The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors last week made it unanimous for life insurance industry trade groups in support of legislation creating an optional federal charter.
A resolution giving conditional support to an OFC was passed by voice vote at the NAIFA’s annual meeting here on Sept. 10.
The American Council of Life Insurers later in the day issued a statement lauding NAIFA for its decision.
Frank Keating, president and CEO of ACLI, said, “We are happy to see our partners in the life insurance industry–NAIFA–formally endorse optional federal charter legislation, subject to certain reasonable conditions that ACLI supports.
“NAIFA’s support for a well-crafted OFC system shows that all segments of the life insurance industry–companies and producers; large businesses and small–recognize the need to modernize insurance regulation,” Keating said.
According to two industry lobbyists who declined to be named, the decision makes the life industry unified in support of an OFC and isolates the remaining opposition to some property-casualty insurance companies and property-casualty agents.
The lobbyists said the decision was a victory for the ACLI, a strong advocate for an OFC, and for the life/p-c coalition that supports an OFC. Specifically, these include “Forum 500″ members, a subgroup of smaller ACLI members; the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting and the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies.
“No one can say the life insurance industry is divided on the issue of OFC,” one of the lobbyists said.
The decision comes as action is expected in the House this week under expedited processes for legislation, on H.R. 5840, the Insurance Information Act of 2008. This bill would create an office within the Treasury Department that would assemble data for federal agencies on insurance regulatory activities, and have the authority to negotiate trade pacts involving insurance with foreign countries.
NAIFA completed the process of supporting such legislation when its National Council approved the resolution. Approximately 80% of the National Council members attending the meeting supported the resolution, according to one attendee.
“Today we have seen democracy in action,” said Elaine J. Fremling, CLU, chairman of NAIFA’s Policy Formation Subcommittee, after the vote. “This is the first time in our history that a NAIFA policy position has been sent to the National Council for their ratification.”