Perennial industry and U.S. House of Representatives favorite, the National Association of Registered Agents & Brokers Act (NARAB II) finally got seeded in the Senate for the first time this week, this time with apparent broad support from different constituencies, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
NARAB II, introduced by Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., would establish a federal licensing clearinghouse for insurance agents who operate in multiple states.
The current version protects state interests, for the most part, sources say.
“Streamlining the licensing of registered agents and brokers while maintaining state regulation of the insurance industry will increase competition in the insurance market and better protect consumers,” Tester says. “With the support of both the insurance industry and regulators, my bill will improve the licensing process and provide consumers with a better product at a lower price.”
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“There is broad support from both industry and state commissioners for this legislation,” notes Tester’s office. Tester serves on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and chairs Banking’s Economic Policy Subcommittee.
“NARAB II is supported by the major producer trade associations, including the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB),” states a spokesperson for Tester. “The NAIC endorsed this legislation in 2008 and has also just recently endorsed an updated version of this legislation.”
The NAIC did not provide a statement to the press, but it is clear from sources it supports the bill. Roger A. Sevigny, New Hampshire’s insurance commissioner, was said to have led efforts for the NAIC. However, the NAIC got some concerns settled, as a chance to review, barring those under licensure suspension in any jurisdiction, and increase the number of state commissioners governing it, those familiar with the bill said.
Among the remaining questions: Which if any states will still object (as a clearinghouse, NARAB will have preemptory authority to grant nonresident licenses); and whether there will be any action on the bill in the Senate Banking Committee.