A key congressional leader today unveiled his 2008 agenda.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, says the committee will look into the idea of giving insurers the option of choosing to be regulated by a federal agency.

The optional federal charter effort will be part of a congressional initiative to “reform and improve insurance regulation,” Dodd said at a packed press briefing.

Dodd said the Senate Banking Committee also will consider reinsurance reform proposals.

The committee will “examine what effect insurance regulation is having on the insurance marketplace,” Dodd said.

“There is no question that the insurance market has changed and is now national and international in scope,” Dodd said.

The House passed a reinsurance and surplus lines bill, H.R. 1065, in June 2007.