The American Enterprise Institute, a general interest think tank, is organizing a panel discussion on the topic of permitting insurers to choose between state and federal regulation.

The AEI, Washington, will hold the discussion, “Will an Optional Federal Charter for Insurers Increase International Insurance Competition?”, 2 p.m. Dec. 20, in Washington.

“Thus far, the debate about an optional federal charter for insurance companies has focused primarily on whether and how federal regulation of U.S. insurers will improve services for insurance consumers in the United States,” AEI event organizers write in an event invitation.

“But insurance, like banking and securities, is increasingly becoming a globalized market,” event organizers write. “Non-U.S. insurers and reinsurers who would like to compete in the United States complain that entry to the U.S. market is cumbersome and costly because of the 50-state regulatory system. Globalization of markets requires that regulators coordinate their policies; this is difficult for the United States because no one authority–even the National Association of Insurance Commissioners–can make binding commitments about U.S. regulatory policies. Are these obstacles depriving U.S. consumers of the benefits of international competition? If so, can they be overcome by the states or the NAIC? If not, is an optional federal charter a necessary response to a globalizing market?”

Scheduled panel participants include Roger Ferguson of Swiss Reinsurance Company, Zurich; Alessandro Iuppa, a former president of the NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., who now works in the Washington office of Zurich North America; and Tom Hampton of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Supervision.