A new association says it is speaking for insurance agents who want to give insurers a chance to choose between state regulation and federal regulation.[@@]
The group, Agents for Change, has been operating for 2 months and now has about 200 members, organizers say. The group was put together by Bonner and Associates, Washington, a lobbying firm, with seed funding from the Financial Services Roundtable, Washington. The Financial Services Roundtable, a coalition of financial services companies, continues to fund the group.
“What we’re all about is the optional federal charter and trying to make that happen,” says Robert Poli, a Rockville, Md., agent who serves as chairman of Agents for Change.
Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act, “by 2002, the insurance commissioners had to come up with something to make it easier for us to do business across state lines.”
Commissioners have not made life easier for agents to do business across state lines, and that shows that insurers need to have the option of choosing between a state charter and a federal charter, Poli says.
Poli says he believes efforts to create an optional federal charter are losing out to efforts to support the State Modernization and Regulatory Transparency Act. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, and Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., who chairs a key Financial Services subcommittee, have proposed the SMART Act.