There are plenty of things to look forward to later this week at NAILBA 30 in Scottsdale, but none looks more interesting than the keynote speaker at Saturday’s closing general session.

Former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, who represented Connecticut in Congress for 36 years (6 in the House and 30 in the Senate), will take to the podium Saturday morning and undoubtedly spend plenty of time talking about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that bears his name. NAILBA 30 runs Wednesday-Saturday at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Scottsdale.

As we all know, the Dodd-Frank Bill set the stage for the most sweeping change to financial regulation in the U.S. since the Great Depression. More than 15 months after it was signed into law by President Obama, much remains to be seen as to how the bill will eventually impact the insurance industry in particular. The bill created the Federal Insurance Office, which was mandated to issue a report, due by Jan. 21, 2012, for modernizing and improving the system of insurance regulation in the United States. (The comment period is open until Dec. 16.) 

Will this report be a first step in laying the groundwork for the federal government to begin usurping regulatory control over the industry from the states, as many observers think it might? Not if NAILBA members have anything to say about it.

NAILBA’s stated position (as appears on its website) is this:

  • NAILBA does not want the Federal Insurance Office to become a regulatory authority and believes it should be strictly limited to its intended purpose of being a conduit of insurance information for the federal government and a negotiator of international insurance treaties.
  • The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection must not impinge on a state’s right to regulate insurance.
  • Individual states should continue to have jurisdiction over its insurance laws.

I, for one, will be very interested to hear what former Senator Dodd has to say to the NAILBA audience about the bill, and about what he thinks is on the horizon regarding the potential reach of federal regulation of the insurance industry.