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OFC bill to be introduced in House next week


WASHINGTON--A bill that would allow insurers to seek federal rather than state charters will be introduced in the House next week, the measure's chief sponsor told a group of risk managers Tuesday.

"The insurance markets are Balkanized," said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., during a luncheon address at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s "RIMS on the Hill" legislative meeting. "We need a world-class regulator" to oversee insurers that chose to be chartered federally rather than by the states, as required by current law, he said.

Rep. Royce, who introduced an optional federal charter bill during the last days of the 2006 Congress, said he planned to reintroduce a bill next week. He declined to name any co-sponsors, but said that the measure would be "very close" to the OFC bill introduced late last month by Sens. John Sununu, R-N.H., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in the Senate.

Rep. Royce noted that other industries have federal regulators who can act as advocates for their concerns, adding, "somehow, I don't think 50 state insurance commissioners" would be able to serve as an "adequate advocate" for insurers.