Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Thursday voiced support for an optional federal charter, especially for life insurance.
Also this week, Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., announced that they continue to retool their legislation that would create an optional federal charter for all insurers and said they hope to have their bill introduced in the House within weeks.
In separate comments at a hearing on the latest federal bailout of American International Group before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Don Kohn, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, also said an optional federal charter should be explored.
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At the same meeting where Bean further outlined what would be included in her bill, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., was more vague when asked for his view on an OFC, saying he would support a more incremental approach to insurance regulatory reform.
At the same time, Bachus indicated a measure of support for legislation creating an Office of Insurance Information within the Treasury, a bill proposed last year by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House FSC. The bill passed the House last September.
Frank, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said in his comments it is “overwhelmingly likely” House Democrats will move to create an OFC for life insurers. Reiterating comments he has made in the past, Frank said one of the factors favoring the move has been requests from European regulators and insurers for a more simplified approach to insurance regulation in the U.S.