Legislation allowing creation of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) has passed the Senate. The bill was added to S. 2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA) of 2014, by voice vote.
The bill has strong support from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) on the life side, and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) on the property and casualty side.
John Nichols, NAIFA president, said NAIFA is “pleased” that the Senate has advanced the bill containing the NARAB provision. “While leaders in the House continue discussion over the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), it is our hope they will be able to pass something in the near future so the House and Senate can finalize both TRIA and NARAB this year.”
Nichols said that, “it is clear that” NARAB has had overwhelming bipartisan support from both the House and Senate. “The time is right for lawmakers to get this over the finish line. NARAB is a win for insurance agents and brokers, but more importantly, it’s a win for consumers,” he said.
Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO, said “it is clear there is tremendous support in Congress for passing NARAB II this year.” She said the legislation is “commonsense,” and promises to streamline the insurance licensing process for financial professionals operating in multiple states and will help ensure that clients have access to a full suite of retirement income strategies without forcing their advisors to overcome the burden of redundant insurance licensing requirements.”
“IRI will remain committed to working with policymakers to remove any and all barriers that may impede the availability and usage of lifetime income strategies, and we will continue to work with congressional leaders to advance NARAB II this year,” Weatherford added.
Companion House legislation, H.R. 4871, the TRIA Reform Act of 2014, containing similar language except for a sunset provision added to the Senate bill last week, has been reported out by the House Financial Services Committee.
However, the bill is being held up in the House because the provisions dealing with a federal backstop for terrorism risk insurance are controversial and it is unclear when the House will reach a consensus on its version of the legislation.
Given that it is unclear when the House will pass its version of the legislation, and when differing versions can be reconciled, industry lobbyists are cautioning that the bill containing the TRIA and NARAB provisions is unlikely to be enacted by Congress until the fall at the earliest, and perhaps as late as December.
“The idea for NARAB is now 14 years old,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee, said on the Senate floor. ”We’ve been working on it literally for that long, and I’m hoping that in this legislation today we can get it across the finish line,” he said.