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Countdown on for FIO Director announcement from Geithner

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Our sister publication, National Underwriter Life & Health, reported earlier this week that sources say Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has finally decided on an appointee for the position of Director of the Federal Insurance Office, but no announcement has been made as of late Thursday.

As a Feb. 16 letter sent by U.S. Rep Ed Royce (R-CA) to President Obama points out, it has been 6 months since enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, and still no director has been named to lead the formation of this crucial new federal agency.

“The FIO Director vacancy may hamper action on an important study on how best to modernize and improve insurance regulation in the United States. This examination of current insurance and reinsurance regulation will help guide Congress as we consider ways to ensure effective oversight, consistent consumer protection, and strong competition in the insurance sector,” the letter to the President states.

The new FIO will initially serve to monitor, collect and report on the industry without the authority to act unilaterally. It remains to be seen how far Congress may seek to expand the FIO’s authority as the year progresses, and it’s difficult to say at this point whether the FIO will emerge as a powerful regulatory body. But whoever is appointed to the position of director of the FIO will have plenty to do with how aggressive the agency becomes.

As soon as the director is announced, we’ll have coverage about it here on our website.