an opportunity to explain their side of the story, Meredith said.
“I understand that commanders have to command and make decisions based on the welfare of their troops,” Meredith said. But he argued that a decision based on bad information could prove to be unfair to soldiers who have done business with an agent or company as well as to the agent or company.