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OFC legislation introduced in House


WASHINGTON--A bipartisan bill that would allow insurers and producers to choose to be regulated by federal rather than state authorities was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The National Insurance Act of 2007 is companion legislation to a measure of the same name introduced in the Senate in May. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., and Ed Royce, R-Calif., calls for creation of an independent Office of National Insurance within the Treasury Department to oversee a system of federal insurance regulation. Insurers and producers could choose to be regulated by that office rather than state authorities.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Bean said the current "bureaucracy of 51 state regulators" stifles innovation by insurers. Rep. Royce, who had introduced similar legislation late last year, said allowing insurers to choose federal regulation would allow the industry to compete more effectively in the global economy.

The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. supports creation of optional federal charters. The insurance industry, however, remains divided on the issue. While the American Insurance Assn., the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers and the Reinsurance Assn. of America support the OFC, the National Assn. of Mutual Insurance Cos. and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America oppose it.