State lawmakers–foreseeing prompt action in the House on legislation creating a federal Office of Insurance Information as soon as Congress returns to work in early July–have decided to galvanize governors and state attorneys general in opposition to the legislation.
“NCOIL does not believe that you or other involved state officials would support a bill that would likely override state insurance laws and their related consumer protections while impacting the healthy insurance marketplace that states have built, as well as potentially lead down the dangerous path to the creation of a federal insurance regulator,” the group’s officers wrote in a letter sent June 23 to the governors and attorneys general of all 50 states.
The letter was written in response to the Insurance Information Act, or H.R. 5840, which was introduced in April by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
The letter was written in anticipation that the House Financial Services Committee would take up the bill before it left on June 27 for a July 4th recess.
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It is now believed that the Committee will take up the legislation soon after it returns to work July 7, according to several industry lobbyists and congressional staffers who asked not to be named.
The legislation would establish an Insurance Information Office within the Treasury Department. It is designed to provide expertise to the federal government on insurance issues and work with the U.S. Trade Representatives in dealing with other countries.
NCOIL officials have expressed strong opposition to the bill, warning that it allows for the preemption of state insurance law and could serve as a precursor to the creation of an optional federal charter for insurance. They are also questioning the prominent role it created for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., as an advisory body to the federal OII.