Unless states institute meaningful reforms quickly, Congress probably will create a federal insurance regulation system soon, a property-casualty trade group head said Wednesday.

David Sampson, president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill., gave that assessment here at a meeting attended by 28 state insurance regulators and 14 representatives of other state regulatory agencies, according to representatives of insurance groups that were invited to participate in the meeting.

Sampson said in a telephone interview after the meeting that he told participants the PCI believes states need to make more progress at reforming the current regulatory system.

“I indicated that PCI wants to work closely with them to help achieve that regulatory reform and modernization,” Sampson said. “I shared with them that PCI recognizes the depth of experience of the states in regulating the industry is not something that we underestimate, and that that experience would not quickly be replicated at the federal level.”

The meeting was arranged by the NAIC, industry officials report.

An NAIC official confirmed that the meeting occurred but have declined to discuss it further.

Meeting organizers reportedly invited Sampson and the heads of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Indianapolis; the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Washington; and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington.

Meeting organizers did not invite the heads of the American Insurance Association, Washington, or of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, according to representatives of those groups.

The PCI, NAMIC and the IIABA are steadfast supporters of continued state regulation of insurance.

The AIA and the ACLI are leading the effort to persuade Congress to give insurers a chance to choose between state regulation and federal regulation, through an “optional federal charter” system.

The CIAB supports uniform state licensing and is also seeking backing from state regulators of a bill passed by the House in 2007 that would simplify regulation of surplus lines and reinsurance.

The simplification bill could be the subject of a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee as early as next month.

In addition to the state regulators and trade group heads, participants included members of Congress such as Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill, the Senate majority whip; Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee; and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., a former state insurance commissioner.

The lawmakers could not immediately be reached for comment, but their representatives confirmed that they attended the meeting.