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Agent, broker groups hail introduction of NARAB II in Senate


WASHINGTON—Agent and brokers groups are hailing the introduction of the legislation in the Senate that would ease licensing for nonresident producers.

The National Assn. of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act, also known as NARAB II, would preserve state regulation while providing streamlined nonresident agent and broker licensing. Its supporters say that the measure—which was introduced Tuesday by Sens. John Tester, D-Mont., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb.—also would promote reciprocity among states in producer licensing.

“NARAB II provides a mechanism for establishing true nonresident licensing reciprocity for the tens of thousands of Big ‘I' members who operate on a multistate basis,” said Robert A. Rusbuldt, president and CEO of the Alexandria, Va.-based Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, in statement. “This bill would greatly improve licensing while ensuring that states retain the authority to regulate marketplace activity and enforce important consumer protection laws.”

“We're grateful for the work of Sens. Tester and Johanns on this legislation,” said Joel Wood, senior vp of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers in Washington in an email. “A casual observer might think, ‘Here we go again, another NARAB licensing bill, going nowhere in Congress.' Indeed, the bureaucratic miseries of interstate nonresident licensure have been growing for decades, and so have our efforts at creation of an interstate licensure clearinghouse.”

Mr. Wood noted that the bill is bipartisan and that the leadership of the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners “has been working with our community in a progressive way” on the issue.

“This may be coming as close to universal stakeholder support as we're ever going to come,” he wrote. “Still, we need to build support, especially with the leadership of the Senate Banking Committee. The way Madison created government, it's always easier to beat something than to pass something, and especially in a Congress that hasn't been able to agree on much on a bipartisan basis lately.”

Similar legislation has previously passed the House, but had never been introduced in the Senate. A House version of the bill has 60 co-sponsors.