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House member to push broad national charter bill


WASHINGTON--A prominent lawmaker plans to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives later this month that would allow both life and property/casualty insurers to seek national rather than state charters.

Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif., told the annual conference of the American Bankers Insurance Assn. on Tuesday morning that his bill would resemble the National Insurance Act introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Sens. John Sununu, R-N.H., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Rep. Royce, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, said that pushing for legislation that would offer the optional federal charter only to life insurers might be politically "easier" but held that a "broad OFC bill" that would include property/casualty insurers as well is the better approach.

A broad bill would benefit consumers of a wider variety of insurance products, and "we need as many people on our team as possible," Rep. Royce said.

He added the while he supports the goal of a bill recently approved by the Financial Services Committee that would streamline regulation of excess surplus insurers and reinsurers, he does not believe it will be signed into law.

The "base of industry support is too small," he said.