A section of the U.S. law classifying an insurance company as a financial institution for FinCen purposes. (Credit: U.S. Code/GovInfo.com)

The House is considering a draft bill that could regulate how financial institutions, including insurance companies, freeze the assets of customers arrested in connection with domestic terrorism allegations.

The bill, the “Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act” draft bill, would require financial institutions to freeze the assets of people “arrested under suspicion of participating in domestic terrorism or providing material support to terrorists,” according to the draft language.

Resources

  • Links to hearing information, including a video recording, are available here.
  • A link to a copy of the “Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act” draft bill is available here.

The draft bill could also establish a national clearinghouse for information on incidents involving domestic terrorism, according to the bill text.

For purposes of domestic terrorism asset freezes, the term “financial institution” would have the meaning given in Section 5312 of Title 31 in the U.S. Code, according to the draft bill. The Title 31 Section 5312 definition of financial institutions includes insurance companies.

In practice, most of asset freeze requests would probably involve annuities and cash-value life insurance policies.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is sponsoring the bill.

Members of the House Financial Services national security subcommittee talked about Gottheimer’s bill today, at a hearing on the financing of domestic terrorism and extremism.

Lawmakers did not talk much about insurance during the hearing, but George Selim, a senior vice president with the Anti-Defamation League, talks about an anti-government extremist’s use of insurance as a financing mechanism in the written version of his testimony.

The leader of a militia group in Georgia “committed murder and insurance fraud by killing his pregnant wife for insurance money, which he used to fund his group,” according to Selim’s written testimony.

— Read Osama Bin Laden: What If He Has a Life Insurance Policy?, on ThinkAdvisor.

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