The battle lines are already being drawn in anticipation of a battle royal in Congress in 2011 over the creation of an optional federal charter (OFC) for insurers.
The first step was the announcement last month by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, that an OFC will be on Congress’ 2011 agenda because it has strong bipartisan support.
He made his comments in a conference call with state insurance legislators at the summer meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators.
That prompted disclosure earlier this month that a new group headed by Ernest Csiszar is being formed to oppose any form of federal regulation of insurance.
Csiszar will be chairman of the board of a group to be called the States Alliance for Balanced Insurance Regulation (SABIR).
It will represent small to mid-size insurers in an effort to fend off increased federal regulation of the industry, according to David Bass, president and CEO of Raptor Strategies L.L.C., Washington.
Bass will serve as executive director of SABIR with Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. as president.
In a statement, Csiszar said, “SABIR’s founding membership spans the industry, representing providers as well as purchasers of insurance products, including healthcare.”
Csiszar and Bass said SABIR was scheduled to host its first event at NAIC’s meeting, held last week in Seattle.
Csiszar formerly served as South Carolina insurance commissioner as well as NAIC president, he then resigned to head the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in 2005. He left that post in 2006.
The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has been a strong supporter of an OFC but backed off a bit this year to focus on limiting the impact of omnibus financial services reform legislation, which life insurance companies feared was too “bank-centric.”