A top U.S. Treasury Department official delivered a wide-ranging speech Monday at state insurance commissioners’ annual conference in Naples, Fla.
The 4-day event, which started Sunday, is being organized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.
The Treasury official, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Emil Henry, talked about topics ranging from terrorism reinsurance protection for property-casualty insurers to the possibility that regulation of p-c products might call for a more state-specific approach than regulation of life products, according to a written version of Henry’s remarks.
Henry also talked about proposals to give insurers a choice between sticking with state charters and state regulation and shifting to federal charters. The optional federal charters would put insurers under the jurisdiction of a new federal insurance regulatory agency.
“Treasury has not taken a position on what approach, if any, should be taken to involve the federal government in the regulation of insurance,” Henry told commissioners.
Henry went on to discuss what he said are “several basic realities that are self-evident” regarding “federal involvement in the insurance regulatory process.”
Most businesses operating across state lines would “prefer not having to abide by 50-plus state standards,” Henry said.
Reciprocity among states has improved the producer licensing process but “a lack of uniformity in many aspects of state regulation still remains,” Henry said.
“Our country is well-served” by an insurance marketplace that offers a level playing field,” Henry argued.
NAIC President Al Iuppa, the Maine insurance superintendent, says Henry has expressed an openness to dialogue both before and during his address.
That is a positive, Iuppa says.
But Iuppa says the NAIC is reducing the need for a federal role in insurance regulation by improving solvency regulations and helping insurers get products to market faster.
The producer licensing model can help make producer licensing more uniform, Iuppa says.
And Iuppa says he believes a dual regulatory environment could lead to regulatory arbitrage.