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House Panel Schedules SMART Hearing

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Several former insurance commissioners are expected to appear June 16 at a U.S. House Financial Services Committee subcommittee hearing to back proposed federal insurance regulation standards.[@@]

The Financial Services Committee capital markets subcommittee is organizing the hearing, and sources who requested anonymity say the witness list could include 4 former commissioners.

The former commissioners who might appear are Gregory Serio, the former New York commissioner; Lee Covington, the former Ohio commissioner; Nat Shapo, the former Illinois commissioner; and Mike Pickens, former Arkansas commissioner.

Robert Hunter, a consumer advocate who once was the Texas commissioner, also might testify.

The subcommittee is headed by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., who has played a key role in drafting the proposed State Modernization and Regulatory Transparency Act.

The hearing will be held just after the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., completes its summer meeting in Boston.

Leaders of the capital markets subcommittee and its parent committee hope to introduce a SMART bill this summer, and they have been pressing for input from the NAIC.

Officials at the NAIC say they fear a SMART bill could lead to unnecessary federal intrusion into state insurance regulation, but they have told Financial Services Committee staffers that they will cooperate with efforts to develop a SMART bill.


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