Insurance groups are asking state insurance commissioners to oppose a federal bill that would change the antitrust provisions in the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

Weakening or repealing the industry’s current antitrust exemption could create a multilayered system of regulation and a new source of litigation, according to representatives of an industry liaison group who spoke here during the summer meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The liaison group reps were responding to the introduction of S. 618 in Congress.

Groups that are warning of the bill’s potential to threaten state regulation include the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington; the American Insurance Association, Washington; and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill.

Executives from 10 insurance company groups and producer groups joined to sign a letter opposing the bill.

If the bill becomes law, it could force the insurance industry to cope with triple regulation, by the Justice Department as well as by state insurance regulators and the Federal Trade Commission, according to Michael Lovendusky of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.

The bill also could result in “regulation in litigation,” because it might force states to prove that they continued to have the right to regulate certain types of activities, said Dave Snyder of the AIA.