The House passed and sent to President Bush for likely signature Thursday the Senate version of legislation strengthening consumer protections for military service members buying life insurance and other products on military bases.
The vote was 418-13.
In response to the bill, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., said it expects President Bush will sign the bill soon.
NAIFA officials said they are pleased the bill “appropriately recognizes state jurisdiction over the sale of life insurance on military bases and takes advantage of existing state regulatory safeguards intended to protect all consumers from unfair and deceptive sales practices.”
Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers “applauded” congressional action on the issue, and also noted positively the fact that state regulators will retain oversight of insurance sales on military bases.
The bill, S. 418, is known as the Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act.
It was introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and institutes a number of reforms designed to help state regulators and the Department of Defense police insurance sales on military bases and eliminate unfair or deceptive sales practices.
The bill bars the sale of contract mutual funds, which have high fees in their early years and require a lengthy contribution to be of value to the buyer, and would be unsuitable to someone who is being sent into combat or will be moving often from base to base.
The bill also clarifies that military bases fall under the jurisdiction of the insurance department of the state it is located in, and encourages increased communication between state regulators and military authorities.
Additionally, it requires the Department of Defense to maintain a list of individuals who have been barred from a base for unfair sales practices.
“We commend Congress for passing S. 418, the Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act,” said John Oxendine, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. “This legislation ensures that members of the armed forces, who are protecting us, are also protected.”