Dozens of large life insurers may sign a letter asking Congress to give life insurers the option of choosing between state regulation and federal regulation.[@@]

The American Bankers Insurance Association, Washington, is leading the group that is drafting the letter and recruiting signatories. The group, the Optional Federal Charter Coalition, plans to send the letter to Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee, according to the letter.

Kevin McKechnie, ABIA director of government relations, says companies are being asked to sign the letter. But “it hasn’t gone, and it may not go,” McKechnie says. The letter is “one of our ideas in draft form.”

The current draft of the letter urges recipients to consider an optional federal charter as a solution for weaknesses in state regulation.

“Establishing an Optional Federal Charter would not supplant state regulation,” according to the current draft of the letter. “It would simply provide an alternative.”