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Obama nominates directors for broker licensing group

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President Obama's first four nominations for members of the board of directors of the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers include a property/casualty insurance brokerage executive.

NARAB is designed to ease nonresident insurance producer licensing, and has long been a legislative goal of producer groups. Law requires that the NARAB board have 13 members, of which eight must be regulators.

One of the nominees announced by the White House Monday is Heather Steinmiller, senior vice president and general counsel of Connor Strong and Buckelew Cos. Inc. in Philadelphia. Among other things, Ms. Steinmiller has been involved with the Washington-based Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers' Legal Counsels Working Group.

The other nominees include Raymond G. Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, Mike Rothman, Minnesota commissioner of commerce and Tom McLeary, president of Endow, Inc., a Chicago-based brokerage dealing in employee benefits and life insurance.

Joel Wood, senior vice president at the CIAB, noted in an email that carrying out background checks for presidential appointees can be a protracted process, requiring hundreds of hours of work on the part of the nominees.

“Sure, it's taking a long time, and we've been anxious for this to happen for a year,” he said. “But better to get it right than get it fast.”

“We look forward to the formation of the independent board and will be watching with fascination how they build this new institution,” said Mr. Wood in the email. “I don't think it an overstatement to say it's a new paradigm for insurance regulation — rooted in state regulation, overseen primarily by state insurance regulators, but with national preemptive authority to achieve long-sought goals of uniform treatment and relief from burdensome redundancies.”