The chairman of a key House Financial Services panel last night unveiled draft legislation creating a federal insurance regulatory agency.
A draft of legislation creating a Federal Insurance Office with strong authority over solvency and international issues was released by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa.., chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services panel.
The bill won immediate support from the American Council of Life Insurance.
Frank Keating, president and CEO of the ACLI, said the trade group would support the FIO, noting the ACLI had supported a similar proposal in the past sponsored by Kanjorski and Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill.. That bill would have created an Office of Insurance Information.
“The events of the past 12 months have only served to strengthen the arguments for creating this office,” Keating said. “The financial crisis has all too clearly illustrated the problems associated with the lack of insurance industry expertise at the federal level.”
The bill will be the subject of a full committee hearing Tuesday and is likely to be reported out by the committee to the full House by the end of the month.
After full House passage, it would then have to be reconciled with legislation dealing with financial services regulatory reform now being drafted in the Senate Banking Committee.
A key difference between the approaches of the House and Senate is that the House is dealing with financial services regulatory reform issues on a bill-by-bill basis, while the Senate committee plans to propose an omnibus bill with up to 13 titles incorporating all of its proposed financial services reform provisions.
The omnibus Senate Banking bill is expected to be unveiled late this month, followed by a prompt markup of the legislation by the committee.
The bill introduced by Kanjorski mirrors legislation submitted by the Obama administration except for deletion of subpoena and enforcement provisions sought by Treasury. That legislation would have created an Office of National Insurance.