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President Donald Trump has pledged to sign a major financial regulatory package that will require federal officials engaging in international insurance negotiations to consult with state insurance regulators.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act by a 258-159 vote on Tuesday. Much of the bill aims to rescind provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act adopted in 2010 after the financial crisis.
The new legislation also includes provisions from a bill by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., related to international insurance negotiations. That proposal — the International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act — would require increased transparency in international insurance discussions and mandate that U.S. negotiators achieve consensus positions through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in international negotiations on insurance standards.
The bill creates an insurance policy advisory committee at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to offer expertise and advice on international capital standards and other insurance issues. It would also mandate an annual report be submitted by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to Congress about activities at international standard setting bodies, including the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the Financial Stability Board, which NAIC representatives could then comment on in Congressional testimony.
The U.S. Senate adopted the legislation on March 14 by a 67-31 vote.
House passage of the bill drew praise from insurance industry trade organizations.
“We appreciate the inclusion of the important international insurance standards provisions,” Nat Wienecke, senior vice president of federal government relations for the Chicago-based Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said Tuesday in a statement. “This legislation will reinforce the primacy of the state regulation of insurance and require that U.S. federal representatives coordinate with state insurance regulators and speak with one voice in international forums.”
“It would increase transparency and accountability to the international insurance capital standards process,” Dirk Kempthorne, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based American Council of Life Insurers, said Tuesday in a statement. “Due to the importance of the work being done by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the Financial Stability Board, more stakeholder input is necessary than ever before.”
“It was important that the final bill to reform Dodd-Frank require international insurance standard-setting bodies to ensure our domestic insurance regulatory system and U.S. consumers never take a back seat to what may be in the best interests of other countries,” Jon Gentile, national vice president of government relations of the Washington-based National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, said Tuesday in a statement. “The U.S. has a unique state-based insurance regulatory system that must be considered during such negotiations. This provision ensures the protection of that system.”
A version of the legislation has been introduced several times over the last four years, but additional impetus was generated as the NAIC and other stakeholders expressed concern about a lack of transparency in talks between federal officials and their European counterparts on a covered agreement to address the fact that the European Commission has not deemed the United States an equivalent jurisdiction, per the union’s Solvency II directive outlining a risk-based capital regime for insurers and reinsurers in Europe.
“The NAIC urges the president to sign this important bipartisan legislation into law,” the organization said Tuesday in a statement.
(Reuters) — Emboldened by President Trump's pledge to loosen laws introduced following the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, U.S. banks are pushing to scrap or revise more than a dozen other lesser-known rules they say are outdated, costly and hurt economic growth.