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Life Health > Life Insurance

House To Get OFC Bill And TRIA Group Life Provision

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House members are about to introduce one bill that would give insurers the option of choosing federal regulation and another bill that would extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

Speakers talked about the bills here today at a conference organized by the Risk and Insurance Management Society, New York.

Lawmakers want to move quickly, to make progress on insurance legislation before June 29, when Congress starts its Fourth of July recess, speakers said.

The recess will end June 9 for the House and June 10 for the Senate.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said he would introduce an optional federal charter bill for insurers next week.

The OFC bill would be similar to a bill introduced in the Senate in May by Sens. John Sununu, R-N.H., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Royce said. The only change would be the addition of a set of “prompt corrective action” procedures for addressing concerns about insurers, Royce said.

The Senate Finance Committee might hold a hearing on the OFC bill in September, when Johnson, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in December 2006, plans to return to the Senate, according to Scott Eckel, a Sununu aide.

Royce also talked about the House TRIA extension bill.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, could introduce a TRIA extension bill as early as this week, Royce said.

The current TRIA program is set to expire at the end of the year.

Frank and other Democrats helping to draft the extension bill want to extend the program for 10 years, according to lobbyists and congressional aides attending the meeting.

The House bill would include a provision that would include group life in the TRIA program.

Up till now, the Bush administration has kept group life out of TRIA. Administration officials say the group life market is a healthy, competitive market that does not appear to need government assistance.

One lobbyist said Democrats might go with a shorter extension to win over potential Republican co-sponsors, such as Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the most senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, a lobbyist said.

The committee probably will hold a TRIA hearing June 21, speakers said.


CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this bill gave a different description of the “prompt corrective action” provision that Royce said he plans to add to his version of the OFC bill.


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