Legislation re-establishing the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) was passed today by the Senate and sent to the House.
It was passed as part of S. 1926, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2014.
Officials of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the Insured Retirement Institute both voiced strong support for the decision, while cautioning that the flood provisions — not the NARAB title — faces strong opposition in the House.
The overall bill passed the Senate, 67-32, but the real sign of strength of support was in the form of a vote on an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would allow states to opt-out, a provision that concerns industry officials. The vote rejecting that amendment was 75-24.
The White House also seeks some changes in the legislation, as noted in a Statement of Administration Policy issued late Monday.
The legislation is modeled after the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and will be a completely voluntary, self-regulating organization. “The big concession we’ve made is on governance – that a majority of the governance has to come from state insurance commissioners,” one lobbyist involved said.
In seeking support for his amendment, Coburn said that, “An opt-out keeping the 10th Amendment (state’s rights) privileges of the state is required to make sure that we do not go outside the bounds of our legal obligations.”
But, Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., urged the Senate to reject the amendment. “We have worked so hard to get everybody on board,” he said.” It does empower states. It does allow them to do what they need to do.”
John Nichols, NAIFA president, said the passage of the NARAB title “is a win for insurance agents and brokers, but more importantly it’s a win for consumers.”