The U.S. Treasury Department Tuesday voiced support for enhancing the attractiveness of annuities by allowing a long term care rider to be attached to them.
Treasury would also support allowing insurance agents to offer investment advice to participants in 401(k) programs, said Mark Warshawsky, assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, in comments before the D.C. Bar Association.
Warshawsky told the association the Bush administration strongly supports a permanent extension of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001′s annual contribution limits for IRAs and qualified defined contribution plans. Under current law, these provisions are due to sunset at the end of 2010.
All these provisions are contained in the House version of legislation that would reform defined benefit pensions. The life insurance industry, both underwriters and agents, strongly support inclusion of these provisions and others in the House version of the pension reform bill.
Interestingly, Warshawsky did not touch on a provision in the Senate bill long sought by the industry: best practices and codification of corporate-owned life insurance. The industry, especially the American Council of Life Insurers and the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, is strongly lobbying for inclusion of this provision in the bill.
Negotiations to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills are expected to get under way shortly. They were delayed because Republicans and Democrats in the Senate were unable to agree on allotment of seats on the Conference Committee.
That was resolved Friday, when the respective leaders agreed that there would be a 9-7 ratio of Republicans and Democrats on the committee. The House is expected to name its conferees this week, analysts say.
The negotiators are working against an April 17 deadline, when corporations have to make their Q1 payments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.