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House Passes the Insurance Capital Standards Act of 2014

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide relief to systemically significant insurers by not requiring the Federal Reserve to impose bank-centric capital standards on insurance companies.
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Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5461, the “Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014,” by a 327-97 vote. This bill would provide relief to insurers categorized as systemically significant (SIFIs) by not requiring the Federal Reserve to impose bank-centric capital standards on insurance companies.

Regulators have acknowledged that insurers should have specific, tailored capital standards if they come under Federal Reserve oversight, and that those standards should differ from the banking industry requirements. However, the Federal Reserve has also stated that section 171 of Dodd-Frank, the “Collins Amendment,” requires them to impose minimum capital requirements for both bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies. Therefore, the flexibility to tailor the capital standards would require enacting legislation. The Big ”I” has long supported the premise that banking and insurance have distinct regulatory standards.

The Senate passed S. 2270, the “Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014,” in June, but not as part of a series of Dodd-Frank fixes, which the House included with the passage of the “Capitol Standards Clarification Act of 2014.” This means the House package will need to go back to the Senate for a final vote before it can become law.

Jen McPhillips is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.