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OPINION: Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance needs to refocus

August 17, 2014 - 6:00am


The Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance must focus tightly on a handful of crucial issues, as it provides advice and insight to the Federal Insurance Office. As we report on Page 3, the committee met earlier this month for the first time since last September. The membership of the committee was recently expanded to 21 from the previous regulator-dominated 15 members called for under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The expansion is designed to reflect the diversity of the insurance sector.

That’s a worthy aim, provided that the committee doesn’t devolve into 21 members pursuing 21 agendas. Some of the discussions initiated during the recent meeting give rise to concern that the group will lose sight of what it can and cannot deal with. For example, FIO Director Mike McRaith had to gently remind some members of the body that despite their concerns, FIO has no jurisdiction over health insurance in general and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in particular.

The committee, much like FIO, has gotten off to a relatively slow start since its formation in 2011. We hope that will change under the leadership of its new chairman, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.’s President and CEO Daniel Glaser.

Focus will be key to the committee’s success. International insurance issues will be discussed at the group’s next meeting, slated for early November. We think that’s a good place to start.

We realize the committee is an advisory board to what is largely an advisory office. To provide advice effectively, committee members will have to concentrate on the few issues, such as entering into covered agreements regarding cross-border reinsurance, in which FIO can have a significant effect. We realize agendas change with time as they must, but the committee would do well to keep its focus narrow and thus provide real service to the federal government, the insurance sector and the economy as a whole.

 



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