A bill that could streamline cross-state insurance agent licensing has attracted a bipartisan team of sponsors and co-sponsors.

Reps. David Scott, D-Ga., and Geoff Davis, R-Ky., introduced the bill, along with the help of 9 Democratic co-sponsors and 7 Republican co-sponsors.

All but 1 of the 16 co-sponsors are members of the House Financial Services Committee.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Washington, also are backing the bill, which is based on the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers provision of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

“Insurance regulatory reform is a top priority for NAIFA, and NARAB II is a positive step in that direction,” says NAIFA President Jeffrey Taggart.

NAIFA is also looking at broader bills, such as the proposed National Insurance Act, which would give insurers the option of choosing a federal charter.

“Our support of NARAB II should not be interpreted as an early indicator that NAIFA plans to either oppose or support [optional federal charter] legislation,” Taggart says.

Life insurers don’t support the NARAB-II concept, according to Steve Brostoff, a staffer at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington.

“ACLI believes that insurance regulation needs comprehensive reform, and the best way to achieve it is with an optional federal charter system,” Brostoff says.

The Scott-Davis bill would establish NARAB, a private, non-profit entity managed by a board composed of state insurance regulators and marketplace representatives.

Although NARAB would manage licensing, state regulators would continue to supervise and discipline producers, and they would continue to enforce state consumer protection laws.

Membership in NARAB would be voluntary and would not affect the rights of a non-member producer under any state license.

The bill would establish membership criteria, which would include standards for personal qualifications, education, training and experience.

NARAB member applicants would be required to undergo a national criminal background check.

Through NARAB, individual agent members would continue to pay the appropriate fees required by each state in which they are licensed, and they would have to renew their NARAB membership every 2 years.

NARAB would work with the states to set up a central clearinghouse for license issuance and renewal and collection of regulatory information on producer activities.