Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s Capital Markets Subcommittee, introduced legislation that would create an interim federal oversight agency, the Office of Insurance Information, within the U.S. Treasury Department, on April 17.
The announcement comes on the heels of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s Blueprint for financial services reform, which calls for an optional federal charter for insurance. Kanjorski’s interim office would focus on gathering information about the insurance industry and coordinating with state regulators on pressing insurance regulatory issues. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury David Nason noted in testimony before the committee that there are currently bills pending in both the House (H.R. 3200) and Senate (S.40) entitled the “National Insurance Act of 2007″, that would create an optional federal charter and an Office of National Insurance (ONI). “These bills,” he said, “contain many of the core concepts surrounding the establishment of an OFC structure.”
Kanjorski said Treasury’s blueprint “is an important discussion for us to consider,” but did say some of its short-term and long-term recommendations “concern me.” He said he is “pleased,” however, that Treasury recommended in the blueprint creating an Office of Insurance Oversight (OIO) within Treasury. The OIO, Nason said in his testimony, would have the authority to address international regulatory issues, such as reinsurance collateral, and serve as an advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on major domestic and international policy issues.