Several Senate leaders joined Thursday to introduce a bill that could expose insurers to tougher antitrust scrutiny.
The bill, S. 618, “The Insurance Industry Competition Act of 2007,” would give the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department responsibility for making sure that insurance companies comply with federal antitrust laws.
“Federal oversight would provide confidence that the industry is not engaging in the most egregious forms of anti-competitive conduct, price-fixing, agreements not to pay and market allocations,” says Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the lead sponsor of the bill.
Co-sponsors include Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the most senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss, the Senate minority whip, who has been a harsh critic of the way property-casualty insurers have handled claims resulting from Hurricane Katrina.
Lawmakers also have introduced a version of the antitrust bill in the House.